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  • Soccer

Ballymackey surge clear at the top

Thursday, 27th August, 2020 12:26pm
Ballymackey surge clear at the top

Cloughjordan's Bryan Williams and Moneygall's Joe O'Callaghan keep their eyes on the ball during their NTDL Premier Division fixture on Sunday last. PHOTO: ODHRAN DUCIE

Ballymackey surge clear at the top

Cloughjordan's Bryan Williams and Moneygall's Joe O'Callaghan keep their eyes on the ball during their NTDL Premier Division fixture on Sunday last. PHOTO: ODHRAN DUCIE


By Gary Culbert


Killavilla United 6-2 Lough Derg

Lough Derg deserve massive credit for their odds-defying start to the season, however, they were humbled last Tuesday by a rampant Killavilla side, spearheaded by an in-form Paul Kirwan.

Indeed, it was Kirwan who orchestrated the opening goal after in the first minute. He demanded a quick throw-in and headed the ball into the path of the on-rushing Shane Moloney, who burst past his man and unselfishly squared the ball to Ruairi Murphy to score. Two minutes later, Killavilla doubled their advantage which involved playing out from the back, which sucked the away side up the pitch as they tried to press the ball. Killavilla repeatedly got around the press, and once Robbie Ryan or Joe Moloney got the ball in central midfield, it was an easy task to lob the ball in behind for the three Killavilla danger men to run onto. On this occasion, it was Joe Moloney that fed Paul Kirwan, who found himself twenty-five yards out, and one on one with the keeper from where he expertly chipped Oisin Conacur.

The asymmetric front three for the home side were causing all sorts of trouble. With nine minutes gone we saw a repeat of the first goal, Shane Moloney burst past his man with pace and power down the right and squared to Ruairi Murphy who tapped in.

Lough Derg got a goal back thanks to a series of mistakes by the home side. Firstly, Finn Looney was cynically fouled thirty yards out. From the resulting free kick, Stephen McCarthy hit the ball towards goal, probably not expecting much but somehow the ball made it through the young keeper’s hands.

On eighteen minutes, Joe Moloney made it 4-1 with a free kick from 30 yards, a goal which the Lough Derg shot stopper will know he could have done better with. However, this is only a minor blip for the young shot stopper, who earned his team a point only two days previous. Paul Kirwan got his second of the match after 25 minutes to make it 5-1 after some good work from Robbie Ryan in central midfield.

The second half mostly belonged to Lough Derg, but that did not stop man-of-the-match Paul Kirwan from completing his hat-trick, Joe Moloney providing the assist again. An extremely calm finish by Kirwan, expertly dinking the ball over the Lough Derg keeper. Oisin Conacur pulled off an incredible save to deny Fionn Ryan. Lough Derg got a consolation goal with ten minutes left to play through Luke Kennedy.

Borroway Rovers were all set to host Cloughjordan on Wednesday, only for the match to be postponed by the NT&DL as a precaution.


Thurles Town 2-5 Ballymackey

On Thursday, in the greyhound stadium, Ballymackey went three points clear at the top of the NT&DL Premier Division with a 5-0 win over Thurles Town.

Goals came through a brace from Aiden White, and strikes from Eamonn White, Dylan Kennedy and an own goal. For Thurles, Tommy Brophy continued his fine form in front of goal, drawing the sides level with his second of the game on 27 minutes.


Moneygall 3-2 Cloughjordan

Moneygall FC groundskeepers had the pitch surface in a beautiful condition on Sunday, when the home side defeated their local rivals Cloughjordan 3-2.

The Offaly men looked sluggish after their two-week lockdown with Clough having the better of the early stages. With twenty minutes gone, division 1 winner with Cloughjordan last season, Joe Callaghan, got what seemed like an inevitable goal against his former club, a well-taken finish into the bottom corner from archetypal Joe Callaghan goal. Ten minutes later, Dean O’Meara equalised when he finished well after latching onto a defence-splitting Kevin Kennedy pass.

Cloughjordan had plenty of chances after the break, but it was Cian Galvin who capitalised on some lacklustre Cloughjordan marking to make it 2-1. Clough drew level when Gary Culbert found the bottom corner following a Dean O’Meara assist. Stephen Murphy came off the bench and secured all three points with his second touch of the ball on his debut for a 3-2 win.


Lough Derg 3-3 Thurles Town

With Clarisford Park in Killaloe under repair after Storm Ellen, all eyes turned to the Greyhound Stadium on Sunday where Thurles Town and Lough Derg played out a six-goal thriller.

For the second time in the week, Lough Derg found themselves two goals down early on, with Tommy Murphy twice rattling the net. John Hayes’ team rallied, taking the lead in the second half thanks to a Lee Mowat brace and a James Hanley finish. However, Jack O’Donnell would have the final say in this one, he scored late on meaning the points were shared.


Killavilla United 0-4 Ballymackey

The biggest shock of the weekend was Ballymackey comprehensively defeating Killavilla 4-0 in Villa Park on Sunday.

Inside ten minutes, John O’Connor got his first of the day after using his pace to get in behind. Shortly after, Paul Kirwan was sent off after a collision with Bally’ keeper, Timmy Fleming. This was a crucial moment in the match which the home side never recovered from. From this point, the Ballinree outfit dominated. John O’Connor completed his hat-trick and David Haverty added a fourth. This result signals Ballymackey as real title contenders this year, a surprise fact given Ger Hogan’s men only got promoted to the Premier Division last year.

The only other Premier Division fixture at the weekend was Borroway Rovers v Nenagh Celtic, however the match had to be postponed by the NT&DL as a precaution.


Division 1

Division 1 is starting to take shape. With only seven teams taking part this year, it looks like as long as you avoid finishing last in the league, you may well avoid relegation. Sallypark currently occupy that bottom spot, having failed to register a point in their opening four games. In midweek, they found themselves a goal down to Arra Rovers at half time, courtesy of a Ciaran Willis finish. A brace from Antony Collins and a Callan Cotterell strike secured all three points for the Portroe side. Padraig Ryan got Sallypark’s only goal of the game.

Portumna Town continued their fine form with a 3-1 win over Ardcroney. The hosts were 2-1 up at half time thanks to goals from John & David O’Meara, with Ardcroney’s goal coming from Kieran Spain. The away side missed chances late on which could have rescued a draw, but Gary Lynch secured all three points for Portumna with a strike in the second half.

On Thursday, Rearcross hosted Borrisokane under the lights and laid down a marker with an emphatic 6-3 victory. James Deegan and James Rochford had the host’s two goals to the good at half time. A Michael O’Gorman hat-trick and a hit from Patrick Dawson were enough to cancel out goals from Borrisokane’s Llewellyn Mooney, Gordon Harding, and Brian Donnelly.

Rearcross were again in action again at the weekend, this time running out 3-0 winners when they hosted Portumna Town.

Portumna will be disappointed that they failed to get on the scoresheet against their promotion rivals. Rearcross will be delighted with the three points, which puts them second in the league, level on points with three other teams, but with a game at hand. James Deegan had the home side one up at half-time, Philly Deegan and Michael O’Gorman completed the scoring in the second half.

On Sunday, Ardcroney hosted Arra Rovers and earned a crucial 3-2 win. The home side found themselves a man up and one-up at half-time, thanks to a penalty converted by Darragh Buckley. Ross Austin made it 2-0 shortly after the break with a volley of the highest quality, leaving the keeper with no chance as the ball flew into the top corner. The away side rallied, scoring twice in the second half through the in-form striker pairing of Ciaran Willis and Callan Cottrell, however, Ardcroney secured the three points when Jamie Heffernan found the net.


Division 2

Silvermines provided the shock result of the midweek games, taking a point off high flying Holycross. The ‘Mines were ahead after five minutes thanks to an Eddie Ryan header at the back post, assisted by a free kick from Darragh Cleere. Moments before the break, the away side were level. A quick throw-in and some good passing resulted in the ball being squared to Ben Slattery, who pulled off a fine finish. Despite both sides having good chances and sustained periods of pressure, the score remained 1-1 at full time.

Clodiagh Rangers ‘B’ found themselves 2-0 down to Ballymackey ‘B’ at half time, the away sides goals coming through Jason Burns. The hosts rallied after the break and won all three points thanks to a goal apiece from Paul Ryan, Conor Fahy and Ailbe O’Donoghue.

Birdhill were four goals to the good at half time when they hosted Templetouhy in midweek. The match finished 5-1, with Thomas Floyd scoring four times and Frank Troy getting the fifth.

On Sunday, Anthony Floyd’s free-scoring Birdhill were defeated 3-1 when they travelled to play the Clodiagh Rangers ‘B’. The home side’s goals came courtesy of a brace from Luke Shanahan and a Pat Ryan strike. Emmett Floyd got the only goal for the away side.

Templetouhy righted the wrongs of their midweek defeat to Birdhill when they won 2-1 against Ballymackey ‘B’. The home win was thanks to goals in each half from Tony Bustin and Dean Mahoney. Bally’ got a goal of their own in the second half through the in-form Jason Burns.

The only other game that went ahead at the weekend was Holycross hosting Moneygall ‘B’. The away side had no response to six Holycross goals, two each for Ben Slattery and Jojo O’Meara, and one apiece from Toby Lambe and JP Butler.

On a joyous day for Holycross on the pitch, it was an unfortunate day off it as they received a six-point deduction from the NT&DL. This point deduction means that the former league-leaders are now five points off top team, Clodiagh Rangers ‘B’.

The NT&DL Youths season will commence on the weekend of 5th September with league matches.

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