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  • Soccer

Ballymackey defeat tightens up title race

Thursday, 24th September, 2020 12:21pm
Ballymackey defeat tightens up title race

Ballymackey's Tony Delaney and Nenagh Celtic's Peter Hynes tussle for possession during the NTDL Premier Division fixture at Nenagh College. PHOTO: ODHRAN DUCIE

Ballymackey defeat tightens up title race

Ballymackey's Tony Delaney and Nenagh Celtic's Peter Hynes tussle for possession during the NTDL Premier Division fixture at Nenagh College. PHOTO: ODHRAN DUCIE

SOCCER: North Tipperary & District League Review


By Gary Culbert

Nenagh Celtic 3-2 Ballymackey
A superb second half free kick from Mark Walsh helped Nenagh Celtic take all three points from league leaders Ballymackey as they won 3-2 at Nenagh College on Sunday. 

Ballymackey named a much changed eleven, including the return of their first-choice keeper which meant Timmy Fleming moved to left-back, while Thomas Sheppard was deployed as striker with Darragh McDonnell taking his place in midfield.  

From the start it was clear that Shaun Kevin would have his hands full with Jimmy Hynes. Aiden White also made his intensions clear when he shot from distance. Celtic had the better of the play in the opening 10 minutes, Alan Kelly was causing an overload on the right from full back and putting in some fine crosses. 

However, the away side opened the scoring on eleven minutes as Denis Haverty played a neat one-two with Thomas Sheppard on the right of the box and found Eamonn White who did well to find his brother Aidan five yards out, with little time and space he hit the ball on the half volley across the face of goal and into the net. 

As ever, veteran Tony Delaney was playing in centre midfield, however on 23 minutes it was a poor pass from the midfielder to Shaun Kevin at the back which cost Ballymackey as Jimmy Hynes nipped in ahead of the centre back and won a penalty. Up stepped Brian Mitchell to powerfully dispatch to the keepers right, bringing the sides level. 

Adam Carey was having a very fine game, but it was the link up play between Thomas Sheppard and Denis Haverty that really caught the eye, the latter was the Ballinree side’s best player in the first half.

Ballymackey started the second half with real intent, going close through Thomas Sheppard on two occasions. The top class defensive and transitional work that Mark Walsh does at centre back for Nenagh Celtic often goes unnoticed due to how easy he makes it look, but the free kick that he scored to give Celtic the lead will live long in the memory. 

Substitute, Adam Healy, was brought down on the edge of the box just left of the semi-circle. Bally put a high wall four players thick in place to cover the near post, but this did not deter Mark Walsh who curled a sensational right footed shot powerfully into the top left corner, leaving the keeper no chance.

Ger Hogan’s men rallied and produced a passage play of the highest quality. Aiden White started the move just outside the Celtic box, linking up well with Denis Haverty, who found Thomas Sheppard on the left and he crossed deep to Darragh McDonnell who somehow squared to Aidan White three yards out but unmarked he lost concentration and hit the post with a tame effort. 

Darragh McDonnell had a good chance to draw his side level shortly after and he really should have made Paul Walsh work more than he did. It would be very easy for Aiden White to hide after his miss, but we saw how mentally strong he is when he fired home an absolute rocket of a shot just a couple of minutes later for 2-2. 

Ballymackey had real momentum now; White winning a free kick 40 yards out which substitute Alan Ryan thought he had scored from, but his back-post header was brilliantly saved by Paul Walsh. 

The introduction of Szymon Popiela with 15 minutes remaining was a masterstroke by Celtic manager Henry Newman. The hot day and intense match meant that the explosive pace of the winger would be even more effective when introduced. Five minutes after coming on, Popiela exploited space left by Alan Ryan and he raced through from the halfway line and squared the ball to Brian Mitchell who tapped home for the winner. 

This is a huge result in the title race, but it by no means puts Ballymackey out of the running in this exciting run-in for silverware.

Borroway Rovers 4-1 Killavilla United
Borroway Rovers entered the title race with a statement 4-1 win against Killavilla United on Sunday. 

Borroway opened the scoring after seven minutes through Aaron Cullen, the striker getting on the end of a fine James King cross. The home side doubled their lead on 24 minutes through Aaron Ryan, a fine top corner finish after a Jack Derby through ball. An own goal from the home side gave Killavilla a route back into the game to leave it 2-1 at half time. 

Killavilla should have drawn level after the break, but instead their near miss shocked the home side into life. Aaron Ryan got his second goal on 55 minutes when he tucked home a Jake Moore cross. On 70 minutes Aaron Cullen latched onto a Jake Moore through ball and expertly lobbed the onrushing Killavilla keeper. 

Borroway are no longer dark horses in this title race, in fact they are in the driving seat for the silverware if they win their games in hand.

Moneygall 3-0 Thurles Town
Moneygall continued their good run with a 3-0 win over relegation candidates Thurles Town. 

The match started off with both teams feeling each other’s defence out. As the game progressed, Moneygall started to push forward through their wingers who were putting in some dangerous crosses. During this period Stephen Maher, Billy McCormack and Joe Callaghan all went close but were denied by fine saves. However, Callaghan would not be denied for long, he opened the scoring with a fine finish off the back of a Nistor Tordeci cross. Joe Callaghan got his second and his sixth of the season, from the penalty spot after a Thurles player handled in the box from a corner. Moneygall pushed on from here, using all the space to tire Thurles out with fine passing play. Jack O’Brien made a serious claim on a starting jersey when he scored after coming on with a thundering strike into the top corner.

Division 1
Portumna Town went third in the table thanks to a 3-2 win over mid-table Arra Rovers. Portumna’s goals came from an Adam Fogarty brace and Nick Kennedy while Arra had Aodhan Ryan and Cathal O'Brien on the scoresheet.

Division 2
Birdhill travelled down the M7 and put just the eight goals past Moneygall in a 5-3 win. 
They were five goals up at the break thanks to a brace each from Colin and Floyd with Dave Corrigan also on target. Moneygall did some soul searching at half-time and ended up drawing the second half 3-3 thanks to a Billy Hayes hat-trick with Birdhill adding further goals through a Donal Whelan brace and Brian Keane. 

Clodiagh Rangers ‘B’ kept pace with Birdhill at the top thanks to a 3-1 away win over Holycross. Jojo O’Meara got the consolation goal for the home side, whilst Albie Ó'Donoghue, Paul Ryan and AJ Shanahan were all on the scoresheet for the visitors. 

Nenagh Celtic ‘B’ were 2-0 down at the break when they hosted Templetouhy, but a second half goal from Kevin Nevin and a brace from Craig Gleeson rescued a 3-2 win. Templetouhy’s scorers were Eugene Davy and James Kavanagh. 

Silvermines and Ballymackey ‘B’ were tied 1-1 at the break, but Silvermines ran out 3-2 winners thanks to a Josh Doyle brace and a late goal from the returning Josh McCarthy. Bally’s goals came from an O.G and a Paul Sullivan strike,

BT Harps were 2-0 up at half time when they hosted Moneygall and ran out 5-0 winners with goals coming from a Henry Fogarty brace and strikes from Joe Bourke, James Kennedy, and Mark Davidson. 

Ballymackey ‘A’ earned a fine 3-1 away win over Lough Derg. The sides were level at the break but an Eamonn White brace and a goal from Nathan Lynch secured all three points. Lough Derg’s goal came from Cian Oakley.

Arra Rovers travelled to play Knigh United and returned with all three points thanks to a second half goal from Aodhan Ryan. 

Elsewhere Ardcroney picked up all three points against Ballymackey ‘B’.

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