KDFL SENIOR DIVISION TEAM FOCUS.
Divisional Cup Action!
Naas United FC 1 Suncroft AFC 1
(Naas United FC win 3-1 on penalties AET)
Suncroft travelled to Naas for the KDFL Senior Cup Quarter Final tie with both teams coming into the
game on a decent run of form. The Home side began brightly with Samson Ometeso going on a
lovely run, he played a one two with Owen Moran before seeing his shot brilliantly blocked. Naas
didnt have to wait long to open the scoring though as Ver Nolan swung in a set piece in the fourth
minute, Suncroft only headed away as far as the edge of the box where Aaron Dunphy was perfectly
positioned as he struck a superb volley straight into the top corner of the goal giving the Croft
keeper Colin Farrell no chance. Two minutes later Naas captain John Paul Higgins headed just over
from another dangerous Nolan set piece. It was all the home side at this stage and another
opportunity went begging as Dane Higgins struck wide after a fine pass from Paul Ometeso.
Ometeso went close himself on fifteen minutes after a swift turn from Jamie Dunnes throw in saw
him strike just over the bar.The away side were struggling to make their passes connect in the
opening period of the game with the home side pressuring every touch and making life
uncomfortable for the Suncroft midfield. The 'Croft came close to equalising on the twenty minute
mark when Keith Kinsella's corner was met by the head of Josh Lee who saw his header crash back of
the post. Ben Kinsella was next to try his luck for Suncroft but saw his goal bound effort blocked by
Naas centre half JP Higgins. Suncroft applied pressure for the remainder of the half without creating
any clear cut opportunities while Naas always remained a threat on the counter with Dane Higgins
pace out wide and Paul Omoteso always dangerous on the ball.
The second half picked up in a similar fashion to how the first ended with Suncroft unable to find a
way through the Higgins marshalled Naas defence. Ben Kinsella had the first opportunity of the half,
with fifty five minutes played, when Dylan Connolly found him coming in from the right but he failed
to get an adequate connection on his effort. The Corft’s Kieran Sheedy looked like he had the
equaliser when he found himself unmarked from a Kinsella corner but his header was excellently
saved by Keith Higgins in the Naas goals. Higgins was well positioned to stop a Niall Costigan effort
from outside the box soon after as it began to look like Suncroft would never score. The visitors
finally found the equalising goal with ten minutes remaining when a dangerous Kieran Sheedy free-
kick was headed down by Liam Knight and Niall Flynn in the right place to apply the finishing touch
from close range to level matters. Neither team could find a winning goal in the remaining ten so
the game went to extra time. With two sets of tired players at this point, there was little
goalmouth action during extra time, the closest to a goal either side came was when Higgins
stretched to tip away a Dylan Connolly cross just as it looked like Eoin Doyle was about to head it
home. After 110 mins of football in rising temperatures the game went to the lottery of a penalty
shoot-out, which Naas ran out 5-4 winners. Suncroft will surely feel a little hard done by to come
away with nothing from the game but it's Naas who march on to the semis feeling confident they
can go all the way in the cup after getting through a tough tie here.
The away side were served well on the day with strong performances from Connolly, Sheedy, Ryan
Farrell and Paddy Flood. With Naas Utd served best from penalty saving match winner Keith Higgins
in goals and the excellent Paul Omotesa in midfield.
Rathangan AFC 0 Clonmullion AFC 0
(Clonmullion AFC win 7-6 on penalties AET)
This Senior Division Cup quarter final was played out on a perfect surface in beautifully sunny
conditions in Canal Road, Rathangan. Games between these two rivals always tend to be tight affairs
and this one proved to be no different. The visitors dominated possession early on in the game but it
wasn’t until the fifteenth minute mark that they threatened Craig Shannon’s goals. Cody Mulhall
expertly controlled a ball dropping out of the sky and almost in the same movement hit an overhead
pass to the on rushing Lee Doyle who was brought down on the edge of the box by Tom Power.
Nathan Robinson stepped up and hit a curling dipping free kick which rebounded off the crossbar to
Jodie Dillon who’s headed effort was expertly saved by keeper Shannon and he also denied Lee Day
who hit the second rebound straight at him. Shortly after Ross Lyons won a great 50/50 in midfield
and he passed to Arun Doyle whose right footed effort was easily saved by keeper Michael Lawless.
Clonmullion continued to probe and when Timmy Doyle picked out the darting run of full back Jay
Connell who in turn found Mulhall who tried to lob the out rushing keeper but he lifted his effort too
high. On the half hour Connell was again the provider when Robinson teed him up to whip in
another cross but Lee Doyle’s volleyed effort flew over the bar. Mark Hughes was giving an
exhibition of distributing the ball from the back and his superb pass to Robinson allowed him the
time and space to pick out Mulhall who’s first time pass found Day running from deep but again
Shannon pulled off a brilliant save. Hughes centre half partner Doyle played a great ball out left to
Johnny Fennell and when he played a lovely one two with Lee Doyle his cross was met perfectly on
the volley by Mulhall but the Rathangan shot stopper again proved unbeatable. Dean Fennessy’s
influence on the game was growing all the time and his work almost paid dividends when he won
the ball back out on the right and slipped the ball to Lee Doyle who dribbled past Dan Mulpeter and
Tone Byrne and put Mulhall through and his low first time effort was saved by Shannon and the ball
deflected into the path of Dillon who shot just wide. The visitors thought they had made the
breakthrough when the imperious Hughes hit a diagonal pass to Fennessy and his pass was volleyed
to the back of the net by Lee Doyle but referee Eddie O Sullivan ruled it out for offside.
The Mull started the second half in the same manner as the first and after just a minute Connell and
Robinson combined down the right and the full backs cross was headed over by Dillon. With fifty
minute gone Rathangan broke out of defence and Conlon laid the ball off to Arun Doyle who shot
from thirty yards out but Lawless gathered comfortably. A few minutes later Conlon took a quick
throw in to Ross Lyons but his effort flew tamely over the bar. Clonmullion’s next chance came with
ten minutes gone in the second half when set piece specialist Robinson whipped in a great free kick
to Dillon but his header flew just over. Fennessy continued to torment the Rathangan defence and
when he latched on to a cross field pass from Hughes it looked as if he had been brought down for a
penalty by Shannon but the referee adjudged it to be just outside the box. Mulhall whipped in the
free kick across the face of goal and Lee Doyle got on the end of it but the keeper parried it and
Fennessy hit the rebound but Shannon again denied the visitors. With fifteen minutes left Mulhall
fired a free kick across the box and Hughes headed the ball back into the danger zone and
Robinson’s first time effort was again saved by Shannon. Five minutes later Robinson slipped a quick
free kick in between the two centre halves to Dean O Sullivan Owens and he made no mistake only
for his effort to be ruled offside. With five minutes left on the clock Hughes stepped out of defence
and played a lovely ball to Fennessy who threaded the needle to Owens who was through on goal
but put his effort just wide. Fennell was next to try his luck when he slipped a great ball to Mulhall
who rolled the ball to Owens but Shannon was not to be beaten and saved at the strikers feet.
Extra time had barely started when a long ball over the top from Tom Power dropped to Fennell but
himself and Lawless seemed to get their calls mixed up and substitute Paul Lynch almost slipped in
between them but Fennell recovered well to avert the danger. Fennell and Mulhall were next to
combine down the left and when the latter passed to Lee Day he pulled his effort jut wide of the
post. Hughes then came close just before half time of extra time when he got on the end of a
Robinson corner but his header was just off target. Then came the save of the game from the
outstanding Shannon when Robinson took a quick free kick to Mulhall who’s excellent left footed
curling effort looked destined for the bottom right hand corner but the keeper dived full length to
fingertip the ball around the post. Just before the final whistle Hughes again rose highest in the
penalty area to head a Robinson corner but Shannon was again equal to it.
The penalty shoot out was a tense affair as always but it was The Mull keeper Michael Lawless who
was the hero this time saving two penalties including the fifth one which would have been the
decisive one for Rathangan and also taking the seventh and winning penalty for Clonmullion. Best for
Rathangan were Tone Byrne, Jack Cannon, Iain and Arun Doyle up front Conlon and Lyons in the
middle while Craig Shannon was outstanding in goals. Best for the winners were the back four who
were solid and were the launch pad for so many attacks, especially Hughes who controlled the
game. Robinson and Day in midfield, Mulhall was always a danger up front while Fennessy’s tireless
and unselfish work rate in the very hot conditions was fantastic. Keeper Lawless did what he had to
do throughout the game and in the end he was the hero and played the Captains role in the
shootout and showed nerves of steel to give his side the victory.
Athy Town AFC 0 Clane United FC 2
Clane United progressed the the semi finals of the Karina Donnelly Senior Cup on Friday night
following their 2-0 victory over Athy Town at Aldridge Park. Both teams started the match well with
Athy having slightly more possession in the early stages. Athy had a chance to open the scoring with
twenty minutes gone. The ball was played in from the right hand side but Murt Brennan shot over
the bar. Athy then had another chance down the left hand side working the ball into the box and
shot but Sean Brennan made a great save. Clane rallied well in the opening stages and scored
through Andy Brogan when a ball was played in behind. Brogan made no mistake finishing into the
bottom corner. It finished 1-0 to Clane at half time.
Clane started the better of the two sides at the start of the second half and had plenty of chances to
double their lead but didn’t take them. Clane were then awarded a penalty around the hour mark
when Eoghan Maguire was talking down in the box. Mark Kelly stepped up for Clane but the Athy
keeper saved to his right hand side. Athy then had a chance to make it level when they got the ball
on the right hand side and it was crossed in but no one was there to finish. With two minutes to go
Killian Patchell pounced on a mistake by the Athy defence and he drove into the penalty area
finishing into the bottom corner. A deserved victory for Clane in the end. Best for Clane: Killian
Patchell, Andy Brogan, Jack Kelly and Stephen Dunne. Best for the town on a poor night were Martin
Brennan, Tyrone Delaney and Adam O'Keefe.
Coill Dubh AFC 2 Kilcullen AFC 1
The dubh’s march on to the Semi Finals of the Karina Donnelly Senior Cup with a hard fought victory
over kilcullen on Friday night at Cusack park.
Both sides had good passages of play in opening the minutes with both defences well on top.
Conor Brady at center forward was a menace to kilcullen back line with Sean Hannon and young
Noah Byrne on the wings.
The dubh were getting plenty of joy and on twenty minutes a pass from Mark Grace found Brady on
the right wing beating his marker before sending in a delightful cross for Noah Byrne to control and
finish into the top corner of the kilcullen net for his second senior goal in as many games.
The away side settled after that and began to create some chances. Their improved efforts were
rewarded on thirty five minutes when Keith Scanlon nodded a header to Paul Clifford who played a
pass to Mark Wolfe in behind the back four and he showed good composure to give the keeper no
Coill dubh in recent weeks have shown great resilience, again in forthy third minutes Brady picking
up the ball on the wing before switching play with an inch perfect pass to onrushing Mark Grace on
edge of thr box taking his man on near the endline to hit an unstoppable finish to Kilcullen net 2-1 at
Kilcullen burst out of the traps in the second half with Mark Wolfe hitting the post after two minutes
and Jason Keogh seeing a brilliant effort from outside the box tipped away from the top corner by
the excellent Coill Dubh netminder.
Coill dubh held on in what was great result marching on to semi finals. Best for Kilcullen were Cian
Byrne, Paul Clifford and prodical son Shane Higgins while for the winners the back five were solid all
through the game. Mark Grace in midfield, sixteen year old Noah Byrne and Sean Hannon on the
wing before being forced off with injury. Man of the Match who hasn't been in amongst goals lately
but his work rate for his teammates is just incredible and two more assist tonight was Conor Brady
outstanding on the night.
League Action !
Kildare Town AFC 1 Ballycane Celtic FC 3
Ballycane made the short trip to Rathbridge Rd in Glorious sunshine for the afternoon kick off in the
Ballycane settled the quicker with Bubba Doyle and Mick Doheny looking very composed in the
backline sniffing out any early Kildare threads. Callum o Reilly , Noone and Larkin all combing well in
midfield ,but just couldn't work a clear cut opportunity to trouble the Kildare goal. The
breakthrough came for Ballycane on the half hour mark when Sam Allison was fouled in midfield ,
Bubba Doyle delivered an inch perfect pass to the boot of keelan Noone who applied a classy first
time finish to break the deadlock. Ballycane doubled their advantage moments later when the two O
Reillys combined Jake putting Callum through on goal ,but he was bundled over in the box for a
clear penalty kick. Callum dusted himself off and converted from the spot with a clinical finish.
Kildare did have some joy down the wings but Johnny O Sullivan and Mark Levis at the full back
position were equal to the challenge for the cane.
Kildare came out in the second half in blistering form with Gazza leading the charge, with a great
mazy run and applied a brilliant low drive finish from just inside the eighteen yards box to pull one
back for home side in the opening minutes of the second half. Ballycane weren't about to roll over
here and bounced back almost immediately with the goal of the game . Jake O Reilly with audacious
volley from twenty five yards leaving the Town keeper rooted to the spot mid way through the
second half. This game was still wide open and to Kildare Town credit they pushed hard in the last
twenty minutes in search of goals. The Ballycane rear guard stood firm and was Marshalled well by
the veterans Bubba Doyle and Keggy Mc Donnell between the posts. With Kildare committing men
forward ,left plenty of holes for Ballycane to attack. A clever pass from Noone put Callum O Reilly
away before he skipped pass two Kildare defenders, but just dragged his shot wide of the post in the
final minutes of the game.Best for Ballycane were Jake ,Callum O Reilly, Levis, O Sullivan, Allison' 'Mc
Donnell and Bubba "Baresi "Doyle. Best for Kildare were Number 3,6 and Gazza.