Geraldines took a huge step towards making it a season to remember when they beat their closest rivals Shannon Hibs 2-1 tp open up a seven-point lead at the top of the table.
While Pike B and Balla B are hovering just behind the top two, neither side will be promoted as their A teams are already in the top flight, so things are looking rosy for Paul O’Donnell’s men.
Sunday’s game opened on a heavy surface and finished in a quagmire making anything resembling good football a near impossibility. To their credit both sides stuck to their task and in a teak tough encounter the home side just edged it.
The visitors opened the scoring after 15 minutes when Dave Wall was fouled 25 yards out and made the home side pay when he curled the resultant free kick around the wall into the corner for a fine goal.
As the first half progressed ‘Dines started to pile on the pressure chasing an equaliser and in the final ten minutes they were camped outside the Hibs area.
On 35 minutes Liam Lenihan crossed, Christy O’Neill headed back across goal and Shane Byrne looked like he must score from 6 yards when BJ Cantillon pulled off a goal saving block. The resultant corner flew across the goal line with Gavin O’Donnell throwing his body in the line of fire to keep Hibs in front.
Jack Allen poked the ball inches wide from Darren Young’s pass and just when it looked like Hibs would survive to the break, the game was levelled.
O’Neill’s delivered an excellent cross; Shane Byrne’s challenge on the keeper saw the ball fall to Jamie McMahon at the back post and he guided the ball into the net to send the sides in tied at the break.
McMahon had a great chance to put Dines ahead five minutes after the break when he exchanged passes with O’Neill but then spoiled all the good work by firing over the target.
Darren Whelan made a superb save to deny Thomas O’Grady from a corner kick while at the other end ‘Dines keeper Keith McCarthy made an equally good block to deny Ryan Kelly.
With ten minutes remaining a through ball found the Hibs defence static claiming offside as Jamie McMahon raced through and from the end line pulled the ball back across goal where Christy O’Neill bundled the ball home from close range.
The Shannon boys pushed forward but a solid Dines led by the excellent Jason Travis held on for a crucial three points.
Geraldines -Keith McCarthy, Jack Allen, Darren Young, Shane Madden, Thomas O’Grady, Christy O’Neill, Liam Lenihan, Jamie McMahon, Jason Travis, Danny O’Neill, Shane Byrnes, Reserves, Derek Daly, Eoin O’Sullivan
Shannon Hibs - Darren Whelan, BJ Cantillon, Pat Devanney, Derek Byrnes, Gavin O’Donnell, Derek Maxwell, Jamie Egan, Rob Wall, Dave Wall, Ken Buckley, Ryan Kelly
Charleville 4 Granville 3
In a vital end of table clash Charleville and Granville played out a thrilling seven goal game with the home side just edging it.
Sandor Hegedus was the hero of the day with a well taken hat trick for the winners with John O’Driscoll completing the total.
Ollie Kenny, Neil McGourty and Philip Coffey netted for Granville.
The result puts both sides on 17 points, 6 points clear of the drop zone, where Fairview will be looking to close the gap in the coming weeks.
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