There was a welcome return to league action this weekend after last week’s exertions in cup competition for all the top flight teams. This weekend’s round of fixtures saw Nenagh AFC ‘A’ remain at the summit of the Premier League as they overcame a depleted Sallypark ‘A’ side at the Brickfields venue. The league pace setters had too much firepower and raced into a 3 nil lead before Kieran Ryan poked home for the visitors to leave it 3 – 1 at the break. Town tagged on another two goals in the second half and in reality could have had more only for a fine performance from Damien Corcoran in the visiting goal. For the home side, Dan Dalton continues to impress by scoring three with Thomas Sheppard and John Mitchell also getting in on the action. Nenagh Celtic ‘A’ were looking to keep the pressure up on the local rivals as they faced an in form Cloughjordan ‘A’ side in what turned out to be an entertaining and dramatic match where the home side snatched a point with a late strike which see’s Celtic loose some ground at the top end of the table. It was a busy day for the match official as it was penalties and free kicks which mostly decided the outcome as two Ger O’Brien penalties either side of a Jimmy Hynes strike left it 2 – 1 at the break for the home side. Hynes continues his fine form as he rifled home a free kick to level matters and then Celtic took the lead thanks to a Danny Ryan strike. With three points looking like making their way back to Nenagh up popped Kevin Kennedy to head home a Shane Quinlan free kick to leave it honours even with the last play of the game. Clodiagh Rangers ‘A’ heaped unwanted pressure on Thurles Town in Drombane last Sunday as the home side made it 3 wins from 4 home games. The first half was a tight encounter with both sides having chances to take the lead with Brian Carroll rattling the cross bar from distance for the home side and Tommy Brophy had a netted effort ruled offside for the visitors. The half time break saw both sides go in at nil all, but it was the hosts who raised the ante and scored three times in twenty minutes thanks to goals from Michael Browne, Brian Carroll and Paul Doyle. The home side’s nerves were on edge when Paraic Fogarty reacted first to a deflected effort to tap home for Thurles, but it was a case of too little too late as Clodiagh stood firm against some late pressure to leave their guests rooted to the bottom of the table as they look to find previous seasons good form to kick start their fight against relegation.
Streamstown Celtic ‘A’ returned to winning ways against Borroway Rovers in Thurles as they look to maintain momentum at the business end of the table. The Roscrea side were thankful to their free scoring talisman, Wally Kirwan with a goal either side of the break which was enough to guarantee the points despite a late strike for the home side from Davie McGuire. Nenagh AFC ‘B’ overcame a spirited Borriokane ‘A’ at Islandbawn to remain in second place wedged between Holycross and Streamstown Celtic. The visitors were two nil up at the break at looked good value for their lead after two headed goals from Brian Davis and Gordon Harding. Half time was a welcome relief for the hosts and with strong words ringing in their ears, they turned in an inspired second half performance with goals from Willie Darcy, Alan Kelly and an injury time penalty from Shane O’Gorman to keep their slim title chances alive. Moneygall edged out Rearcross ‘A’ at home in a game which puts the visitors firmly in a relegation battle at the foot of the table. Michael Parlon continues to find the back of the net with ease for Moneygall and was the difference between the two sides on the day. Holycross travelled to Portroe to face Arra Rovers and kept their 100% league record intact with a 3 – 1 victory. The Glenbane side were 3 nil to the good before Arra bagged a late consolation goal through Kevon O’Halloran. Eamon Flanagan, James King and Kyle Denny were all on the mark for the league leaders.
The top two spots remain as they were the week previous with both Roscrea United ‘B’ and BT Harps ‘B’ securing three points each. Harps were awarded a walkover from Kilcommon whilst Roscrea had work hard to overcome Cloughjordan ‘B’ with a 4 – 3 score line. The home side had Joe Callaghan to thank yet again as the free scoring striker notched up a hat trick with Aidan Moloney also getting on the score sheet. Conor Deane, Noddy Quinlan and Dean O’Meara all scored for Cloughjordan but couldn’t match the fine man of the match performance from Callaghan which helped his side stay one point ahead of BT Harps with one game in hand. Portumna Town’s title challenge took another blow this weekend after they lost out 4 – 1 away to Nenagh AFC ‘C’. The away side shaded the first half despite the score being 1 all at the break with Sean O’Meara levelling for Portumna after they went behind. Nenagh dominated proceedings in the second half and went ahead almost straight from the kick off, and not long after found themselves 4 – 1 ahead with strikes from Stevie Daly, Dean Morrissey and Colin McKenna and now find themselves one of three teams joint second from the foot of the table with ten points. Ballymackey ‘A’ stay in contention for promotion after picking up a point on the road away to an improving Nenagh Celtic ‘B’ side who themselves are also looking to reignite their promotion charge. The away side took the lead twice in the game with Denis Haverty hitting a brace, but could find a third to kill the game off despite having some good chances. A first half strike for Liam O’Meara and a last minute equaliser for the home side by Pawal Bladzinski guaranteed a share of the spoils for the Hoops.
Borrisokane ‘B’ closed the gap on Gurtagarry at the top of the third division with a convincing 4 – 1 win over Ballywilliam. John Doyle was another of the weekend’s hat trick hero’s as his efforts were accompanied by a strike from Matty Power. Ballywilliam did get off the mark with a converted penalty from Pierce Morris. Barnane lifted themselves from the relegation zone with resounding 4 – 1 victory over Shannon Rangers who’s good form at the start of the season seems to have abandoned them of late. Michael Everard bagged a brace, whilst Joe Lupton and Martin McGrath also assisted. Martin Minehan notched up the solitary reply for Shannon Rangers. Clodiagh Rangers ‘C’ despatched of Streamstown Celtic ‘B’ in ruthless fashion as they ran out 7 – 2 winners on this mid table clash. The opening stages of the game were closer than the final score line suggests with both sides matching each other in front of goal to leave it 2 all after 30 minutes, with Streamstown’s second coming from the penalty spot, which also resulted in the Drombane side being reduced to ten men. Not being deterred by this, the home side hit their guests for another five to lift them up to fifth place. Man of the match on the day was David Considine who bagged four goals, to make it seven goals in two games. Also on the mark for Clodiagh were Shane McCormack, Patrick Lowry and Pa O’Dwyer. Shane Carroll and Afrian Elbert scored for the visitors in a game they will want to forget in a hurry. An understrength Templetouhy were hit for 8 unanswered goals against visitors Lough Derg ‘B’ who themselves are still in with a strong chance of promotion. Jamie Stuart topped the scoring charts in this game with a hat trick to outdo team mates Keith Stritch and Eric Monaghan who bagged a brace each with Marco Federico also scoring to leave the Ballina side 2 points behind second placed Borrisokane and with a game in hand. Rearcross ‘B’ and Sallypark ‘B’ met Friday night and played out an entertaining 3 all draw under lights. The visitors took the lead in this game only to see their endeavours cancelled with a fine free kick from Joey Nolan to leave it 1 all at the break. Damien Nolan put the hosts ahead but Rearcross couldn’t hold on and shortly afterwards found themselves 3 – 2 down with time running out. Kieran Devitt hit a late equaliser to leave both sides with a point each in what was probably the fairest result on the night.
FAI Youths Cup
Of the three remaining representatives in this competition, only Nenagh Celtic Youths remain as they overcame Clonmel Celtic in extra time at the VEC venue last Saturday. The hosts were 1 nil down at the break but levelled through Dominic Sheridan with only minutes remaining which resulted in extra time and the home side excelling with three goals. Sheridan got his second and Paul Walsh also bagged a brace to see them through to the next round. A depleted BT Harps Youths team went out to a strong Clonmel United side after normal and extra time couldn’t separate the sides. The TSDL side emerged victorious in the shootout by 3 goals to 1. Ballymackey hosted high flying TSDL side Peake Villa and no answer for the team from Thurles who scored 5 without reply.
The only youth’s game to go ahead this weekend was between Holycross and Ardcroney at the Glenbane venue. An incident packed first half saw the score being 2 all at the break with Ger Mockler and an own goal being responsible for the home sides tally. The second failed to produce any more goals and this point leaves Ardcroney top of the second division ahead of Birdhill.