NEFL | Ten-man Quay Celtic frustrate Muirhevnamor to hang on for a point

NEFL Premier Division | Quay Celtic 2–2 Muirhevnamor

Quay Celtic’s Dean Sheil makes a great tackle on Muirhevnamor’s Gary Clarke. PICTURE: BEN MCSHANE

Despite playing for over half an hour with ten-men, Quay Celtic dug in to frustrate champions Muirhevnamor and take a share of the spoils from Wednesday night’s NEFL Premier Division derby at Clancy Park.

After falling behind to a sensational Jimmy Cooney goal, it was the hosts that were in the driving seat at the break thanks to goals from player manager Martin Smith and his namesake, Vinny Smith.

Quay looked comfortable in the opening stages of the second-half but they hit the self destruct button when a mistake by goalkeeper John Rogers ended with Stefan McKevitt getting the gate for hauling back Mickey O’Kane in the penalty area, allowing Cooney to step up and equalise.

It looked like the visitors would go on and take the initiative but a combination of some fine goalkeeping by Rogers and solid defending by the three-man defence in front of him helped the Quay to a hard earned point.

The Quay Celtic team wearing their new kit, sponsored by Kehoe’s Quay Street. PICTURE: BEN MCSHANE

Cooney’s stunning opener arrived with just four minutes on the clock, the Muirhevnamor centre-back connecting with a clearance by Rogers to send the ball fizzing over the Quay goalkeeper’s head from inside his own half!

Rogers redeemed himself shortly after by making a good stop down to his left to deny Brian Begley and Quay found themselves back on level terms in the 15th minute.

Right wing-back Shaun O’Connor was the creator, his delivery falling perfectly for Martin Smith who hammered a brilliant header past David Cooney.

The Blues took the upper hand after that with Chris Caulfield heading a Jimmy Cooney corner over the top before midfielder Harry McShane was denied by the legs of Rogers.

Mickey O’Kane then found a yard on Denis Cholach to break free but Rogers was equal to the task, denying the Muirhevnamor predator with another excellent save.

The Muirhevnamor side that played Quay Celtic on Wednesday night. PICTURE: BEN MCSHANE

A similar chance presented itself at the other end just 60 seconds later and youngster Vinny Smith made no mistake, racing onto a Johnny Lynch pass to slide the ball past Cooney and give Quay a half-time lead.

Cooney’s blushes were spared in the second-half when he let a Vinny Smith free-kick squirm from his grasp. The ball trickled towards the line but with Dean Sheil reluctant to apply the finishing touch, it was cleared and Muirhevnamor were let off the hook.

Manager Sean Maguire turned to his bench with Tiarnan Mulvenna dispatched into the fray but it was an error in the Quay defence that paved the way for the equaliser in the 57th minute.

Rogers and Stefan McKevitt were the guilty parties, the goalkeeper making a mess of an attempted clearance in his penalty area, giving O’Kane an opportunity to pounce.

The Quay netminder did retrieve the ball but only after McKevitt had taken O’Kane out of play. The centre-back was dismissed by the referee for the indiscretion and Cooney stepped up to send Rogers the wrong way from the spot.

Muirhevnamor’s Jimmy Cooney sends John Rogers the wrong way from the penalty spot to make it 2–2. PICTURE: BEN MCSHANE

Muirhevnamor went for the kill but they were held back by some stubborn Quay defending with Sheil making a fantastic block to stop Brendan Hughes from applying the finishing touch to a Mulvenna cross.

Sheil then made another brilliant tackle to thwart Hughes again in the 67th minute after a brilliant reverse pass from McShane opened the Quay backline up.

The home side did fashion a couple of half chances with Smith bending a free off target before substitute Aaron Comerford jinked his way into the Muirhevnamor box only to see his cut back fly across the face of goal.

Maguire’s side pressed in the latter stages but Rogers made sure his side took something from the game with a couple of fine stops from Mulvenna and Cooney before Caulfield was also dismissed for a second bookable offence in the final minute.

Dundalk captain Stephen O’Donnell and former Quay Celtic manager Simon Kelly were amongst the spectators at Clancy Park. PICTURE: BEN MCSHANE

QUAY CELTIC: John Rogers; Shaun O’Connor, Stefan McKevitt, Dean Sheil, Denis Cholach, David Redmond; Niall McLaughlin (Aaron Comerford HT), Cody Magill (Sean Matthews 73), Johnny Lynch; Martin Smith (Danny Coyle 62), Vinny Smith. Subs not used: Padraic Browne, Drew Duffy.

MUIRHEVNAMOR: David Cooney; Adrian Rafferty, Jimmy Cooney, Chris Caulfield, Brian Begley; Gary Clarke (Conal Mulvenna 86), Philip Duffy, Harry McShane (Conor Gorman 84), Wayne Robinson (Tiarnan Mulvenna 50); Mickey O’Kane, Brendan Hughes (David Mahony 73).

REFEREE: John Crawley. ASSISTANTS: Paul Malone and Noel Scott.

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