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KDFL Division 1

Suncroft AFC 2 Clane United FC 0

Clane made the trip across The Curragh to Suncroft with the bare minimum panel, and no recognised goalkeeper, due to an unfortunate run of injuries. Despite this, the Clane team started the brighter of the two teams and would consider themselves unlucky not to go ahead when a powerful shot by the Clane centre half from thirty yards out, was tipped on to the post by the Suncroft keeper Mikey Duggan. From the resultant corner kick, Clane again hit the woodwork, Chris Mpiyauanga’s header looping over home keeper Duggan again but dropping on to the top of the bar. Suncroft started to come into the game more, with the excellent James Maguire pulling the strings for them in midfield. They went close when a through ball from Maguire released the Suncroft centre forward Sam Murphy, whose shot was instinctively saved with his feet by Clane stand in goalkeeper Connor Black. Suncroft then had the ball in the net, only for the goal to be ruled offside by referee Gareth Fletcher. Clane went close again when Caoillin Byrne delivered a corner kick straight on to the head of Clane centre half Stephen Corrigan, but the ball went tantalisingly wide of the post with the keeper beaten. Suncroft got the breakthrough they needed in the thirty fifth minute. The Clane defence failed to clear their lines, and the ball broke to Adam Stack, who played a beautiful ball over the top to Ben Sinnott, who calmly dispatched the ball into the bottom corner of the net. Suncroft controlled the remainder of the half but could not find the breakthrough needed to extend their lead, with several chances going either side of the post from Adam Stack and Sam Murphy.

The second half was a very even affair, with both teams having opportunities to score. Sam Murphy will consider himself unlucky to see his shot from outside the box being tipped by Clane keeper Connor Black on to the post, with the ball bouncing back to safety. At the other end, Clane had a strong claim for a penalty when Eoin O’Brien’s heels were clipped just inside box, but this was waved away by the referee, who was on the spot and deemed there had been no foul. Suncroft were containing the Clane attacks well, and as the game wore on, they were able to introduce fresh legs from the sideline to continue to push for the all important second goal. It duly came with three minutes to go when the ball broke to Suncroft centre forward Sam Murphy, and he made no mistake, from just outside the box, dispatching a powerful shot into the top corner of the net, and effectively sealing the points for Suncroft.

Shortly thereafter, referee Gareth Fletcher, who had controlled the game superbly throughout, blew for full time, and the points were secured for the home team. This was a game played in a very sporting manner, and both teams deserve great credit for the spirit shown. There were no disappointments for Clane in what was a very tough ask, but special mention should go to David Gary, Stephen Corrigan, Cian Byrne and stand in keeper Black who worked tirelessly throughout. Best for Suncroft, in a good all round team performance were Sam Murphy, James Maguire, Ben Sinnott and man of the match Adam Stack.

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