Bonagee United 0 Cockhill Celtic 1
Jimmy Bradley’s seventh League goal of the season takes Cockhill Celtic to within a point of capturing the 4 Lanterns Ulster Senior League title for a fifth season in a row.
Bradley popped up with the match winner against stubborn Bonagee United at Dry Arch Park on Thursday night and the upshot is that Gavin Cullen’s men now appear to be champions in waiting.
Letterkenny must now win their final two games, against Finn Harps Reserves and Fanad United, and even then it won’t be enough if Cockhill manage to avoid defeat at Swilly on May 7th.
With nine minutes left and with Cockhill growing restless, Bradley nipped in ahead of Bonagee full-back Taylor Russell, whose hesitancy was punished by Bradley as the midfielder fired past Gareth Wade.
Even after that, Bonagee could and maybe should have drawn level.
Wade did beat away a teaser from Ryan Varma, but in the dying moments Bonagee pushed Cockhill to the wire.
Aaron Wasson, Aidan McLaughlin and Aidan McCauley all went close as Bonagee pressed hard, long into the night.
Bonagee had began with a purpose.
McLaughlin just failed to get a touch to a McCauley drive before he slipped Matthew De Cook in on goal, but he rushed his attempt when he could have shown a little more composure.
Gerry Gill called Wade into action with a free before the ex-Finn Harps winger clipped over after beating the offside trap.
Garbhan Friel riffled wide and it was a game that had a nervy feel to it when De Cook clipped over the top just after the re-start.
Cockhill were getting edge and Gerard McLaughlin wasn’t far away from breaking the deadlock, with Wade tipping his header onto the goal-frame and over.
Just when it felt as if Cockhill might have to settle for an away stalemate, Bradley conjoured up a moment that brings them ever closer to glory.
Bonagee United: Gareth Wade; Gareth Breslin, Darek Frankowski (Jamie Lynagh 70), Darren Hunter, Taylor Russell; Ryan Moran (Aaron Wasson 53), Chris Moran, Aidan McCauley, Matthew De Cook (Dylan O’Brien 79); Aidan McLaughlin, Dean Larkin.
Cockhill Celtic: Gavin Cullen; Paul McDermott, Gerard McLaughlin, Oisin McColgan, Peter Doherty; Derek Doherty, Ryan Varma, Jimmy Bradley, Gerry Gill; Garbhan Friel, Mark Moran (Darragh McDermott 86).
Referee: Marty McGarrigle.