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Ace Sports Awards Masters Division 1

Maynooth Town AFC 2 Clane United FC 1

An epic battle was contested in the heat on Saturday last on the Newtown road. Clane travelled to Maynooth Town attempting to claim their first points of the season after securing promotion to the top division.

The game began with both teams playing excellent football from the back trying to unlock the others defence. Mid way through the first half Clane drew first blood from a strong passage of play which finished with Cliff Gibbons threading an excellent through ball cross field for Gavin Cox to finish by neatly lobbing the Maynooth Keeper to put the visitors 1-0 up. Almost immediately after the tip off Maynooth put pressure on Clane. Brian McNamara Niall Smyth and Dave Purtell controlling the ball around the backline. Dave Purtell played a long inch perfect pass landing the ball Infront of one of the Maynooth Strikers Stevie Griffin. Griffin took a great touch bringing the ball into the box and fired a rocket of a shot into the top corner. Soon after Clane were dealt a blow when their Captain Shane Dunne through injury. Both sides went in deadlocked at half time at one a piece. 

In the second half there was good play and exchanges by both teams. Maynooth created the better chances with Gavin Kelly working hard on the left and linking up well with Niall Vaughan and Brendan McGowan. Shots from Kelly Vaughan and Griffin narrowly missing the goal. Purtell McNamara Butler and Smyth were solid and relentless at the back and pushed the play up the pitch. In the last ten minutes Smyth played a through ball to Griffin who lobbed the Clane Goalkeeper with precision to win the game. Clane had a super chance to equalise for a share of the spoils but unfortunately Daragh Dean header was well save by the home keeper. Best for the winners were Stevie Griffin. Best for an unlucky Clane were Declan Smyth, Chris Walker, Neil Cox, Oisin Burke and Brian Clancy. 

KDFL Senior Division 

Newbridge Hotspurs FC 2 Coill Dubh AFC 1

Newbridge Hotspurs continued their fine form of late with this narrow hard fought victory over a strong Coill Dubh outfit on Sunday morning in a warm and humid Sniggs Brogan Park. 

The first half saw neither team taking full control. That said, there were some chances for both sides. The first one for Hotspurs was on the fifteenth minute when Shane Smith found the back of the net following a Chris Higgins pass, however Smith was judged to be offside. One minute later Coill Dubh almost made the breakthrough when their striker got on the end of a good pass but his strike went just wide of the mark. On the 20th minute, Hotspurs found the back of the net again when Sean Higgins headed from a Ryan O’Donoghue corner but Higgins was adjudged to have impeded on the shoulders of the Coill Dubh defender. On the half hour mark Hotpsurs Chris Higgins had a chance when he took control of a fine Eamon Doyle pass, he went past two players and struck low towards the corner but Coill Dubh keeper Luke Anderson was alert to the danger. Seven minutes later Mikey Murphy, was unlucky  for the home side when he shot from just inside the box following a flick over the Coill Dubh right back, the powerful shot was well saved by Anderson in the visiting goal. Coill Dubh had two chances before half time, on both occasions, the Hotspurs defensive quartet of Eoin Phillips, Barry Doyle, Sean Higgins and Robbie Higgins were alert to deal with the pressure getting their blocks in thwarting the Coill Dubh attack. Just before half time, Shane Smith did have a chance but his header went just wide. The game went in 0-0 at half time.

Hotspurs made one change at half time with Eoin McGrath replacing Shane Smith in attack. The game itself started to open up in the second half. Hotspurs had a double chance on the fifty fourth minute when an Eoin McGrath shot was saved by Anderson, however, the play was still live and Mikey Murphy squared the ball to Eamon Doyle whom shot low and hard but a certain goal was stopped by a fantastic save from Anderson who was living a charmed life in the visiting goal.  On the sixty first minute, Sean Higgins had a shot that went over the bar. Hotspurs made their second change of the game when Greg Kelly replaced Ryan O’Donoghue. Four minutes later, Eoin McGrath shot just wide. 

A big moment arrived for Coill Dubh’s Ryan Grace, making his senior debut, as he scored a brilliant strike that nestled in to the corner of the net one minute later to put Dubh in front. Hotspurs made another substitution when Scott O’Donoghue replaced Chris Higgins. Coill Dubh were testing Hotspurs at this point but Hotspurs composed themselves. Hotpsurs tactical tweaks bore dividends soon after when on the 72nd minute they equalised when some brilliant play on the left side of the pitch by Sean Higgins and Robbie Higgins led to Sean playing a pass to Mikey Murphy, Murphy held the ball up on the outside of the box and waited for Sean Higgins overlap, Murphy perfectly timed the pass and Sean Higgins crossed to Eoin McGrath who shot from close range, 1-1. 

At this point, Hotspurs made their fourth change when Dan Kavanagh replaced Eoin Phillips at right back. At this point, Hotspurs pressure was building with a few half chances occurring. With five minutes remaining on the clock Hotspurs Scott O’Donoghue had a chance following an Eamon Doyle cross but his header was straight at the keeper. Hotspurs found the winner with two minutes to go when cometh the hour, cometh the man, Eoin McGrath, who entered the fray at half time, duly obliged with an absolute stunner of a goal. The goal itself was created when Coill Dubh were on the attack, Dan Kavanagh sensing danger raced over the left back position and made a vital tackle to intercept, Kavanagh took control and made a pass to Eoin McGrath on the left hand side of the Coill Dubh half. McGrath took it on running at the Coill Dubh defence and he then rifled a shot from twenty five yards and it went straight into the top corner of the net, giving Anderson no chance.  After this, Coill Dubh did come at Hotspurs again and were awarded a free kick in injury time just outside the box. The Hotspurs wall however blocked the shot, with the home side taking all three points. Best for the winners were Eoin Walsh, Robbie Higgins, Sean Higgins and Hotspurs man of the match Eoin McGrath.  Coill Dubh may be disappointed they didn't secure at least a point after a ding-dong battle throughout the match. Standout performances came from Joe Bowers (Defence), Luke Anderson (Goal), Ryan Murran (Midfield), Ryan Grace (Striker), and their man of the Match, Cian MacMahon (Left Full)

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