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  • Soccer

Promoted sides showing they belong in Premier Division

Thursday, 20th August, 2020 11:53am
Promoted sides showing they belong in Premier Division

Nenagh Celtic's Brian Mitchell is challenged by Cloughjordan's Martin Grace during their NTDL Premier League fixture in Cloughjordan on Sunday morning. PHOTO: ODHRAN DUCIE

Promoted sides showing they belong in Premier Division

Nenagh Celtic's Brian Mitchell is challenged by Cloughjordan's Martin Grace during their NTDL Premier League fixture in Cloughjordan on Sunday morning. PHOTO: ODHRAN DUCIE

SOCCER: North Tipperary & District League Review

 

By Gary Culbert

 

The opening four rounds of the season suggest there will be a battle for the North Tipperary & District League Premier Division title.

Ballymackey drew 2-2 with Nenagh Celtic in midweek. Celtic’s goals came from Killian Fennell and Jimmy Hynes, with Aiden White on target for Ballymackey before Timmy Fleming rescued point for the home side late on to leave Ballymackey level on points with Lough Derg in top spot going into their clash with in Ballinree on Sunday.

Jack O’Mahony had the first real chance for Lough Derg, going close on nine minutes.

Ballymackey were the next to threaten, a familiar passage of play found Thomas Sheppard on the right, he produced a cross that should have really been put away. Aiden White and Dennis Haverty were both causing trouble for the home side with their pace, getting in behind the visitors on numerous occasions, only to be thwarted by an inspired goalkeeping display from Oisin Conacur.

Ballymackey began to tighten the screw now with Thomas Sheppard and Dennis Haverty causing all sorts of trouble while Tony Delaney was a calming presence in midfield as the sides were deadlocked at half time.

The second half started as the first finished with Ballymackey pressure. Dennis Haverty harried the away side into conceding a indirect free kick in the box, after a backpass to the keeper. Thomas Sheppard was the obvious candidate to strike it, and so he did, going close but foiled by some good defense from Lough Derg.

The tide of the match started to slowly turn as Lough Derg took the lead against the run of play. Out of what seemed like no danger Jack O’Mahony produced a cross of the highest quality, which Finn Looney headed home.

The Ballina/Killaloe men enjoyed a period of quality possession and put some real pressure on the home side, in truth they were unlucky not to go further ahead, hitting the post from a free kick.

The water break was called and this was a real turning point in the game. Craig Connelly was brought on for the home side, almost instantly he appeared to have expertly chipped the Lough Derg sweeper-keeper, but the ball bounced wide.

John O’Connor was the home sides shining light in the first half, but Dennis Haverty took over in the second half. After some great play down the right, O'Connor crossed to Haverty just inside the box and his first time effort was saved by the Lough Derg keeper and somehow the rebound was not put away – hitting the side netting.

All the Ballymackey pressure finally told, Dennis Haverty found himself just outside the box and he slipped a fine pass to Craig Connolly who squared it to an unmarked Thomas Sheppard who fired home.

Ballymackey will be kicking themselves that they allowed Lough Derg to travel back the M7 with a point, but it is a harsh lesson that Ger Hogan’s side will no doubt learn from. Another great point for John Hayes’ men, who will look to get back to winning ways in midweek, against Killavilla.

Nenagh Celtic defeated Cloughjordan 3-0 on Sunday. They were ahead after ten minutes when Szymon Popiela got in behind with his pace and crossed to the back post for Brian Mitchell, who calmly volleyed home unmarked.

Danny Ryan made it two shortly after, expertly cushioning the ball past Kevin Quinlan. After the break Clough grew into the game but it was Celtic who added to their tally. Kevin Quinlan saved a Szymon Popiela penalty, only for Mikey Hynes to score from the resulting corner.

In midweek, Killavilla were down to host Borroway, however the points were awarded to Borroway (pending a review). On Sunday, the match between Thurles Town and Killavilla was postponed

 

Division 1

In midweek, Portumna Town ended Borrisokane’s unbeaten league run with a 3-2 win. Portumna went two up through an Adam Fogarty free kick and penalty. Brian Donnelly pulled one back for Borris’ through a penalty of their own. On 66 minutes, Gordon Harding powered home a header from a free kick to make it 2-2 but with ten minutes left, Darragh Barry popped up with strike that proved to be the winner.

Ardcroney were in action on Wednesday, running out 3-1 winners at home to Sallypark. At half time Ardcroney were two-up thanks to an Alan Darcy brace. Sallypark got a goal back through Gearoid Connors, and they could have had more from the game only for a missed penalty. Ross Austin continued his fine start to the season with a goal that put the game to bed.

Clodaigh Rangers defeated Arra Rovers 5-1 in midweek. James Murray picked up a hat-trick, while John Casey and Paul Hanley also chipped in with goals. The Arra goal was a hit from Ryan Dunne.

In the weekend fixtures, Portumna Town were impressive 6-0 winners away to Sallypark. Initially Portumna struggled to adapt to the wet conditions, the speed at which Sally’ got the ball forward was also causing trouble. The most clear-cut chance of the game fell to Arran Reid on nine minutes.

Portumna were starting to find their rhythm, playing out from the back and working their way around the pitch with some very smart play. However, Sallypark had the better chances up to this point.

As Portumna started to grow into the game, Sean Lynch was got further forward from right-back, often linking up well with striker David O’Meara. It was this link up play that earned the corner from which they scoring was opened. Adam Fogarty’s first goal of the day was a low drive into the bottom right from just outside the box.

A couple of minutes later, the away side made the pressure tell when from a quick free kick, the ball was worked through to the right back in an advanced position, Sean Lynch, who played a defence splitting pass through to Gary Hogan who found Adam Fogarty with his back to goal in a crowded six-yard box he somehow did three keepy-ups, held off his man, spun and volleyed home.

A succession of Portumna corners led to the thid goal as Sean Lynch got his reward with a simple header into an open goal. Just before half-time the men in yellow and blue made it four with Adam Fogarty selflessly squared the ball to David O’Meara who slotted home.

Adam Fogarty was popping up everywhere now, and the man of the match was rewarded for his hard work, completing his hat-trick after intercepting a sloppy pass. Portumna had all their work done in the first half, and naturally did not create as many chances in the second half. However, Darragh Barry did add a sixth just before the final whistle.

Borrisokane suffered their second loss in the week with a 3-1 defeat against Clodiagh Rangers. Conor Gavin put Borris ahead on 40 minutes, but Clodiagh drew level at half time with a Sam van Dam strike. Van Dam added a second along with a strike from James Murray to record a 3-1 win. It is a tough time for Jamie Donnelly’s men, who will not be too used to losing matches after their fine season last year.

 

Division 2

In midweek, Birdhill overcame three goal half time deficit to take all three points against Nenagh Celtic 'B' on a 6-3 scoreline with the six goal salvo in the second half courtesy of Sameer Salem, Darragh Nolan, Emmett Floyd, Colin Floyd, Conor Hickey, and an O.G. Celtic’s goals came through a Kevin Nevin brace and a Cliff Maloney strike.

Silvermines found themselves 2-1 up at half time against Clodiagh Rangers 'B' thanks to a John Grace brace. After the break, Scott Mitchell turned from creater to scorer to make it 3-1. Tom Purcell struck a fine free kick late on to complete his brace for Clodiagh Rangers ‘B’.

The other midweek game saw high-flying Holycross demolish Ballymackey ‘B’ 5-0. Jojo O’Meara got a brace, whilst Ben Slattery, Kamil Rusinek and Luca Lcovara also found the net.

At the weekend, Birdhill and Ballymackey 'B' played out an eleven goal thriller with Birdhill edging it late on. Ballymackey were 3-2 up at half time thanks to a free kick from Richard King, and a goal apiece for Gary McCarthy and Robbie O’Gorman. The away sides goals came from Shane O’Brien and Thomas Floyd. The Ballinree side made it 4-2 through Timmy Fleming and may have thought the job was done, however, Birdhill had different ideas. Emmett Floyd, Kealan Floyd and Colin Floyd all rattled the net to somehow put Birdhill 5-4. With five minutes to go, Ballymackey equalised thanks to a Mark Carey free kick. Sensationally, the scoring was not finished and with only seconds remaining, Thomas Floyd popped up with the winner.

Nenagh Celtic 'B' went down 5-0 against Holycross. Celtic’s consolation goal came through Terry Delaney whilst a Jojo O’Meara hat-trick and a goal each for Tony Lamb and Colin O’Meara registered for Holycross.

An Oisin Jordan Brace and goals from Steven Troy, James Kavanagh and Tony Bustin saw Clodaigh Rangers 'B' defeat Templetuohy 5-1.

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