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Feature game - Leinster Leader

KDFL Under 20 Division 1

Rathangan AFC 2 Moone Celtic FC 3

Both these teams know each other very well from recent battles at both U20 and U18 proving very close and competitive. The corresponding fixture last year was a goal fest with Rathangan taking the spoils with a 6-5 victory, so another tight battle was anticipated. 

Moone started with intent and the first attack of the day saw Callum Kelly cut through the heart of the Rathangan defence but Felix Doyle was quick off his line to smother the ball. Rathangan broke down their left flank and won a free which was curled in by Finn Black. However Jamie Dillon was equal to the task stretching full height to gather above Tadgh Phelan and Oisin Conroy. Callum Kelly looking lively upfront saw his shot blocked on ten minutes but Rathangan cleared their lines from the resulting corner. The game was evenly matched between defences and midfield but for large periods of the first half Moone were enjoying the better of the attacking phases but Rathangan were snuffing out their chances with some last ditch defending and poor finishing from Moone. Despite this however, first blood came to Rathangan through Oisin Stenson when Rathangan made inroads through the heart of Moone's midfield and with the Moone defence backing off he let fly from twenty yards and into the top right corner of Jamie Dillon's goal. It was a wonderful strike and a warning to Moone to tighten up in defence and midfield.

Moone from the tip off pushed for the equaliser and were unlucky not to get it within moments of the restart but for a fantastic save from Felix Doyle. Moone did get their equaliser on twenty seven minutes though through the energetic Callum Kelly. Charlie O'Connor chipped over the Rathangan defence and Callum smashed home from close range, 1-1 and game on.

Both teams were trying to play the ball on the ground and any long balls into either defence were cleared by Jake Muldowney and Tadgh Phelan for Moone and Eoghan McMullan and Kevin Dempsey for Rathangan. Moone were forced into a substitution on thirty two minutes when Charlie O'Connor picked up a leg injury and was replaced by Jamie Farrell. This change meant that Tadgh Phelan was pushed up into his more familiar role in attack with Jamie settling into defence. Despite giving up their lead Rathangan should've punished Moone and regained the lead on thirty seven minutes when indecision in Moone's defence allowed Rathangan a free header which went narrowly wide. 

Rathangan's best work was down their left flank through Oisin Dunne and Matthew Dunne but equal to the task were Evan Farrell and Jake Muldowney. In midfield, the battle between the Rathangan duo Darragh Sinnott and Finn Black and the Moone duo of Owen Fox and Mark Kavanagh was the catalyst for the tempo of this game. With Tadgh Phelan now in an attacking role, Moone started to gain more dividends down their left with link up play between Owen Fox and Tadgh almost releasing Tadgh in on goals but he unfortunately ran out of room. From here until half time, Moone had the greater chances through Tadgh Phelan twice and Callum Kelly twice but Rathangan reminded Moone not to leave them with space as in between these chances they probably had the best with a shot that glanced off the outside of Jamie Dillon's goal and wide.

On the change of ends, there was no let up in the tempo, Rathangan with the first attack in earnest leading to a corner but Moone held out. Seven minutes into the second half and Jamie Dillon had to be at his best to save from a shot on the right. Neat passing in midfield between Ryan Murray and Owen Fox released Callum Kelly but Felix Doyle was quick off his line to gather. Rathangan were starting get momentum at this stage and Moone were thankful that Jamie Farrell blocked a goal bound shot. However seventeen minutes into the second half and up stepped Oisin Conroy with what turned out to be the goal of the day, picking the ball up on the right, turning onto his left foot shooting into the top right leaving Jamie Dillon with no chance. Rathangan were well on top at this stage, Tadhg Conlon and Oisin Stenson wreaking havoc on the Moone defence and looked like they would win this tie but for the resilient Moone defence and Jamie Dillon in goals. In fact, between the twenty three and twenty eight minutes Rathangan could have wrapped up this game only for two fantastic saves from Jamie Dillon. At this stage, Moone rejigged their team with Evan Farrell moving from full back to midfield and Owen Fox switching onto the left wing, this started to give Moone more energy right across the middle of the park.

Rathangan would rue not taking these chances though as up stepped Callum Kelly again on seventy eight minutes to shoot over Felix Doyle into the roof of the net from twenty yards following neat one two's between himself and Tadgh Phelan on the back of a 50/50 challenge won by Mark Kavanagh and Moone were level. This revived Moone and from here to the end both teams pushed for the winner. Rathangan won a free on the right but this shot went over the crossbar. Owen Fox had a new lease of life on the left and on eighty seven minutes Moone got what proved to be the winner when he cut in from the left and from a tight angle his shot was deflected off the post and the rebound landed at the feet of Evan Farrell and he didn't miss this chance, for the first time in the game Moone took the lead. With Rathangan chasing the equaliser, they left a gaps in defence, link up play between Mark Kavanagh and Tadgh Phelan releasing Callum Kelly but his shot hit the crossbar and and wide.

And so it finished with Moone taking the three points. This was a very good entertaining game of end to end football with both teams giving their all to the delight of both sets of supporters. Rathangan had very good performances from Felix Doyle in goals, Eoghan McMullan and Kevin Dempsey in defence, in midfield with Finn Black, Darragh Sinnott and Tadhg Conlon, and the ever dangerous Oisin Conroy and Oisin Stenson upfront. Moone had Jamie Dillon to thank in goals with some great saves along with Tadgh Phelan in defence and attack, Mark Kavanagh in midfield and Callum Kelly upfront. But Man of the Match goes to Evan Farrell, had his hands full at full back dealing well with the Rathangan wingers and he injected energy into midfield when he was repositioned there and got the winner his performance deserved. 

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