Home win extends lead to eight points

Lurgan Celtic manager Colin Malone with new signings Adam Rodgers and Josh Barton.
Lurgan Celtic manager Colin Malone with new signings Adam Rodgers and Josh Barton.

Limavady made the better start but after the opening 15 minutes the Hoops started to get it together with Chris Lavery causing problems for the visitors.

Goalkeeper Conor McCorry was called into action when he dealt well with a long range shot but a minute later Celtic took the lead. Niall Lavery hit a long pass to Raymond Fitzpatrick who was lurking near the Limavady penalty area and quick as a flash he turned a defender, evaded the keeper and calmly guided the ball into the net.

This goal spurred the Hoops on and by now Niall Lavery and Collie Rooney were controlling the midfield aided by Declan McVeigh who is always dangerous with his overlapping runs from defence. The second half saw Celtic double their lead when Dale Malone played a defence splitting ball through to Chris Lavery who scooped the ball over the keeper.

Moments later the same player nearly scored again when he burst through but the keeper saved his effort and the defence cleared the ball under pressure.

Limavady were by no means finished and probed away at the Hoops backline but they were given little scope to create a scoring chance with John Cochrane and Jonny McCarron closing up the middle and McVeigh and Rodgers doing likewise on the flanks.

Fitzpatrick shot narrowly wide and Daniel Ryan nearly got on the scoresheet but he delayed his shot and was crowded out. Celtic should have had the game out of sight but they were guilty of some bad finishing while Limavady still posed a threat.

On 80 minutes McCarron and Ryan were replaced by Aaron Haire and Josh Barton and Celtic continued to dominate but a previously booked Chris Lavery was controversially given a second yellow for diving after he was tripped up.

Haire then burst through into the box and had his arm pulled as he bore down on goal but the referee waved play on with the crowd howling for a penalty.Celtic’s 10 men saw out the game safely to go eight points clear at the top.

The McLeans Bookmakers Man of the Match was awarded to Collie Rooney.

Match ball sponsor was Henderson’s Fruit and Veg North Street.

On Saturday Celtic’s Youth team beat nearest challengers Hillsborough Boys.

Hillsborough went in at half time 2-0 up but goals from Jonathan Douglas, Ruiari McCann and Kevin McAlinden turned the game around only for Hillsborough to level from a penalty.

But Celtic wrapped up the game with a winner from Conleth Gilvary.

This Saturday the young Hoops play the postponed cup game against Portadown Youth at Kernan ko 10 am and lets hope the home team remember to book the pitch this time.