ATHY TOWN AFC 4 CLANE UNITED FC 1
Athy started the better of the two sides in the opening minutes of the game. Athy took the lead five minutes in to the game through some sloppy defending from the visitors, they won the ball back on their right hand side and veteran Brendan Curtis found Stephen May free out on the right wing, May whipped in a super cross for David Bríde to tap home the opener putting Athy Town 1-0 up.
This seem to spur Athy on and they went two ahead in the twelfth minute when more fine work down the right from Stephen May and Brendan Curtis again found Chris Chanders free in the six yard box with another excellent cross, Chanders took the simple chance with ease to double the home side’s advantage.
The scoreline does not do Clane justice as they were dominant for long periods of the first half. However they were dealt a severe blow soon after Athy’s second when an unfortune clash of heads between Cathal Geoghegan, who had been playing a stormer for the north Kildare side, and the Athy centre half saw Geoghegan having to retire.
Clane continued to press Athy and Ciaran Kelly was starting to come in to the game for the visitors in midfield. Clane had a number of chances to get back in to the game, Eoghan Maguire was played through 1 on 1 and rounded the Athy keeper but couldn't find the net. Both Ciaran Kelly and Andy Brogan had efforts from long range well saved by the Athy keeper.
Just after the half hour mark Clane got back in to the game through some nice passing on the right hand side, eventually the ball was played to Andy brogan on the edge of the box who made no mistake with a lovely finish in to the bottom corner to leave the score at 2-1 to Athy.
Clane pressurised Athy for the remainder of the half through free kicks and corners but unfortunately couldn't find the net before half time.
Both teams started the second half with purpose. Ten minutes into the half Clane’s Ciaran Kelly drove at the Athy defence with a great run from midfield eventually finding Eoghan Maguire just inside the box and Maguire made no mistake with the finish which would have made it 2-2. Unfortunately for Clane the goal was ruled out for offside.
This let off pushed Athy into motion as they attached two minutes later and scored the third after a scuffed shot from a corner somehow beat the goalkeeper, hit the post, the ball bounced straight to the big centre half, Mick Walsh who had the simple task of tapping home from three yards making it 3 – 1. Athy saved the best till last when some super inter play with Bríde, sub, Adam O'keefe and Chanders again saw Chanders place the ball to right of the keeper with an excellent finish making it 4-1 to the home team. Best for Athy were Mick Walsh, Conor germaine and Chris Chanders. Best of the might for a frustrated Clane United was Ciaran Kelly.
KILDARE TOWN AFC 0 ST PATRICKS WELL FC 1
St. Patrick’s Well came away from Rathbride Road on Sunday afternoon with their first win of the new KDFL Senior Division season thanks to a Danny Callan strike five minutes from time that proved enough to see off the challenge of a dogged youthful Kildare Town side.
After a somewhat scrappy opening ten minutes, St. Patrick’s Well almost hit the front with Grant Courtney missing the target after connecting with Karl Carey’s cross from the right flank.
With Kelvin Dennan and Seán Carter beginning to dominate in midfield and the defensive quartet of Marvin Mbala, Gary Hunt, Mick Huben and Charlie Swords looking assured at the back, the extent to which the visitors held the upper hand grew as the half wore on. Nonetheless, breaking down the home side’s resolute rear guard was proving something of a tall order.
The Old Bog Road men continued to shade proceedings after the break without penetrating Town’s defence to any great degree but with the game just past the hour mark, last year’s beaten shield finalists were awarded a penalty. Much to the relief of Seán Casey’s men however, newly recruited goalkeeper Liam Brady made a fine save to maintain parity for his side.
The Second half was a lot livelier with KIldare on the counter attack resulting in Stephen Kelly being fouled inside penalty box giving referee no choice but to point to the spot and up stepped Leon tsang to take penalty which was saved well by the Patrick's well custodian. Patrick's well had a few more chances which kildare Town defence marshalled brilliantly by the Goochie Marum and Adam Gilligan. The visitors continued to probe for a winner and were finally rewarded for their efforts just as it looked both sides would be sharing the spoils with Callan finding space to rifle home a low drive from the narrowest of angles into the far corner of the despairing Kildare Town netminder’s goal. Best on the day for the victors were Swords, Carter, Dennan and Brady while Best for kildare Town were Dermot Critchley in goal Goochie Marum and Leon Tsang.
RATHANGAN AFC 2 COILL DUBH AFC 2
Rathangan welcomed newly promoted Coill Dubh AFC to Canal road on Sunday for their opening game of the season. The game proving to be a cracker. The early stages of the game were tense with both teams trying to feel each other out and get a hold of the ball, the first early chance fell to coill dubh, with Craig Shannon forced into an early save. Up the other end of the pitch Rathangan looked dangerous going forward. However the first goal came to Coill dubh who opened the scoring after twenty minutes through Conor Brady to put the visitors 1-0 up.
Rathangan upped their game after going a goal behind and were awarded a penalty after Arun Doyle was brought down in the box, Lee Moore converted from the spot to make it 1-1. The score remaining the same going into the break.
The early stages of the second half were similar to the first as Coill Dubh came out on the attack and Craig Shannon making a brilliant save to keep the scores even.
A couple chances to Alex Conlan and Jim Brennan but didn’t test the Coill Dubh keeper. It was Coill Dubh who took the lead for the second time in the game with a ball over the top by Craig Lenehan catching out the Rathangan back four to make it 2-1 to the visitors. With twenty minutes remaining Rathangan again levelled with Aaron Mullins finishing after a goal line scramble to level the game for a second time at 2-2. Both teams pushed for a winner but the ties were shared in Canal road.
Best for Rathangan was Nathan Cullen. Best for the winners were scorers Brady and Lenehan.
CLONMULLION 0 KILCULLEN AFC 0
Given the cold blustery conditions this was always going to be a tight rugged affair. From the beginning there was no flow to the game and it wasn't until the twelfth minute that there was any meaningful effort on goals. It came from Clonmullion’s Nathan Robinson’s free kick from wide right as he whipped in a low ball which Cody Mulhall guided towards the target but it flashed just wide. The aforementioned Mulhall received what looked like a harsh second yellow in the twenty fifth minute which left the home side down to ten men. Kilcullen's first effort came on the half hour mark when Simon Luttrell picked out Eamonn Doyle at the back post but his headed effort was well saved by Michael Lawless. The first half sort of petered out with a lot of scrappy play in midfield with both sides struggling to get a pattern to their game. The Clonmullion management team reshuffled their shape bringing in Jack Dooley into the middle of the park and switching to a back 3. However it was Kilcullen who came closest to opening the scoring five minutes into the second half when Brian Murphy curled a great cross to the back post but Oisin Sherlock headed over the bar. The Mull then seen a Dean Fennessy effort hit the post from a Robinson cross. With fifty two minutes on the clock the visitors were awarded a penalty when Corey Moore was adjudged to have fouled Luttrell. Alan Dignam stepped up to the spot and seen his low effort to the keepers left brilliantly parried on to the post by Lawless who also recovered to smother the ball as it rebounded to keep it all square. Lawless again showed why he is regarded as the best in the league when he dived full length to save a header from Brian Murphy from a Keith Scanlon free kick. This seemed to buoy the home side who laid siege to the Kilcullen goals and some great interplay between Nathan Doyle and Lee Foley saw Doyle hit a lovely cross field ball to his brother Lee who's first time volley whistled narrowly over the bar. With fifteen minutes left on the clock Lee Doyle turned provider when his corner kick found Robinson unmarked inside the area and his first time volley flew just over. Doyle again was the provider having moved more centrally and he fed substitute Johnny Fennell who also couldn't keep his effort down to trouble keeper Stephen Doyle. Hard as the ten men tried they couldn't break down a resolute Kilcullen defence and the game ended scoreless. Best for the visitors were Doyle in goals, Dignam and Scanlon in defence, Daragh Kelly, Brian Murphy and Simon Luttrell. While the home side were best served by Lee and Shane Foley and Jay Connell in defence, Robinson and Fennessy in midfield and the Doyle brothers up front, Rickie Moriarty was solid when introduced just after half time and the brilliant Lawless in goals.
NAAS UNITED 0 BALLYCANE CELTIC FC 1
Coming into this local Derby after a productive win at home in the first game of the Season against newly promoted Kilcock, Ballycane looked to try make it two wins from two, but they knew it would be a hard task against the local rivals Naas United.
Ballycane started the game fast with Callum O'Reilly and Dan Whittaker on both wings putting balls into the Naas Box for Lackey and Hazzard to test the Naas centre back early.
Ballycane came closest first when Lackey out jumped JP Higgins for Hazzard to run onto only for Hazzard to scuff his early effort just wide of Keith Higgins goals.
Naas didn't lie down and came out after twenty mins fighting and started to let Ballycane know they were in a game with changes through Dane Higgins and Adam Colton. The home side had another chance soon after, but Paul Ometeso saw his header saved by Kevin McDonald, who was making his Ballycane debut. Naas again came forward and created another good chance but Adam colton saw his volley brilliantly blocked by Kevin Higgins and moments later Abdel Karims shot was saved again by ‘Keggy’
Naas’s Ver Nolan started to demand the ball and straight away after a mix up with Herbert and Doyle in the middle he set up Naas's first attack however the Ballycane defence were equal to the task and the sides went in deadlocked at 0-0 at the end of the first half.
Naas came out of the traps in the second half trying to push Ballycane backwards but there was no good to come out of it with Higgins and Byrne clearing everything that came into the Ballycane area. The home side were dealt a blow when captain John Paul Higgins was forced off with a hamstring injury and replaced by Matthew Drewitt.
The home sides half time talk saw them come out flying and they should have made it 1-0 on fifty minutes but Paul Ometeso having beaten the keeper, saw his effort cleared off the line by Kevin Higgins, who has been at the heart of all of Ballycane celtic’s 20 Seasons in the KDFL.
It looked likely that this was going to be a draw game however Ballycane thought differently. On seventy six minutes a wayward pass from Nolan fell straight for Dean Preston to latch onto a in the middle of the park and set Hazzard free for a one on one with Naas’s ever present Higgins only for the Naas keeper to take him down in the box for a penalty. Hazzard dusted himself off, set up the ball and placed it perfectly just past Higgins into the net for the late opener.
Best for the winners were Hazzard, Herbert, Doyle and a man of the match performance from Kevin Higgins at centre back. While for Naas Dane Higgins was electric out wide, Paul Ometeso’s held up play and didn’t deserve to be on the losing side after his performance and Liam O Shea did well at right back.