Soccer season update: who is winning the race for the Golden Boot
Following the introduction of Level 3 coronavirus restrictions last week, all NT&DL football fixtures were postponed. The season will resume when Tipperary and the surrounding counties return to Level 2 restrictions under the government’s plan for living with Covid-19. During this downtime for the league I hope to continue providing informative articles on the NT&DL each week. This week we will be looking at the Top Scorers so far in all the NT&DL Junior and Youths leagues.
The race for the Golden Boot award in the Premier Division is heating up. Youngsters, Jack O’Mahony and Ruairi Murphy occupy first and second respectively. Whereas the experienced goal scorers; Paul Kirwan, Joe Callaghan and Tommy Brophy are all occupying the places just below. Young forwards Aidan White and Brian Mitchell previously occupied the top spots, but a run of poor results for Ballymackey and injuries have had an impact on both men, respectively. Calum O’Connor is a dark horse in this race, but having only played six games so far, he will add to his tally. So far in the campaign Nenagh Celtic have the highest amount of different goal scorers, with 14 different players putting the ball in the net. Cloughjordan and Thurles have only different 4 scorers each to date, with Dean O’Meara and Tommy Brophy doing the heavy lifting, respectively. Surprising omissions from the list of top scorers are Jimmy Hynes and Dennis Haverty, who only have a goal apiece, both players tend to drop into midfield, which goes someway to explaining the lack of goals. It is a hugely impressive break-out season for Lough Derg’s Jack O’Mahony, his return of nine goals in his debut Premier Division campaign accounts for over a third of Lough Derg’s total goals.
Michael O’Gorman and James Deegan have scored 17 times in all competitions this season, Rearcross have scored just five more goals than that in total. It’s an impressive tally for O’Gorman, who has been a consistent Division 1 goal scorer for many seasons. His nearest challenger for the Division 1 Golden Boot award, Adam Fogarty, plays for promotion rivals Portumna, who are 1 point ahead of Rearcross with 3 games to go. Clodaigh Rangers ‘A’ are the only team to have 3 different representatives in the Top Scorers charts, this spread of goals across the team is one of the contributing factors to going unbeaten so far. Borrisokane are the second highest scorers in the league, but their leaky defence means they are also the team with the second highest number of goals conceded. It is a worrying sign for Borris’ who head into the crucial last 3 games only sitting 1 point off promotion. Jack Mahoney and Conor Gavin have both been ruled out for the rest of the season, so recent acquisitions following the end of the hurling season will be gratefully appreciated by Jamie Donnolly and co. The striker partnership of Callan Cotterell and Ciaran Willis accounts for almost half of all Arra Rovers goals, the Portroe side need only 3 more points to be almost guaranteed survival. Ardcroney’s struggle for form can be traced back to their lack of goals, central midfielders Alan Darcy and Ross Austin are their top scorers in this campaign with 3 and 2 goals, respectively. With 4 games remaining, Sallypark look set for certain relegation, their minus 23 goal-difference does not help matters. However, with former Gurtagarry goal scorer, Paul Ryan in their team, anything is possible.
Jojo O’Meara is top of the pile in the race for the Golden Boot across all divisions, his nearest challenger for the Division 2 award is his team-mate Ben Slattery. Joint league-leaders Birdhill have scored just the 44 goals this season in all competitions. They have 8 players with 3 or more goals to their name, which is an impressive spread. Much of Clodaigh B’s success this year has been down to Luke Shanahan and Pat Ryan, who have an equal share in over half of their side’s total tally. Templetouhy’s charge for third place would not be possible without strikers Tony Buston and James Kavanagh, who’s goals account for well over half of their team’s tally. Silvermines’ struggle for consistency is seen in their scoring stats, they have no out and out goalscorer in their side, Eddie Ryan is their highest scorer with only 3 goals. Ballymackey B have the highest amount of goal scorers in all three divisions, with 16 different players having found the net. This is no doubt a result of their impressive use of the second team to blood young players from their youth's setup. Damien Bentley manages both the youth's ‘A’ and junior ‘B’ teams, this is an ideal situation as the step from youths' football to junior football can be daunting for young players. A similar setup is in place at Moneygall, where mark Moroney oversees both teams.
Although the youth’s season is only just underway, it is evident that Eamon White and Adam Stuart will be amongst the goals most weeks. Both players regularly appear for their respective men’s teams, this will give them an edge over most of their opponents on Saturdays. With only 4 games played, BT Harps already have 9 different goal scorers with Henry Fogarty being their most prolific.