Seventh heaven as Culdaff march on
(M. Coyle 10, 34, C. O’Brien 30, C. Keddy 32, D. O’Connor 38, D. Diver 68, E. McLaughlin 90)
Report: Inishowen Independent
Culdaff’s inexorable march towards the First Division title and an immediate return to the Premier Division continued at floodlit Caratra on Saturday night when they crushed Gleneely Colts 7-0.
Four goals in eight first half minutes sealed the win and sucked the life out of the visitors. Michael Coyle had put Culdaff one up on ten minutes and Culdaff always looked threatening as their wide men caused havoc on the flanks and pumped cross after cross into the penalty area.
A fine individual effort from Conor O’Brien on the half hour started the rout, and goals from Conor O’Brien, Conor Keddy and Dean O’Connor had them 5-0 up and cruising by the 38th minute.
Gleneely substituted keeper
John Paul Houten at half time, although the big keeper
couldn’t have been faulted for the goals and had in fact
made a series of reaction saves to prevent an already
bad scoreline get even worse. Martin Mooney put on the
gloves for the second half and, with Culdaff easing up a
bit, Gleneely weren’t under just as much pressure after
the break as they were before it.
Still, the home side managed to add two further goals through Dermot Diver and substitute Eugene McLaughlin to record a 7-0 victory and a ten point cushion over second place Illies Celtic in the First Division table.
For Gleneely, who fielded a somewhat weakened team, it was a night to forget. They had drawn 1-1 with their opponents on their home patch back in November, but they really struggled and Culdaff keeper George Houten had scarcely a save to make over the 90 minutes.
Culdaff pace and cohesion was apparent from the first whistle, with Conor Keddy and Dean O’Connor skinning their opponents on the left and right wings respectively. That said, the first chance fell to Gleneely when, in the sixth minute, Martin Mooney hit high and over the bar.
But it was merely the calm
before the storm and Culdaff got on top and stayed there
for the remainder of a first half in which they were
almost in complete control.
John Paul Houten had saved off Dale Hutchinson in the eighth minute before he found himself picking the ball out of the net two minutes later.
Keddy sped down the left and provided an inch perfect cross for Michael Coyle who took a touch and then poked the ball into the bottom left corner. Dean O’Connor had the ball in the Gleneely net again moments later, but referee Gerard O’Kane had already sounded the whistle for a Gleneely free kick for a shove in the box.
JP Houten made a fine
reflex save at the expense of a corner when defender
Gavin McLaughlin inadvertently turned a vicious Keddy
cross goalwards on 18 minutes, and the keeper was again
in the thick of it when he parried an overhead kick from
Conor O’Brien on 20 minutes. Dermot Diver, who spent
most of the first half in an advanced position just
outside the D, got the rebound and picked his spot but
his effort was again saved. Diver hit the post with his
header from the resulting corner and Gleneely really
were under the cosh.
Cory O’Brien provided a rare respite when he broke through the middle for Gleneely on 26 minutes, pouncing on a loose ball in midfield. He drove forward and played a good through ball for Adrian McGonigle to run onto but Culdaff keeper George Houten came quickly off his line and snuffed out the danger.
Dale Hutchinson and Conor
O’Brien both went close before O’Brien doubled Culdaff’s
tally on the half hour with a brilliant goal, the pick
of the seven scored on the night.
Gleneely had been trying to play offside, but right back Martin McKinney played O’Brien onside and he took a pass from Brendan McLaughlin, flicked the ball over the head of a defender and volleying low to the net.
It ushered in a blistering period when almost every Culdaff attack ended in a goal.
Keddy dispossessed a dawdling defender after Mooney had played a wayward pass across the 18 yard line. Keddy stole in and dispatched the ball to the net for 3-0.
Moments later Culdaff made it four when Michael Coyle grabbed his second after O’Brien’s first attempt had been blocked by the last defender.
And Dean O’Connor made it 5-0 on 38 minutes when his low free kick from the left side of the penalty area curled around the wall and skidded into the net without another player touching it.
Shell shocked though they were, Gleneely did muster a couple of chances before the break with John P Lafferty nodding over from a Ronan Kearney cross and a Kearney free kick being saved by George Houten.
Dermot Diver might have made it six for Culdaff before the break when he got on the end of a sweeping move, but he blazed over after O’Connor had supplied another good cross.
Gleneely changed things around at half time, with Martin Mooney replacing John Paul Houten between the posts, and Enda Folan coming on in midfield. The visitors were more competitive after the break, but that may also have been down to Culdaff realising the game was won and taking their foot off the gas a little.
Eddie McNamee made a crucial saving tackle on Michael Coyle in the box, and Keddy struck over twice in quick succession from a free kick and the rebound on 65 minutes.
With Cory O’Brien and Adrian McGonigle urging them on, Gleneely were creating a couple of chances. John P Lafferty pulled a shot to the left, and Shane Diver shot straight at Houten before Culdaff netted their sixth when Dermot Diver finally got on the scoresheet on 68 minutes.
Culdaff broke out of defence and Conor Keddy cut in from the left, teed up Diver who opened his body Thierry Henry style and curled an excellent finish inside the right hand post.
John Doherty and Cory O’Brien combined for the former to test Houten late on, but, appropriately enough, it was Culdaff who had the last word when Eugene McLaughlin didn’t allow himself to be distracted by an off the ball disagreement between Culdaff’s Brendan McLaughlin and Gleneely’s Gavin McLaughlin and firmly headed Dean O’Connor’s left wing cross to the net on the stroke of full time.
Culdaff FC: George Houten; John Joe Doherty (Brian McGonigle 57 mins), John McFeely, Gary Farren, Dale Hutchinson; Dean O’Connor, Dermot Diver (Brendan Lafferty 79 mins), Michael Coyle, Conor Keddy; Conor O’Brien (Eugene McLaughlin 72 mins), Brendan McLaughlin. Subs not used: Derek Doherty, Dillon Ruddy, Darragh McLaughlin.
Gleneely Colts: John Paul Houten (Enda Folen half time); Gavin McLaughlin, Eddie McNamee, John P Lafferty, Martin McKinney; Martin Mooney, Shane Diver, Cory O’Brien, Adrian McGonigle; John Doherty, Ronan Kearney (Stephen McLaughlin 79 mins). Subs not used: Danny McLaughlin, Keith McLaughlin, Pete Bond.
Referee: Gerard O’Kane
Man of the match
All of the candidates were on the Culdaff side. Michael Coyle hit two fine goals, Conor O’Brien’s goal was the pick of the bunch, while Dermot Diver had gone close on a number of occasions before finally finding the net in the second half. But it was Culdaff’s width and pace on the wings that made life so difficult for Gleneely. Dean O’Connor and Conor Keddy got forward time and again, but for the accuracy of his crosses, Keddy gets the nod.
While they’d been under pressure, there was little to suggest that Gleneely would capitulate in the way they did after the half hour mark when they coughed up four goals in eight minutes. Conor O’Brien’s goal started the flood and having been 1-0 down on 29 minutes, Gleneely were 5-0 down ten minutes later. Game over.
Gerard O’Kane had another good game, but it was relatively easily reffed with both sides playing in a fair and sporting manner. There was a little bit of niggle late on when Culdaff’s Brendan McLaughlin and Gleneely’s Gavin McLaughlin started shoving one another off the ball in the box, but Culdaff were in possession and rather than stop the game to deal with the two boys, O’Kane allowed play to develop and the home side netted their seventh of the night through Eugene McLaughlin.
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