SLIDESHOW: Desmond League returns after break, as season extends to July

Frank Nelligan


Frank Nelligan


The main headline from Sunday’s games is that there were games, with action in the Limerick Desmond League for the first time since Friday, the May 10.  Resolution to the month-long dispute was reached after a meeting, chaired by Ger Delaney of the MFA, between the League Management Committee, officers of the Limerick West Branch of the Referees Society and club delegates in Longcourt Hotel, Newcastle West on Tuesday night last week.

The referees have agreed to officiate at all matches until the end of the season, after which they will review the situation.
The FAI have granted an extension to the season until July 7. Fixtures Secretary, PJ Hogan, will concentrate on finishing the Leagues in all three junior divisions and only then will consideration be given to the Cups.
If that doesn’t allow time to complete Cup competitions such as the Premier Division League Cup and Desmond Cup, the plan is they could be concluded prior to the start or at the start of next season.
However, it is anticipated that there will be time to finish the Division 1 League Cup, the Division 2 League Cup and the Richard Hogan Cup this season.
On the field, Creeves Celtic were on course to mark the return with silverware until an injury-time winner by St. Ita’s deprived them of the point they needed to clinch the Division 2 title with two games to spare.
Creeves got off to a good start when they opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, striker Tom Shanahan applying a clinical finish from a penetrating pass from Darragh O’Connor. They held that lead until the 64th minute when young Eamonn Carmody capitalised on a defensive error and brilliantly curled a 20-yarder away from the goalkeeper and inside the left-hand post.
Creeves were still on course to be crowned Champions but the saying that there’s many a slip ‘twixt Cup and lip was proven yet again when St. Ita’s scored the winner 40 seconds into injury-time, Seanie Curtin’s cross met with a perfectly-placed header from Paul Fitzmaurice that gave goalkeeper Ray Noonan no chance.
Creeves were obviously very disappointed at having the trophy snatched from their grasp by St. Ita’s who kept their own title hopes alive.
However, it is likely to be a case of celebrations postponed rather than cancelled for Creeves as one win from their remaining two games, away to Askeaton on Sunday and Pallaskenry on Friday week, would be enough to add the Division 2 title to the Division 3 Championship won last season.

Creeves Celtic: Ray Noonan, Jimmy Bridgeman, Danny Coleman, Tommy Dillane, Rob Culhane, Michael Shanahan, James O’Connor, David Dunne, Darragh O’Connor, Richard Hayes, Tom Shanahan. Subs: Jerome O’Connor for T. Shanahan, inj. (79 mins), Brian Nash, Rob Bradley.
St. Ita’s: Sean Richards, Aaron Kelly, Ben Mulcahy, Damien Breen, Darren Fitzgibbon, Martin Mullane, Sean Curtin, Eamon Carmody, Frank Casey, Neil Casey, Paul Fitzmaurice. Subs: Liam Roche for Kelly, inj. (44 mins), Conor Begley.
Referee: John Roche.

Abbeyfeale United hadn’t played a competitive match since their 5-0 victory away to Kildimo United on March 10 but they quickly resumed where they left off by registering a 4-0 victory at home to Granagh United.
The goals scored by Jamie O’Connor (2), Tommy Smith and Fiachra Cotter. They are still nine points behind Premier Division leaders, Rathkeale, but they have two games in hand and, crucially, the two sides still have to meet each other.
A rip-roaring contest between Newcastle West Town and Glin Rovers ended in a 3-3 draw. Glin opened the scoring but a Padraig Kinehan penalty had the sides level by half-time. An own goal put Newcastle West ahead, bringing a two-goal response from the visitors that put them into a 3-2 lead which they held until the dying moments when Paul Downes equalised from 25 yards.

Division 1
The Division 1 title race will go down to the final series of games next Sunday after the top two, AK United and Adare United both collected maximum points last Sunday.
AK won 3-1 away to Newcastle West Town Reserves, whose goal was scored by Darren Lawlor, while Adare United were given a walkover by relegated Feenagh.
Leading by a point, AK are in pole position and they will be crowned Champions on Sunday if they win at home to Athea United in the 12.30 kick-off. If AK slip up, then Adare can capitalise by winning away to Rathkeale B.
Third-placed Rathkeale B earned a 2-2 draw away to Breska Rovers, thanks to a brace of penalties from Ray Hogan. The Breska goals were scored by TJ O’Connor and Josh Fitzgerald.
Shannonside FC ensured their Division 1 survival with a 6-0 victory at home to Ballysteen. The goals were scored by David McDaid (2), Mike Behan, Kevin Doody, Mike Sillery and Teddy Flynn.

Division 2
There was lots of excitement in the 3-3 draw between Pallaskenry and Askeaton in Division 2. Alex Ryan scored an early opener for Askeaton and Conor Staff equalised before half-time. Sean Doyle put Pallaskenry in front and Ryan scored his second to level matters again. Staff put the home team 3-2 ahead but an 85th minute equaliser from Jeff Duggan ensured a share of the spoils for Askeaton.
Abbeyfeale United B marked their return to action for the first time since the 17th of February with a 3-0 victory at home to Ferry Rangers. The goals were scored by Joe Weir, Liam Collins and Kieran Wynne.

The Weekly Award this week goes to St. Ita’s who kept the Division 2 title race alive by scoring a last-minute winner away to Creeves, who would have been crowned Champions with a draw. He will go into a draw with the other Weekly winners for a €100 voucher from Adrenalin Sport of Abbeyfeale and Newcastle West at the end of the season.

The Limerick Desmond League wishes to offer its condolences to the family of Pat Cotter of Mungret who died at the weekend. Pat was a highly-respected referee in the League for many years.