KDFL SENIOR DIVISION TEAM FOCUS
Kilcock Celtic 1 3 Naas United FC
Naas United made the trip to Kilcock for the first ever meeting between these sides in the KDFL top Division. The traveling supporters were treated to a terrific game of football as both sides looked lively in the opening stages. Kilcock as expected came out looking to use the wide spaces of the Astro pitch, with arrowed passes into the flanks, but Jamie Dunne and Matt Drewitt got to grips with the tactics and Naas settled down defensively. There was a brilliant run from Kilcock’s left back on thirteen minutes that saw him zip past three players and he found himself in on goal, but Keith Higgins made a save look easy as No.3 shot from a tight angle.
Naas were starting to get themselves motoring by this stage and Samson Ometeso was again looking lively on the right. A quick position change saw Stephen Burke switch Johnny Finnegan up front and within a minute he opened the scoring after a lovely move involving Drewitt, Samson and Abdel Karim saw Finnegan shoot first time into the top corner from an angle just inside the box. Kilcock pushed Naas back straight away forcing a corner which led to a shot just over by their No.8. The second goal of the game came to the away side and yet again it was Finnegan getting his name on the score sheet, great hold up play and battling by Captain Paul Ometeso saw the ball come out to Finnegan thirty yards out, and he took one touch to set himself before cracking a half volley which caught the keeper off guard and left him helpless.
It’s the first time this season Naas have gone two goals up in a game but it didn’t last too long as the deficit was back to one goal on twenty eight minutes with the goal of the game. If Finnegans shot looked spectacular, this goal put it to shame. From a corner the ball broke out and Naas United should have created a counter attack, but a terrific interception by No.8 saw the ball come to No.6 who turned and saw Higgins slightly off his line and Bang, forty yards out he struck a beauty that Higgins almost got to, but even his 6ft 5 frame wasn’t able to reach. Game on.
Naas now had to play cagey as Kilcock midfield really like to pass the ball around and work it to the No.11 with his tricky feet, but he was finding his job very frustrating because he met Jamie Dunne, one of the best full backs in the league. Liam Marshal and Aaron Dunphy soon got themselves back in the swing of things though and both showed a lovely passing range of their own. And it was that avenue that led to United’s third goal on thirty eight minutes. Rob Heavey winning his arial battle and it sets up an attack, both youngsters in midfield link up with Abdel, before spraying the ball out to Samson who took his man on direct and fired a shot across the keeper into the top corner. What a turn around from Samson in recent games, his hard work in training saw him get a chance in the 1-0 victory last week and he took it, and in his second start he has scored a cracker to give the away side a two goal advantage going into the second half.
The away side took the sting out of the early stages of the second half before making three changes and then another two changes five minutes later to utilize the five subs rule and really freshen up the team. The game got a little sloppy and Keith Higgins had to be on his toes with a couple of soft efforts, but Naas soon began to kill the game out with some lovely passing moves just tiring out the home side. The passing saw Naas win a penalty on seventieth minutes when the lively Abdel Karim was brought down inside the box. Paul Ometeso stepped up to take it to cap another fine display up front, but the keeper guessed the right way and made a good save to keep the score at 3-1.
Naas kept on attacking though and probably should have had that fourth goal as Ver Nolan saw his excellent half volley saved and Ometeso saw the rebound stopped by an excellent double save. Naas were happy enough to see out the final minutes of what was the clubs first ever Friday night game as they took the weekend off and now head into a local derby away to Ballycane on Wednesday evening. Naas had another excellent display from man of the match Kelvin Dennan who has been a breath of fresh air since his return alongside Rob Heavey. Paul and Samson Ometeso along with Abdel up front never allowed the home defence a minute’s peace, and two goals from Finnegan saw him boost his fitness further as the season starts to hot up.
Kilcullen AFC 1 3 Suncroft AFC
In their second meeting of the season, Suncroft and Kilcullen served up another entertaining local derby game with Suncroft managing to come out on top this time around. With both teams seemingly playing a cautious game in the early stages there was very little in the way of goalmouth action. As the game began to open up it was the home side who had the first real sight of goal with Mark Wolfe finding himself in space on the edge of the area his attempted lob was well blocked by 'Croft 'keeper Colin Farrell. Suncroft took the lead in the twenty eight minute when Dylan Connolly played a speculative ball into into space behind the Kilcullen defence, Bryon Reid bursting from midfield showed his blistering pace to beat Kilcullen 'keeper, former Suncroft youth player, Jamie McGowan to the ball and tap into the empty net. The goal gave Suncroft a massive lift while taking the wind out of the sails of the home side as the away side began to get on top as the half wore on. Goal scorer Reid was looking especially confident and was desperately unlucky not to apply a finish to what would have been an amazing solo effort, starting a run inside his own half, he beat four players while working his way into the box only to run out of room before he could get his shot away. Mark Wolfe came closest to an equaliser for Kilcullen when Brian Murphy played him in behind but his attempted lob was smothered by the visitors and Suncroft went in ahead at the break.
Suncroft were dealt a blow in the beginning of the second period when top scorer Dylan Connolly had to be withdrawn with injury with Eoin Doyle taking his place. The early stages of the second half were much like the first, with both defences on top and the majority of the play in midfield with Kilcullen just shading matters. The away side were dealt a further blow when the ever impressive Paddy Flood also had to also be withdrawn with injury in the fifty fifth minute. Flood's withdrawal forced a reshuffle of the 'Croft defence and with Kilcullen looking to take advantage, a sustained period of pressure from the home side followed but Ryan Farrell, Liam Knight and Cathal Mahon stood firm to weather the storm. Kilcullen came very close to getting an equalising goal in the 60th minute, with fullback Keith Scanlon getting forward and firing a well struck long range effort at goal but the in-form Farrell in the 'Croft goal saved well.
The introduction of substitute's Niall Flynn and Keith Kinsella seemed to help Suncroft compose themselves once more and it was Flynn who would go on to score his side's second with 70 mins played. Receiving the ball near the left edge of the area there looked to be little on but Flynn cut inside sharply and curled the ball into the far top corner to put the 'Croft 2-0 up. Eoin Doyle, continuing his return from a long layoff, came close to extending his side's lead soon after when controlling a Craig Durney cross but saw his left footed effort well saved from McGowan in the Kilcullen goal. Doyle turned creator for his side's third goal in the seventy fifth minute, his slide rule pass finding Reid cutting in from the right, Reid took a touch to steady himself before firing an unstoppable effort from a tight angle.
Despite being 3 nil down, Kilcullen continued to try and find a way back into the game with Brian Murphy in midfield driving his side on. The home side got a lifeline in the eighty first minute, Suncroft failing to properly clear a Kilcullen corner, Murphy swept the ball back out wide and a cross from Mark Wolfe found the unmarked Jason Keogh at the back post who had time to control the ball and fire home from close range. The away side would come the closest to scoring in the closing minutes of the game, some neat interchange play between Doyle and Keith Kinsella saw the latter through on goal but McGowan again saved well to deny Kinsella a debut goal.
Kilcullen had strong performances from defenders Colin and Keith Scanlon alongside Alan Crowe and the hard working midfielder Brian Murphy and Mark Wolfe. On a day when many of the Suncroft players played very well, the standout performances came from Kieran Sheedy, Ryan Farrell, Craig Durney, Liam Knight and a towering performance from clear man of the match Bryon Reid.
Rathangan AFC 1 2 Clane United FC
When these two teams met last it was Clane who came out on top in the Senior division Cup Final last year. Rathangan were looking to continue their unbeaten league run and knew they'd have to be on top of their game if that was to happen. Both teams were evenly matched in the first half an hour Clane started to get on top as Eoghan Maguire looked dangerous getting in behind the home sides defence . The first real opportunity of the game arrived on the fifteenth minute as Cathal Geoghegan headed on to the bar from a Kelly corner . Moments later Maguire dropped deep and played in the on rushing Kelly who had his shot saved. The home side came into the game as the half went on without really troubling John ball in the Clane goal. The game fairly balanced and the fortieth minute was the real turning point of the game as Rathangan s driving force in midfield Tommy Power was sent for an early shower following a second yellow card . Despite this the home side took the lead on the forty fourth minute through a set piece to go in one up at half time .
Clane with the numerical advantage came out strong in the second half and Rathangan dropping off . Clane created few chances through a Andy Brogan and Mark Kelly’s headers. On the fifty eight minute Clane finally breached the home sides defence as Brogan fired low into the net to make it one all. Clane controlling most of the ball but Rathangan looked a threat on the break as Lee Moore slipped in behind Jack Kelly only to be denied by Keeper Ball making an important save . With twelve minutes remaining Clane took the lead and the eventual winner as a Kelly corner was scrambled home by Sean Harnett . Best for the winners were Cathal Geoghegan, Ciaran Kelly and Sean Harnett while for Rathangan David Tyrrell, Stefan Lawlor and Dan Mulpeter impressed.
SPWFC 0 0 Ballycane Celtic FC
It was honours even at Clongorey on Sunday in this local derby between SPWFC and Ballycane Celtic at the pristine Old Bog Road pitch. The away side started the better with Leon Doyle, Niall Herbert and Dean Preston all playing some beautiful crisp football. On fifteen minutes a beautifully whipped ball from Doyle found the head of Herbert but his header was narrowly wide of home keeper Adam Doyle net. Ten minutes later it was Craig Byrne from a corner who went close. Leon Doyle came closest to opening the scoring when he picked up the ball in his own half,,beat three players and unleashed a thunderous strike. Unlucky for him it smashed off the crossbar and bounced to the feet of a defender. Just before the half ended Dan Whittaker went on a mazy run down the left and found himself one on one. He tried to square it to the onrushing Noone but the defender got in an all important block. Hunt, Walsh , Carter, Courtney were well on top for the home side in the first half.
The second half started with the well coming out of the blocks quickly. They started to press the away side and created there own chances from Headon and Kavanagh. The best opportunity of the game came on sixty fifth minute for Ballycane Celtic when Dean Preston was played in by Wayne Doyle after a nice link up move with his son Leon and he found himself one on one with the ‘Well keeper Doyle but he again couldn't find the target and shot wide. With the game entering its dying minutes both teams were pushing for a winner but both defences stood tall and it finished all square.
Best for the cane were Mick Doheny in the back, Dean Preston and Whittaker in the midfield and man of the match Leon Doyle. Best on the day for the home side were Carter, Headon and Moody.