PADDY DOHERTY’S 89th minute free kick earned Illies Celtic a deserved draw against Culdaff at St Joseph’s Park last night in the Clubman Shirts League Cup.
Illies Celtic 2 Culdaff FC 2
It was a night of goals for the Illies full-backs. Right-back David Doherty had given them the lead, only for Brendan ‘Fildara’ McLaughlin’s double to swing the pendulum in Culdaff’s favour.
But, Paddy Doherty’s low free, with a minute to go, found a way through the wall and into the net.
Culdaff will be disappointed not to have held out but, on the balance of play, Illies (pictured above) were full value for a draw in this entertaining season opener.
Noel McLaughlin went close for Culdaff, but Johnny Noone was equal to his effort in the early minutes while Illies were closer still, but Stephen Doherty’s shot came off the Culdaff post.
Illies upped the ante and had three good chances in succession with Johnny Donaghey, Dominic Coyle and Stephen Doherty all going close.
Brendan McLaughlin flashed a header just wide, but the opener was coming.
The deadlock was finally broken when, in the 29th minute, good build-up down the right ended with right-back David Doherty, after an exchange of passes with Stephen Doherty, coolly slotting past Culdaff goalkeeper Niall McLaughlin.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Culdaff levelled a minute later. The Illies defence failed to clear and Brendan McLaughlin pounced to drill a low shot from 15 yards past Noone to the bottom corner.[adrotate group=”37″]
Just before half-time, Kevin McGonagle set up Stephen Doherty, but Niall McLaughlin saved well to keep the teams locked at a goal apiece going into half-time.
Illies began the second half well and Dominic Coyle was narrowly off-target at the far post after getting on the end of a cross by Martin Coyle.
Culdaff took the lead when a long kick out wasn’t dealt with and Brendan McLaughlin’s cracking volley flew past Noone.
Culdaff could have instantly increased the lead, but McLaughlin slipped at the vital moment when he seemed nailed on for a hat-trick.[adrotate group=”38″]
The home side continued to press in search of an equaliser and, just when it looked like Culdaff would hold on, up stepped left-back Paddy Doherty to power home the late free kick to earn his side a point.
Both teams were close to a winner with Noone saving from McLaughlin while Donaghey’s shot into the side netting.
Illies Celtic: Johnny Noone, David Doherty, Paddy Doherty, Dominic Doherty, William McLaughlin, Liam O’Connor (John Campbell 65), Kevin McGonagle, Dominic Coyle, Martin Coyle (Charlie McLaughlin 81), John Donaghey, Stephen Doherty.
Culdaff: Niall McLaughlin, Peter Doherty, Darren Mularkey, John McFeely, Ryan Greeene, William Hutchison (Jack McLaughlin), Declan McLaughlin (Paul McLaughlin 60), Michael Coyle, Noel McLaughlin, Brendan McLaughlin, Eugene McLaughlin.
Referee: John Joe Lafferty.Tags: