KDFL SENIOR DIVISION FOCUS
Coill Dubh AFC 1 4 Clane United FC
Clane United continued their recent good form with a comprehensive 1 – 4 derby day victory over the Dubh’s in front of a large crowd at Cusack Park. Coill Dubh find themselves with a mounting injury list and look to be struggling for confidence, however, the early exchanges were cagey with both sides cancelling each other out effectively. United began to grow into the match and midway through the first half Clane had a couple of dangerous chances. Goalkeeper Mark Kilgallon made a series of impressive saves, to keep Clane at bay. On the 29th minute, Sean MacMahon beat his marker with skill and determination in a tight area driving into the Clane penalty area only to be brought down by a Clane defender. The assistant referee on the far side flagged for a foul and the Dubh’s were awarded a penalty. Joe Bowers confidently stepped up and made no mistake, comfortably dispatching it low past the Clane United keeper. The Dubh’s held on to their slender lead until the eight minute of time added on before the half time mark. Cathal Geoghegan heading home from an Andy Brogan cross, unmarked in the centre of the box finishing brilliantly leaving Kilgallon with no chance. Honours even at half-time.
The second half saw an increase in intensity from Clane United as they pushed for a breakthrough. Maguire, playing in a more central role began causing many problems for the Dubh’s defence. In the 67th minute, Andy Brogan would latch on to a goal line clearance to give Clane a deserved 1 – 2 lead. The Dubh’s would go on to battle for an equaliser, forming some excellent passages of short passing play and some dangerous deliveries from set pieces, but were unable to supply the finishing touch. The game was over as a contest on the eighty second minute when Brogan got his second of the evening, taking advantage of a tired Dubh’s defence making it 1 - 3. James Ralph would complete the rout in the dying embers of the match with his first senior goal for Clane United to make it 1 – 4.
Some strong performances from Clane United, Maguire, Andy Brogan, Killian Patchell, Noel Haverty, Dean Comiskey and young James Ralph were best for Clane. For Coill Dubh, Mark Kilgallon made some great saves to keep the Dubh’s in the match. Defenders Jason Wyse & Trevor McDonald put in a solid shift, particularly in the first half. Ryan Murran, playing a more defensive role than usual to cover for injuries gave it his all and Cian MacMahon impressed when introduced adding some needed quality to set piece delivery.
Naas United FC 2 2 Rathangan AFC
Naas United FC and Rathangan FC played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the perfectly manicured Jigginstown on Sunday in front of a very large crowd. The away side started the game very well. Rathangan pilled on the pressure and in the tenth minute they won a throw in with Tone Byrne receiving the ball , he used his power and strength to get through the Naas midfield and play a one two with Iain Doyle which resulted in Tone Byrne being brought down in the box. The ever-reliable Iain Doyle steps up to perfectly slot the ball in the left-hand corner to put the visitors 1-0 up. Naas reacted quickly and managed to pull one back when they scored just before half hour mark when Stephen French converted following good approach work from Jack Conway to level matters.
Rathangan gained the upper hand and on the stroke of half time went 2-1 up when Alex Conlan won a free kick just inside the half way line, Nathan Cullen stepped forward to ick out Colin Scanlon with the free and he met it with force to power past the home keeper.
Rathangan’s Tony Byrne had to retire through injury at half time and this was a devastating blow for the visitors. Naas began to win the battle in midfield. The home side deservedly equalised with five minutes to go when they were awarded a penalty which was expertly converted by JP Higgins to make it 2-2. Best for Naas were French and Higgins while for Rathangan Nathan Cullen, Colin Scanlon and Jim Brennan excelled.
Arlington FC 2 1 Ballycane Celtic FC
After a sun kissed Saturday , Sunday morning brought a very different prospect to the meeting between Arlington AFC and Ballycane Celtic FC at Castle Park lea Road ,with plenty of rain making conditions underfoot very soft. Both teams needing a win to kick start their season the game kicked off with some intermittent rain falling which made for a fast and slippery surface .Arlington started much the brighter and pressing Ballycane in their own half at every opportunity possible ,Arlington maintained possession very well in the early exchanges and managed to bring some fine saves from the Ballycane keeper Shane Herbert with shots from Ceilum Coughlan Maher ,Shane Nealon and Olu Solanke. The visitors worked their way in to the game and after some quick forward play it was Arlington keeper Evan Grattan this time to the rescue following good efforts from Ballycane’s Robert Heavy and Dan Whittaker. The first half finished with Arlington pressing hard and Ballycane countering ...nil all at half time .
The second half started pretty much in the same manner as the first with Arlington pressing hard to open the scoring, finally after getting a corner .quick thinking from Ceilum Coughlan Maher he received a short pass and turned to fire the ball into the box and Shane Nealon took full advantage to slot home Arlington’s first past Shane Herbert.
The home side continued to press and again this time drew a free in a dangerous area, Oleg Shishkerev whipped the free kick in to the box and Daniel Stefanov rose highest to head home for Arlingtons second to put them 2-0 up. The visitors were not despondent and continued to pressed hard and had a chance through Jake O Reilly and after some very hard work earned a free kick just outside the Arlington danger area when Callum O Reilly was brought down. A well struck free kick by the impressive Leon Doyle managed to find the bottom corner of the Arlington net to put the minimum between the sides/
With plenty of exchanges from both sides and a few near misses from Arlington it was Ballycane who had the ball in the back of the net from a free kick resulting in a headed effort from Craig Doyle. The goal was adjudged to be offside. Arlington held out for a narrow victory. Best for Ballycane were Archibald, Doheny and Doyle at the back while whittaker and Noone had a great game in the midfield. Man of the match Eoin Archibald.
Newbridge Hotspurs 2 2 Clonmullion FC
Hotspurs were looking to bounce back from last week’s spirited defeat to Clane Utd and grab a result against last year’s treble winners Clonmullion FC. Despite the damp and dreary weather conditions, the game was anything but and at times was a feisty but fair encounter. The first half itself was a rather cagey affair with both sides having a limited number of chances. The visitors should have taken the lead after only ten minutes when a Lee Foley throw in was hooked to the back post by Jody Dillon where Lee Doyle nodded the ball into the path of Benny Lawlor who fired over the bar from ten yards out. That said, Hotspurs were not without their chances too. The first of which fell on the tenth minute when Scott O’Donoghue had a shot that went wide of the post. On the twenty second minute, Hotspurs had their second attempt at goal when Shane Smith found his way through a congested Clonmullion defence but his shot was well blocked by the last Clonmullion defender Nicky Leonard. In the intervening twenty minutes or so, the game was very much a midfield battle with the Hotspurs players adhering to their managers game plan. The game was played defensively and chances were few and far between. Just before half time, Sean Higgins did have a free kick but the free kick itself was struck over the bar. The game went in at half time 0-0.
The second half of the game saw all four goals scored. Hotspurs started much the same way as the first half and had a couple of early chances. Just a minute in, Shane Smith had a chance well saved by the Clonmullion keeper Stephen Davis. On the 54th minute, Greg Kelly got into a great position and struck towards goal but yet again the Clonmullion defender was on hand to block their shot. It was a familiar theme in this game with the Clonmullion defence getting their last gasp tackles in with precision timing. One of the best chances of the game up to this point came on the 57th minute. A Tomas Hennessy cross field pass played through Scott O’Donoghue with O’Donoghue shooting first time but the shot went narrowly wide shaving the outside of the post. On the 59th minute, Clonmullion had a chance from a free kick but Ryan Harvey was on hand to make a good save. Almost a minute later, Clonmullion were awarded a penalty after Higgins was adjudged to have brought down Lawlor in the box and Robinson drilled it home from the spot. The Clonmullion attacker subsequently struck home from the spot to make 1-0. Despite this, Hotspurs didn’t let their heads drop. Hotspurs made their first sub of the game when Jeff Haliti replaced Hotspurs captain Barry Doyle. It was on the 70th minute when Hotspurs had an excellent chance. Fine build up play on the left by Scott O’Donoghue led to Chris Higgins whipping a ball into the near post, the cross was met by Mikey Murphy who headed at the side netting. On the 72nd minute, O’Donoghue had a shot once again blocked at the near post by the Clonmullion defence. On the 75th minute, Eoin McGrath replaced Greg Kelly. It was on the 81st minute when Hotspurs got their deserved equaliser. A Chris Higgins free kick was whipped into the box, the Clonmullion defence failed to clear and it dropped to Anthony Durney who managed to slot it into the bottom left corner to draw level at 1-1.
Hotspurs continued to press and on the eighty ninth minute managed to get their second goal. Once again, it came on the left hand side with Chris Higgins and Mikey Murphy involved in the build up play, the ball eventually made its way to Scott O’Donoghue who made a delicious cross to the box which was met by the well timed run head of Eoin McGrath to make it 2-1. At this point, it looked as if Hotspurs might claim all three points. The Mull threw caution to the wind and their constant pressure paid off when after a series of shots from Robinson and substitute Hughes were blocked down another effort from Moriarity was handled on the line and the referee pointed to the spot. Hughes stepped up and hammered the ball to the back of the net to keep his sides unbeaten run alive. Best for Hotspurs were keeper Harvey, Sean and Robbie Higgins, Durney and Hennessy in midfield and O Donoghue up front. Best for Clonmullion were Stephen Davis in goals and Leonard and Cully in defence, Robinson and Comerford in midfield and Doyle and Dillon up front with Jay Connell outstanding throughout.