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Combined Counties Football League Roundup Week 28
Tullamore Towns Under 19 team advanced to the quarter finals of the LFA Under 19 Cup following a hard fought victory over Kildare side Monasterevan on Saturday. It finished 2-1 in favour of the CCFL team who took the lead on 20 minutes through Shane Martino, but Monasterevan drew level five minutes later before Eric Dolan fired home what proved to be the winner on 36 minutes. With Chris Bracken in particularly good form down the left flank Tullamore created several more openings in the second half, but a terrific display from the Monasterevan keeper kept the scoreline at 2-1
In underage League action, Edenderry Town moved a step closer to the title following a two goals to nil victory over Gallen United in Ferbane. There was more good news for Edenderry when one of their closest challengers Abbeyleix Athletic were beaten 2-1 at home by Mullingar Athletic, a result that almost certainly ends their challenge. They can still claim runners up spot however as they have games in hand over Newbridge Town in that particular battle.
In the Senior Division there were big wins for Mullingar Athletic and Saint Paters over Clara Town and Gallen United respectively, and Monksland United also took three valuable points from their game against Arlington with fine strikes from Cian Duffy and Matt Scally seeing them over the line as it finished 2-1 in favour of the Athlone men.
The battle for supremacy in Division 1 took another twist when Clonaslee United went top courtesy of a 3-1 win over Moate Celtic. With joint leaders Temple Villa not in action it was an opportunity for Shinrone to open up some daylight at the top of the table, but they were unable to do so after they fell 3-2 at home to Highfield. Any team from five could still take this title with some big games to come over the coming weeks.
Division 2 is also still far from cut and dried after the top three teams all won away from home on Sunday. Leaders and favourites Killeigh Ramblers won a difficult game 3-1 in Raharney, but Dynamoe Town and Noreside Celtic were both also successful on the road to keep the race very much open.
There was a twist in Division 3B where Clara Town got back into the hunt with a fine 3-1 victory over current leaders Banagher United. John Fitzpatrick, Gary Devine and Stephen Cunningham were the scorers for Clara, but they possibly have to thank goalkeeper Kieran Salmon most as he saved a penalty with the score at one all.
In Division 4A Portarlington Town kept their good opening season going with a resounding 7-2 win over a disappointing Mountmellick second team. Pauric Duffy put the Port men in front early on, but Mountmellick fought back to equalise before Paul Bracken restored the advantage for Town. Chris Booth then coolly added another before the interval. Mountmellick got back into the game with a second goal soon after the restart, but from there on it was all Port as Brendan McNair and Stephen Terry both added goals before Pauric Duffy completed his hat-trick before the end.
In Cup action there were two outstanding fourth round games played in the Counties Cup where Willow Park knocked out Grange United 2-0 to qualify for a quarter final away to Rosenallis. Melville United are also safely through to the last eight following a fine 4-1 victory over Derry Rovers. They will now have a home game against either Killavilla United or Longford Wanderers in the quarter finals.
In the Billy Hyland Cup 1st round two of the more fancied sides Willow Park B and C.K United both fell at the first hurdle. Willow Park lost out 2-1 in extra time to Mullingar Town while C.K also went out 2-1 after extra time away to Birr Town after Trevor Wright had given the Tullamore men the lead.
In the Combined Counties Shield Quarter Finals there were narrow wins for Portlaoise over Raheen and Newtown over Ballymahon in two local derbies played over the weekend, while Melville Celtic B team made their visit to Edenderry worthwhile with a good 3-1 victory over Derry Rovers B. Dowling and Monahan were on the mark for the Athlone men in this one.