The new season finally got underway with a comfortable win for Lurgan Celtic against George Dardis’ Killymoon side at a rainy but warm Krockramer Park on Saturday afternoon.
Both sides started brightly with a combination of debutant goalkeeper Matthew Rainey and Johnathan Young clearing O’Hara’s early corner for the home side.
Left winger Magee would prove a real handful for Killymoon all game long with his pace and crossing ability, Lee Hunter blocking one such cross just after the ten minute mark. Purvis would be the next to have a go for Killymoon but his flicked on header at the near post flew over the bar from David McMullan’s long throw.
Killymoon took the lead just before the twenty minute mark. Young showed that he’s just as useful in attack as defence, unleashing a shot from 25 yards past a helpless Gilbert in the home goal. Things nearly got even better for the visitors Donaghy flicking the ball on to create a chance for Watson but his effort went wide of the far post.
Lurgan Celtic made Killymoon pay for their missed chance a few minutes later after the referee pointed to the spot for a foul on Toland just inside the area. McArdle made no mistake slotting the ball past a stranded Rainey to level the scores.
The home side’s pace would ultimately be the downfall for Killymoon and Toland rounded Rainey just before the half hour and slotted home what would be his first of the day.
Killymoon where nearly caught on the break minutes later after Kelly’s corner was cleared but thankfully Rainey was able to get on the end of the ball before Magee.
Watson nearly got on the end of an Andy Neill ball over the top but Gilbert made the ball his own. That’s as good as it got for the visitors in the first half as the home side stretched their lead on the stroke of half time. McArdle broke the offside side trap and cut the ball across to the unmarked Toland on the edge of the box who calmly passed the ball into the net
Right at the start of the second half, Hunter was given a straight red for a challenge, much to the surprise of most of the crowd in attendance, the referee deemed to be high. Despite that it was actually Killymoon who started the second half brighter with Craig Martin testing the home defence with a great cross soon after but this time it was cleared by Boyd.
Magee had an effort up one end before Kelly responded with one of his own however on both occasions these came to nothing. Toland nearly completed his hat-trick but good work from Rainey in goal for Killymoon forced him too wide to add to his tally and was ultimately cleared.
Martin had a penaly claim turned down after the hour mark but the referee was having none of it. Great play from Watson twisting and turning inside and out created a chance for himself but Collin’s was able to recover and make the block
Substitute Conrad Creggan came off the bench and his pace really tested the back four of the home side and he nearly made an impact. Good play down the right from Donaghy created space and his cross was nearly met by Creggan but his touch was heavy and his effort fell into the arms of a relieved Gilbert.
Lurgan Celtic where awarded another penalty with fifteen minutes to go this time for an Andy Neill handball. McArdle scored again from the spot although Rainey was unlucky not to get fingertips to the ball. Magee put the final nail in the coffin for the visitors completing the rout wih six minutes to go slotting home Toland’s cut across.
Kelly had one last chance for a consolation goal right at the end but his effort when over the bar.
Lurgan Celtic: Gilbert, McCabe, C.Campbell, Boyd, Collins, O’Hara, Toland (2), Rodgers, J.Campbell, McArdle (2), Magee (1) SUBS: Downey, McAllinden, Haire
Killymoon Rangers: Rainey, McMulan, Purvis, Neill, Hunter, Young (1), Martin, Edson, Donaghy, Watson, Kelly SUBS: Harkness, Creggan, Moore