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Ballycane Celtic 2 1 Kilcock Celtic FC

Ballycane welcomed newly promoted Kilcock Celtic to Ballycane on Sunday. A perfect sunny day set the scene for a great game of ball in the 2022 opener for both Clubs.

The home side started the game the quickest and were full of energy and enthusiasm in the early stages. Some superb footwork from Niall Herbert out on the right saw his inch perfect pass find Ross Hazard who in turn played a neat ball to the on rushing Dean Preston who calmly slotted the ball under the visiting keeper to put the home side 1-0 up early on. On twenty five minutes Hazard again was the man who played a beautiful first time ball around the corner for Dan Whittaker to run onto but the keeper made an excellent save down low to his right. A succession of corners seen Craig Byrne and Jake O Reilly come Close to doubling the advantage. Five minutes before the break Kilcock drew level. A quick throw in resulting in the winger whipping a delicious ball across the box where it took a deflection off the defender and into his own net past a helpless Mark Lawlor in goal.

H-t 1-1

Kilcock came out of the blocks the quickest in the second half and started to dominate the midfield in the early exchanges of the half but the home team’s defence and midfield kept the to long hopeful shots. Kilcock did have one great chance when the no 9 was found all alone In the box but he missed the target. Steven Lackey and Whittaker both had great chances to put the cane 2-1 up. Higgins from the back stepped out and his long range effort had the keeper under pressure but he managed to get his hand to the ball and knock it to safety. With ten minutes remaining it was the home team who took the lead with some brilliant play from the veteran Keelan Noone who found Hazard again. Hazzy turned and shimmied and played an inch perfect pass to the tireless Preston who struck from the outside of the box past the despairing keeper. Kilcock pressed but the cane held out to open the 2022 campaign with a win.

Best for the winenrs were Herbert, Hazard and the impressive Craig Byrne at the back but the man of the match has to go to Dean Preston for his tireless work and two great finishes.

Onwards to next week with a local derby away to Naas Utd.

Coill Dubh AFC 2 1 St. Patricks Well FC

A cold and rainy night at home for Coill Dubh but that didn’t stop the supporters showing their support through the bad weather conditions for this opener with Coill Dubh returning to the top flight. Coill Dubh started the game off well creating good chances which led to a missed opportunity for Billy McNamee in the opening minutes of the game. Both teams battled well with plenty of missed chances on both ends. Saint Patrick’s Well broke through but Luke Anderson stood firm in goals. Coill Dubh were unlucky not to go 1-0 up with what would have been a brilliant goal from Conor Brady but was given as a free out. Just before the end of the first half Coill Dubh’s consistancy paid off as captain Trevor McDonald scored a goal in the fortieth minute from a corner taken by Conor Brady who fired past SPWFC debutant keeper Liam Brady despite the best efforts of SPWFC defenders Mick Huban and Mark Dowling.

In the second half Coill Dubh were eager to get a second goal with chances created by Sean Hannon and Joe Bowers but just fell short of the mark until the 67th minute when Conor Brady was taken down after a great solo run in the box for Joe Bowers to step up to the plate and take a penalty and finally get that second goal for the team. There were plenty of missed chances on both ends with the best of those chances falling to SPWFC Sean Gallagher, Danny Callen and Grant Courtney.

Noel Byrne, Sean Mac Mahon, Alex Kilmurray and Aaron Lenehan came into the game for Dylan Hannon, Billy McNamee, Craig Lenehan and Sean Hannon. Saint Patrick’s Well showed great strength throughout the game and got their deserved goal in the 90th minute from a quick free kick by Danny Callen and Sheldon Matan scored the rebound off Luke Anderson’s save to put the minimum between the sides. Both teams battled well with Coill Dubh now off to a great start in the league grabbing all three points. Best for Coill Dubh were Conor Brady and Luke Anderson in goal while for SPWFC Simon Murphy, Kelvin Dennan, Marc Dowling, Liam Brady in the goals all doing well and their man of the match was Sean Carter.

Kilcullen AFC 1 0 Athy Town AFC

Athy Town AFC began their Senior League campaign when they were welcomed to Avondale by Kilcullen AFC. Special mention and thanks must be given to Mr Kilcullen & El Presidente “Freddie Mitchell” for his great work on the Avondale pitch.

The game was typical fare for a season opener with both sides taking a while to adjust to the tempo of the game. The home team started the brighter and found their rhythm while Athy took a little longer to get to the pace of the game. The first half saw several yellow cards dished out to both sides as a result of physical battles in midfield. Once the visitors settled into the game, they contested well in all areas of the pitch and had a series of corners and free kicks around the half hour mark, all of which were dealt with by the home side’s defence. Despite this pressure it was the home side that took the lead with a strike from outside the box by Mark McGinley which found the bottom corner despite the efforts of the Athy keeper, Conor Germaine to put the home side 1-0 up.

Athy started the better in the second half and had three good chances to level the match in the first ten minutes but that sharpness in front of goal that comes with matches wasn’t there. Athy kept the Kilcullen defence on their toes but was ably managed and kept at bay Kilcullen Man of the Match Keith Scanlon and his comrade at the heart of the Kilcullen Alan Dignam.From there on, the game was played primarily from box to box with neither team really threatening the opposition goal. As time ran out the visitors piled on the pressure and an offside decision against Chris Chanders following a through ball from Aaron Meade was questioned by the visiting supporters. A final free kick into the home box was the last throw of the dice for the visitors but to no avail as the defenders crowded the area and cleared the threat. It finished 1-0 to Kilcullen. Best for the winners were Man of the match Keith Scanlon, he was ably assisted by Mark McGinley, Stephen Doyle and Eamon Doyle. Best for the visitors were Mark Coland, David Bride and Conor Germaine.

Suncroft AFC 2 6 Clonmullion AFC

The 2019 Senior League Champions Suncroft and 2021 champs Clonmullion F.C kicked off the new season on an immaculate playing surface in Suncroft Community Grounds on Sunday morning. The visitors flew out of the blocks and went 1 nil up after only ninty seconds when Lee Foley won the ball at the back and played a lovely cross field ball to Nathan Robinson who put the ball through to Cody Mulhall who coolly slotted the ball low into the net past keeper Colin Farrell.

The visitors doubled their lead ten minutes later after a lovely flowing move saw Joe Brennan winning the ball in midfield and laying it off to Robinson who passed it out right into the stride of Nathan Doyle who pulled a great ball back across the eighteen yard box for Dean Fennessy arriving late to slot home.

Suncroft threatened on the fifteenth minute mark when the industrious Niall Flynn put a lovely ball into the area but keeper Michael Lawless rose highest to snatch the ball off the head of the in rushing centre forward Eoin Doyle.

After twenty two minutes the Mull’s centre half Corey Moore played a great diagonal pass to the feet of Mulhall who pushed the ball past keeper Farrell who tripped him as he was running by and referee Billy Conlon awarded a penalty. Mulhall picked himself up and made no mistake from the spot. Youngster Joe Brennan again won the ball in the middle of the park and rolled the ball to Mulhall who's shot was brilliantly parried by keeper Farrell but he could do nothing about Fennessy who again arrived late into the box to make it 4 with thirty five minutes gone. Five minutes before halftime Lee Doyle was brought down just outside the Croft penalty area and Robinson drilled the free kick low across the area which evaded everyone except for Moore who made it 5 nil.

The home side rang the changes at half time introducing Patrick Coady, Liam Knight and Paddy Flood which seemed to boost them and when Flood crossed the ball to Knight he was unlucky to see his shot shave the top of the crossbar with only three minutes gone in the second half. Flood again was the provider when he picked out Doyle in the middle only to see his effort cleared off the line by Jay Connell. However the Mull came close on the hour mark when a Mulhall corner picked out Lee Doyle at the back post but he shot into the side netting. Nathan Doyle continued to terrorise the Suncroft defence and another great run and cross picked out Mulhall who's dinked effort was finger tipped over the bar by Farrell. With sixty six minutes gone Suncroft got the goal they deserved when Byron Reid got on the end of a Coady free kick. Dylan Connolly then had a free kick which was well saved by Lawless and centre half Shane Foley cleared the ball before a Suncroft boot could get to it as it bobbled around in the box. With five minute left Fennessy completed his hat trick when he won a 50/50 tackle in the centre circle and strode forward to hit a looping effort into the top corner to make 6 1 to Clonmullion.

Suncroft battled right to the end and pulled another goal back in injury time when Niall Flynn was quickest to react to a Paddy Flood cross to make it 6 2. Best for Suncroft were Kieran Sheedy at the back and Flynn and Connolly in midfield and Eoin Doyle up front. Best for Clonmullion were Lawless in goals who's handling of the ball and quick distribution was superb, Lee and Shane Foley in defence, debutants Nathan Doyle and Joe Brennan in midfield who both look real finds and the ever dangerous Cody Mulhall up front. And of course Clonmullion's third debutante Dean Fennessy marked his first appearance with a superb hat trick.

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