Bobby Dalzell Cup Final
26th December 2018
Celtic Bhoys 4 Ballynahinch II’s 0
The scene was set for a great confrontation between two teams that had carved their way through the opposition in the qualifying rounds en route to the final played at Meadowvale at Drumaness FC’s grounds. There was strong support for both team and the mild weather added to the occasion.
The week before there had been a flood as the adjacent river broke its banks and the pitch was under a foot of water, but it drained away very well.
Celtic Bhoys beat Rossglass County, Carryduff Athletic, Ardglass and Killough with 22 goals for and 4 against whilst Ballynahinch Olympic II’s beat Tollymore, Kilmore, Newcastle Swifts and Ballynahinch YM to score 13 and were 3 against. Celtic Bhoys on paper looked the best best on form from their scoring alone.
Celtic managers Stephen Torney, assistant manager Shane Magee and Paul Brady, coach, had done enough to ensure their team were up for the challenge against Olympic who are situated in the middle of the First Division, a league below Celtic in the Premiership. Ballynahinch Olymic manager Barry McGoran and assistant manager Martin Sloan were hopeful of a positive result but knew the strength they were facing.
From the whistle, Celtic Bhoys put their stamp on the match with their fast pace and forwards connecting well. They were soon in the attack putting Olympic on the back foot for much of the game in their own half.
Within five minutes, defender Michael Rice crossed an excellent ball through the Olympic goal area heralding what was to come later on in the match. But it was not all one sided. Olympic’s Jack Patterson close to goal made a quick volley under pressure and was inches on the wrong side of the post.
Celtic seemed to gradually take control and forward Sean McMahon was playing well with Stephen Galbraith who flowed up and down the right wing.
Olympic were winning a number of frees from their attacks on Celtic Bhoys and after one free into the Celtic box Gary Wilson then Patterson both had shots at goal but to no effect.
Then on 16 minutes Celtic won a corner and Patterson passed to Galbraith who took his shot but it was held by Olympic keeper Ryan Connolly who certainly had a busy game.
Olympic were keeping their shape well in defence and caught the Celtic forwards offside well on a number of occasions. McMahon again volleyed and was again over the bar. On the break, Olympics Aaron McCaffrey made a great volley at Celtic’s goal testing keeper Nathan Curran but it just whizzed closely past the back post.
It was a game calling for a goal.
Galbraith was starting to show his metal and was making some excellent break and passes from the right wing. On 24 minutes, he broke on the right and hammered the ball into the Olympic net to open the scoring.
Galbraith had an excellent first half giving it his all. Minutes later McMahon was in attacking mode and attempted a scissors kick which almost came off. The combination of Celtic’s quick pace and effective passing was telling on Olympic. Galbraith had another close encounter with keeper Connolly just getting the better of him.
As the first half progressed, Celtic won a corner in the 39th minute and as the ball lobbed into the Olympic box, Celtic defender Conor Doherty bounced the ball off his back and it deflected into near post for a goal. Celtic were celebrating but Olympic bit the bullet and tried to fight back.
Then in a quick turnaround Celtic attacked again and in the 42nd minute Galbraith too a corner hooking the ball into the goalmouth but it sailed clean into the goal… surprise written over his face in an unexpected goal bonanza.
Olympic looked shell-shocked. It was a huge climb uphill to pull hack three goals against a rampant Celtic Bhoys.
The first half ended with Celtic Bhoys in a dominant position with Olympic having it all to do.
Olympic got off to a quick start when play commenced but quickly Celtic turned the tables and put the pressure back on with captain Jordan Curran missing a volley at the Olympic goal which he sliced.
Celtic were turning the screws again in a match that was at times quite physical. Sub Jordan McCoubrey came on for McMahon and git quickly into the action. A half volley was held by keeper Connolly. At this stage there was no sign that Olympic could turn their fortunes round and the clock was ticking.
Olympic had their moments and sub Ryan Mason with a fresh pair of legs made a great solo run at Celtic but was eventually stopped by Conor Doherty as he got within shooting distance giving away a free. Gary Wilson took the shot and it just missed the top bar.
Relentless pressure was constantly exerted by Celtic and they gave away a free outside their box. McCaffrey took the shot, an opportunity to put Olympic on the scorecard, but Curran blocked the shot and Celtic made a quick break up into the Olympic half. They then won a corner keeping Olympic under the cosh.
In the ensuing scramble for the ball, sub McCoubrey broke through the Olympic defence and made it 4-0 hitting the back net on 35 minutes.
The rest of the game was academic. Celtic kept Olympic under pressure who despite that, kept on playing for pride.
This was a strong performance by a the Premier League Celtic Bhoys side out-gunning the Division One Ballynahinch Olympic on the day.
A collection on the day for Air Ambulance NI raised £500.
Celtic Bhoys: Nathan Curran, Shane McGaghey, Conor Doherty, Matthew Carson, Michael Rice, Jordan Curran (c), Terence Bell, Ricky Kerr, Stephen Galbraith, Sean McMahon, Chris Mullan. Subs: Andrew Baggley, Jordan McCoubrey, Chris McDowell, Eoin Boyle, Jason Dagens.
Ballynahinch Olympic II’s: Ryan Connolly, Jack Roddy, Darryl Russell, Niall McGew, Michael Rice, Gavin McMullan, Shane Rodgers, Gary Wilson, Rhys Patterson, Aaron McCaffrey, Jack Patterson. Subs: Ryan Mason, Damien Travers, Mark McClean, Aaron McLean, Simon Marmion.