FAI Junior Cup action !
Clane United FC 2 Arlington FC 4
Arlington travelled to clane on Friday evening hoping to progress to the next round of the competition,
With far from ideal preparations, missing some vital member sof the squad. Arlington went into the game full of confidence on a bitterly cold night in Clane. Clane took an early lead after only two minutes from a corner when the Arlington defence were caught napping. The visitors didn’t let this deter their aim and were switched into life and began moving the ball with real confidence right away. They drew level five minutes later when great work in the middle from Jake Nichol and Robbie Mc Neill got the ball into Ceilum Maher who flicked the ball first time into the path of Olu Solanke , Olu unselfishly squared to Shane Nealon who made absolutely no mistake and smashed home his 29th of the season, unbelievable numbers from the young striker. Arlington continued to dominant the ball and pinned Clane back pressing high up the park. Joe Gorman began to find space in between the lines and started to dictate play as he so often does. Nealon nearly doubled his tally for the evening when Joe Gorman sprayed a ball out to the right hand side which was controlled perfectly by Nealon who rattled a shot just into the side netting. Arlington got their reward for all the intensity in their play in the twenty second minute when the magnificent McNeill closed down the Clane centreback at the edge of the semi circle. McNeill won the ball and found himself clean through on goal with not a defender to be seen he raced away and calmly slotted past the onrushing keeper to make it 1-2 to Arlington.
Clane reacted to going behind and nearly got back on level terms when their striker unleashed a great strike from the left hand side of the box which looked destined to nestle in the bottom corner only for Evan Grattan to get a strong hand on it to touch it onto the post. Arlington could have gone 1-3 up not long after when a ball fell to Jake Nichols who unleashed a venomous volley with produced a good save from the clane keeper. The visitors continued to hunt the ball all over the pitch and got their third goal of the night when Stephen Shiels won the ball back on the left hand side and played the ball to Jason Conlon at centre back who looked up and spotted the run of Maher from deep. Jay popped a lovely ball over the top which bounced perfectly for Maher to just caress the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper to make it 1-3 to Arlington.
On sixty minutes Arlington were forced into making a change at full back with Stephen Shiels pulling a calf which is no surprise as the game was his first football in ten weeks after breaking his collar bone against Clonmullion in the league Cup. Arlington got the fourth goal on seventy minutes which was well deserved after Nicholl and Gorman linked brilliantly in the middle and found that man McNeill in a forward position with his back to goal twenty five yards out he somehow spotted the run of Maher and with a cheeky backheel McNeill nutmegged the centre back with perfect weight for Maher to smash the ball home first time without breaking stride. McNeill was immediately substituted for Oleg Shiskarev having come into the game carrying a muscle issue Robbie ran his socks off all night in a MOTM performance on the eve of his twenty eight birthday, Arlington were happy to hold what they had at this point but never stopped playing football with the impressive Alex O Leary solid on the right behind Solanke. The eventual winners brought Joe Gorman off for Cian Byrne on seventy-five minutes another carrying a knock coming into the game but at the age of 39 was outstanding. Clane got a consultation goal with seven minutes remaining after a rebounded ball off a Clane player in the middle of the pitch found Clane’s number ten cut inside and curled a lovely strike into the top right hand corner of the net.
League Action !
Naas United FC 1 Clongorey FC 2
Clongorey took a giant step towards maintaining their KDFL Senior Division status for 2024 with a 2-1 win over Naas United on Sunday on neutral turf at Doctor's Road. Naas started the brighter of the two sides with them causing considerable difficulty for Clongorey down the right flank, much of which was orchestrated by Jordan Martella at right back. However, with Gary Hunt, Shaun Walsh and Richard Kenna steadying the ship at the back, Clongorey had begun to find their feet by the midway point in the half and were first to hit the front when good work by Marvin Mbala and Jamie Headon saw Reece McLaughlin put Lee Baldwin through to tuck the ball away nearty in the left-hand corner of the Naas goal. United began the second half the way they did the first and were to benefit from that particular period of dominance when a needlessly conceded free-kick was dispatched low into the bottom right corner by Jack Conway giving Clongorey netminder Adam Doyle no chance. Nonetheless Clongorey were evidently adamant they were going to come away with all three points – none moreso than Danny Callan who played McLaughlin in to finish calmly with less than fifteen minutes remaining. With Naas desperately searching for an equaliser in the closing stages Sean Casey's men were giving every last inch of themselves to preserve a lead which appeared destined to be lost with a curling Naas effort that looked as if it was about to rattle the net and salvage a share of the spoils for Dicky Nolan's charges.
However, Doyle was not to be beaten for a second time and made a spectacular save thus giving his side a crucial victory. Best on the day for Clongorey were Sheldon Mbala, Seán Carter, Headon and Man-of-the-Match Callan who put in a gargantuan shift. Best for Naas United were Jack Conway and Jordan Martella.
Clonmullion FC 5 Coill Dubh AFC 0
New crowned Senior League Champions Clonmullion FC bagged all three points in their penultimate league game versus Coill Dubh AFC on Sunday morning. Coill Dubh travelled missing several regulars due to injuries while Clonmullion FC Manager Barry Hughes and his selection team chose to ring the changes ahead of next week's Lumsden Cup Final, with 8 different personnel from the last game against Maynooth University Town. But it didn't seem to affect things too much with the home side going 1 nil up after only ten minutes. Lee Foley raided down the right and his cross was headed clear by Aaron Lenehan but it fell to Jack Dooley who's half volley found the target. With fifteen minutes gone Dubh keeper Luke Anderson punted a long ball down the pitch and it seemed to catch the home defence off guard as the ball bounced to Evan Moore but he could only lift his effort over the bar. Five minutes later it was two nil after Foley again crossed into the box where Ross Cardiff rose highest to nod down into the path of Dean Fennessy who curled a beautiful shot into the top right hand corner. The visitors were awarded a free kick twenty yards out with twenty five minutes gone and Dylan Hannon seen his effort rebound off the wall to Conor Commiskey who fired over the bar.
Coill Dubh pressed hard to reduce the deficit and when Sean McMahon fired in a low cross Commiskey met it beautifully and it deflected off Timmy Doyle but keeper Will Kenny adjusted his feet quickly to get down low to save and hold on to the ball. Benny Lawlor and Cardiff were linking well down the left and when the latter swung in a great cross Billy McNamee headed clear and Dooley was again in the right spot to volley goalward but Anderson parried it back into the danger area where Chris Chanders lifted his volley over the bar. Two minutes before the break Garry Comerford and Dooley played a neat one two and as Dooley ran into the box he was taken down by McNamee and the referee pointed to the spot. Anderson saved the spot kick but it bounced back to Dooley who made no mistake at the second attempt.
The second half started in the same way as The Mull went looking for more goals. Fennessy and Comerford combined well to put Chanders through on goal but Anderson was quickly out to dive at the strikers feet and deny him. However ten minutes later substitutes young Oisin Flynn and veteran Johnny Fennell played a lovely combination of passes down the left with Fennell making it 4 nil from an acute angle. Flynn was again the provider as he raided down the wing and crossed in for Fennessy but he couldn't get high enough and could only glance his header over the top. With twenty minutes left Dubh substitute Cian McMahon swung in a great free kick but Lenehan could only head over the bar. Dooley was mad to make it a hat trick and when Fennessy put him in one on one with the keeper he looked destined to score but Andersons finger tips denied him. Shortly after the visitors went close when Hannon put substitute Will Carroll in behind the home defence and he tried to lob the advancing keeper Kenny but he lifted his effort too high and it drifted over the bar. With ten minutes left Cardiff and Dooley worked a clever corner kick routine and the ball fell to Michael Walsh who's volleyed effort was well saved but as it rebounded to him he made no mistake to make it 5 nil to the champions. Best for Coill Dubh were Anderson in goals, McNamee and Lenehan in defence and Commiskey and Hannon. Coill Dubh now look to a very important tie v Ballycane Celtic in a battle against relegation. Best for Clonmullion were Doyle and Walsh in defence and Dooley and Fennessy in the middle with Cardiff and Foley always dangerous out wide.