Compiled by Adrian Cooke
Thurles Town finished their disappointing season on the road and suffered a heavy defeat to league hopefuls Nenagh Celtic ‘A’. Thurles Town who have always played a high standard of football in the Premier League over the past number of years, will have to go back to the drawing board after finishing bottom of the league. In a season where some high profile players left the club to ply their trade in the TSDL, a number of good performances went unrewarded as the conceding of some late goals cost them dearly. However, on the other hand, Celtic have the bit between their teeth and knew that a result in this game would force a Premier League play off with neighbours Nenagh AFC ‘A’. On the mark for Celtic were Craig Connolly with a hat trick, Johnny Carmody bagged a brace and youths star Paul Walsh chipped in with another goal. In anticipation of the upcoming play off, it makes for interesting reading when you consider the remarkable league campaigns both Nenagh AFC ‘A’ and Nenagh Celtic ‘A’ have had this season. Both sides only lost the single game with Nenagh Town edging past Nenagh Celtic, and Roscrea United inflicting Nenagh Town’s only defeat. Both sides drew 2 games and finished on an impressive tally of 41 points. However, Nenagh Town have been more productive in front of goal scoring 54 times and only conceding 11 goals, but its Nenagh Celtic’s recent good run of form which has seen them put together a fine spell of form that has forced the playoff, which included a recent victory over their rivals in the Tipperary Cup semi final. Each side has had a number of standout players throughout the season, and as if the league playoff wasn’t exciting enough, the battle for the league’s top scorer also see’s Celtic’s Craig Connolly and Nenagh Town’s Dan Dalton level with Roscrea United’s Paul Kirwan with an impressive tally 15 league goals. In a game where emotions always run high between these two competitive sides, the added pressure of not wanting to lose Premier League title at this point makes this game almost impossible to predict. If Nenagh Town want to make it five in a row, they will need the likes of Tomas Sheppard, Dan Dalton and the defensive pairing of Mark McKenna and Mark Cahill to be on top form to stop Celtics league aspirations as they will look to Craig Connolly, Jimmy Hynes and Dan Ryan to inspire their side to league glory after a number of second place finishes in recent years. All roads will lead to Borrisokane next Sunday with kick off at 2.30pm, where the anticipated large crowd will be treated to a high quality spectacle with the NT&DL’s highest league to be decided.
Premier League Ricky Fogarty Cup Semi Final
Roscrea United ‘A’ travelled to Brickfields to face current cup holders Nenagh AFC ‘A’ in this eagerly awaited semi final and the Kennedy Park side were anxious to extract revenge for their recent defeat in the league, but it was hosts who shaded matters thanks to a 3 – 2 score line. Paul Kirwan was once again the main threat for Roscrea and he was rewarded for his endeavours with two well taken goals. However, Kirwan’s efforts weren’t enough to cancel out the brace scored by Ryan Gilmartin and the third goal from Mark McKenna. Matters were level in the tie, but when Roscrea were reduced to 10 men, the flow of the game changed and Nenagh took full advantage of their numerical advantage to see it through to another final against Nenagh Celtic ‘A’.
Tipperary Cup Quarter Final
Cloughjordan survived a steady test of nerves in this fiercely contested match between the two local rivals. Gordan Harding set the early tone for the home side with a number of stiff and strong challenges, and this encouraged his side to follow suit. Cloughjordan did well not to concede in this opening spell of pressure and slowly got Dean O’Meara and Kevin Quinlan more involved in the game. A neat move down the left involving Paul Killackey and Dean O’Meara resulted in PJ finding himself with some time and space, with his low drive beating the impressive Donnelly in the Borisokane goal. There was less than a minute to the half-time whistle, and the home side could feel aggrieved to being behind at this stage.
Unfortunately, the weather has a severe impact on the second half, and the match was in jeopardy to even finish! What seemed like a 45 minute long shower limited the ability of both teams to play, and, without being dangerous, the surface water was beginning to take hold of the ball in certain areas. Early in the second half, Boris missed their best chance, but the ball dropped to the unsuspecting striker who saw his surprise strike drift wide. Cloughjordan continued to press for a second goal, and saw headers saved from both Dean O’Meara and Adrian Browne. Ger O’Brien saw his volley rebound off the crossbar, as did Cian Darcy with a sweet free-kick. The one nil lead was kept intact thanks to a fine low save from Darren Browne to set up an all Premier League semi final against Roscrea United ‘A’.