Senior League - Midweek Update
Ballycane Celtic 0 Suncroft AFC 2
Suncroft maintained their strong away form with a 2-0 win at Ballycane Celtic in their first midweek fixture of the new season. In stark contrast to the perfect weather conditions of the previous Sunday, Wednesday night's game started in a torrential rain shower, quickly making the playing surface difficult for either team to play on. The first opening only arrived when the worst of the wind and rain had passed, with twenty mins played Craig Durney and Dylan Connolly worked an opening on the left hand side but the latter's effort on goal lacked conviction and was saved comfortably by former 'Croft keeper Kevin McDonnell. Ballycane started to exert some pressure with some great work by Callum O'Reilly down the right hand side. With some good footwork saw him get some space to wipe the ball across the box only for Hazzard to shoot wide of the post. Ballycane kept the pressure on with a corner wipped in from the right only for mick Doheny to rise highest in the box to head it over the bar.
With the conditions improving the away side began to exert some dominance on proceedings, with Kieron Sheedy in midfield proving particularly effective. Suncroft took a deserved lead with thirty mins on the clock, Sheedy's defence splitting pass finding Connolly inside the Ballycane penalty area and with a quick change of feet Connolly created enough space to fire a left footed effort into the bottom corner of the net. Long range efforts from Niall Flynn and Paddy Flood and a well struck Josh Lee free-kick was the closest either side came to getting the second goal of the game before the break.
The second half began in the same fashion as the first had ended, with the away side more dominant in possession but struggling to create clear cut chances. Suncroft did have the ball in the Ballycane net in the 55th minute but Paddy Flood's goal was ruled out for a tight offside call, with no VAR being used at the game, the referee's decision stood. Flood again came close to getting the goal his play deserved but his shot from a tight angle found a well positioned McDonnell in the Ballycane goal. The second goal finally arrived with sixty eight mins played, Liam Knight's crossfield pass finding Connolly in acres of space on the Suncroft left wing, Connolly driving straight at goal and firing a powerful effort high into the net from 15 yards out for his 7th goal of the season. Gary Lowe had a chance to kill the game soon after when Josh Lee's low cross found its way to him near the penalty spot but he was unable to keep his shot under the bar. The home side pushed men forward in search of a way back into the game but Colin Farrel in the 'Croft goal was largely inactive due, in no small part, to the performance of returning vice captain Gary Scully who marshalled his defence expertly. A good win for the 'Croft picking up another three points on the road with a fine overall team performance with standout performers in Kieron Sheedy, Dylan Connolly and Gary Scully. A final positive for Suncroft on the night was the late appearances of Josh Minihan and Ben McInerney for their senior debuts. Both players following Niall Costigan and Liam Knight in transitioning from the clubs successful u20s side into the senior setup this season. Best for Ballycane was Higgins, Preston and Callum O'Reilly.
Athy Town AFC 1 Rathangan AFC 1
Honours even on a cold and blustery Aldridge park tonight as the town welcomed Rathangan. Chances were few and far between in a dour first half where both defences dominated, both teams had some half chances but both Defences comfortably dealt with the threats.
The second half was more open with both teams attacking with more intent, Athy went ahead in the sixty first minute when a quick free kick from mick Walsh found David Bríde who had timed his run perfectly to beat Rathangan's offside trap, Bríde finished superbly with a rasping drive over the shoulder of the Rathangan keeper to put the town one up, Rathangan equalised in the 73rd minute after some sustained pressure saw a shot deflected past Conor Germaine and into the path of the oncoming forward who tapped home from 5yrds to make it 1 apiece. Rathangan grabbed an equaliser and a share of the spoils with ten minutes remaining.