v Celtic 07/07/02
Friendly 2002 Season - Tolka Park - Sunday7th July 2002 - kick-off 2.00pm
Battling Rovers performance in Tolka
A fantastic 25 yard curling free-kick by Mark Kenny gave the Dublin Hoops a well deserved lead in this tough challenge game played in warm, humid conditions. Rovers created the majority of chances during the game with Celtic struggling to make inroads on the Rovers defence.
Noel Hunt, starting up front alongside Tony Grant, had a wonderful game and his speed and tenacious tackling was causing problems for Balde in the Celtic defence. Hunt headed over in the 14th minute from Keddys cross and then set up Tony Grant 15 minutes later who lobbed the ball over the advancing Douglas but a Celtic defender got back to clear off the line. Keddy forced Douglas into another save before Hunt again went close.
Celtic were causing some problems for the Rovers defence and McGuinness and Scully had to work hard to keep Chris Sutton at bay. Bobby Petta got down the line and into dangerous positions a couple of times but the Hoops defence held strong. Celtics best chance came from an O'Keefe back pass that had O'Dowd scrambling to clear before McGuinness intervened to stop Sutton scoring. Rovers were battling for every ball and Kenny was playing some nice passes around. Richie Byrne also played well in midfield.
Celtic introduced John Hartson at the start of the second half but it was Kennys free-kick that brought the game to life. There were a number of substitutions made that slowed the game down a little and Celtic began to see more of the ball in midfield without really threatening the Rovers goal.
Indeed it was Shane Robinson who should have wrapped up the game for the Dublin Hoops on 75 minutes when a Rovers counter attack saw Hunt set up Robinson but Douglas made a good save from the Waterford mans' shot.
Seven minutes from time a Steve Guppy shot following a corner was deflected past substitute Horgan by Balde for the equaliser. Celtic almost scored again as they finished strongly but the Hoops defence held firm.