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The Irish Times
SPORT Monday, November 30, 1998

Photographs: Allsport.

Commanding defence leads the way in JT Cup win over Stoneds

Kawaguchi in Saitama Prefecture, renowned for its beautiful scenery, lush vegetation and crisp clean air, was the venue for the Celts grudge match against their much loved opponents; the Stoneds. By the banks of their own lovely Arakawa, where they sport and play, the Japanese team lay in wait for the Celts, hoping to emerge with three points from this JT Cup fixture.

Unfortunately for them, the Celts defence were not in a generous mood and despite playing with a very strong wind in the first half, the Stoneds made little leeway against resolute defending by Mullane, Stormin' O'Gorman, Glynn, and Phelan. Indeed, so effective was the defence in frustrating the Japanese that it was noted that the voice of the Stoneds number 5 increased twofold in pitch with his cries of anguish resonating around all of Saitama.
As the first half drew to a close, the Celts forayed more and more upfield and were rewarded when a clever ball from Dolan found Dermody in space to his left and the man from Kilkenny finished well from a tight angle.
The second half, as with the first, was a tight affair but the Stoneds efforts were all coming to nothing. Barry was commanding in goals and the four in front of him were not letting in many shots. Midfield, particularly Cumiskey, were energetically assisting the snuffing out of any threat.
Ten minutes into the second half, the wind cruelly carried a defensive header from the Stoneds into the back of their net. 2-0 to the Celts.
The Celts attempts at going forward were greatly impeded by the nice linesman from the Stoneds. His cue to raise the flag came from any pass which emananted from the Celts midfield. With twenty minutes to go, he miraculously forgot to raise the flag when Dermody played the ball into the path of O'Keeffe, who was so shocked that he actually scored. 3-0 to the Celts.
Ten minutes to go, into the limelight stepped Mick Mehigan. Controlling the ball in the centre circle, he spotted the Stoneds keeper off his line and let rip with a tremendous shot which evaded the Japanese keeper. Contender for Goal of the Season.
Minutes later, a well weighted pass from Persson found Mehigan who made no mistake with the finish. 5-0 to the Celts.
The Stoneds never looked like scoring and overall this was an excellent team performance. All substitutes played well when they came on and with other players absent on Saturday, it would seem that competition for places is going to be very intense come December 5.

Team: Dave Barry, Brendan Mullane, Leo Glynn, Brian Phelan, Mike O'Gorman, Kevin Cumiskey, Mick Mehigan, John Dermody (C), Eugene Beattie, Niall O'Keeffe, Brian Dolan
Subs: Didier Chanut, Eric Persson, Brian Quinn
Scorers: John Dermody , Stoneds San (OG), Niall O'Keeffe, Mick Mehigan (2)

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