Vintage Celtic Runners Up In The Martin Dawson Over 60’s Memorial Trophy
Vintage Celtic runners up was the outcome in the Martin Dawson Over 60’s Memorial Trophy. This was played at Heywood Sports Village and turned out to be a great occasion. The event was very well organised and the refereeing was excellent. 9 teams competed and were split into 2 groups.
Group 1 consisted of Blue Moon Walkers (Manchester City WFC), Fleetwood Town Flyers, Rochdale Strollers, Vintage Celtic and Wigan Walkers. Group 2 was reduced to 4 teams due to Middleton Legends not being able to field a full over 60’s side. The 4 teams were Blackpool Senior Seasiders, Cityzens (Manchester City WFC), Rochdale Striders and Wakefield Wanderers.
Vintage Celtic kicked off with a 1-0 victory over Rochdale Strollers thanks to a great goal from John Parkinson from nearly the half way line. A goal which Celtic keeper Mike Kieran commented to be “the best I have ever seen in walking football.” Mind you it has to be said that Mike does wear glasses. The second game was versus Wigan Walkers and again the scoreline was 1-0 thanks to another great strike from Colin Grimshaw.
Celtic seem to blow hot and cold in tournaments and despite being far the better side in the first 2 games were strangely out of sorts in the third game. Despite having numerous shots stopped by the impressive, at least in this match, Fleetwood keeper, they just couldn’t find the breakthrough needed and the result was a disappointing 0-0 draw.
The final game was again another 0-0 draw with Blue Moon Walkers, a game where Celtic again dominated possession but just couldn’t find that elusive winner.
Celtic topped Group 1 and the knockout quarter final saw them up against Rochdale Striders. Within 5 seconds, which must be one of the quickest goals in walking football, Paul O’Neil put Celtic ahead. Despite having Keith Fowler blue carded and being down to 5 men, further goals from Paul O’Neil and John Parkinson sealed the victory to take make it 3-0 and put Celtic into the semi-finals.
Again Blue Moon Walkers were the opponents and once more despite looking the better side a Celtic goal wasn’t forthcoming. With the tie finishing 0-0 it was then down to penalties. Mike Kieran saved the first Blue Moon Walkers penalty but Parkie blasted Celtic’s first penalty over the bar. Mike again saved the second penalty and Colin Grimshaw put Celtic ahead with an unstoppable strike. The Blue Mooners scored with their third penalty, then it was down to Paul O’Neil to win the tie with Celtic’s final penalty before it became sudden death. Paul kept his nerve and Celtic were through 2-1 and into the final.
The final tie was against Wakefield Wanderers and it has to be said that they were the better team as Celtic struggled to get out of their own half and were having one of their ‘off games’. The score at full time was 0-0 so penalties called again to decide the trophy winners. Mike saved Wakefield’s first penalty and expectations were high in the Celtic camp. Unfortunately Parkie missed for Celtic, so no advantage was gained. Wakefield scored their second penalty to take a 1-0 lead and Grimie again blasted home to make it 1-1. Wakefield took the lead with their third penalty and it was down to Paul O’Neil to level the score to take the tie into sudden death. Unfortunately Paul shot over the bar and Wakefield were the winners on penalties 2-1.
It turned out to be a great day’s football and although we were disappointed not to have taken the winners trophy, at least we made it Vintage Celtic runners up which was some consolation in a competition involving 9 teams. The after match snacks and trophy presentation rounded off a really well run day and a big thanks must go to the link4life organisers Paul, Barry and the other staff who made the day a really great event.
Thanks to our lads who turned out on the day and made Vintage Celtic runners up, Derek Drabble, Keith Fowler, Colin Grimshaw, Mike Kieran, Paul O’Neil, John Parkinson, Tony Wade and Barry Whitmore.
I promised John I wouldn’t mentioned his hat trick of missed penalties and I always keep my promises, so we will finish on the fact that in open play Celtic were unbeaten with not a single goal conceded. The after tournament inquest went on until the early evening in Celtic’s HQ, the Lord Stamford. So all in all it wasn’t a bad day with Vintage Celtic runners up and another trophy in the Stalybridge Celtic FC cabinet.