Deen Celtic’s Leinster Junior Cup hopes got it in the neck as a team of Transylvanians bared their teeth in Dublin.
The Castlecomer side were driven batty as a swift counter-attack proved decisive, giving Real Transilvania a place in the last 16 of the province’s top junior soccer competition.
The game, cancelled twice due to bad weather, finally went ahead on the all-weather pitch at the AUL Complex in Clonshaugh on Sunday morning. The elements were no friend to Celtic as Real, a side made up entirely of Romanian players, used the strong wind to peg the visitors back in their own territory for most of the first half.
Forced to defend deeply, Deen did well to cope with the Transylvanian threat, but they were thankful for a strong performance from Eoin Doyle.
The netminder, who plays with the club’s youths’ side but has been elevated to junior ranks following injury to Robbie Lynch, made some excellent saves to keep his team in the game until half-time.
Having reached the interval with the game scoreless, Deen Celtic would have expected to have had the better of exchanges after the restart. However, a swift counter-attack from the hosts was enough to settle the game 10 minutes into the second half.
Robbing Celtic of possession on half-way, full-back Lucian Tilihoi raced forward. Playing a neat one-two with Paul Hasegan, Tilihoi sped on to the return pass and tucked into the box, pausing only to fire the ball home.
Celtic did have better spells in the second half, but the equaliser they craved didn’t come. David Lynch and Peadar Boran had the best of their chances but couldn’t find the killer touch.
Deen kept on the front foot, but couldn’t turn possession into goals. Sub Richie Lynch had a great chance when introduced to the fray, running through on goal before getting off his shot, but his strike came off goalkeeper Silviu Voivod.
Typical of Celtic’s fortune, the ball bounced away from danger.
After the match the Kilkenny side were left to lament their bad fortune.
“We didn’t have any luck on the day,” said Deen Celtic’s Michael Coughlan.
“That one counter-attack, where we let possession slip, cost us in the end.”
Real Transilvania: Silviu Voivod, Daniel Tothazan, Lucian Tilihoi, Bogdan Cioara, Marian Stirbu, Claudiu Bunea, Francesco Georgescu, Alex Pleniceanu, Sorin Bichiri, Paul Hasegan, Gavril Rus.
Deen Celtic: Eoin Doyle, Anthony Kavanagh, Tom Dowling, Caleb Roche, Alan Phelan, Neil Murtagh, Ronan Phelan, John Doheny, Peadar Boran, David Lynch, James Sherwood. Subs: Richie Lynch, Jason Carroll.