Naas AFC 2
Caragh Celtic 2
We made the short journey into Naas today to face a strong Naas team that had earlier in the season given us our heaviest defeat to date. The Caragh road pitches in Naas were in fantastic condition considering all the rain we’ve had over the past week and everyone was delighted to get a game in. We could sense that our lads were a little nervous in advance of the kick off but the minute the whistle went the lads all put in terrific performances.
The first quarter was a really tight affair with both defences on top and very few chances being created. We did have a lucky escape though towards the end of the first quarter when we threw everyone forward for a corner. Naas were quick to clear their lines and looked like they had a clear run through on our goals but Cian made a great recovering run to chase back and snuff out the danger.
The second quarter continued in the same tight vein with clear chances few and far between. The deadlock was broken by us though midway through this quarter when Daire burst into the Naas box and was upended to earn a penalty. Daire took the spot kick, but the Naas keeper made a fine save diving to his right. Mikey was quickest to follow up and squared the ball for Cian to finish from close range to give us a 1-0 half time lead.
Naas drew level early in the third quarter when we missed a couple of our tackles on the edge of our area allowing a Naas player a clear chance in our area that he finished clinically to the corner of Mikey’s goal. We responded really positively to this set back though and shortly afterwards went back in front when Cian broke through on the right and finished in style to the bottom left corner of the Naas goal. Naas started throwing more players forward now looking for the equaliser but we defended really well and were very unlucky not to extend our lead as we got a number of clear chances on the break that we failed to take.
The final quarter saw both sets of players give every ounce of energy for their teams. It looked like we had just done enough to secure a fine victory but it just wasn’t to be when with the last play of the game Naas were awarded a corner that was cleared outside our area but the ball landed at the feet of a Naas player and he lobbed it back over everyone into the back of our net to break the hearts of our lads.
The final whistle was blown and the Naas players celebrated a hard fought draw while our lads were devastated.
All of our lads can be really proud of their performance today when they realise how much of a turn around they’ve produced since the last time they met this Naas team. Cian was fantastic with his two goal contribution. Conor Cassidy in goals in the first half kept a comfortable clean sheet. Daire, Evan, Noah and Ross ran themselves into the ground for their team and caused their opposite numbers lots of problems. Caolan was rock solid at the back. While Daniel was outstanding with his teamwork and ball retention. Daniel gave a great demonstration of taking what we practise in training into the match.
Caragh Celtic: Conor Cassidy(Capt), Daire Gilmartin, Evan Gilmartin, Ross Ward, Cian O’Reilly, Noah Byrne, Mikey Coffey, Daniel Hamill, Caolan O’Toole.