Trim Celtic bidding for more Challenge Cup glory

Story by Jimmy Geoghegan

Saturday, 15th December, 2018 6:19pm

Trim Celtic bidding for more Challenge Cup glory

Trim Celtic players after their victory over Newfoundwell.

Nobody can accuse Trim Celtic of getting an easy passage into Sunday's NEFL Challenge Cup final against Muirhevnamor, 12pm at the MDL.

They had to overcome a series of testing challenges to get the final, but the odds are against them taking home with the coveted piece of silverware they last won in 2016. They face a strong Muirhevnamor side who are flying high. 
Alan Murphy's troops certainly took the scenic route to this year's showdown playing all their games away from home - against Parkvilla, OMP, Duleek and Newfoundwell.
They got the better of Parkvilla 3-1 and Newfoundwell 3-0, but against both OMP and Duleek the scoreline finished 3-2 with both contests going to extra-time.
The fact that Trim Celtic were able to emerge from those tight, testing, games indicates a resilience and a steely character - but now they face a Muirhevnamor side who are flying high and must be considered favourites for Sunday's showdown. 
Last Sunday the Louth side, who won last season's Challenge Cup earlier this year, defeated Ballynanty Rovers from Limerick 2-1 to reach the last 16 of the FAI Junior Cup. Muirhevnamor went a goal down, but also showed the resilience to fight back. 
Trim Celtic and Muirhevnamor meet this Wednesday evening in the last game in the Premier campaign with the Louth outfit looking to secure a win that would clinch the title. That reality alone indicates just how consistent they have been this season. Muirhevnamor also won the Premier title in 2017. 
Yet Trim Celtic have firm grounds for optimism too. Against Newfoundwell in the cup semi-final Trim Celtic played some impressive football sweeping to a 3-0 victory. It could easily have been 4-0, 5-0 or more. 
It was also the kind of performance that suggests Trim Celtic are hitting a rich vein of form - at just the right time, something boss Murphy commented on last Saturday when he spoke to the Meath Chronicle. 
“The resilience the lads showed in that game is something I'm really happy with. Over the last six or seven weeks we've just been getting better and better, the players have been tremendous,” he said.
When it comes to cup finals Trim Celtic have as their manager someone who knows all about the big days from his League of Ireland experience. 
Murphy played in three FAI Cup finals with Longford Town losing one in 2001 and winning in 2003 and 2004, when they also won the League Cup. He also won a Challenge Cup with Navan Cosmos in 2017. 
“A cup final is a big thing for every player who is involved, no matter what level. It's really a 10-day build up and people need to focus that little bit extra on everything they do from they wake up until they go to bed, you have to focus on the match as much as you can,” he said.
“We can only prepare for the cup the best we can, we tend to set them up for the type of teams we play against, we won't be doing anything dramatic ahead of the final, it is another game and you try and keep players grounded, that's the secret, it's only one more game.” 
Yet if Trim Celtic can reproduce the kind of swashbuckling football they conjured up against Newfoundwell (even before the Louth side had the first of their two players sent off), they have a great chance. 
Trim Celtic have some very creative players themselves in Conor Walsh and Brian Faulkner while they have pace down the flanks in Cillien Corcoran and Dean Courtney. Then they have Colm Carney who is one of the best strikers in the NEFL. 
At the back Trim Celtic looked vulnerable at times against Newfoundwell and that's something they will have to be wary about against a dangerous Muirhevnamor, who beat Bay 3-0 in their semi-final clash. 
The Louth side have to be considered favourites to win Sunday's showdown.


Parkvilla will be bidding for a second piece of NEFL silverware when they tackle Enfield Celtic in the final of the Kilmessan Shield at the MDL on Thursday evening.
Parkvilla defeated Torro in the semi-final while Enfield got the better of Woodview Celtic.
For both teams it will be a first Kilmessan Shield final appearance and the Navan men look the most likely to take the trophy and add it to the Div 1 title they secured last week.