R’coole weather the Marks surge
RATHCOOLE FC managed to stave off a strong second-half surge by Marks Celtic to make it two wins from two in the LSL Premier One as they carded a narrow 3-2 victory at Frank Cox Park on Sunday.
A goal in each half by Adam Kelly, together with a sublime strike by Jamie Ennis, proved enough to maintain Rathcoole’s perfect start to their campaign.
Yet, this newly-formed Marks outfit, can draw plenty of positives from their curtain raiser to the season, particular a second-half display in which they really put it up to their hosts and twice found the target compliments of Jay Daly and substitute, Conor Lawlor.
It was Rathcoole who controlled much of the first half as the visitors struggled to create much in the final third of the pitch, despite enjoying no shortage of possession.
The homeside took the lead just after the half-hour mark when Ian Corrigan stole in to pinch an attempted back-pass to goalkeeper, James Todd, before then setting up Adam Kelly for a comfortable finish.
Ian Corrigan, Lee Longworth and Johnny Halpin also went close for Rathcoole, but it was just the one goal from Kelly that separated the two sides heading into the second period.
That advantage was doubled, however, soon after the restart when a corner-kick in found the head of Kelly and he was able to direct it to the target.
It was a long way back for Marks, but, with the introduction of Zack Lynch and Stephen Lynam into defence and the experienced Conor Lawlor up front, they began to get more of a foothold in the game.
And they reduced their arrears soon after when Stephen Ward, who had been moved up into midfield, fed the ball through to Lawlor and he squared for Jay Daly to tuck away.
The corner-count began to mount up for Mark’s, but still they could not find that leveller.
And crucially for Rathcoole, they chalked up a third when Jamie Ennis found himself in some space in the middle of the pitch and, from some 25 yards out, he unloaded a strike to the top corner, with a quarter of an hour remaining.
It was a sucker-punch for Marks, but still the visitors continued to press forward and they set-up an exciting finish to the tie when Jardel Andre whipped in a low delivery from the right.
The ball travelled across the face of goal and into the path of Lawlor who needed no second invitation to despatch it to the roof of the net.
Marks did threaten an equaliser, winning a number attacking set-pieces with Lawlor again going close when his attempt found only the arms of Rathcoole netminder, Aaron O’Neill.
But time was not on their side and the hosts held firm to secure another valuable win against a Marks side that has, under the management of Keith and Karl Maher, grown from a squad of 12 players to 20 over the past month or so.
RATHCOOLE FC: A O’Neill, J Kenny, C Cafferty, S Hyland, P Leedy, J Ennis, E O’Donnell, J Halpin, L Longworth, A Kelly, I Corrigan, P Gatten, W Stone, C Jones, J Coleman, D Baker, D Ritchie.
MARKS CELTIC: J Todd, J Andre, E Connolly, K Mustong, S Ward, D Connolly, S Bland, J Daly, C Beattie, T Hayi, K Doyeni, S Lynam, A McNamee, C Murphy, C Lawlor, Z Lynch.