Armagh City and Donegal Celtic played out a draw at Holm Park on Saturday with the visitors twice having taken the lead. The opening quarter hour was fairly even with neither side making any real chances.
The home side then had a spell where a Philip Donnelly shot was saved by Donegal Celtic keeper Sean McIlhone, a Ryan McGerrigan effort went over the bar and a further Donnelly effort was again pushed away by the keeper. The constant probings by Hoey and Donnelly from midfield and raiding runs down the left by Ryan and Shea McGerrigan created continual difficulties for the Celtic defence. It looked almost certain that City would make the breakthrough when Marty Havern turned in the box but once again his effort was saved by the visiting keeper who also saved Andrew Hoey’s follow up effort.
The inevitable happened just before the half hour mark when the City midfield and defence failed to close down a rare Celtic attack and when a cross from the left found the unmarked Paul Brown at back post the striker gratefully accepted the chance to give his side the lead.
Despite the setback the home side continued to make chances and following a fine run down the left by Shea McGerrigan keeper McIlhone made yet another fine save from a Hoey effort. Minutes later following a fine through ball from Eamon Kelly he was unable to stop an excellent strike from Philip Donnelly to bring his side back on even terms.
The teams where level for less than four minutes however as Brown once again gave the visitors the lead when he finished neatly from the edge of the box following a quick counter attack.
HT: Armagh City 1-2 Donegal Celtic
Apart from a speculative 40 yard effort from Dan Smith in the opening minute of the half which was dealt with comfortably by John Connolly it was the home side that showed most of the attacking intent.
A great run down the left by Shea McGerrigan saw him find Hoey at the back post who set up Liam Cullen but his effort was blocked. The second equaliser came ten minutes in following good link up play involving Cullen and Donnelly the ball was slipped through to Andrew Hoey who finished superbly.
After a lengthy stoppage for an injury to a Donegal Celtic defender the game went through a rather scrappy period with neither side able to take control of the game
Gradually however City began to dominate but despite having the majority of possession they failed to make the visitors keeper work as hard in the second period as in the first. City showed good link up play especially down the left and created a number of good goal scoring chances. A Shea Campbell shot went narrowly over and in the closing minutes a Campbell header from a Shea McGerrigan cross went just over and a Stefan Lavery header from a McGerrigan corner also failed to find the target.
Credit must be given to the visitors who held firm in defence and were determined to take something out of the game.
Team: John Connolly, Gary Lawless, Dara Noonan, Conor McAnallen, Ryan McGerrigan, Liam Cullen, Eamon Kelly, Andrew Hoey, Philip Donnelly, Shea McGerrigan, Marty Havern. Subs: Luke Grimley for Lawless, Shea Campbell for Havern, Stefan Lavery for Hoey, Not Used: Paul Carville, Jordan Bell.