Ace Sports Awards Masters Div 1
Leixlip United FC 0 Maynooth Town AFC 1
The rain had stopped but wind still howled in Collinstown Leixlip on Saturday when neighbours Leixlip Utd welcomed neighbour Maynooth Town AFC in the Kildare League Masters Division 1 fixture. With both teams missing players through injury and holidays the teams kicked off 5pm.
Both teams familiar with each others play it was evident in the first five mins that this would be a very tight game. The first attack of the game came from the home side’s left hand side where Tom St Ledger tried to get running left back Dave Curley in behind the visitors defence however the pass was a bit too strong and the ball going out for a goal kick. The visitors had the wind behind them in the first half and they utilised this during their first kick out, but the Leixlip defence won the first long ball forward with a towering defensive header by Paul Harrigan.
In the midfield both team battled for possession and space to create chances for their forwards however both defences stood strong to each attack. The first big chance of the game went to Leixlip United when some great work by Ross Cullinane and Ian Tighe with the cross from Cullinane was headed clear by visiting defender Bruno only for it to fall to left winger Tom St Ledger on his right foot and the resulting shot parried by Maynooth keeper Colm Treanor and Leixlip’s centre forward Graham Mulligan came very close to scoring the first goal only for the Treanor to recover the ball at the second attempt.
Maynooth next attacked down the right-hand side of the Leixlip defence, but the central defensive duo of Paul Harrigan and Mark Cribben cleared the danger and Leixlip moved forward once again. On the tenth minute a long kick forward into the wind by United goal keeper Tadgh Murphy and pressure from St Ledger and Mulligan up front resulted in another chance for left wing Ledger to strike the ball, this time on the weak right foot which brought out a diving save by visiting goalkeeper Treanor and out for a corner. The resulting corner was cleared by the MT defence.
Both teams continues to push on trying to create chances and the rain was back for a few minutes and cleared again thankfully. On the twentieth minute mark a breaking ball allowed United’s Vinnie Dalton to try, on the half volley, and lob keeper Treanor from about forty yards out only for his effort to drift about two yards wide of the post.
Ian Tighe and Graham Mulligan linked well again for the home side but before mulligan could get his shot away Maynooth defender Dave Purtell made a terrific tackle to put the ball out for a corner and deny United possibly a goal. The resulting corner was whipped in Tom St Ledger from the right but was dealt with in the air by Maynooth defender Brian McLoughlin. Stephen Griffin of Maynooth had one of the best chances to get the first goal of the game. Griffin who was causing alot of trouble for the Leixlip fefence fired a shot towards the bottom corner only for a great save from the Leixlip Goalkeeper. A combination of Niall Smith, Dan O Callaghan and Alex Segujja in the middle of the park started to dominate towards the end of the first half. Kearney and Terry on the wings threatened right through the half. The back 4 of Maynooth were sublime on a day that weather conditions made it very difficult.
Both teams came out in the second half and pushed for chances with a great battle in midfield between the number 8’s from both sides. The first big chance of the second half fell to Maynooth Town, Dave Purtell in full back pushed the play forward and was relentless throughout the game. His attacking play pushed Maynooth on and created many chances. O Reardain and Kelly were brought on and the fresh legs assisted with Maynooth’s attack. Some outstanding saves from the Leixlip Goalkeeper Murphy and the post on numerous occasions stopped Maynooth taking the lead. The home side’s first chance of the second half came after a cross from Mulligan on the right into the box only for the ball to beat the keeper and United’s Graham Keirsey controlling the ball however his cross was deflect out for a corner. The resulting corner was sent in by left footer St Ledger and a defensive flick header from the Maynooth Town the ball landed at the feet of Niall Mahady and his half volley shot just clearing the crossbar.
A great long pass into space by centre back Mark Cribben gave United their next chance but unfortunately the ball skidded off the surface and into the hands of the Maynooth keeper Treanor.
A pass by Graham Keirsey into centre forward Mulligan resulted in him being fouled by visiting defender about thirty yards out. The keeper lined up five in the wall at the top of his square, Tom St Leger on his left foot curled the ball around the wall and with the keeper beaten the ball hit the Maynooth crossbar. Leixlip next chance fell to number 8 Graham Keirsey but was deemed offside by the Referee.
Maynooth Town kept forcing the game to Leixlip and were unlucky not to get a goal when three fantastic saves in a row by United goalkeeper Tadgh Murphy inside his six yard box denied Maynooth in the sixtieth minute. However five minutes later Kevin O Brien stepped up and slotted home a cracking free kick into the bottom corner of Murphy’s net to seal the win for Maynooth. Tenacious defending from Brian McLoughlin and Gary MacMahon which was the theme throughout the game never gave Leixlip a chance to get back into the game. Dave Purtell was awarded Man of the Match for the winners.