herald

Monday 11 December 2017

OLV finally take crown

Newtown Celtic............... 1

OLV................................. 1

(AET OLV won 3-1 on pens)

At the culmination of a long, hard season and a gruelling six-week period that saw both sides play twice, even three times, in the space of a week, we needed a play-off to decide the Premier Sunday title.

Newtown Celtic and OLV finished locked at the top and on Tuesday evening last they squared up for the flagship trophy.

They had enjoyed differing fortunes at the OTC&DC. Clontarf pipped OLV for The Matt O'Leary, whereas Newtown had just won the big one, The Amateur Cup.

The prolific Stephen Lai tested Dean Lawlor on five minutes, Lawlor was up to the task. The same man denied Carl Mulvany 18 later after David Darcy had set him up and in between Aaron Johnston went close for Newtown.

Darcy's long throws were causing problems for Celtic and Lawlor was again called into action when Daryl Jacob flicked one on at the near post from out left. With just over half an hour gone, Newtown took the lead.

Jay Mulligan fired a low ball from the left-wing to Kevin Curtis, he slipped past Jacob and another tackle before squaring low and hard. The unfortunate Jeff Palmer was first on the scene and could do little but direct the ball to his own net.

James Healy headed another Darcy fling just over on the blow and Newtown went in one to the good.

The first chance of the second period fell to the Ballyfermot men and Lai was involved again.

He chested down a David Dunne clearance into the path of Mulvany who fired over from close in. Midway through the half Kevin Darling had a chance to wrap it up but he directed a Jonathon Whelan cross just wide.

At this stage, though, it looked like Newtown might have it in the bag.

Shane Andrews was sent to the near post for Darcy's throw-ins, Lai was being kept relatively quiet, the job appeared to be done.

They traded blows but both rearguards stood strong, as they had done for much of the campaign. In the fourth minute of injury-time and with the Newtown bench in the get-set position, Stephen 'Fly' Lai had his say.

With his back to goal and 30 yards out he used his chest again to control, he then swivelled inside a defender before curling goalward with the inside of his left boot. The ball struck the underside of the crossbar but Dunne was on hand to equalise.

Extra-time was tight and had few chances -- the inevitability of penalties was realised. OLV skipper Jacob smashed the first home. Newtown skipper Luke Darling likewise.

Darling though is Newtown's lone converter, Lawlor's excellent save counts for nought. Hugh Catney emerges a mini-hero and OLV win the title. Newtown are gutted but you couldn't deny the brave Ballyer Boys their day in the sun.

Newtown Celtic: Dean Lawlor, Dean Smith, Jonathon Whelan,Gary Ward, Shane Andrews, Luke Darling, Jay Mulligan, John Mullen, Kevin Curtis, Aaron Johnston, Dean Farrell. Subs: Sean Glen, Keith Darling, Mark Keegan, David Moran, Kevin Darling.

OLV: Hugh Catney, Jeff Palmer, Daryl Jacob, Graham Carey, James Butler, Carl Mulvany, David Dunne, Daniel Wearney, Stephen Lai, David Darcy, James Healy. Subs: Josh O'Reilly, Geoff O'Connell, Darren Caffrey, Michael McGovern.

Referee: Joe McDonnell

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