A new look Lurgan Celtic made a winning start to the new season with a 5-1 home win over Killymoon Rangers.
Going into the game The Hoops had to contend with a number of departures over the close season in addition to players unavailable.
The new look team consisted of Jonathon Gilbert returning to the club in nets with former youth team players Caolan Campbell and Jamie Collins joining Stephen Boyd and Shane McCabe in defence. In midfield Ronan O’Hara was joined by new signing David Magee, Jason Rodgers and Michael Toland. Up front was the energetic Stephen McArdle and joining him was veteran John Campbell.
The game started with Celtic on the front foot and in the fifth minute David Magee went on a mazy run but his shot was deflected wide. Again in the 13th minute fine build up play from O’Hara found Magee but his shot blazed over.
It was Killymoon who struck first in the 19th minute with a long range effort that deceived keep Gilbert. The character of this young team was under threat but they showed tremendous battling qualities and hit back in the 22nd minute when Rodgers broke free into the box but was fouled and the referee awarded a penalty. McArdle took responsibility to confidently stroke the ball home. Celtic then took control of the game and the visitors struggled to cope with the direct running of Magee and Toland on the wings and in the 24th minute an excellent ball from O’Hara found McArdle but his volley crashed against the bar, but despite this Celtic made the dominance count in the 27th minute when a fine ball from McArdle found Toland who showed composure to round the keeper and slot home.
Up front Campbell was rolling back the years but his match was cut short in the 40th minute through injury and was replaced by Haire. Celtic increased their lead in the 44th minute when the hard work of McArdle resulted in the ball breaking to Toland and he expertly volleyed into the net and give the home side a commanding lead at the break.
The second half saw the Hoops controlling matters and their cause was helped when Killymoon went down to 10 men in the 46th minute. Young Jamie Collins who had a solid debut had to go off injured to be replaced by Paul McAnallen but despite this Celtic further increased their lead in the 73rd minute from the penalty spot and McArdle, and again in the 83rd minute when the pace of Toland found him clear and he squared to Magee who made it 5-1.
Next up for Lurgan Celtic is an away trip to Moyola Park on Saturday.
Home to DC next
The Hoops defeated Killymoon 3-2 on penalties on Tuesday night after their League Cup tie ended 2-2 after 90 minutes and 3-3 after extra-time. They are at home to Donegal Celtic in the next round on Monday, August 26.