League Cup (Round 3)

Ballycane Celtic FC 0 Clonmullion AFC 1

A fantastic day for cup football in glorious weather conditions at Church of Irish Martyrs with a considerable crowd of spectators.

The league takes a backseat momentarily. As what on paper promised to be the premium fixture of the Lumsden cup round. Ballycane will undoubtedly want to show “bouncebackability” to erase a narrow defeat at the hands of Naas rivals Monread FC the week previous and return to winning ways. While Clonmullion FC on a barrage in all competitions will feel confident knowing that nobody in the top three has beaten the Athy outfit. Both teams will recognise that a potential cup contender will be toppled. 

Ballycane will welcomed the industrious “Hob” Heavey back to the engine room for some much needed energy. Although they will be without Sean Farrell who has been clinical in front of goal. He misses out through suspension. A great chance for Conroy & Noone to strike up a partnership. 

Clonmullion brought their own threats in the midfield trio of Doyle, Robinson, and Moriarty. Along with tricky youngster Lee Doyle and Cody Mulhall who has the ability to turn a game as well as grabbing some vital winning goals. 

The game exceeded all expectations in terms of excitement. Neither side settled particularly well in a tense opening. It was a neat Clonmullion move on six minutes involving Harrison who slips a clever ball into Mulhall who fired a teasing cross into the Ballycane six yard box which Keith Higgins dealt with.

Both team’s fiercely contesting every ball meant the tackles were coming thick and fast .

The home side had their first decent chance on fourteen minutes when Dean Loughran broke down the left and curled in a brilliant ball which Dane Higgins narrowly missed.

It was the Higgins brothers Dane and Keith in goal that carved an opening from a direct kickout on eighteen minute however Foley in the Clonmullion defence sniffed out. Ballycane were direct in their approach and had a succession of corner that amounted to nothing.

Timmy Doyle and Robinson in midfield for Clonmullion looked particularly dangerous playing some clever passes behind the home defence.

A Kevin Higgins free kick in the twenty fifth minute forced the Clonmullion keeper Michael Lawless into his first action of the game. The most clear cut chance of the half fell to Ballycane’s Dane Higgins on the half hour after some excellent play by Steven Quinn and Hob Heavey in midfield but he dragged his shot just wide of the left hand post to the dismay of the home crowd.

The visitors looked dangerous on set pieces with Moriarty and Robinson putting in some exceptional balls. Dean Conroy who lead the line for Ballycane found it difficult to create a decent chance against a resilient Clonmullion back line marshalled well by Foley and Neill. It was a case of defensive prowess on both sides as Ballycane also nullified much of Clonmullion attacks with Liam Walsh, Kevin Higgins and JP Higgins performing brilliantly. The half closed with both teams cancelling each other out with Ballycane slightly shading it by the narrowest of margins.

Clonmullion started much quicker in the second period with a great passing move involving  Lee Foley, Mulhall and Harrison down the left five minutes after the restart which was finished off by a powerful Robinson strike who could find no way passed an in form Keith Higgins in the Ballycane goal. It’s was again Robinson four minutes later who pounced on a slightly short back pass by JP Higgins but again Keith Higgins produced a marvellous save to denied Clonmullion.  Steven Quinn with a mazy dribble down the right flank played a quick one two with Noone who squared a good pass to the incoming Conroy but he failed to trouble lawless in the Clonmullion goal from twenty yards on the hour.

Both team’s made substitutes with O Reilly and Dane Higgins of Ballycane being replaced after a tireless performance for Aylesbury and Christy Higgins. With Lee Doyle on in place of Harrison who also put in a shift for Clonmullion the visitors were edging the midfield battle now and after two Timmy Doyle successive tackles the ball  broke to Robison bearing down on the Ballycane goal from the left flank. His strike was again saved by the impressive Keith Higgins who could only parry into the path of on oncoming Lee Doyle and he converted from five yards with twenty minutes remaining to a rapturous away crowd, one nil to Clonmullion.

The home side emptied the bench with Stephen Quinn, Heavey and Walsh all replaced with Leon Doyle, Martella and Herbert. Ballycane galvanized behind those changes and poured everything forward but just couldn’t carve out that elusive chance in the final third. Christy Higgins, Conroy and Noone all had half chances blocked by a Solid Clonmullion backline.

Ballycane were open to counter attack now and Clonmullion moved the ball quickly finding Ricky Moriarty in space who had a drive from twenty five yards sailed comfortably over the bar. 

It’s was Clonmullion’s Timmy Doyle and Mulhall who combined neatly with Doyle drifting  into the ballycane eighteen yard box about to pull the trigger and was clattered by Dean loughran in what looked an ominous penalty but Referee Seamus Sage played a good advantage which amounted to a squandered chance with two minutes remaining on the clock.

Ballycane had one final chance when Noone was fouled just outside the area but JP Higgin’s freekick deflected  harmlessly wide and from the resulting corner Niall  Herbert  squandered a good headed effort from ten yards out In injury time . Clonmullion ran the remaining clock down to grab a deserved victory by a slight margin.

Straffan AFC 6 Caragh Celtic FC 1

Caragh Celtic were ousted at Round 3 of the Lumsden League Cup by Division 2 contenders Straffan AFC. A hat trick from the impressive John Tracey and further goals from Kevin Fox, Philip Connolly and Adam Tinkler was enough to see the North Kildare side through to the Quarter Finals.

Newbridge Hotspurs FC 2 Rathangan AFC 4 (AET)

The game started with Rathangan missing a lot of bodies against a strong Newbridge side who were going in the tie as underdogs. However the Newbridge were not fazed and came out all guns blazing and were rewarded when the ball dropped on the edge of the box and Newbridge man struck it right in the top corner. Fifteen minutess later Rathangan began to grow into the game and were awarded a penalty which Shane Kennedy converted to leave it at 1-1 going into the break.
The second half began at the same pace as the first with both sides eager to take the lead and it was Rathangan who went 2-1 up with sum great battling in the Newbridge penalty box from Jason Dempsey who fought hard for the ball and tucked it away. 
With 10 to play and sum tired bodies due to the warm weather it was Newbridge who got the equalizer with a neat finish in the bottom corner.This then meant extra time was to come.
Five minutes into the first half of extra time Rathangan’s Daragh O’Loughlin got a well deserved goal from a header to put the visitors again in the lead and Jason Dempsey finished the tie with his second goal of the game to leave the scoreline 4-2 on what was a great cup game against a strong Newbridge side. Man of the match for the winners was Daragh O’Loughlin.

League action !

Castle Villa AFC 5 Kildare Town AFC 1

They say that the measure of a team is how they react to adversity and if that is in fact true, Castle Villa can be held in very high regard after Sunday last. Fielding a severely depleted squad, with only 14 players available, they out fought, out thought and out played a game Kildare Town, and ran out resounding 5-1 winners. 

Villa had the better of the opening exchanges with Brian McDermott orchestrating affairs from centre back, and Roy Byrne causing the Kildare Town defence all sort of problems, and the home side should have been one up when Aaron Delaney saw his shot saved when perhaps a squared ball to his colleague might have been the better option. Kildare have a very good side, and Pento Sage saw a drive go narrowly over the crossbar before a quick break down their left wing saw a pull back from the Villa endline present a simple chance Brandon O’Keeffe, who made no mistake to put his side one up. 

This seemed to galvanise Villa, and almost immediately afterward a wicked Brian McDermott free kick resulted in the Kildare defender divert the ball into his own net under huge pressure from Brian Hickey, who surely would have had the simplest task to head home but for the unfortunate defender. And right on half time, Roy Byrne got on the end of a great pass from Aidan Murphy and drilled home from the edge of the box to completely change both team talks, with referee Eddie O Sullivan sounding the half time whistle before Kildare had a chance to kick off. 

The game was essentially killed off when Villa were correctly awarded a penalty when Roy Byrne was impeded on fifty five minutes, and Byrne slammed the ball to make it three for the Castledermot men. A corner for Kildare after an hour was drifted to the edge of the Villa six yard box, and keeper Alan Proctor caught the ball and fed Brian McDonnell who delivered an excellent pass to Aaron Delaney whose pace outstripped the Kildare defence and he coolly slotted home. Kildare did have a chance to make it interesting but a Pento Sage free kick was tipped onto the post by Proctor before two further quickfire goals from Byrne and Delaney made it 5-1 for Villa who have been in excellent recent form and they’ll be delighted to have continued this form with so many players unavailable for various reasons. Best for Villa on the day were McDermott, two goal heroes Byrne and Delaney, as well as James Byrne and Stephen McDonald in the centre of the park. Best for Kildare was the very impressive Brandon O Keffee who to his credit worked his socks off

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