Rathfriland Rangers’ pre-season programme continued on Tuesday evening with a home fixture against Championship Two side Lurgan Celtic.
Despite a 2-0 final score-line to the visitors, Rathfriland put up a competitive display and gained useful experience and fitness from the match against strong opposition.
In the early exchanges, Celtic shaded the play but in the 15th minute, McGrath did brilliantly on the right of the 18 yard box and pulled a great ball back into the centre but unfortunately for his side no one was on the end of it to convert.
The visitors then went close with a low range drive and made it 1-0 on the half hour when they centred from the left for a neat side foot volley finish by the number nine.
Lurgan’s other striker then hit a blistering angled volley from almost the sideline, a ball that Rangers keeper Maguire did brilliantly to hold. Maguire then made another fantastic save before Johnny Kernaghan’s free-kick was saved by the Celtic number one.
The gap at half-time remained the odd goal but Rathfriland were plucky as the match continued in the second period. They were even unfortunate not to equalise shortly after the restart when Weir’s pull-back from the left was narrowly missed by Maine.
Lurgan Celtic’s team was riddled with ex-Irish League players and the gap was extended when they were awarded a penalty, albeit hotly disputed by the Rathfriland rearguard.
Maguire then made another two great saves although Rangers had chances through McGrath, Tumelty and Weir.
Overall, it was a good run out for Rangers as they progress well during their pre-season campaign.
Thanks go to Stewart Rowland and Stevie Brannigan for doing linesman duties at the game.
There was a welcome back to Rathfriland FC for players Lee McDowell, Ryan Weir and Matty McKnight.
These local lads have all resigned for the club and anyone else interested should contact Manager John Kernaghan, Adrian Megaw or Bobby McDowell.