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KDFL Senior League Team Focus.

League Cup Action ! (Quarter Finals)

Clane United FC 4 Rathangan AFC 2 (AET)

Friday night Rathangan travelled to Clane in the Lumsden Cup. Anytime these two teams meet tends to be a thriller and this was no different. In extremely difficult conditions with torrential rain and wind. Clane started to pile on the pressure in the first ten minutes with Eoghan Maguire and James Ralph leading the charge and Rathangan’s Shane O'Loughlin, Jim Brennan and Colin Scanlan at the heart of the visiting defence had to be at their best. It was the fourteenth minute when Clane took their chance straight from a kick out up the wing to catch Rathangan off guard and get their first through James Ralph following good approach work by Maguire

Rathangan slowly got into the game and their hard work was rewarding just before half time through Lee Moore at the back post and the sides went in deadlocked at 1-1 at the break. The second half continues as it left off for Rathangan as they had most of the possession and in the fifty sixth minute with same superb work through the middle-found Moore again to get Rathangan’s second and put them in front. Rathangan were causing problems for Clane but less then three minutes later Clane were back level through Dean Comiskey following some great individual play from Eoghan Maguire. For the conditions both teams were playing superb football and it was nip and tuck. Just before full time. Clane were awarded a free for a foul that ended in a second yellow and Rathangan was reduced to ten men as it ended 2-2 in full time and we had extra time.

Clane proved the stronger in the second half as the extra man was vital and in the third minute Clane took the lead through Eoghan Maguire following good work by Cathal Geoghegan and then a minute later got their fourth through Maguire and another in the 102th minute from the boot of Killian Patchell. As it finished up in Clane 5-2. Best for Rathangan were Shane O'Loughlin, Nathan Cullen and Stefan Lawlor. Best for the winners were Best for Dean Comiskey Killian Patchell, Cathal Geoghegan, James Ralph and Eoghan Maguire.

Naas United FC 4 Celbridge Town AFC 3

Naas played host to Celbridge over 35s on Saturday evening in the quarter finals of the prestigious Lumsden League cup .The home side started very brightly and should have been one up as early as the first minute when Stephen French headed wide from six yards after a lovely cross from Daragh Faherty, Naas continued to dominate but Celbridge with their very first attack went ahead through a very tidy finish from the Celbridge centre forward. Before Naas could recover Celbridge struck again after some very slack defending and a mistake at the back from the normally reliable Higgins brothers This bolted Naas into action and they dominated for the remainder of the half wasting many chances untill Daragh Faherty bent a beautiful curling left foot shot into the bottom corner after good work by Stephen French. Incredibly Celbridge restored their two goal lead on the thirty fifth minute after more poor Naas defending. Five minutes later Naas struck a second when Manny Philips scored a penalty after a foul in the box on Stephen French and at half time it remained 3-2 to Celbridge . At the break Naas manager Dicky Nolan tore into his players and made some changes at half time and it was to have an immediate effect as Naas came out a different outfit in the second half but to their credit Celbridge defended with their lives .Naas would eventually tie the match up when substitute Dano Adeoye scored a wonderful chip over the Celbridge net minder from thirty yards. The home side were fully on top now and deservedly grabbed the winner with three minutes remaining when the lethal inform Daragh Faherty struck again this time from twenty yards to leave the keeper with no chance .Naas held out comfortably after this for the win that sends them to the semifinal .Best for Naas were the inform Faherty ,Jordan Martella ,Jamie Dunne ,and man of the match Victor Oladapo .All credit also to a very gallant Celbridge team .

Arlington FC 2 Clonmullion AFC 3

Arlington hosted Clonmullion, the champions for the last two Lumsden Cup campaigns, on a blustery Sunday morning in Portarlington. A Lee Foley free kick picked out Jody Dillon, he nodded down to strike partner Chris Chanders who then laid the ball into the path of Johnny Fennell but unfortunately, he sliced his effort wide after seven minutes. Five minutes later Fennell was again involved when his dangerous cross was cut out at the back post by full back Stephen Shields after great approach play by Michael Walsh and Garry Comerford. Arlington almost snatched the lead on the quarter hour mark when Olu Solanke got on the end of an under hit back pass and took the ball around the advancing keeper Will Kenny and as he attempted to roll the ball into an empty net Jay Connell brilliantly recovered to clear the ball off the line.

On the twentieth minute Fennell and full back Timmy Doyle combined well to set Dillon away down the right wing and he crossed to the back post where Benny Lawlor was unmarked but keeper Evan Grattan tipped the shot out for a corner. With twenty minutes gone Arlington took the lead somewhat against the run of play when Robbie McNeil and Mark Usochuvlwu played a neat one two with the latter slipping Shane Nealon inside the Clonmullion defence and his first effort came off the post back to him where he appeared to bundle the ball back on target and the referee adjudged it to have crossed the line despite the frantic efforts of Kenny to claw the ball to safety. Jolted into attack by going behind the visitors piled on the pressure and a long Comerford throw in was headed clear by Stephen Flanagan only to fall to Nathan Robinson who lifted the ball back over the advancing defence to Dillon who volleyed over from ten yards out. On the half hour mark the home side should have doubled their lead when McNeil won the ball in the middle of the park and put a great ball over the top to Nealon but he lifted the ball over the bar. Comerford was becoming more and more dominant and a probing delivery into the box was headed clear by Jason Conlan and fell Lawlor who's first time volley was bravely blocked out for a corner by Usochuvlwu. The equaliser finally came after a succession of corners from and when another one was headed clear Comerford returned it first time for Dillon to get across the keeper to level the game. However just before half time Olu Solanke chipped the ball into the box and as Clonmullion failed to clear Nealon’s shot was blocked by Connell and deflected on to the arm of Doyle and the referee pointed to the spot. Nealon made no mistake from the spot.

Lee Day was introduced into the midfield for the second half and made an immediate impact with his ball winning prowess. One of which led to a great move when Dillon combined with Chanders and he crossed to the edge of the six yard box where Robinson was stretching and could only direct his header over the bar. On the hour mark Comerford was the first to react by grabbing the ball to take a quick throw in to Chanders who squared to Dillon who was brought down in the box by Flanagan and the referee awarded the penalty. Robinson stepped up and smashed the ball low to the keeper's right to level the game. Day was winning everything in the middle of the park and another exquisite pass picked out the dangerous Robinson who lobbed the advancing keeper but Shields headed off the line but Dillon volleyed goalwards only for Conlan to block the ball at full stretch. However the champions were not to be denied and again it was that man Day who picked out Robinson with a beautifully floated pass and he squared to Dillon to finish from close range with fifteen minutes remaining. Arlington threw everything they could at Clonmullion but found Walsh and Connell at the back in great form and Kenny assured between the sticks. Also great for the winner's were Comerford and Robinson while Dillon and Chanders were a handful throughout. But the introduction of Lee Day at half time and the difference he made saw him deserve the man of the match award. Best for Arlington were keeper Grattan, Jake Nichols, Stephen Shiels and Stephen Flanagan.

League Shield Action !

Newbridge Hotspurs FC 3 Castle Villa AFC 0

Hotspurs turned their attention to the KDFL League shield at Snigs Brogan Park on a blustery Saturday taking on a spirited Castle Villa team. Hotspurs got off to a flying start when Eoin McGrath put them in front after two mins with a well taken goal following a pass from Chris Higgins. Despite a good start, Hotspurs failed to capitalise and add a quick second goal. On the fifteenth minute, Hotspurs were denied a superb second goal by Eoin McGrath following a fine Mikey Rooney pass, McGrath had controlled the ball beautifully and lifted it over the keeper to slot home from close range but the ref adjuded that it was offside. In the blustery conditions, the game ebbed and flowed and both sides didn’t create much in the way of clear chances. The Hotspurs defence and the returning Ryan Harvey were on hand to thwart any chances created by Villa. On the thirty fifth minute, Eoin McGrath went close when his shot was well saved. On the forty first minute, Mikey Rooney shot wide from a Dan Kavanagh cross. The game went in at half time 1-0 to Hotspurs.

The second half started rather slowly, that said, within a minute of the restart, Eoin McGrath went close again with a shot just wide. Within five minutes, the game began to open up. On the fifty first minute, Chris Higgins was unlucky not make it 2-0 when his shot went just wide following a fine Eoin Walsh pass. On the fifty fourth minute, Greg Kelly went close when his shot went just over following good link up play and 1,2 passing with Chris Higgins. On the hour mark Chris Higgins went close again when his shot shaved the outside of the post following a fantastic individual run from the half way line. Hotspurs pressure told on the sixty eight minute when they finally got their second of the game. A pass from Eoin McGrath on the counter attack to Mikey Rooney opened up space from Rooney, Rooney took in the right left drifting towards his outsider before adjusting course, jutting back in between the right back and centre back before rifling home his shot in into the bottom right corner of the net, 2-0 to Hotspurs. On the seventy first minute, Hotspurs made it 3-0 when a Robbie Higgins long throw was met by Chris Higgins who produced a deft touch to finish past the keeper. Hotspurs continued to press and on the eighty fourth minute nearly made it 4-0 when Eoin McGraths shot was bravely saved by the Villa keeper. Hotspurs saw the game out and it ended 3-0 with Hotspurs advancing to the next round. Best for Hotspurs were Mikey Murphy, Robbie Higgins, Chris Higgins and Hotspurs man of the match Eoin McGrath.

Kildare Town AFC 1 Clongorey FC 0

Kildare Town took a Lumsden Shield scalp on Saturday night as they held on to their first half lead to send Clongorey crashing out at the first hurdle. Town started the better of the two sides and gave Adam Doyle in the visiting goal plenty to do with a number of efforts from range. It was thus no surprise when they took a well deserved lead midway through the half courtesy of a misunderstanding in the away defence. Clongorey upped the ante considerably after the break and forced a number of chances, the pick of which saw Danny Callan denied by the crossbar with a sweetly struck free-kick.

However, Kildare were overall very resolute in defence and looked dangerous on the counter attack and in the end held on to progress to the next roun

Suncroft AFC 2 Straffan AFC 0

Suncroft progressed in the League shield with a win over Straffan AFC from the premier league . In a tight first half the home side failed to turn their advantage in possession into goals and also required an excellent early save from 'keeper Keggy McDonnell to keep the scores at 0-0 at the break.

The second half was more open and Suncroft forced two excellent saves from the Straffan 'keeper first from an Eamon Doyle volley followed up by 1v1 save from Dylan Connolly. Connolly did break the deadlock from the penalty spot with seventy minutes played. Niall Flynn with an excellent pass setting Connolly through on goal only for him to be clipped by the retreating defender with the penalty awarded Connolly dusted himself down to slot home. Willy Hayes added the second goal in the eighty ninth minute to seal their passage to the next round. Best for Suncroft were Shane Higgins, Owen Cox, Stevie Coyne and Niall Flynn

Ballycane Celtic FC 0 St. Anthonys Youths 0

(Ballycane Celtic win 3-2 on penalties AET)

Ballycane welcomed a good energetic St Anthony's to Naas this morning for the league shield.

Ballycane playing with strong wind at their back were straight down to business from the opening tip, With Midfield General Bubba Doyle dictating all the early play for the home side. St Anthony's Youths looked particularly dangerous out wide and Craig Byrne for Ballycane was calm and composed in dealing with necessary threats in the opening exchanges. Ballycane having all their success through the middle with flurry of excellent passes between Larkin, Bubba Doyle and Noone prying open an opportunity for Stephen Durney but his effort was well saved by Dawson Conroy in the Antos goal. St Anthony's definitely played their part but were reduced to a couple of long-range efforts that didn't really trouble Kevin Higgins in the home goal. Bubba Doyle causing havoc with some strong runs down the middle, but couldn't work a clear cut chance through a crowd of bodies. Ballycane’s approach play was exceptional they moved the ball at pace but couldn't find that finishing touch. The home side had one final chance of the half a brilliant flowing move started with Craig Byrne out left who zipped first time ball to Leon Doyle he turns his man and released Bubba Doyle who made a great run down the left and he whizzed a teasing ball across the penalty are that begged to be tapped home. An entertaining first half but no goals to show for it.

St Anthony's came out in the second half absolutely flying and really had Ballycane on the back foot and had three good chances in succession. With Kevin "Cat ",Higgins making a great save and both Lee Short and Doheny making the other vital interception to keep the home side on level terms. Ballycane finally regained a foothold in the second half with Leon Doyle, making some penetrative runs up the right flank .Ballycane working a great chance with Bubba Doyle putting Stephen Durney through on goal with a little clipped ball over the top the winger took a great first touch and his half volley crashed off the post from a tight angle to keep it deadlocked midway through the second half. The game was definitely stretched now and St Anthony's worked a tidy moved themselves starting wide right and ended with Mick Doheny making a goal line clearance to keep the tie on level terms.

Ballycane had a freekick in a threatening are after Darren Larkin was bundled over twenty yards from goal ,up stepped Keelan Noone and bend a low drive around the wall that Dawson Conroy at full stretch pushed around the post with vital save. Keelan Noone was forced off through injury after a good shift. It was a case of defensive prowess with both side's cancelling each other out 0-0 full time.

Extra time was hectic stuff with both side pouring bodies forward in search of that elusive goal. But neither team could unlock either defence, and that was story in both halves of extra time. Penalty kicks loomed with Kevin Higgins proved to be the Difference saving three penalties and scoring one himself. With Ballycane getting over line 3-2 in a game that could have swung either way to be fair.

Best For Ballycane were ,Short ,Doheny and Byrne at the back a midfield Masterclass by Bubba Doyle and the exceptional Kevin Higgins in goal who was a different class today and proved to be the difference.

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