KDFL SENIOR DIVISION FOCUS
Suncroft AFC 1 Newbridge Hotspurs FC 2
Despite all the rain that fell on Saturday, the pitch at the Community Grounds in Suncroft was in an immaculate condition and that coupled with the sun shining set the scene for a good game of football albeit a tense footballing encounter. After two defeats, Hotspurs were looking to bounce back and Suncroft coming off a 3-3 draw against Ballycane Celtic in their first game of the season. For Hotspurs, it was a disastrous start. After two minutes, Suncroft took the lead after their forward and midfield line pressed the Hotspurs defence and won possession. They pushed forward and managed to lift the ball over the Hotspurs keeper to make it 1-0. Despite this start, Hotspurs kept their heads and grew into the game. On the fifth minute, Mikey Murphy was unlucky when his attempt at chipping the keeper following a fine Sean Higgins pass was well saved by the Suncroft keeper. It was on the tenth minute Hotspurs got their deserved equaliser. A fine pass from Barry Doyle found Ciaran Glynn who made another fine pass to Mikey Murphy. Murphy dribbled past the left back towards the end line, looked up, and spotted Chris Higgins making run to the centre of the box, Murphy cut it back to Chris Higgins who struck with left foot to make it 1-1. It was a fine team goal and what Hotspurs deserved.
The rest of the first half more akin to a game or chess with both teams niggling at each other and fighting for possession. Ryan Harvey and Hotspurs defence of Scott O’Connor, Barry Doyle, Sean Higgins and Robbie Higgins done a fine job of keeping the Suncroft attack at bay despite some pressure and a series of corners which tested the Hotspurs defence. In terms of first half chances, they were few and far between but Shane Smith (a constant thorn in the side on the Suncroft defence) did have a chance near the end of the half but to no avail. The game went in at half time 1-1. The second half started much the same way the first half finished with both sides having a decent amount of possession but lacking that cutting edge in front of goal. On the sixty second minute, Hotspurs made a change with Scott O’Donoghue coming on for the injured Robbie Higgins. Almost straight away, O’Donoghue was making his impact on the game. On the sixty fifth minute, he went close when his header was well saved by the Suncroft keeper following a fine Shane Smith cross. On the seventy third minute, Greg Kelly and Tomas Hennessy entered the fray for Anthony Durney and Ciaran Glynn (both of whom worked tirelessly in a real midfield battle). With fiftheen minutes remaining Suncroft almost made it 2-1 but their striker was denied by an almost impossible save made by Ryan Harvey who managed to keep the ball from crossing the line. The game ebbed and flowed but as the last ten minutes closed in, Hotspurs felt there was an opportunity to collect all three points. On the eighty sixth minute, Eoin Walsh went close when his shot went over the bar. With three minutes remaining on normal time Mikey Murphy had a shot blocked. However, on the eighty eight minute, a speculative long ball by Scott O’Connor was only half dealt with the Suncroft defence, the defender headed clear but it fell to Greg Kelly who struck on the volley from 22 yards to hit the back of the net. 2-1 to Hotspurs. The last seven minutes saw Suncroft put the pressure on but the resolute Hotspurs defence and midfield dealt excellently with it. The game finished 2-1 to Hotspurs. Best for the winners were Sean Higgins, Shane Smith, Mikey Murphy, Chris Higgins and Hotspurs Man of the Match Eoin Walsh
Clane United FC 4 Ballycane Celtic FC 3
After a share of the spoils last week at home, the Cane were on the lookout for three points this weekend but despite a late comeback, there just wasn't enough time of the clock for them.
With the home side taking the tip, they attempted to take an early lead with some great play in the centre before sending the ball to Eoghan McGuire who was denied by step-in goalkeeper Kevin Higgins. Wayne Doyle and Eoin Archbold in the Ballycane backline found themselves being busier than expected but despite the pressure, they kept the Cane in play. Dean Preston came close to an opener but was rejected by the Clane keeper. The home side took the lead in the opening third when the Dean Commisky placed his shot low and hard in to the corner of Higgys net following good approach work by Mark Kelly.
Ballycane’s Rob Heavey and Keelan Noone continued to link up with Callum O'Reilly and Preston to equalise the game but the Clane’s centre halves and keeper were quick to close down any opportunities. Preston who should have been on the scoresheet early was denied several more times before the first half came to a close with the homeside in the lead 1-0.
Ballycane opened the second half and pressed hard with link ups coming from Josh Brennan, Darren Larkin who found O'Reilly up the top again, only to hit his shot wide of the post. It was Commisky who took control of the next goal after winning possession from Leon Doyle on the right wing and playing a one-two with McGuire, where Commisky finished to double Clane’s lead at the fifty seventh minute. A placid ten minutes of play went by and despite a super save from Higgins, it was a tap in from Noel Haverty that put the homeside in a comfortable lead.
Cane’s Callum O'Reilly claimed the first goal after one of Clane’s defenders attempted to make a clearance which came off O'Reilly who had pressed high deflecting the ball into the net. It was O'Reilly who came to life here also scoring the second for Ballycane after a link of play between Nooners and Hob was played forward to Callum who took on the defender to slot it pass the Clane goalkeeper.
With the game up for grabs in the closing minutes at 3-2 in Clane’s favour, a mishap in the Ballycane goal mouth lead to another goal for Clane, claimed by Eoghan McGuire, leaving it 4-2 at the 90th minute. Injury time welcomed a penalty for Ballycane after Stephen Dunne collided with Archbold with enough force for the referee to point to the spot. It was Keelan Noone who stepped up with a powerful shot to claim the last goal of the game. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough injury time for Ballycane to claim an equaliser and Clane finished the game in the driving seat. Best for the winners were goalscorers Dean Commisky, Eoghan McGuire and Noel Haverty in the backline and Cathal Geoghegan. Best for Ballycane were Wayne Doyle and Archbold in the back and Callum O'Reilly with his brace of goals.
Rathangan AFC 3 Clongorey FC 0
Clongorey made the short trip to Rathangan looking for a reaction to last week's disappointing loss to Naas on Sunday morning while Rathangan were looking for their first win of the season having been turned over by Clonmullion and drawing with Newbridge Hotspurs. The visitors burst out of the traps early with Brian Leavy on left getting the better of the Rathangan right full to whip in a dangerous cross into the box that just evaded the on rushing Cian and Leon. The Rathangan defender hurt himself in that opening exchange and had to retire from the game early due to injury.. The game was battled out in midfield for the opening fifteen minutes before Rathangan put in great switch of play to the Arun Doyle who turned into the box and picked out the Iain Doyle whose clever movement got him free from Marvin to expertly slot home the opener to put Rathangan 1-0 up. Five minutes later Clongorey gave themselves a mountain to climb when they gave away an unnecessary penalty which Iain Doyle converted to give his side a 2-0 lead, a lead which they held to the break.
The visitors started the second half in determined fashion. Ronan Kelly on his debut was now starting to cause problems down the right and crossed in a great ball to Cian who shot narrowly wide. Clongorey brought on three new players on the hour to try force their way back into the game and were really pushing for a goal this stage with Rathangan keeper David Tyrell pulling off a fine save from Cornell who freed himself in the box and shot a vicious strike off his left. Carter freed Gally one v one with the keeper but his shot went agonisingly wide and the visitors were punished on the counter attack in the final five minutes when the Rathangan Jason Dempsey sprung the offside trap to wrap up the game with a fine goal following good work from Ross lyons. Best for the winners were keeper Tyrell and Stefan Lawler. Best for Clongorey were Brian Leavy, Cornell and Ronan Kelly.