AK United were crowned Division 1 Champions in style last Sunday when they won 6-3 at home to Athea United, who needed to win to ensure their survival in the division and are now relegated.
Just a point ahead of Adare United going into this, the last game of the season, AK knew they had to win to keep the title destination in their own hands and they got off to a magnificent start when they scored two goals inside the opening two minutes.
This was the first league title for the Kilcornan-based club under their current guise of AK United and they celebrated accordingly at the final whistle. In an 18-match campaign that began on the 2nd of September with a 1-0 victory at home to Breska Rovers, they won 14 matches and so are deserving Champions. Credit to all the players, as well as manager Ronan Hanley and coach Pat McMorrow.
It remains to be seen how AK will fare in the Premier Division next season. They have a class midfielder in Downes, who has control, vision, acceleration and an unselfish attitude. Every team needs penetration up front and O’Donoghue provides that with his pace and eye for goal.
In contrast to AK, the final whistle brought bad news for Athea, who were told that Newcastle West Rovers were leading 1-0. When that was confirmed as a result, that meant Athea were relegated to Division 2. It was a bad end to a bad season for the club but life in Division 2 offers them the opportunity to rebuild and get back to the levels befitting a club with such fine facilities.
AK United: Paudie Ivess, Jason O’Shaughnessy, James O’Shaughnessy, Anthony Cregan, John McCarthy, Brendan McCarthy, Cathal Downes, Alan Ryan, Niall Maher, Mark Curran, Kenneth O’Donoghue. Subs: Liam O’Sullivan for Curran (58 mins), Dave Dolan for James O’Shaughnessy (72 mins), Hugh Sheehy for Maher (77 mins), Keel Moloney, Ronan Hanley.
Athea United: Ger Collins, Cillian Liston, Jason Quille, Pa Kiely, Mike Reidy, Sean Ryan, Ger Ahern, Conor Mullane, Morgan O’Connor, Darren Murphy, Dylan Griffin. Subs: Neilo Kane for Ryan (34 mins), Steven McEnery for Kiely (58 mins), Dan McMahon for Reidy (86 mins), Joe O’Connor, Marek Apinis, David O’Connor.
Referee: Wayne Fitzgerald
CREEVES WRAP UP DIVISION 2 TITLE
After being denied the title in injury-time by St. Ita’s last Sunday week, Creeves Celtic were crowned Division 2 Champions with a game to spare when they recorded a hard-earned 2-1 victory away to Askeaton last Sunday.
Michael Shanahan opened the scoring for the visitors on the stroke of half-time and, in light of their experience against St. Ita’s, they were delighted to get a two-goal cushion when Richard Hayes scored with a superb 22-yard free-kick in the 70th minute.
Creeves were forced to endure an anxious finish when Cian Smith pulled a goal back eight minutes later but they held out and were presented with the Cup after the game by Tom Ambrose. Creeves are worthy Champions, winning the title with a few points to spare, and great credit is due to all the players and the management team of Brian Nash and Noel O’Donnell.
Elsewhere in Division 2, Abbeyfeale United B won 4-3 at home to St. Ita’s. Adam Riordan netted a hat-trick and the other goal for the Fealesiders was scored by Kieran Wynne.
Broadford United are back in the Premier Division title race after following up Friday’s 6-1 victory at home to Carrig Celtic with a 2-1 win at home to leaders Rathkeale on Sunday. Broadford led 1-0 at half-time against Rathkeale with a Jamie Keane goal.
Mark O’Sullivan equalised from the penalty spot, giving Rathkeale hope that they could preserve their unbeaten record. However, Keane popped up again to score his 15th goal in the last 16 games for Broadford A, who now have a chance of earning a play-off for the title if they win their three remaining games and other results go their way.
Friday’s 6-1 victory at home to Carrig was very routine. They were 2-0 up inside 15 minutes, both goals scored by CJ Fitzpatrick. Carrig pulled a goal back but Colm Ryan make it 3-1 before half-time. In the second-half, Darren Murphy bagged a brace and Michael Brosnan also got on the scoresheet.
It was also a very good weekend for Abbeyfeale United, who are now just three points behind Rathkeale and have a game in hand.
They kicked off the weekend on Friday by coming from behind to win 4-1 at home to Newcastle West Town with goals from Kevin Murphy, Jamie O’Connor, Paudie Smith and Thomas Smith. Their task at home to Glin Rovers on Sunday was made easier when the visitors had a player send off early on. The scorers in the 6-1 victory were Fiachra Cotter, Pakie O’Connor, Thomas Sexton, Cormac Roche and Conor Horan (2).
The remaining games for the three title contenders are as follows:
Rathkeale: home to Abbeyfeale United and away to Granagh United.
Abbeyfeale United: away to Broadford United and Rathkeale, home to Carrig Celtic.
Broadford United: home to Abbeyfeale United and Ballingarry, away to Newcastle West Town.
Glin were on the right end of a one-sided game on Friday night, winning 6-0 away to Granagh United. Paul Sheehan helped himself to a remarkable five goals and the other goal was scored by John Wallace.
Ballingarry took a big step towards Premier Division safety on Sunday when they won 4-0 in the relegation battle away to Killeaney/Bally Rovers. Dean Clancy, on his return from a serious injury, opened the scoring from the penalty spot and that was followed by a brace from Kevin Forde and a James O’Kelly goal.
Adare United knew they had to win away to Rathkeale B to be in a position to capitalise if AK slipped up against Athea. AK didn’t slip up and so Adare have to be content with runners-up spot and promotion to the Premier Division after their 4-0 win with goals from John Carey, Jack English, Ryan O’Shea and Barry O’Callaghan.
With Athea losing, Newcastle West Town Reserves ensured their Division 1 survival with a 1-0 victory away to Ballysteen, the goal scored by Charlie Power.
WEEKLY AWARD FOR AK
The Weekly Award this week goes to AK United who clinched the Division 1 title in their last game of the season with a 6-3 victory at home to Athea United. AK 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.
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