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KDFL Senior Division Team Focus

Coill Dubh AFC 3 Old Fort Celtic FC 1

Senior Division newbies Old Fort Celtic made the trip to Cusack Park on Friday evening. The home side were out of the blocks quickest and looked to be a real threat down the flanks as they tried to exploit the gaps in the old fort defence. It was The Dubh who drew first blood when they Capitalised On a rare defensive error from the Old Fort Centre half to slot home and make it 1-0 to the home side. 

Old fort once again from conceding to scoring within minutes A Nice Sequence of Play found the ball slot through to Scott Coyle who turned his defender and slipped the ball past the keeper to make it 1-1. However once again a defensive error for Old Fort Saw the Dubh score a second and go 2-1 and they held this lead to the break. 

The second half was much of the same with Old Fort slightly out of sorts from previous games and the home side were once again on target midway through the half to make the final score a 3-1 victory to the home side. Best for Old Fort was the youthful Under 20 captain Dan Harty. 

Newbridge Hotspurs FC 1 Naas United FC 0

Top of the table outfit Naas Utd travelled to Snigs Brogan Park for Hotspurs second game of the season. Naas Utd have won their first three games and this was going to be a big test for Hotspurs. 

Both sides had some good chances in the first half. The first chance of the match fell to Hotspurs on the second minute when Ryan O’Donoghue had a shot from just outside the box well saved by the Naas Utd keeper. Just one minute later, the lively Chris Higgins nearly made it 1-0 when his shot went just wide of the post. The frenetic start to the game continued when on the fourth minute, Naas almost scored, the shot by Daragh Flaherty from inside the box was well saved by Ryan Harvey at the near post. On the thirteenth minute, a Greg Kelly cross was met by the head of Shane Smith whom headed just over the bar. On the eighteenth minute, a fine pass from Chris Higgins found Mikey Murphy , Murphy took one touch and shot from eighteen yards out but the Naas keeper was on hand to make a good save. The half, and the game itself, was a tense battle with both teams midfield having their work cut out. Naas’s Samson Omoteso and Faherty were causing the Newbridge men a lot of problems but spurs defended resiliently with the defensive duo of Ryan O’Donoghue and Eoin Walsh  doing a fantastic job of shoring up the Hotspurs defence this allowed more attacking Mikey Murphy and Greg Kelly to push that bit further up the pitch. On the half hour mark Naas Utd were awarded a free kick. The free kick was subsequently taken but Harvey was alert to make a fantastic save pushing behind for a corner. At this point of the game, both sides were looking to find the way through but were unable to do so. The Hotspurs back four of Dan Kavanagh, Barry Doyle, Sean Higgins and Robbie Higgins were working hard, communicating and intercepting challenges at just the right time. The game went in at half time 0-0.

The second half started less frenetically as the first half but to Naas Utd’s credit they started the half better. That said, the Hotspurs defence were resolute in dealing with threats coming their way especially down both flanks. On the fifty fifth minute, tactical tweaks by Hotspurs Manager, Adrian O’Donoghue saw Scott O’Donoghue replacing Shane Smith, marking a slight change of approach, shortly afterwards, Eamon Doyle replaced Greg Kelly. On the hour mark, Harvey was on hand to make a good save when he came out to the Naas Utd attacker to smoother the ball and allowing Robbie Higgins to clear. Six minutes later Spurs Scott O’Donoghue had a chance but it was saved by the Naas keeper. With fifteen minutes remaining, Mikey Rooney replaced Chris Higgins. It was on the 79th minute when Scott O’Donoghue had another chance, not realising he perhaps had a bit of time to take a touch, he attempted a bicycle kick but it was saved by the keeper. With ten minutes left on the clock, Gary Lowe replaced Ryan O’Donoghue. At this point of the game, it could have gone either way with both teams engaging in the dark arts of tactical fouls. It was in injury time when Hotspurs were awarded a free. Eamon Doyle stepped up to take the free, it was deflected behind for a corner. The subsequent corner was deliciously delivered by Gary Lowe, it found Sean Higgins at the back post, who headed back across the goal for Scott O’Donoghue to come out of nowhere and smash home. This was ultimately the last kick of the game and Spurs went on to secure the vital three points. Hotspurs had performances all over the park today but Hotspurs Man of the Match goes to Sean Higgins. Best for the visitors were Jordan Martella, Jamie Dunne and JP Higgins. 

Arlington FC 5 Clonmullion FC 4

Clonmullion crossed the border to take on Arlington FC on a cracking Sunday morning in what turned out to be a spectacular game. The home side almost took the lead straight from the kick off Jake Nichol put Olu Solanke through on goal one on one with Will Kenny but the keeper advanced quickly off his line to save with his feet. Arlington were on fire and Olu Solanke once again nearly fired the home side into a 1-0 lead on eleven minutes when he cut inside from the left and fired but fired just over. One minute later the visitors came close as Kenny picked out Mark Hughes who found Jody Dillon who in turn teed up Chris Chanders but his half volley flew narrowly wide. Two minutes later Lee Day was fouled thirty yards out. Nathan Robinson floated the free kick to Cody Mulhall who’s first time effort was well blocked by Jason Conlan but it rebounded to Keane Cully who’s deft lob over a stranded Evan Gratton put his side 1 up. 

A Robinson corner on twenty minutes was met beautifully by Dillon but it cannoned back off the butt of the post to Chanders who’s effort was cleared off the line by Conlan. Robinson was again the set piece specialist as another free kick was won by Dillon and this time Chanders rifled the ball home from inside the box to double the visitors advantage. Barely a minute later the home side pulled one back when Shane Nealon sprinted down the right and crossed to Solanke who hit the post but the ball rebounded to Ceilum Maher who side footed home to make it 2-1. 

The visitors almost increased the lead early in the second half when Dillon headed over the defence to Mulhall but the ball bounced just too high for him to apply the finish. Almost straight away the sides were level when a long free kick by Gratton was headed on by Conlon and found the bottom of the net to make it 2-2. The home side didn’t rest on their laurels as they kept up the pace and pressure high up the pitch. Solanke and Nealon linking up well throughout and causing the Clonmullion centre backs all sorts of trouble. The pressure bore fruit for the Laois side on fifty five minutes when Clonmullion were on the attack following a great ball from Hughes to Mulhall who flicked the ball on to Chanders but Gratton made a fine save and rolled the ball out to Solanke in space and he squared to Nealon who finished to the bottom corner to make it 3-2 to the home side. 

Nealon made it 4 - 2 a few minutes later after good approach play between Maher and Solanke. On the hour mark it was 4 - 3 after Hughes picked out a great ball to Lee Day who slid the ball through to Chanders who finished superbly on the run. The sides were level again with twenty five minutes left when Cully intercepted an attempted pass from Nichol and laid the ball off to Hughes who's brilliant pass to Chanders was hit first time and Gratton could only parry into the path of Dillon who made it 4 all. 

Neither side were settling for a share of the spoils and both sides came close on a few occasions at either end. Then with the last play of the game Arlington cleared a corner and although Robinson appeared to be fouled the referee waved play on and left the home side with a 4 on 2 breakaway and Solanke squared to Maher as Kenny advanced and he got the winner in the 94th minute leaving Clonmullion with no chance to reply. Best for Arlington on the day were Jay Conlon at the back, Jake Nicholl and Robbie McNeill in the middle, Ceilum Naher and Shane Nealon up front with two goals each and another man of the match performance by Olu Solanke at right midfield

Best for the visitors were Hughes, Connell, Cully and Chanders with a special mention for 16 year old Ger Kenny who was making his Senior debut and was superb at left full back. 

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