Desmond League Soccer: Rathkeale go a dozen clear at top

Frank Nelligan

Reporter:

Frank Nelligan

Email:

sport@limerickleader.ie

Desmond League Soccer: Rathkeale go a dozen clear at top

Rathkeale are 12 points clear in the Premier Division after coming from behind to win 7-1 away to Killeaney/Bally Rovers.

Paul Brouder opened the scoring from the penalty spot but Mark Sullivan had Rathkeale level by half-time.

The visitors pulled away in the second-half with goals from Jack Hennessy (2), Gary Enright, Pa Ahern, Danny Neville and Keith Harnett.

Rathkeale’s remaining three games are away to Broadford United, home to Abbeyfeale United and away to Granagh United.

They are obviously in a very commanding position but they are not home and hosed yet as second-placed Abbeyfeale have three games in hand and will meet Rathkeale away in the second-last game.

Broadford United are three points behind Abbeyfeale on level games after winning 2-0 at home to Glin Rovers with a brace from Youths player, Jamie Keane.

Ballingarry earned what could prove to be a valuable point in their battle to avoid relegation when they drew 3-3 in the derby game at home to Granagh United.

Conor Laffin got Ballingarry off to a great start with a first minute opener. Daniel Shelton replied with two goals to put Granagh 2-1 ahead until Aaron O’Connor equalised before half-time.

Kevin Forde put the home team in front midway through the second-half but they were denied all three points when Shelton completed his hat-trick with a late equaliser.

Division 1

AK United and Adare United remain separated by just a single point at the top of the Division 1 table after both recorded impressive victories on Sunday. Leaders AK won 4-1 at home to Shannonside FC.

They led 2-0 at half-time through Blaine Collins and Cathal Downes. Kenneth O’Donoghue stretched their lead from the penalty spot, Mike Sillery pulled a goal back and Niall Maher restored AK’s three-goal advantage.

Adare won 7-2 away to Shountrade. They led 1-0 at half-time with a goal from Ian Derwin and the second-half goals were supplied by Chris Carey, Evan Fitzgerald (2), Jack English, John Carey and Nicky Derwin.

Both AK and Adare have two games remaining. AK are away to Newcastle West Town Reserves and home to Athea, while Adare are at home to Feenagh and away to Rathkeale B.

Any mathematical chance that Rathkeale B had of mounting a promotion challenge disappeared with their 5-2 defeat away to Athea, who kept alive their hopes of avoiding relegation. The Athea goals came from Sean Ryan and Darren Murphy, with two each, and Dylan Griffin.

Breska Rovers looked on course for a 1-0 victory in their game away to Newcastle West Town Reserves after Kevin Forster’s goal in the 65th minute but had to settle for a share of the points when Charlie Power equalised with the very last kick of the game.

Ballysteen improved their prospects of finishing in the top half of the table with a 5-1 victory at home to Feenagh. Ger Garvey bagged a brace, while the other goals came from Mark Ranahan, Dara Ranahan and an own goal.

Division 2

Creeves Celtic took a giant step towards winning the Division 2 title when they recorded a big 6-1 victory in the top-of-the-table clash at home to Glantine. There were doubles from Tommy Dillane and Seamus Mangan, a Richard Hayes goal and an own goal.

Pallaskenry came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw away to Knockaderry.

The contest between Askeaton and Killeaney/Bally Rovers was a game of two halves. The first half was scoreless but there were seven goals in the second-half, four of them going to the visitors.

Jeff Duggan opened the scoring but then Killeaney/Bally Rovers raced into a 4-1 lead with four goals in 20 minutes, from Adrian O’Sullivan (2), Lee O’Sullivan and Conor O’Shea.

Alex Ryan pulled a goal back and Micky Harty reduced the deficit further with a contender for Goal of the Season, a rocket from five yards inside the opposition half that flew in off the underside of the crossbar.

In the bottom half of the table, Glin Rovers B won 2-0 away to Rockhill Rovers with goals from Jamie Rae and Stephen Martin.

CLASSIC SEMI-FINAL EXPECTED ON FRIDAY

The first of the Desmond Cup semi-finals takes place on Friday in Mick Hanley Park at 7.30 when two of the favourites, Broadford United and Rathkeale, do battle.

Rathkeale will be bidding to reach the Final for the third time in four seasons. They beat Abbeyfeale in last year’s final and were runners-up to Glin Rovers in 2016.

They are 12 points clear at the top of the Premier Division and a look at their goals record gives an indication why: they have scored almost four goals per game and have conceded less goals than matches played.

Chief among the goals has been top scorer, Pa Ahern, but goals have also come from players such as Keith Harnett, Gary Enright, Danny Neville, Mark O’Sullivan, Steven Power and Jack Hennessy.

Broadford won a memorable Final against Glin two seasons ago. John Paul King and Willie O’Brien both played starring roles for Broadford in that extra-time victory.

Both are expected to start on Friday and Broadford are a different team when these two experienced campaigners are in the team. Broadford are expected to be at full-strength, with Dylan Kelly back from suspension.

Rathkeale beat Broadford 2-0 at home earlier in the season. I think they will prevail again but only after a titanic struggle in a game that may go to extra-time and even penalties.

Forecast: Rathkeale

DIVISION 2 LEAGUE CUP QF DRAW

Ferry Rangers v Killeaney/Bally Rovers Reserves or Abbeyfeale United B

St. Ita’s v Pallaskenry

Knockaderry or Glin Rovers B v Glantine or Broadford United Reserves

Creeves Celtic v Askeaton or Rockhill Rovers.

WEEKLY AWARD FOR SHELTON

The Weekly Award this week goes to Daniel Shelton who scored a hat-trick for Granagh United in their 3-3 draw away to Ballingarry.

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.

TWITTER

The League has a Twitter account, which will deliver live updates on featured matches as well as results and other news.

The account is Limerick desmond lge @ LgDesmond so follow the League on Twitter for the latest news. The League now has 397 followers. Let’s try and break 400 this week.

TICKETS

Clubs wishing to apply for tickets for the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifier at home to Gibraltar on 10 June should contact League Secretary, Eddie O’Shaughnessy, by Saturday May 4.