Coill Dubh AFC 3 1 Newbridge Hotspurs FC
Coill Dubh opened their new season with a hard-fought victory over newly promoted Newbridge Hotspurs who were looking to bounce back from their slender defeat at the hands of Clongorey the previous week. In the opening minutes The Dubh's were on the front foot with Joe Bowers, Ryan Murran and Aeneas Murphy winning the midfield battle. Meanwhile on the wings, Sean MacMahon and Conor Comiskey were performing well with Dylan Hannon upfront linking up well. The visitors were first to threaten when they won a free kick just outside the Coill Dubh penalty area however Scott O Donoghue was unlucky to see his effort whizz past the post. The Dubh's pressure paid off in the ninth minute when MacMahon's delightful cross from the left wing found the onrushing Joe Bowers to volley home from just inside the box. Truly a goal of the season contender. Hotspurs were taken aback by conceding so early but worked hard to claw back the advantage. On twenty third minute some good combination play between Mikey Murphy and Shane Smith saw the latter put his header just wide of the post. The Dubh's were having their best spell of the match midway through the first half, but Hotspurs came into game creating a few opportunities for themselves. However, in the twenty seventh minute the visitors were struck a hammer blow when Coill Dubh doubled their lead from a Conor Comiskey pass to put Dylan Hannon in behind the Hotspurs defence to put The Dubh's 2-0 up against the run of play. Hotspurs came close in forty second minute when a Luke Anderson save denied them a certain goal from the boot of Greg Kelly following good work by the impressive O Donoghue.
The second half saw Hotspurs start with plenty of intent and increasingly piled the pressure on the home defence. Both Sean and Robbie Higgins led the charge forward from the backline with penetrating runs but still Spurs could not get in behind where it mattered. Robbie Higgins did get a great cross into the box which Mikey Murphy was able to get a head on put unfortunately not enough force to trouble the Coil Dubh keeper. Mikey probably should have had a penalty just after the hour mark but his and Spurs protestations were waved away by the referee. With fifteen minutes left another great chance presented itself for Spurs. Sean Higgins fed brother Robbie down the left flank, Robbie sent the ball across the Coil Dubh box where it found its way to substitute Ciaran Glynn who unleashed a fierce shot which flew inches the wrong side of the post. As Spurs desperately piled forward looking for a way back into the game, they finally got the bit of luck they deserved when a handball in the box did lead to a penalty and Mikey Murphy tucked it away into the bottom corner 2-1. Spurs really had to push now for an equaliser and were pegging Coil Dubh further back into their own area, however as often happens in these circumstances Coill Dubh broke quickly, pushed forward and increased their lead to two again with eighty nine minutes on the clock through Jack O Brien. Hotspurs did get one further chance when a good run into the box by sub Mickey Rooney led to a good Mikey Murphy chance but again the luck just wasn't in Hotspurs favour. Another disappointing result for the Spurs but plenty of effort from the newly promoted team, who deserved a lot more from the game and will wonder how they lost this game 3-1 and particularly Ryan Harvey in the Spurs goal had very little to do. Spurs go again next week when they play their fourth game against Suncroft AFC. Best for Spurs Robbie Higgins, Sean Higgins, Mikey Murphy, Anthony Durney & Eoin Walsh. The winner were well served by Dylan Hannon, Sean MacMahon until injuries forced them off. Ryan Murran, Joe Bowers and Jason Wyse were outstanding performances while the man of the match was awarded to captain Aeneas Murphy.
Clane United FC 5 1 Arlington FC
A disappointing start to the season for newly promoted as they travelled north of the country to were comprehensively turned over by Clane United.
The visitors started the game well and applied early pressure on the Clane defence with Shane Nealon given them a deserved 1 nil lead..
Clane began to get on top and deserved their equaliser.. again Clane came forward unlucky not to take the lead hitting the frame of the goal.
Second half Arlington came out with their tail between their legs, conceding sloppy goals.. experience showed with clane playing nice football running out a comfortable winning score line of 5-1 on the night.
Ballycane Celtic 3 3 Suncroft AFC
Suncroft kicked off their season with a thrilling three all draw in Naas on Sunday morning against Ballycane Celtic who came into the game on the back of a heavy defeat at the hands of last year’s League champions. The away side started on the front foot setting the tone for how much of the match would play out. After forcing a number of successive corners, Suncroft’s first big chance fell to Bryon Reid after ten minutes when his shot was blocked on the goal line with the Ballycane ‘keeper beaten. Eoin Doyle was next to come close when slipped through by Kieran Sheedy the Ballycane ‘keeper making a good save from close range. Darragh Kelly then forced another good save from the Ballycane ‘keeper with a free-kick from the edge of the box on the twentieth minute mark. The home side almost took the lead against the run of play when a swift counter attack resulted in a cross finding an unmarked Ballycane attacker in the six yard box but ‘Croft ‘keeper Keggy McDonnell was equal to his effort on his return to his old club. Suncroft twice came close to breaking the deadlock through Craig Durney, first his left footed effort from just inside the box went just outside the post and only three minutes later on the half hour mark he beat the ‘keeper only to see his effort cleared off the line also.
The ‘Croft finally managed to take the lead when Ryan Farrell crossed from deep and Eoin Doyle rose highest to loop a header in over the Ballycane ‘keeper with thirty five minutes played. The lead was short lived though as that was the wake up call the home side needed and after numerous corners they eventually got the reward. A scramble in the croft box which led to the instrumental Eoin Archibald being taken down. Up stepped the veteran Keelan Noone who dispatched the ball perfectly sending keeper Keggy the wrong way leaving the sides going in deadlocked at 1-1 at the break with all to play for.
Suncroft pushed hard looking to regain the lead early in the second half but the home side defence, marshalled by the evergreen Bubba Doyle, stood firm. Eoin Doyle thought he had put his side back in front but had to watch as his powerful header from a Josh Lee corner crashed back off the crossbar. The home side started playing some good football with father and son duo Wayne and Leon Doyle linking well with the midfield pair of Robert Heavey and Dan whittaker. Its was the latter who was giving the suncroft left full a torrid time all game. The cane took the lead on sixty seven minutes when a peach of a ball from Archibald was destined for Jack Scanlon but Croft defender Gary Scully headed the ball into his own net in an attempt to clear giving Ballycane a 2-1 advantage. Both teams enjoyed Nice periods of possession with both keepers making some decent saves. Ballycane made it 3-1 in the eighty third minute when Jake o Reilly made a superb tackle in the middle that found nephew Callum who made no mistake and slotted the ball past the on rushing keeper. Ballycane could have made it 4 only for the woodwork to deny Jake o Reilly .
Suncroft poured on attack after attack for the remainder but were finding the resolute Ballycane defence very difficult to break down. With 92 mins on the clock, Kieran Sheedy gave his side a lifeline with an excellent goal. Pulling a high ball from Bryon Reid down inside the box he twice turned the defender to force an opening and fired low and hard into the net. Less than a minute later Suncroft grabbed a deserved equaliser. Podge Coady blocked an attempted clearance and the ball fell into the path of Eoin Doyle who fired home from just inside the area. For Suncroft, Eoin Doyle and the industrious Eamon Doyle caused the Ballycane defence problems all afternoon while Bryon Reid, Ryan Farrell and Stevie Coyne were all in solid form throughout. Best for the home side were Doyle, Archibald and Brennan at the back with Heavey and Whittaker putting in great shifts and Scanlon up top. Their man of the match went to Eoin Archibald for an outstanding debut performance.
Clongorey FC 0 4 Naas United FC
Naas United got their 2023 KDFL Senior Division campaign off to a flying start on Sunday with a 4-0 win away to Clongorey on Sunday.
Naas came into this fixture having been idle last week for the Easter break and with their scheduled league opener with Suncroft postponed the previous week due to a waterlogged pitch, whilst Clongorey took to the field having opened their league campaign with a hard fought victory over Newbridge Hotspurs on Easter Sunday.
The first half transpired to be a very evenly contested affair that was perhaps slightly shaded by United. Nonetheless it was the men from the county town who hit the front first with the hosts coughing up possession carelessly at the back when Gary Hunt had left his goal, thus giving Dicky Nolan’s men the chance to slot home from range and into an empty net.
Clongorey responded positively to going behind with them holding the upper hand in possession and territory in the lead up to and the quarter hour after the break, but were soon dealt a sucker punch with the concession of a penalty on sixty minutes that saw Naas double their advantage with a well taken spot-kick from Roz Higgins. Naas United’s Stephen French, Jordan Martella, Victor Oladapo and Brian Nolan were now calling the shots for the visitors.
Clongorey heads dropped in the immediate aftermath of their deficit being doubled with another error seeing them concede a third on sixty eight minutes from the boot of Martella, that was to be supplemented with a fourth six minutes later, Martella getting his second of the day thus giving the scoreline a very undeservedly harsh looking appearance from the hosts’ perspective.
Best on a disappointing day for Clongorey were Cornell Tembe, Marvin Mbala, Emmet O’Brien and Cian O’Connor whilst Reece McLaughlin and Seán Gallagher also deserve a mention for their impact from the bench in the latter half of the second period. Best for the winners were Martella, Higgins, French and their man of the match was Victor Oladapo.
Rathangan FC 2 3 Clonmullion FC
Games between Rathangan and Clonmullion are always tight competitive affairs and this was no different. The visitors were sharpest to begin with and straight from the tip off Mark Hughes received the ball from Garry Comerford and pinged a great ball to Jody Dillon who’s first time flick fell beautifully into the path of Benny Lawlor who fired straight at keeper David Tyrell. Fieve minutes later the home side clipped the top of Timmy Doyle’s bar when Colin Scanlon’s overhead kick from an Alex Conlon corner almost dipped enough. Nicky Leonard was picking up great positions out wide and when Comerford picked him out in the oppositions half his diagonal ball found Lawlor on the opposite side but he was tackled by Scanlon just as he was about to shoot.
The Mull made the breakthrough on the quarter hour mark with a brilliantly worked corner kick routine involving Keane Cully and Nathan Robinson with the latter whipping in a great ball which Hughes powered home with his head to make it 1 nil. A minute later another well rehearsed set piece saw Hughes feint to shoot from a free kick only feed Robinson who squared to Comerford forced a great save from Tyrrell. Indeed it was a set piece which saw Clonmullion double the lead on twenty minutes when Hughes challenged the keeper to head a Robinson corner and it glanced into the path of Dillon who nodded home to make it 2 nil from six yards out.
Rathangan almost pulled one back ten minutes later when Conlon intercepted a Robinson back pass and was clean through on goal but keeper Doyle saved brilliantly with his feet. With five minutes left in the first half Stefan Lawlor floated in a free kick which was headed clear by Johnny Fennel and it fell nicely to Arun Doyle on the edge of the box but he blazed over. Timmy Doyle picked out Lee Doyle with a long punt up field and he laid the ball off to Dillon but Tyrrell wad equal his effort. Winger Doyle and Dillon combined again and put Lawlor through on goal but Tyrrell dived bravely at his feet to smother the danger. Rathangan sub Dylan Wallace played a great through ball to Conlon right on the stroke of half time but keeper Doyle got down well to save.
The visitors were forced to shuffle the pack at half time when Hughes was forced off with knock and Lee Day coming into anchor the midfield with Comerford slotting in at centre half. The home side pressed hard to pull one back and were rewarded after ten minutes of the second half when Conlon raided down the right wing and his low cross evaded everyone except Arun Doyle arriving late at the back post to tap home from close range to make it 2 1. Sub Lee Day was making his presence felt in the middle of the park and he directed a great header out to Lee Foley who fed full back Leonard whose chip to the back post was headed goalwards but Tyrrell tipped over the bar. Clonmullion’s Foley was next to try his luck on the hour mark after great approach play by Cully and Robinson. A quick throw from Leonard to Dillon saw him dribble along the end line and pulled the ball back to Foley but his shot was blocked down by Nathan Cullen. With fifteen minutes remaining Comerford flighted a lovely free kick to Lee Doyle on the edge of the eighteen yard box and he was unlucky to see his half volley just clip the crossbar. With ten minutes left Clonmullion were awarded a free kick twenty five yards out for a another foul on Dillon and Comerford struck a brilliant effort over the wall and curling into the top corner to make it 3 1. Straight from the kick off Rathangan were awarded a free kick twenty yards out and Doyle curled a beautiful shot around the wall and passed a despairing dive from the keeper. Try as they might Rathangan couldnt find the equaliser and Clonmullion made it 3 wins from 3 starts to lead the way. Best for Clonmullion were Leonard and Cully at the back, Comerford and Robinson in the middle and Lee Doyle and Dillon up front. Best for Rathangan were : Tommy Power, Colin Scanlon, Dylan Wallace and Alex Conlan