Combined Counties Football League Roundup Week 35
It was heartbreak for Edenderry Town in the Semi Final of the FAI Youths Cup when they fell to a 2-0 defeat to a very good Castleview side from Cork. Edenderry gave it everything in this game and were pushing hard for an equaliser when the Cork boys broke to score their second goal minutes from the finish. However the Edenderry club and the C.C.F.L can be extremely proud of this group of young men who are an example to all as to what is possible with proper application and organisation.
Meanwhile in the Combined Counties Under 19 Cup Semi Final, a Philip Walton goal was enough to send Abbeyleix Athletic into the final with this victory over Tullamore 18’s. There they await the winner of the other semi final between Ballinahown and Mullingar Athletic.
In the Under 19 League there were big wins for the top two with Ballinahown putting five past Clongowes Wood without reply and Tullamore going one better by hitting six against an out of sorts Mullingar Athletic.
On Sunday the two semi finals of the Combined Counties Cup took place with Mullingar Athletic just getting the better of Killavilla United by a goal to nil in Tullamore.
However most of the excitement was taking place up the road in Clara in the other semi final where Premier Division leaders C.K United upset all the odds to knock out the holders Willow Park. In fact the Tullamore men had to do it the hard way by coming from behind when Kevin Murray shot Willow in front after only 14 minutes. Brendan Bracken restored parity ten minutes later from the penalty spot after he himself had been upended in the penalty area. Then in the 38th minute Trevor Wright fired home what proved to be the winning goal to the delight of the travelling C.K. support.
Meanwhile in the final of the Combined Counties Shield, Portlaoise made it a double when they defeated Melville Celtic in a very good final played in Birr. Portlaoise raced into a two goal lead in the first quarter of the game through Shane Collins and Nathan Carpenter, but Melville never gave up the fight and hit the crossbar an agonising three times before the break. In the second half Melville continued to play good football, but the Portlaoise defence did an excellent job keeping them at bay. Portlaoise struck the woodwork in a counter midway through the half which would have put the game to bed, but Melville were given hope when Norman Dolan scored from a penalty spot in the 89th minute. It proved to be too late however as Portlaoise held on for victory.
There were also celebrations in Rahan when St Carthages Athletic won the Division 4 Cup thanks to a penalty shootout victory over Abbeyleix Athletic. Carthages led from early on, but Abbeyleix equalised with the last kick of normal time before the Offaly men prevailed in the shootout. Many thanks to Mountmellick United Football Club who at very short notice had their facilities available and in pristine condition for this final after the Portlaoise pitch was deemed unplayable due to overnight rain.
In the Division 1 Cup Boro Celtics season gets better and better after they defeated Clonaslee United in a thrilling quarter final. It finished three all after extra time, but the Longford men squeezed through on penalty kicks. Clonaslee took an early lead, but James Hanley had them back on terms with a successful penalty kick. They went in front just before the interval when Paul Rooney scored. Clonaslee were back on terms however just after the restart. It remained two all through to the end of normal time but Barry Clarke headed Boro back in front in the first period of extra time. A last gasp goal for Clonaslee though forced it to penalties where Boro goalkeeper Mark Tarmey made three superb saves to ensure his team qualified for their second semi final of the season.
In League action Shinrone went to the top of Division 1 thanks to a 5-3 win away to Ballinahown. They have now completed all their games and stand on 34 points. Tullamore, currently on 33 can win it if they defeat Temple Villa in their last game, but if they slip up then Clonaslee who stand on 32 could take it with victory against Gracefield in their final game in what is probably the most interesting climax to a division in the history of the league. It is so tight that if Temple Villa were to defeat Tullamore and Gracefield were to hold Clonaslee to a draw then Shinrone would win the division by a single point and there would be a four way playoff for runners up spot.
Congratulations to Longford Wanderers who clinched the Division 3 Saturday title on Saturday without even kicking a ball as the only team who could catch them Newtown were held to a two all draw by Ballymahon.
In Division 4B, Derry Rovers continue to edge closer to the title following a narrow one nil victory over Clara Town. It is in their own hands at this time, but Raharney are watching in the wings if they were to slip up in their final two games.