Ardee Celtic have edged ever closer to a first ever appearance at the Aviva Stadium in 2018 as their extraordinary cup form continued on Friday night, with centre back Niall Sharkey the extra-time hero in a dramatic 2-1 win over Collinstown FC in Lucan.
Wins over Ballyogan Celtic and Kilmore Celtic preceded this trip to South Dublin and despite an early strike from the home side, Gareth Kane’s equaliser and then Sharkey’s late late goal ensured the Deesiders progress into the last 64. When he planted his header in the back of the net, two minutes of additional time had been played at the end of 120 minutes of football.
Now, the cup draw opens up pairing teams not only from across the region but across the country against eachother. Next up for Conor Lynch’s side is a trip to trip to Tipperary to face Clonmel Town. Celtic, alongside Newfoundwell, are one of just two NEFL sides who have qualified for the fifth round.
Just 10 minutes were on the clock when Collinstown took the lead at the SDFL Astro. After some neat exchanges in the attacking third, Daniel Matthews slotted the ball low past Stuart Reynolds in the Celtic goal. The home side had much the better of the play in the opening half, all too easily breaking through the Celtic midfield.
The visitors had a let off when winger Dylan Clarke was denied by the post soon after the opener. Their movement and quick passing was causing Celtic a whole host of problems on the astroturf surface.
By the same token, the Ardee men struggled to get the ball down and instigate their own passages of play. Patience is a virtue, but one in short supply in the opening half.
Gareth Kane, a virtual ever present for the Font this term, produced a timely equaliser with just seven minutes remaining – his fourth of another impressive campaign for the attacker. He had time to steady himself and produced a cool finish from 20 yeards out to beat Collinstown goalkeeper Declan Woods.
To extra time it went and there was still time for Celtic, cup specialists who remain in contention for four different cup competitions as we enter December, to clinch it. 120 minutes of football had been played and an additional two had been added at the end of the second period of extra time when Sharkey met Ross Gaynor’s free kick.
That was his second goal in a week – and while last week’s striker’s finish against St Francis sealed a win, this secured one. Missing a host of first team players, this win was all the more impressive too. On Ardee Celtic march. The Aviva dream starts to feel more like reality with every passing round.
ARDEE CELTIC: Stuart Reynolds, Robbie Reynolds, Niall Sharkey, Kenneth Thornton, Ciaran Clarke, Daire Smyth, Paul Matondo, Ross Gaynor, Gareth Kane, James McMullen, Darryn Gaynor.
Subs: Brendan Matthews, Aaron Roche, Lorcan Malone, Shawni Dowdall, Bryan O’Connor
ARDEE CELTIC’S CUP JOY – 2017/18
- Kilmessan Shield – Quay Celtic 1-1 Ardee Celtic
- Kilmessan Shield – Ardee Celtic 7-2 Woodview Celtic
- Leinster Junior Cup – Ardee Celtic W/0 Moyne Rangers B
- FAI Junior Cup – Ballyogan Celtic 0-4 Ardee Celtic
- FAI Junior Cup – Ardee Celtic 3-1 Kilmore Celtic
- Challenge Cup – Kells-Blackwater 1-8 Ardee Celtic
- Leinster Junior Cup – Ardee Celtic 1-0 St Kevins Boys
- Leinster Junior Cup – Ardee Celtic 3-1 St Francis
- FAI Junior Cup – Collinstown FC 1-2 Ardee Celtic
Additional reporting by Paudi Wright.