Evergreen B 3
Deen Celtic A 1
DEEN CELTIC’S dreams of beating the drop vanished as they slipped through the Premier Division trap door.
The Castlecomer side have been fighting against a drop into Division One for most of the season, but knew that three wins from their final three games could help them force a play-off.
It was a big ask, but it came to nothing as Evergreen B - who are also fighting to beat the drop - boosted their survival hopes by taking all three points at the Kells Road on Sunday.
Evergreen started the brighter of the two sides, with Mark Owens and Ciaran Snype looking lively in attack. The city side knew what they had to do, taking just 10 minutes to break the deadlock.
Owens provided the opening, directing a pass into the path of Snype, who didn’t need a second invitation to shoot. Deen ’keeper Robbie Lynch got his outstretched hand to the shot, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the ball from crossing the line.
Despite falling behind the concession of that early goal seemed to spur the ’Comer boys on, whose attack seemed to have more purpose about it. Both sides had their chances, but both ’keepers were in flying form.
Celtic kept searching for a way back into the game and got their reward seven minutes before half-time. Johnny Kavanagh gave the visitors hope when he latched on to Andrew Carron’s through ball and broke free to blast past netminder Philip Johnston.
As in the first half Evergreen began brightly after the restart, quickly going close to restoring their lead. The alarm bells rang when Ciaran Snype danced past three Deen defenders, but his shot was well saved by Lynch.
The sides were locked in a stalemate for most of the second half, with very few clearcut chances created, but the city side took a huge step towards three massive points when they struck from a set-piece in the last 10 minutes. Evergreen’s corner wasn’t properly dealt with by the Deen defence, who failed to prevent Mark Owens from nipping in to score a precious goal.
Five minutes later the game, and Deen’s survival hopes, were finished. A foul on Michael McDonald was the final nail in the ’Comer coffin, as Conor Barry stepped up to fire home from the penalty spot.
Victory was a huge boost for Evergreen B, who jumped up to fourth in the table thanks to the three points. They can secure their place in the top flight should they win their last league game, but opponents Fort Rangers will be going for the same goal as the season takes more twists and turns.
Evergreen B: Philip Johnston, Gary Owens, Mikey Andrews, Andy Ryan, Dylan Whearty, Adrian Kiely, Michael McDonald, Craig Eardley, Conor Barry, Mark Owens, Ciaran Snype.
Deen Celtic A: Robbie Lynch, Ronan Phelan, Eric Kavanagh, John Deevy, James Sherwood, Anthony Kavanagh, Andrew Carron, Stephen Ruth, Shane Renwick, Richie Lynch, Johnny Kavanagh.
Referee: John Martin.