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Leinster Football Association Junior Cup (Quarter Final)

Clonmullion FC 1 Roc Celtic FC 2

A very windy Graiguecullen was the venue for the quarter finals of the LFA Junior Cup. Clonmullion earned their quarter final place in this prestigious competition, which is the older cup competition in the country, by virtue of an impressive qualifying campaign which began last September. They were victorious over Drumcondra FC, Newlane FC, Ferns United, Rosslare Range and Old County FC en route to earned their spot. Clonmullion were quickly on the attack and when Cody Mulhall was fouled thirty yards from goals Garry Comerford took a quick free kick to Nathan Robinson who squared to Mulhall but he lifted his effort over the bar. Five minutes later Keane Cully won the ball in the heart of the defence and passed to Comerford who picked out Lee Doyle but he also fired over the bar. The visitors were struggling to get a foot hold in the game and eventually a long punt up field from their keeper fell to the centre forward whose cross come shot cannoned off the post and out to safety. Clonmullion continued to dominate, and Mark Hughes picked out Robinson who quickly laid off to Mulhall who beat the full back and crossed to Jody Dillon but the centre half interception just in time to avert the danger. The impressive Gary Comerford was dominating the middle of the park for The Mull and when he blocked down an attempted clearance by the left full he squared to Dillon who looked certain to score but the centre half recovered just in time to deflect the ball just wide. 

With ten minutes remaining in the first half Chris Chanders was fouled thirty yards out from goals and Robinson and Mulhall stood over the ball for what looked like a set piece suited for the right footed Robinson. But Mulhall ran up and fired an unbelievable free kick into the top corner of the net to give his side a richly deserved lead. Five minutes later he almost repeated the same thing after a foul on Jay Connell who was causing havoc down the right. However with a minute remaining in the first half Roc broke out of defence and Jamie Maher picked out Darren King who squared to George Farrell to level things up totally against the run of play. 

The second half started in the same way with Clonmullion having the majority of possession even against a gale force wind. Another Robinson corner was headed clear but fell to him to put back into the mix and Connell headed just wide. Soon after another corner from the opposite side by Comerford fell to Cody Mulhall who headed over from close range. On the sixth minute a Comerford free kick was flicked on by Hughes to Mulhall but Roc keeper Sean Power was equal to the effort. Hughes again stepped out from the back and played a neat one two with Mulhall before chipping a great ball over the defence to Comerford who didn't quite connect and the Power saved. With fifteen minutes remaining in a rare break out by Roc they were awarded a corner. From the resulting set piece, the ball floated over everyone and fell to the Shane Donoghue unmarked at the back post who headed home to put his side 2-1 up. Clonmullion threw everything at Roc for the final fifteen minutes but just couldn't make the break through. They were left to rue a host of missed chances and tried right up to the final whistle and despite completely dominating the game just couldn't break down a resolute Roc defence.

Arlington FC 0 Naas United FC 2

Naas United travelled to Arlington on Sunday looking for two wins out of two in the league .In what was a hotly contested game both sides created chances in an entertaining first half with Samson Omoteso and Niall Faherty going close for Naas and Omoteso having a goal ruled out where he was judged to have pushed an Arlington defender. Arlington nearly took the lead on the half hour mark when good play from Jake Nicholl and Robbie Mc Neill in midfield found the willing run of Shane Nealon to break the offside trap,  Shane composed himself and shot across the keeper only for the ball to rebound off the inside of the post. Any threat Arlington posed afterwards was dealt with well by Naas’s Jordan Martella, Sheldon Matarn ,Jamie Dunne and John Paul Higgins. 

The second half carried on much as the first and the always dangerous Stephen French beat two defenders before squeezing his shot under the advancing Evan Grattan in the Arlington goal to put Naas 1-0 up. The visitors doubled their lead ten minutes later when a superb Jordan Martella pass found French and the Naas centre forward managed to reach the ball before Grattan subsequently took French down for a penalty. Up stepped JP Higgins to cooly doubled Naas United's lead. Arlington nearly got a goal again from a corner when Craig Fleet rose highest to nod down to Jay Conlon who's effort was saved well by the visiting keeper who pushed it back into bodies after this Arlington forced a number of corners but the Naas defence and their superb keeper Keith Higgins refused to be beaten. Naas held out to win 2-0 and had some great performances in Stephen French who lead the line brilliantly ,Marvin Matarn and his brother Sheldan also excelled ,as did the superb Jamie Dunne and man of the match with a brilliant game from right full back Jordan Martella. Best for the home side were Collins U Gochukwu, Jake Nicholl and Stephen Shields. 

Old Fort Celtic FC 3 Kilcullen AFC 0

Kilcullen AFC returned to the KDFL Senior Division with a trip to Portlaoise Leisure Centre to face newly promoted Old Fort Celtic.

Both teams were eager to stamp their authority on the game but neither team managed to do so with the wind playing a major factor against both teams. It was Old Fort who started off the brighter but Kilcullen slowly grew into the game. Neither side created any meaningful chances in the early exchanges but on the twentieth minute Old Fort’s Ryan Little got through one on one with the Kilcullen keeper Dawson Conroy only to drag his shot wide. Only a few moments later, a pass back towards keeper Conroy was left short and Ryan Little ran through and struck but the visiting keeper made a great save to deny the game’s opener. It was Ryan Little again that came close a few minutes later doing some great work down the left hand side and jinked his way into the box but the impressive Kilcullen netminder Conroy made another great save. Kilcullen looked shaky for a few minutes but regathered themselves and got back into the game keeping possession but not creating anything meaningful. A couple of half chances created by Old Fort before half time but they could not take advantage. 0-0 half time.

Kilcullen started the second half better and created chances but nothing clear cut with both Darragh Kelly and Stevie Coyne pressing from full back but never really threatened the Old Fort keeper. The home side came more into the game and Daryl Ntumba and Ryan Little proved to be a real handful for the Kilcullen defence but they held strong and kept them at bay. The breakthrough came with twenty five left to play when Liam Browne played a great ball in behind the kilcullen defence which Byron McGuirk ran on to and delivered and inch perfect cross into the path of Daryl Ntumba who made no mistake from five yards to open the scoring. The game was delayed for a period of time to attend to an injury sustained by Kilcullen’s Colin Murray. The lost of Murray and injury also to David Mullins had an impact on Kilcullen’s threat. The next big chance fell Kilcullen’s way after some good work down the right hand side, a ball delivered into the box fell to Kilcullen number 9 but his shot was dragged wide.

OFC pushed to add a second goal and it was Ryan Little with some good work down the left but again his shot was well saved by Dawson who had a great game. For all their pressure Old Fort were rewarded with ten minutes to go when the ball broke to Ryan Little in the box who’s shot was well saved by Dawson but it rebounded to the edge of the box were Liam Brown was on hand to volley it into the bottoms corner. 2-0 OFC. Kilcullen pushed to try get back into the game and went a more direct route but the rear guard of Tyler Dempsey, David Costigan, Eoin Carroll and Liam Brown of OFC held them at bay and limited Kilcullen chances. As the time was running out OFC regained possession in midfield through Barry Ging, he laid it off to Lee Carrol Talbot who jinked through a couple of challenges and then found Ryan Little In acres of space in the Kilcullen box, unselfishly Little Squared the ball to Corey McGuirk who finished into the bottom corner for his first Senior team goal. A 3-0 win for Old Fort Celtic who were full value for their win, best on the day for the home side was Tyler Dempsey, Eoin Carroll, Robbie Farrell and Ryan Little but it’s Liam Browne who gets man of the match. Best for Kilcullen AFC – Dawson Conroy in goal with some fine saves and Ross Dowling Conor, Collie Murray

Newbridge Hotspurs FC 1 Rathangan AFC 0

Hotspurs got their league campaign off to a winning start on a dry but cool spring morning at Snigs Brogan Park. The game itself was a rather tense affair with Rathangan being the better team in the first half with Hotspurs taking more control in the second half. 

Despite Rathangan being the better in the first half, it was Hotspurs who had the first chance of the game when on the 7th minute Eamon Doyle shot just wide following good build up play via Barry Doyle and Greg Kelly. On the tenth minute, Rathangan went close with a stunning volley going just wide of the mark. Two minutes later, Hotspurs had a chance when Eoin McGrath went close following a Tomas Hennessy pass. On the sixteenth minute, Scott O’Donoghue shot just wide following a fine Sean Higgins pass. On the twenty fourth minute, Rathangan almost took the lead when a shot from their striker was well saved by Hotspurs keeper, Ryan Harvey. One the half hour mark Harvey was called upon again when he made another stop from Rathangan’s attempt at goal. It was just a minute later again when Harvey was on alert to pull off a fantastic save to stop a certain goal from Rathangan. Just before half time, Eoin McGrath had chance when his shot was well saved by the Rathangan keeper. The game went in at half time 0-0.

With Rathangan having edged proceedings in the first half, it was the turn of Hotspurs to up the tempo to try and assume control of the game. Hotspurs came out in the second half and started on a much more aggressive footing. On the forty ninth minute Eamon Doyle shot just wide. The breakthrough came on fifty two minute when a Tomas Hennessy shot was blocked, It then fell to Eoin McGrath who took one touch to get it out of his feet and he then struck low into the bottom corner of the net to make it 1-0. On the fifty eight minute, McGrath went close again when from close range his shot went agonisingly wide following a fine low cross from Scott O’Donoghue. At this point, Hotspurs made two changes with Chris Higgins and Shane Smith entering the fray. There was almost an immediate impact when Chris Higgins shot from the left side was deflected by the Rathangan defender into the side netting. On the sixty sixth minute, Shane Smith nearly made it 2-0 following a shot from outside the box but it was well saved by the Rathangan keeper. Shortly afterwards, Ryan Donohoe replaced Greg Kelly. With fifteen minutes remaining Tomas Hennessy struck a fantastic shot at Rathangan goal only for it to be thwarted by the keeper. Three minutes later, the battling Mikey Murphy got a knock to the head and was replaced by Gary Lowe. Lowe immediately had an impact helping to shore up the Hotspurs midfield. Two teams were still creating chances. That said it was in injury time when Rathangan almost grabbed an equaliser following a corner where the ball dropped to the striker who struck low but it was Sean Higgins who was there on the line to clear. The game finished 1-0 to Hotspurs. Best for spurs were Eoin Philips, Tomas Hennessy, Sean Higgins and their man of the match was Ryan Harvey. 

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