A first half goal from Colm Matthews helped secure a 1-1 draw with holders Quay Celtic as Ardee Celtic began their 2017/18 season in the Kilmessan Shield in Dundalk on Wednesday evening.
The Deesiders are busy preparing themselves for a season in the Premier Division after their promotion last week – coming after Navan Cosmos withdrew from senior competition for the coming season. Wednesday evening’s clash with Quay on the Point Road saw new coaching addition John Flanagan get a first look at his side in competitive action.
The former Dundalk FC player joins Conor Lynch on the sideline for the upcoming campaign and he will have been reasonably pleased with what he say as Celtic acquitted themselves well against fellow top tier side Quay, who are under the tutelage of new gaffer Martin Smith.
Of the starting XI selected for the first outing of the year, Eddie Burke, Lorcan Myles, Gareth Kane, Fintan Clarke and Kenneth Thornton were the regular members of last season’s promotion chasing side that took their places once again. There were returns too for local brothers Dean and Darren Gaynor who lead the line for the Font.
Celtic hit the front shortly before half time as centre back Matthews struck. The Dunleer man – who was part of the clubs 2016 reserve league and cup triumph – found the net to hand his side the half time advantage.
The home side, who included ex-Ardee winger Shaun O’Connor, levelled the scores with 15 minutes left through Dennis Cholach. He was named Man of the Match as Quay secured the Shield with a final win against Bellurgan back in May and his goal denied the Font an opening night victory here. First Division outfit Woodview Celtic make up the three team group in the Shield.
ARDEE CELTIC: Sean Connolly, Kenneth Thornton, Colm Matthews, Fintan Clare, Pierce Hawkins, Lorcan Myles, Eddie Burke, Stuart Osbourne, Gareth Kane, Dean Gaynor, Darryn Gaynor.
Subs: Shawni Dowdall, Niall Conlon, Lorcan Malone, John McMahon, Shane Hickey.