Arra Rovers team who defeated Killavilla United on Sunday

Arra upset Villa to stake title claim

By Gary Culbert

Premier Division

Killavilla United 1-3 Arra Rovers

Arra Rovers went three points clear of the top of the NT&DL Premier Division table thanks to a sensational 3-1 win over Killavilla United at Villa Park on Sunday.

The visitors came out all guns blazing and scored in the sixth minute courtesy of a piece of individual brilliance from AJ Willis, who broke free down the right wing before firing a venomous strike, low into the far corner of the net. They dominated the first half, thanks in no small part to the tireless Stephen Kennedy, who in particular stood out in the middle of the field.

The visitors second goal came in the 35th minute after John Sheedy was fouled deep in his own half. The resulting long free kick from near the end line was pumped forward by Kevin O’Halloran and flicked on by Callan Cottrell, into the path of strike partner Ruadhan Mulrooney who contested the header and was met strongly in the air by the Villa backs, the net result was the ball being lifted over the keeper and into an open goal. It is an interesting turn of events that Arra would score such a goal, as during their loss on the same ground in the Shield final at the start of the year, their lack of aerial prowess was exploited by Killavilla.

The home side were a different team in the second half, dominating possession but still could not manage to really challenge Luke Conneally in the Arra goal, mainly due to the presence of player of the match Robert Byrne who was at the heart of a strong Arra rear-guard.

Despite the early pressure, the crucial next goal went the way of Dermot O’Halloran’s charges in the 65th minute through Callan Cottrell. The slick forward picked up the ball just inside the Killavilla half and jinked through the centre of the defence before picking his finish to the left of the keeper.

Killavilla got on the scoresheet with five minutes remaining when Eoin Maloney turned the ball into his own net in an attempt to clear a Killavilla cross which Mark Dwyer was about to pounce on.

The loss means Killavilla cannot afford to slip up again in the league but they do have their fate still in their own hands as they have two games in hand. However, next up for them is a difficult away assignment in the last 32 of the Munster Junior Cup against Newmarket Celtic next Sunday.

Rearcross 4-1 BT Harps

On Friday night, Rearcross won 4-1 at home to BT Harps, securing three points which sees the promoted side go level with second place Killavilla United, albeit with two more games played.

Rearcross moved the ball well, playing to their strengths against a BT Harps side who physically had an advantage over most of the nippy Rea’ players.

Michael O’Gorman opened the scoring and Darragh Kennedy doubled the lead before the break when a long searching cross deep to the back post was not dealt with by the Harps defence.

Darragh Kennedy got his second goal after the interval when his drilled cross from a wide position went all the way into the net. Kennedy completed his hat-trick with what was the pick of the bunch; a long-range effort which flew over the head of the Harps keeper and into the corner of the net.

BT Harps threw everything they had at Rea’ and got a late consolation thanks to a low strike from Nick Keane following a corner.

Rea’s Paul Nolan and Brian Nolan defended stoutly throughout, but the man of the match award has to go to Darragh Kennedy, not only for his hat-trick but also for the huge amount of work he got through in midfield.

Next up for Rearcross is their second trip down to Cork in as many seasons in the last 32 Munster Junior Cup.


Ballymackey all but ensured their Premier Division survival thanks to 3-1 home win over Lough Derg with a Josh McCarthy brace and an Alan Ryan strike doing the damage.

A short-handed Lough Derg’s only response a solitary James Frahill goal. Ballymackey’s Kevin McCarthy was the best on the day. The loss sees the Shannon-siders perilously sit just one point above the single relegation place, albeit with a game in hand.

Division 1

Thurles Town travelled to Moneygall on Friday night for a crucial relegation six-pointer under the lights amidst torrential rain and a strong wind.

The conditions hampered the visitors usual controlled possession and indeed favoured the young athletic home side, whose determination and grit were evident as they put four goals past the ageing Thurles Town outfit, who will feel hard done by to have found the net just once.

Despite playing into the pummelling wind and rain, Moneygall took an early lead through tenacious left back Mikey Ryan, who headed in from a corner inside the opening minutes. In the seventeenth minute, Sean Moroney showed great composure and footwork inside the six-yard box to double the host’s lead.

Thurles had plenty of chances to pull one back but found goalkeeper David Toohey in inspired form. However, the away side did manage to find the net on the half hour when JJ Gleeson forced in a close-range header following a deep cross from the left corner flag.

The big transfer news from the winter break has been Aodhan Ryan’s move from Arra Rovers to Moneygall. Just after the interval the pacey winger got a debut goal to give the hosts breathing room again.

As the half wore on Thurles began to get their controlled passing game going and ultimately had Billy Hayes’s youthful side pinned into their own half, the situation not helped by Moneygall’s decision to switch to a back-five midway through the half. On more than one occasion the woodwork came to the rescue for the home side, and Gearoid Larkin had to clear one off the line from a corner.

Niall Maher led the line on his own phenomenally for the hosts, and in the 80th minute his pace, power and never-say-die attitude resulted in a goal which killed the game. It came about thanks to some dogged work by man of the match Andrew Hodgins, the industrious midfielder chased his man out to the left touchline before winning possession and playing a ball down the left channel for Maher. With no back up in sight the lone frontman had it all to do against two defenders and the keeper, two fouls and two excellent advantages later from the referee, Maher got back to his feet quickest before cutting in from the endline onto his right to secure three massive points for Moneygall.

Sean O’Keeffe at centre back was the best for Thurles, who are in a real relegation battle now thanks to the form that both Portumna and Moneygall are showing as we head into the final four games.

The only other Division 1 game saw title challengers Ardcroney lose 2-1 at home to Sallypark, in one of their must win games in hand over Borroway Rovers.

In the 15th minute, Sallypark made the breakthrough in this tightly contested physical battle when a left footed Kieran Ryan free from the right curled all the way in at the back post.

The home side were back in game after five minutes as Alan D’Arcy was on hand to tap home a corner at the back post. Control of the game switched between the sides on more than one occasion throughout the first half, with neither having any chances of note.

Just after the half time, Sallypark caught Ardcroney napping when centre back Paul Walsh crossed low from the left to the unlikely feet of Dan Keogh, who had time to take a touch and turn in the box before neatly placing the ball into the far corner.

If Ardcroney were to get back in this game it was going to come from the positive running of left back Andrew Hayes, who linked up well with Kieran Spain on more than one occasion to whip delightful balls into the box. The hosts build up play was breaking down in the middle of the park until the late introduction of Jack Daly, who added some composure to the industrious midfield of Alan D’Arcy and Ross Austin. Ardcroney did have the ball in the net with the last kick of the game, but the celebrations were short lived as a foul was committed on the keeper in the build up to the goal.

Sallypark and Paul Walsh defended well, whilst at the other end Mikey Hallinan, Brian Mitchell and Jack Sanders were a constant threat on the counter.

Division 2

Clodiagh Rangers ‘B’ beat neighbours Borrisoleigh 6-1 in Drombane on Sunday. Tom Purcell hit just the four, whilst Pa O’Dwyer helped himself to a brace. Alvis Danko netted the visitors consolation goal.

Lough Derg ‘B’ recorded a 4-1 away win over Ballymackey ‘B’ in Ballinree on Sunday. Cillian Bergin scored the home sides only goal as a resurgent Lough Derg ‘B’ netted four times with Cian McAuley, Eoin Sheehy, Daniel Tighe and Eoin Grace getting in on the scoring action.

Kevin Fogarty Tipperary Cup

Portumna Town kept their fine run going with a 4-1 win at home to Shinrone United. Riann McGloughlin scored for the visitors, but goals from Adam Fogarty, Donnacha O’Meara, and a David Fogarty brace ensured that the Galway side advance to the next round.

Nora Kennedy Cup

Birdhill did exceptionally well to come out the right side of a 3-2 score line when a very strong Borrisokane ‘B’ side made the trip up the N7. Andy Austin and Brian Donnelly were on target for the hosts, but a goal from Frank Troy and a Conor Hickey brace ensured Birdhill advanced.

Under 19 Premier League

Goals from Jack Keneally, Craig Kenneally and Ryan Gillick were enough for Ballymackey to cancel out a brace from Lough Derg’s Sam Foley and secure three points for the Ballinree men in Clarisford Park on Saturday.

BT Harps went away to Villa Park and secured maximum points on a 4-2 scoreline against Killavilla United thanks to goals from Joe Bourke, Sean Collier, and a Cormac Foy brace. Villa netted through Ben Lynch and Scott Kelly.

Under 19 Championship

Arra Rovers won 6-3 Holycross made the long journey to Portroe on Saturday. Brian McEvoy continued his magic touch with another hat-trick for the home side, whilst Jack McGrath, Jack O’Brien, and Eoin Moloney all added to the tally.