A DEADLY FIRST-HALF performance saw champions Cockhill Celtic defeat Bonagee United and open up a five-point gap at the top of the 4 Lanterns Ulster Senior League.
Bonagee United 0 Cockhill Celtic 3
Mark Moran, Jason Breslin and Ronan ‘Ollie’ Doherty netted as Gavin Cullen’s side again proved a class apart.
Bonagee went into today’s game in second spot, but have been overtaken by Fanad and there was a growing feeling afterwards – although Gavin Cullen was having none of it – that Cockhill are already well on their way to retaining a title they’ve won in each of the last four seasons.
They did all of the damage here in the first half and eased off in a goalless second period.[adrotate group=”85″]
The resistance was broken in the 29th minute by Moran, who fired in his sixth of the season after Gareth Wade, the Bonagee goalkeeper, saved from Peter Doherty’s header.
The visitors doubled the lead in the ten minutes later as Breslin converted at the back post after connecting to Gerry Gill’s free-kick. With Wade on his goal-line, Breslin made no mistake with a crisp finish.
Breslin’s brother, Gareth, is a member of the Bonagee squad, but was absent from this one as he is in Vienna, where he watched the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier win over Austria last night.
Bonagee weren’t obliging opponents, but Cockhill proved too slick and the ruthless edge in their attack was evident again as they put the Dry Arch men to the sword.
Right on the stroke of half-time, with two minutes played in added-on time, Doherty hammered past Wade from the left-hand edge of the penalty area, powering home in style to make it 3-0.[adrotate group=”80″]
Doherty’s strike put the game beyond Bonagee’s reach.
The home side hadn’t been without their moments and just before Doherty’s goal Bonagee’s Dean Larkin clipped the crossbar after combining with Aidan McLaughlin on the edge of the box, his wonderful turn-and-shot deserving a goal, but denied by the frame.
Bonagee began brightly and Aidan McCauley saw a ferocious effort deflect wide of Harry Doherty’s net in the second minute after Chris Moran and Noel Doherty combined to create the opening.[adrotate group=”46″]
Cockhill soon warmed to their task and when Moran fired in the opener on the half-hour, there was a feeling of inevitability around it.
A well-worked free by Gerry Gill, down the channel to Moran drew a brilliant save from Wade, while Gill himself shot over from close-range after a dangerous cross by Jimmy Bradley.
Gerard McLaughlin and Doherty went close before Moran broke the deadlock.
Larkin was twice denied by Harry Doherty, the Cockhill ‘keeper, at the outset of the second half, but Cockhill never seemed as if they’d be caught – something that could already be said about the League standings, even if Cullen insists that there are ‘miles’ to go yet.[adrotate group=”81″]
Bonagee United: Gareth Wade; Evan McCroary, Darren Hunter, Darek Frankowski, Taylor Russell (Ryan McGarvey 80); Noel Doherty (Kennedy Boachie-Ansah half-time), Chris Moran, Dean Larkin, Francesco Crisci; Aidan McLaughlin, Aidan McCauley.
Cockhill Celtic: Harry Doherty; Paul McDermott, Peter Doherty, Oisin McColgan (William O’Connor 16), Jason Breslin; Mark Moran (Daniel Martin Doherty 80), Gerry Gill, Ryan Varma, Jimmy Bradley, Ronan Doherty; Gerard McLaughlin (Paul McKinney 72).
Referee: Marty McGarrigle.Tags: