Depleted Nenagh fall to Fairview Rangers
By Pat Sheehan
Fairview Rangers took the points on offer in their game with Nenagh AFC on Saturday evening to maintain their hopes of taking the premier division title.
Both teams were forced to field without a number of regulars but the sides that took the field produced a battling display from which the home side deservedly took the spoils.
Nenagh were forced to play with manager Cillian Fitzpatrick between the sticks and he turned in a superb display, denying Fairview time and again with some vital blocks.
An early injury to the influential Saeed Ryan did not help Nenagh’s’ cause. They nearly conceded after ten minutes when the impressive Darragh Rainsford raced past the defence but saw his shot deflected to safety by Fitzpatrick.
Five minutes later, Shane Tracey’s 25-yard free kick took a wicked bounce off the ground and squirmed under Fitzpatrick to put Fairview on their way. The home side controlled most of the possession, but Nenagh restricted them to a couple of half chances in the opening period.
After the restart, Fitzpatrick made another superb save, denying Irish International call up, Conor Coughlan with a volley from fifteen yards. Coughlan was denied again shortly after when his goal-bound shot was cleared off the line by Colm Hayden.
From a fine run by Matt Spain, Fairview broke quickly, and at the other end, Fitzpatrick raced bravely from his line to deny Cian McNamara a certain goal.
Nenagh’s best chance of the game saw Matt Spain gather in the middle and play a sweet ball into the path of the overlapping Lee Mowatt whose shot from an acute angle was well saved by ‘View keeper, Josh McCarthy
The points were wrapped up late on when Fitzpatrick was adjudged to have blocked McNamara illegally and from the resultant spot kick Conor Ellis fired in his 24th goal of the season.
Fairview Rangers: Josh McCarthy; Wayne Colbert; Scott Kirwan; Jason Cross; Jake Dillon; Shane Tracey; Darragh Rainsford; Conor Ellis; Brian Aherne; Conor Coughlan; Cian McNamara. Subs: Jack Arra; Jeffery Judge; John Mullane; Sean Oyibo.
Nenagh AFC: Cillian Fitzpatrick; Saeed Ryan; Lee Mowatt; Bryan McGee; Eoin Coffey; Colm Hayden; Matt Spain; Eamon White; Aidan White; Adam Ryan; Paul Costello.
Subs: Dylan Morrison; Diarmuid Fitzpatrick; Devlyn Courtney; Kieran O'Brien; Lenny Raleigh.
Elsewhere, Pike Rovers put one hand on the title when they beat Ballynanty Rovers 1-0 thanks to a wonder goal from Steven McGann while in the Lawson Cup Aisling beat Regional United to reach the semi-finals.
In the Premier ‘A’ League, Newport Town strengthened their grip on a promotion spot thanks to a 6-1 win over Cappamore. The result put the Tipperary side joint top with Fairview Rangers ‘B’. Brian O’Sullivan and Jay Ryan scored two apiece with Cillian O’Shea and Christy Doyle also getting on the scoresheet. O’Sullivan has now chalked up 250 goals with Newport, an incredible statistic by any measure.
In the Open Cup semi-final, Nenagh AFC ‘B’ bowed out, going down 2-1 to Herbertstown. Diarmuid Fitzpatrick scored for Nenagh but goals from David Hannon and Oisin O’Grady won it for ‘Town.