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  • Soccer

Lough Derg rise to the summit

Friday, 9th October, 2020 10:19am
Lough Derg rise to the summit

Cloughjordan's Bryan Williams and Nenagh Celtic's Danny Ryan tussle for possession in the NTDL Premier Division fixture at Nenagh College. PHOTOGRAPH: ODHRAN DUCIE

Lough Derg rise to the summit

Cloughjordan's Bryan Williams and Nenagh Celtic's Danny Ryan tussle for possession in the NTDL Premier Division fixture at Nenagh College. PHOTOGRAPH: ODHRAN DUCIE

SOCCER: North Tipperary & District League Review


By Gary Culbert

Lough Derg 4-2 Ballymackey
Prior to last weekend, many people still questioned whether Lough Derg were genuine title contenders or not. On Sunday, they silenced their critics with an impressive 4-2 win over Ballymackey in Clarisford Park.
The home side knew the importance of this match in the title race and possibly let the occasion get to them early on, as they struggled to find any passing rhythm in a nervy opening quarter despite enjoying the majority of the ball. 
Oisin Conacur and Brendan Hayes both did well in their goalkeeping duties to keep it scoreless. However, on the half hour, Ballymackey found a breakthrough thanks to a set piece. Leon Kerin gave away a free kick on the left of the box, from where the home side failed to clear and it fell to Alan Ryan, who poked home.
The goal was a wake-up call for Lough Derg as manager John Hayes made some tactical adjustments and his young charges responded well. They had the ball in the Ballymackey net just before half time when Brendan Hayes failed to hold a tame shot, but Jack O’Mahony’s celebrations were cut short when the referee’s whistle sounded, adjudging Brendan Hayes had control of the ball when the striker tapped the rebounded into the net.
The pressure from the home side was rewarded in added time when the leading Premier Division goal scorer Jack O’Mahony dispatched his eighth goal of the season, following a high press which forced a mix-up between Hayes and Gary Kevin.
Lough Derg started the second half as they had finished the first, dictating the play and pressing high out of possession. They got their reward on 51 minutes thanks to a moment of magic from Jack O’Mahony. A long ball from Stephen McCarthy over the top was latched onto by the in-from striker who was forced to a tight angle, but O’Mahony had other ideas, he produced a brilliant turn inside the keeper and scored his second of the game.
The inexperience of this young Lough Derg side began to show, instead of pushing on, they took a more tentative in their approach, sitting back which invited pressure on their defence. Ballymackey rallied and were unlucky not to equalise following a sustained period of pressure which culminated in a shot which hit the woodwork.
Lough Derg soaked up the pressure and were hitting the visitors on the counter attack. Ballymackey over-committed in attack and the hosts pounced on a loose pass in the middle of the park; a quick transition found Dermot McCarthy one-on-one with Brendan Hayes and the Killaloe man finished with aplomb on 70 minutes.
Ten minutes later it went from bad to worse for Ger Hogan’s men as Adam Stuart got his second goal is as many games, the youngster showing great composure to round the keeper and end the match as a contest.
A consolation for Ballymackey was the move that Denis Haverty finished off in added time. A fine cross from the left arrived to the back post where Haverty volleyed home an acrobatic goal of the highest quality for his first goal of the season, but a goal that will most definitely be considered for goal of the season.
The best on the day for this immensely hard-working Lough Derg side were Dean Lawlor, Dermot McCarthy and Ricky Mowat. Ballymackey were missing some key players, but John Hayes’ charges will not mind, they are in dreamland now at the summit of the Premier Division. However, next up is Killavilla, the team that embarrassed the Killaloe men the last time they were top of the league.

Nenagh Celtic 10-0 Cloughjordan
A massively depleted and much changed Cloughjordan side from the 2-1 cup home defeat to Celtic the week before, were humbled by Nenagh Celtic last Sunday. 
Nenagh College was the venue for this ruthless display by Henry Newman’s men. The title challengers were 3-0 up at half-time but did not take their foot off the gas, scoring another seven times. 
The visitors were without some key players and had a long list of injuries but would still not have been expecting the hammering that Celtic dished out. Adam Healy scored his first goal of the season and would end the day with four. Szymon Popiela got a hat-trick, whilst Sean Healy, Shane Doran and Terry Delaney were all on the scoresheet for the home side. 
Cloughjordan can feel hard done by from deflections and goalkeeping errors, but there was a huge gulf in class. The statement victory puts Nenagh Celtic one point off top place with a game in-hand.

Killavilla United 6-1 Thurles Town
Killavilla United stayed in the title hunt with a 6-1 home win over bottom of the table Thurles Town.
Robbie Ryan put the home side in front after four minutes and Paul Kirwan made it two four minutes later for his fifth goal of the season. Thurles’ Joe Hennessey pulled one back for the visitors but after 14 minutes, Kirwan got his second. Two minutes later, the home side had a three-goal lead with Ruairi Murphy on target for his eight goal of the season. Just before half-time, young winger Mark O’Dwyer made it 5-1. Killavilla took it easy in the second half, only scoring one more time in the 46th minute.

Division 1 
Borrisokane continued their push for second place and promotion with a comprehensive 6-2 away win over pointless Sallypark. 
Brian Donnelly scored a penalty after ten minutes to give his side the lead, his 6th goal of the season. Shane Stapleton scored his third and fourth goals of the season before the half hour. Liam Cleary opened his account to make it 4-0 at half-time. Former Gurtagarry goal-machine, Paul Ryan, scored a brace in the second half for Sallypark, and he could have had his hat-trick were it not for a fine Joshua Claffey display in goals. Llewellyn Mooney and Mike Heenan rounded off the scoring to leave Borrisokane one point off the promotion places.
Following this exact fixture the week before in the cup, Ardcroney knew they needed to up their game or risk a similar humbling at the hands of the runaway league-leaders Clodiagh Rangers but still fell to a 2-1 defeat. 
The hosts thought they had done enough to go in scoreless at the break, but the fierce conditions and extended pressure from Clodiagh told on 45 minutes when the visitors took the lead through Johnny Taylor Carew. In the second half, Ardcroney found an equaliser through a set piece; a deep corner kick to the back post fell to Taylor Duffy, who volleyed home from six yards. Ardcroney thought they had done enough to get the draw, but with only minutes remaining Mark Butler capped off a fine performance with a well taken goal. 
A huge 1-0 win for Portumna Town in the promotion race means they swap positions in the table with former second place side, Rearcross. 
The game took place in Lorrha amid serious wind and rainfall. Portumna, like many teams, have benefitted from the arrival of players that were previously occupied with hurling. Former Airtricity League shot-stopper Tommy Holland had little to do thanks to an impressive defensive display from his backline, which was marshalled well by Ciarán Haugh at centre-back. Ronan O’Meara had a fine game in midfield, but it was the introduction of Oisín O’Sullivan for the injured Mike Dolan that made a big difference. It was O’Sullivan who assisted Gary Hogan just before half-time for the only goal of the game.
It is results like this that people would have been expecting more often from this Portumna side, they are now in the driving seat for the second place spot and I suspect that they won’t have any slip-ups in the run-in. 

Division 2
Birdhill sit at the summit of the division on goal difference and added to their advantage with a 5-1 away win over Nenagh Celtic ‘B’. The visitors were 2-1 up at half-time thanks to goals from Paddy Kelly and Colin Floyd. Celtic’s goal came through Roberto Ipsalat. In the second half, Colin Floyd completed his hat-trick and Donal Whelan got in on the scoring to secure the points.
Clodiagh Rangers ‘B’ kept pace at the top of the table with a 3-0 victory away to Silvermines. 
Templetouhy continued their push for third place with a fine 2-1 victory over Moneygall ‘B’. They were two-up at half-time thanks to goals from Tony Buston and David O'Mahony. Paul McGrath got one back for the visitors.
Holycross travelled to Ballinree to take on Ballymackey ‘B’ and won 4-2 thanks to a Jojo O’Meara brace and goals from Ben Slattery and Kevin O’Dwyer. The hosts had Cathal Spillane to thank for both their goals.

Youths League
Ballymackey ‘A’ secured all three points with an impressive 5-1 victory over neighbours Moneygall. Eamonn White, Cathal Spillane, Adam Guilfoyle, Leon Kennedy and Cormac Doheny were all on the scoresheet for the hosts. Moneygall’s first half consolation goal came through Sean Moroney.
Lough Derg hosted Killavilla in a tight affair and were one down at half-time thanks to Dion Carney. The hosts rallied in the second period and found an equaliser through Adam Stuart as the game finished 1-1.

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