Dolmen Celtic 2
Crettyard United 3
By Harry Shorthose
Crettyard survived a second-half fightback from Dolmen Celtic to force a play-off for the league title in a couple of weeks against New Oak.
Dolmen started off well and were unlucky to not be ahead. Joe Lea got on the end of a Daniel Thompson cross from the left at the back post in the first minute and headed towards the bottom corner, only to find his shot cleared off the line. Crettyard took the lead in the 11th minute when Lee Salter got the last touch to Maher’s free from the left.
Dolmen weren’t giving up and Jeff Moran had to produce a good save to deny them. Crettyard then scored two quickfire goals to kill the game. On 27 minutes, Salter again linked up with Maher, this time from a corner on the left. Ten minutes from half-time, Pierce Nash was taken down in the box, Bobby Dowling converting the penalty. Dolmen had a chance to pull one back from the spot five minutes from time, but Danny Thompson steered his effort wide.
It should have been a routine victory for Crettyard from here. However, they struggled, making errors on the ball and giving possession back to Dolmen. Midway through the half, Dolmen pulled one back through Joe Doran to send a warning to the visitors. Moran was on hand shortly after to save from a Thompson free from the right. Colin Osborne should have done better 20 minutes from time when he shot over the bar.
Dolmen kept fighting and refused to give up. With 15 minutes to go, Thompson went close, but his effort was saved by Moran. Dolmen should have had another three minutes later when a Thompson shot from the right was cleared by Dowling only as far as Lea, who turned and shot narrowly wide. Ten minutes from time, they did find the back of the net, Doran again doing the honours to make it a nervy last few minutes for the visitors.
Crettyard had a late chance seven minutes from time when Maher’s free from the right was hit wide with nobody able to get on the end of it. Maher himself went close with an effort a minute later when his shot from the right hit the post. Experience won out in the end with Crettyard somehow managing to see out the final few minutes, condemning Dolmen to finishing bottom, their future to be decided off the field.
Dolmen Celtic: Jamie Hennessey, Evan Ruddy, Paul Condron, Owen Gorman, Niall Davis, Keelan Lacey, Joe Lea, Conor Byrne, Paul Connors, Daniel Thompson, Joe Doran. Subs: Patrick Williamson, James Williamson, John Nangle
Crettyard United: Jeff Moran, Seamus Dowling, Craig Comerford, James Sherwood, Bobby Dowling, Ger Murray, Jason Enright, Chris Maher, Lee Salter, Colin Osborne, Pierce Nash. Subs: Anthony Fitzpatrick, Evan Phillips, John Graham, Luke Maher, Andy Brennan, James Rothwell, Shane Buggy, Aaron Morris, Conor Mulhall.