BY LIAM PORTER
Rathmullan Celtic 4
Lifford Celtic 0
League leaders Lifford Celtic were swept aside in Rathmullan yesterday by a home team who could easily have won by more, such was their dominance.
Joe Magee’s side arrived at the seaside venue looking to maintain their impressive run in this year’s league campaign, but apart from a brief spell early in the second half, they were completely outplayed by an experienced and well-organised home side.
On a bitterly cold day the home team went in at the break with a narrow one goal lead, and having squandered several great chances to extend that lead, must have feared a strong second half come back from the visitors.
However no such comeback materialised and having missed a couple of good chances to add to their lead early in the second half, once Rathmullan had grabbed a second it never looked as if Lifford would get back in the game.
In a large measure that was due to the dominance of the home side all over the pitch.
In midfield Paddy Sheridan and Seamus McLaughlin looked always in control and with that battle won, Lifford were, from then on always struggling to get themselves into the game.
Eamon Sheridan’s experience saw him to brilliantly hold the ball up for and flick the ball on to willing runners Oisin McMenamin, Daire Patton and Eoin Sheridan and time and again the Lifford defence found themselves on the backfoot.
And when the visitors did manage to work the ball into the Rathmullan half they found the home side’s central defensive pairing of Shea Coyle and Patrick Patton in uncompromising mood.
All round it was simply a case of the home side being man-for-man, the better team on the day, but it was well into the second half until they had the game safely in the bag.
They were ahead early, Patrick Sheridan fizzing a corner into the swirling wind that deceived Lee White and flew into the top corner after just three minutes.
It could have been two by the 11th minute when Eoin Sheridan’s brilliant cut-back found the inrushing Daire Patton, but on this occasion Marcus O’Donnell made a brilliant block to deny what seemed a certain goal.
The lively Oisin McMenamin fired just wide of the target in the 15th minute and then stung Lee White’s hands with a fierce shot in the 22nd minute as the home side pressed for a second.
Eamon Sheridan came close with a chipped effort just over the bar and then he combined with Oisin McMenamin to set up Daire Patton for another shot wide of the target.
Another Lee White save from an Eamon Sheridan effort on the stroke of half-time meant there was only a goal between the teams at the break, but it was the home side who showed intent early in the second when Shea Coyle rattled a shot inches over the bar when Lifford failed to clear from a corner.
Oisin McMenamin then scooped a shot just wide of the target after he raced onto a long pass and beat White to the ball and while Lifford were playing better than they had in the first half, they really weren’t at the races.
The closest they came to an equaliser came when Kevin McBrearty’s long-range free in the 63rd minute bounced off Rathmullan keeper Ian Strain, but Patrick Patton was alert to the danger and blocked Mark Neeson’s effort from the rebound into the side netting.
Two minutes later the game was effectively over. Daire Patton’s through ball cut the Lifford defence to shreds and Eoin Sheridan superbly lobbed White to make it 2-0.
By the 72nd minute it was 3-0, Oisin McMenamin who had been hauled down on the edge of the box, dusted himself off to drill the free-kick into the bottom corner.
Eamon Sheridan and Shea Coyle both came close to adding to Rathmullan’s tally after that, but the fourth didn’t come until two minutes into injury time.
Patrick Sheridan’s free-kick was well saved by White but when the ball ran loose, Niall Doherty was upended and Eamon Sheridan capped off a fine performance by sticking the resulting penalty in the net.
Rathmullan Celtic: Ian Strain, David Miller, Patrick Sheridan, Patrick Patton, Shea Coyle, Paddy Sheridan, Seamus McLaughlin, Eoin Sheridan, Oisin McMenamin, Eamon Sheridan, Daire Patton. Subs: Aaron McClafferty for Paddy Sheridan (75 mins); Niall Doherty for Eoin Sheridan (79 mins); Kevin McCarry for Oisin McMenamin (83 mins)
Lifford Celtic: Lee White, Daniel Carlin, Stuart Carlin, David O’Herlihy, Marcus O’Donnell, Seamie Gallagher, David Gethins, Mark Neeson, Damien Patton, Mark Carlin, Kevin McBrearty. Subs: Gavin Gallagher for David O’Herlihy, Matthew Carlin for Mark Carlin (75 mins)
Referee: Ed Moore
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