League action !
Clane United FC 2 Coill Dubh AFC 2
This local derby at Doctors Road lived up to the expectations of a large enthusiastic crowd. The Dubh's showcased their finest battling performance of the season. Early on, both teams had opportunities to break the deadlock, but Evan Moore and Conor Comiskey failed to convert from Cian McMahon's crosses for the Dubh's. In the thirty third minute, Cathal Geoghegan headed home a corner sent in by Stephen Leavy from close range, giving Clane a 1-0 lead. The midfield battle was intense, with Jack O'Brien, Dan Small, and Dylan Hannon playing crucial roles for both sides. Evan Moore remained a constant threat in the attack, supported by McMahon and Comiskey on the flanks, causing Clane numerous problems with their direct style of play. At halftime, Clane held their 1-0 advantage. Clane extended their lead in the forty seventh minute when James Ralph played a one-two with Andy Brogan before confidently finishing to the right of Anderson. The Dubh's, however, were resolute and continued to press forward, with Jack O'Brien driving into Clane's half whenever possible. Coill Dubh dominated the second half, with Moore and Comiskey both having chances to score. The Clane keeper pulled off two outstanding saves to deny them. As the game reached its final moments, Evan Moore unleashed an unstoppable shot from outside the box in the eighty fifth minute, reigniting the contest and setting up a grandstand finish. Clane found themselves defending desperately as the Dubh's mounted wave after wave of attack. The equaliser arrived shortly thereafter in the eighty seventh minute when Barry Noone, facing away from the goal, executed an impressive overhead kick into the net. With the score level at 2-2, the momentum was firmly with the Dubh’s. In injury time, they forced three corners and even had a great opportunity to clinch victory, but Robbie O'Connell failed to connect from close range. The match concluded in a thrilling 2-2 draw, a remarkable spirited comeback for the Dubh's Every player from Coill Dubh delivered their best performance of the season. Anderson's role as a sweeper-keeper was excellent, while the back four remained solid. Aaron Lenehan and Joe Bowers dominated the central area, while Conor Comiskey and Cian MacMahon created problems on the flanks. Evan Moore proved to be a persistent challenge to Clane's defence. The midfield proved to be the game-changer, with Dan Small and Dylan Hannon winning the battle over the full ninty minutes. However, it was Jack O'Brien who shone the brightest on the pitch. He consistently carried the game to the opposition in recent matches and was rightfully named Coill Dubh’s Man of the Match. Best for Clane United were Killian Patchell, Cathal Geoghegan, Dean Comiskey, Stephen Leavy and James Ralph.
Arlington AFC 3 Newbridge Hotsputs FC 3
Newbridge Hotspurs travelled to Arlington for their fifteenth league game of the season hoping to continue their fine run of form in the league.
Arlington came out of the traps early and came at Newbridge Hotspurs with intent to cause early pain on the visitors. Despite the Arlington pressure, they were few in the way of early clear cut chances. The best of Arlington’s early chances came via corners which were whipped in pace, on a number of occasions, Hotspurs failed to make clearances and Reece Winders was on hand to make a couple of early saves. Arlington got their breakthrough on the sixteenth minute when a long speculative ball was not dealt with properly allowing the Arlington striker to score into an empty net albeit from a tight angle. Hotspurs were forced into an early change when Scott O’Connor limped off with an ankle injury with Ryan Hannify replacing him. The break in play allowed Hotspurs to regroup and allow Hotspurs manager, Adrian O’Donoghue get tactical instructions across. This break seemed to have the desired effect. On the twentieth minute, Eoin McGrath went close when his left foot shot went just over the bar. On the twenty fourth minute, Eoin McGrath had another chance when his header went just wide from a pinpoint Mikey Murphy cross. On the twenty eight minute, Robbie Higgins also went close when his header went just over from a Chris Higgins cross. It was on the thirty seventh minute when Hotspurs got their equaliser. It came via a Chris Higgins cross which made it to the other side of the box, Tomas Hennessy instead of shooting, took a touch to compose himself and made neat pass to Eoin McGrath whom deceived the defender by going to his left and shooting at the near post to make it 1-1. Hotspurs continued to force openings and one minute from the break Shane Smith went close when his header went over the bar. The game went in 1-1 at half time.
Hotspurs started the second half the way they finished the first half and seven minutes in took the lead. It came from a Ryan Hannify pass to Shane Smith whom controlled it beautifully and was then fouled. Chris Higgins stepped up to take the free kick and curled it into the top corner from more than twenty five yards out, 2-1 to Hotspurs. Hotspurs continued to push and Mikey Murphy went close on the fifty sixth minute when his shot was well saved by the Arlington keeper. Just after the hour mark, Hotspurs got their third goal of the game. It came from a fine Greg Kelly corner which was met by the head of Shane Smith who headed home from close range, 3-1 to Newbridge Hotspurs. Six minute later, Mikey Rooney entered the fray when he replaced the effervescent Eoin McGrath. Mikey Rooney almost immediately had an impact when his shot from a Mikey Murphy cross went just wide. Hotspurs made a few more changes where Eoin Phillips, Dan Kavanagh and Conan Hayes entered the fray. Hotspurs exercised great game management keeping good possession of the ball. Hotspurs were aided with the sending off of two Arlington players towards the end of the game. On the stroke of full time, Eoin Phillips went close when his shot from twenty five yards was well saved by the Arlington keeper, the keeper followed this up with another fantastic save from Mikey Rooney on the rebound. Hotspurs ultimately saw the game out and took all three points. Best for Hotspurs were Robbie Higgins, Tomas Hennessy, Eoin McGrath and Hotspurs man of the match Mikey Murphy.
Ballycane Celtic 1 Rathangan AFC 2
Ballycane’s Peter Stafford reshuffled his starting line up coming in to this fixture. Rathangan starting the slightly stronger with Ross Teahan, Keith Scanlan and Lee Moore creating the early chances but they couldn't work a clear opening, with Lee Short and Micheal Doheny commanding a compact defence. Bubba Doyle pulling the strings in the middle for the home side had some excellent link up play with Keelan Noone and Dean Preston but couldn't work a clear opening for the home side. Ballycane’s Liam Dreamy causing havoc out on the left wing committing Rathangan defender's with every opportunity. Kevin "the cat" Higgins between the posts for the home side made a string of excellent saves, including a penalty kick from the boot of Lee Moore to keep Ballycane all square on the half hour mark. Ballycane did work a great opening themselves a clever freekick by Bubba Doyle into Keelan Noones feet, he laid a ball into Dean Preston path and looked a certain goal but the Deano couldn't convert a great opportunity. Neither side able to capitalise on a good opening half of football.
Rathangan came out the second half and seemed to find that extra gear .Ballycane got caught napping and gave up a very preventable goal converted by Ross Teehan with a quarter of an hour played in the second half. Both side's working hard to assert the upper hand. Ballycane having some joy down the left wing with Craig Byrne and Bubba linking with Liam Dreamy , Ballycane knocking at the door down that left flank.
The home side got their reward on the hour mark a big tackle from Bubba Doyle in Midfield, the ball fell to Darren Larkin who split the Rathangan rearguard and Liam Dreamy applied a classy finish to bring the game level. Kevin Higgins , Lee Short and Mick Doheny making saves tackles and interceptions to keep Ballycane on level term's in a hectic ten minute period. Johnny Sullivan nearly latched onto a Clever Dean Preston ball but the opportunity was smothered by the on rushing Craig Shannon in the Rathangan goal. Ballycane looked like they did enough for a deserved draw ,but Rathangan grabbed a very late winning after a route one ball by Shannon was finished well by Lee Moore after a Ballycane defender slipped. Best For the home side were Sam , Lee Short , Mick Doheny in defence Preston, Bubba Doyle and Dreamy in midfield and Kevin Higgins in goal was outstanding. Best for winners Rathangan were Shane O'Loughlin and Ross Teehan.
Clongorey FC 3 Suncroft AFC 3
A late Lee Baldwin penalty was enough for Clongorey FC to deny Suncroft victory on Sunday at Old Bog Road as Sean Casey's men took a share of the spoils in what was a cracking encounter. Suncroft started the better of the two sides with Kevin Sheedy and Dylan Connolly linking well through the centre, but it was the hosts who opened the scoring inside the opening twenty minutes with Reece McLaughlin making no mistake is dispatching from a rebound. Following that opener Clongorey began to grow into the game with Dave O'Callaghan dictating matters in the centre of the park but found themselves trailing as the half-time break approached with two well-worked goals from Suncroft coming from Shane Higgins and Willie Hayes. Nonetheless, Adam Byrne would draw parity for the home side before the break with a sweetly struck volley that gave Kevin McDonnell no chance in the 'Croft goal following a well worked move.
Proceedings after the break were very much evenly contested with Suncroft perhaps shading possession and territory but to no avail with the Clongorey rearguard of Shaun Walsh, Marvin Mbala, Gary Hunt and Richard Kenna dealing with everything thrown their direction. Nonetheless, 'Croft did grab a third to take the lead midway through the half when a Josh Lee effort was deflected to his own net by a Clongorey defender, but there was to be another twist in the plot when McLoughlin saw the path to goal of his close range finish stopped by the hand of a Suncroft centre-half. The resultant penalty saw Leigh Baldwin step up and convert thus seeing 'Croft pegged back on level terms for a third time. With both defences tiring on the heavy conditions underfoot, a multitude of chances presented themselves to both sides late on with Clongorey having perhaps the better of them. However, neither party could manage to find an elusive winner thus leaving both sides to share the points. Best on the day for Clongorey were Mbala, Callan, Hunt, McLaughlin and their Man of the Match O'Callaghan. Best for the Croft were McDonnell in goal and Higgins.