John Delaney Cup Semi-Final
Last Monday saw Thurles Town welcome Nenagh AFC ‘A’ to the Greyhound Stadium where both sides were eager to reach their first cup final of the season. The visitors exploded into the game and scored on 5 minutes when Daniel Butler slotted home from close range. Town came into game as the half progressed but failed to level matters before the break. Ian Maher levelled the tie half way through the second half after he poked home a loose ball in a congested Nenagh penalty area. Both sides couldn’t be separated in normal or extra time and penalties would have to decide the victors in this lengthy affair. It was a shootout where both ‘keepers impressed with the Brickfield’s side narrowly winning on a 2 – 1 margin.
John Delaney Cup Final
In keeping with recent finals in this prestigious tournament, kindly sponsored by F.A.I. Chief Executive, John Delaney, Nenagh AFC were once again set to battle with the mighty all conquering and current F.A.I. Junior Cup holders St. Michaels. Cooke Park was the venue last Friday evening for this enthralling game which the large crowd in attendance certainly received value for money for their entry fee. In an unprecedented year where both the F.A.I. Junior and Youths cups were won by these two Tipperary clubs, the fruits of both clubs labours were on show, most notably with Nenagh AFC deservedly promoting a number of their youth’s squad into their premier side. The games itself was well contested across the playing field with both sides creating good chances, but both sides were also guilty of not capitalising in front of goal. St. Michael’s ‘keeper Aaron Wall was tested by Ryan Gilmartin on 22 minutes with an effort from distance. The hosts took the lead on 38 minutes when Jimmy Carr squared for Darren Lynch to tap home despite strong claims from Nenagh that Cathal Coonan was fouled in the build up to the goal. Nenagh got back on level terms in the 54th minute when substitute Danny Butler powered the ball home in a congested penalty area after the visitors had won a corner. Again as in the first half, both sides had a number of chances to win the game, most notably Dalton for Nenagh but the deadlock at 1 all could not be broken so extra time ensued. Saints upped the tempo considerably in extra time and their busy schedule of late dictated that they began to get on top of the Brickfield, but only just. With 100 minutes on the clock, Carr was again provider, when he crossed for Mark McGrath to score the winner. Nenagh AFC will understandably feel unlucky not to have won this game, but it took a superb performance from Aaron Wall in goal for the home side assisted by his back four to deny them, a fact that was acknowledged by St. Michael’s captain James Walsh when receiving the John Delaney trophy.
Wednesday marked the third round of league fixtures in third tier of North Tipperary soccer which has seen 92 goals scored in total so far this season. Both Gurtagarry and Borrisokane ‘B’ have emerged as the early pace setters closely followed by a number of worthy challengers.
Gurtagarry travelled to Ballinderry to play Shannon Rangers and came home with all 3 points in a high tempo entertaining game where the hosts took the lead through Keith Kelly. Gurtagarry levelled matters with a Paddy O’Rourke strike and shortly afterwards took the lead Steven Cummins latched on to a Tom Hassett free kick. The home side then levelled the game after Raymond Bouke clinically slotted home. With time running out, up stepped Kieran Brislane who rounded a number of the home defenders before rifling home the winner to send his side joint top of the league.
Sallypark ‘B’ ventured to Borrisokane ‘B’ and had to settle for a share of the spoils after a game where two excellent free kicks settled matters. Paraic Ryan put Sallypark ahead who lead for the majority of the game until the 80th minute when Matty Power found the top corner for the visitors.
Lough Derg ‘B’ were the visitors to Drombane to face Clodiagh Rangers ‘C’ and made the long trip worthwhile with an impressive 3 – 1 victory. The hosts were looking to make it 3 wins from 3 games and looked in line to complete this task after taking an early lead through Owen Ryan after just 3 minutes. The home side went in to the break ahead by the solitary strike and were made to pay the price for some missed opportunities as Lough Derg struck with 3 unanswered quality strikes from Ethan Mowat, Keith Conway and Jason Comely.
Ballymackey ‘B’ hosted Streamstown Celtic ‘B’ in Ballinree and were unlucky not to take some points from this match. The hosts were on the back foot from early in the tie, but struck in the 16th minute when Kevin Mounsey finished off a lighting counter attack. Streamstown levelled from the penalty spot early in the second half with Tom Aherne coolly slotting home after Diarmuid Loughnane was fouled. A Fritz Kruse header put the visitors ahead 5 minutes later. To their credit, the home side got a foothold in the game and levelled matters themselves with the games second penalty which Rory Mounsey emphatically dispatched. However, lady luck shun for the Roscrea men as a deflected effort from distance took an unkind deflection and won the game with only minutes on the clock.
League newcomers Barnane and Ballywilliam met for the first time and the home side put Ballywilliam to the sword in ruthless fashion. In keeping with recent matches, Barnane continued to be able to find the back of the net with relative ease and notched up 5 on this occasion from David Butler (2), Joe Lupton, Declan Ryan and Michael Everard. David Corrigan was on the mark for the visitors.
Newly promoted Streamstown Celtic ‘A’ continued their good run of form of late with a convincing 4 – 1 victory over Borrisokane ‘A’. First blood on this occasion went to the home side that saw Craig Byrne score directly from a corner on 17 minutes. Within minutes it was 2 nil when Wally Kirwan volleyed home. Borrisokane rallied and took the game to their hosts only to find their defence in fine form. In the 82nd minute the game was put beyond doubt when Kirwan grabbed his second with a quality free kick from all of 20 yards. Borrisokane finally got on the score sheet when Gordon Harding got on the end of a well delivered corner. Kirwan became provider for the home sides 4th goal as he played Craig Phealan through who rounded the ‘keeper and slotted home to guarantee 3 points.
Holycross ‘A’ continued their unbeaten run this season and came out on top by the odd goal in 5 after overcoming Nenagh AFC ‘B’ in an entertaining encounter at the Glenbane venue. Super sub from the week previous Jo Jo O’Meara was on the mark for the home side with a well taken brace. Colin O’Meara assisted with the home sides third. Nenagh were made to work even harder after being reduced to ten, but still managed to score twice with a penalty from Adam Mitchell and quality effort from Gary Kevin.
Arra Rovers welcomed Ardcroney to Portroe and were in no mood to be charitable after losing their first league game the week previous. The home side ran out 3 nil winners over Ardcroney who have now suffered back to back defeats. The scorers for Arra were Liam Moyal, Stephen Kennedy and John Barry.
Moneygall were on their travels and made the long journey to face Rearcross Friday evening and for the second week in row had to return home empty handed despite taking the early with an early strike from Tony O’Connor. Derek O’Toole then bagged a brace, the second of which was from the penalty spot. The home side made sure of the points with a late strike from James Deegan.
Clodiagh Rangers ‘B’ faced strongly tipped league contenders Roscrea United ‘B’ in Kennedy Park Friday evening and suffered a 4 nil defeat. With the visitors fielding an experimental line up, they found themselves behind early on with a fine contender for goal of the season from Mark Woods who struck home from all of 35 yards. Woods went on to score a second in the early half and was joined on the score sheet by Richard Brosnan and Gavin Bateman.
Portumna Town were looking to reverse the result of their opening fixture with a victory over Nenagh AFC ‘C’ to kick start their league campaign. The first half proved to be a stalemate with both sides defending well. However the second half exploded into life when Colman Burke cleverly chipped the visiting custodian to break the deadlock in favour of the home side. 15 minutes later, Garry Curran headed home to make it 2 nil. A Garry Hogan volley made it 3 nil and guaranteed all three points despite a late strike from Conor Kirwan for Nenagh.
BT Harps ‘B’ trekked up to Kilcommon looking to make it back to back wins but failed to bring back any points with them as the home side won 2 – 1. Jordan Moloney was on the mark for the Templemore side but his strike wasn’t enough to cancel the goals scored by Gary Ryan and Tom Keane.