Ardee Celtic secured their place in the semi-finals of the Kilmessan Shield on a wild and windy Wednesday evening in Kingscourt – as they beat Torro United 4-0, ending a three-match losing streak in the process and getting 2018 off the best possible start.
Darryn Gaynor’s early goal set the Deesiders on their way before Lorcan Myles doubled the advantage. Brendan Matthews was involved as a Torro man touched into his own net after the restart. Ross Gaynor’s cross was converted late on by substitute Shane Hickey to cap a fine evening for the Ardee men.
In truth, this was a routine win and the visitors would have expected nothing less against opposition who site mid-table in Division 2. Initially scheduled to take place on home soil, the match was rearranged late in the day – with both sides meeting at Kingscourt Harps astroturf surface. The new lights at Townparks will have to wait a little longer for another opportunity to illuminate.
On the pitch, it was Celtic who shone in the early stages. Just 10 minutes were on the clock when Darryn Gaynor scored his first goal since October 20th, his sixth of the campaign. He capitalised when a poor clearance from the Torro goalkeeper fell kindly at his feet. He calmly finished.
Older brother Ross was operating in the number 10 position, linking midfield with attack and he had two early strikes before the opener. That said, Torro put it up to their more illustrious opponents. It was only last season that these two met in the NEFL second tier.
Stuart Reynolds was twice pressed into action, but the Meath men didn’t duly trouble the veteran shotstopper. Celtic however continued to present opportunities to Torro and they went close twice more, this time stretching Reynolds and forcing two fine saves.
Having survived the relative onslaught, Myles’ 36th minute strike provided the Font with a two goal cushion. Darryn Gaynor provided the cross – leaving Myles to control and strike low into the net. It was a unerring finish.
Before the break, Gaynor almost had his second. From Robbie Reynolds ball, his effort was superbly saved. There was nothing the busy Torro netminder could do about the third goal which came seven minutes after the restart.
Brendan Matthews cross-come-shot was diverted into the roof of the goal. With five minutes remaining, teenage substitute Shane Hickey tapped in Ross Gaynor’s cross. It was the cherry on the top of a dominant second half performance.
Torro had hardly threatened in the second half, Reynolds saving from their one attempt on goal. Next up for Celtic is a trip to face Trim Celtic in the Premier Division on Sunday afternoon. They will look to avenge a 0-1 reverse at home earlier in the campaign.
NO KILMESSAN AROUND
Ardee Celtic reached the last eight of the Kilmessan Shield courtesy of a 1-1 draw with Quay Celtic in the opening game of the season – before a 7-2 win over Woodview Celtic. In his last game for Celtic before his early season departure, Dean Gaynor hit a hat-trick before John Flanagan’s 90th minute goal secured progress for the Deesiders via goal difference.
ARDEE CELTIC: Stuart Reynolds, Robbie Reynolds, Ken Thornton, Oisin McGee, Ciaran Clarke, Brendan Matthews, Stuart Osbourne, Lorcan Myles, Ross Gaynor, Darryn Gaynor.
Sub: Shane Hickey
Additional Reporting by Paudi Wright