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North Tipperary & District League Review – 27 March

Premier League

First placed Streamstown Celtic’s title hopes were dealt a big blow at the Greyhound Stadium Sunday morning when hosts Thurles Town made it back to back league victories to move into the second place in the league standings. Celtic took the lead in the 13th minute after enjoying the better of the opening exchanges thanks to a strike from Craig Phelan, but Town responded well and were level mid way through the first half when Barry Ryan scored to keep his fine run of form going. With both sides all square at the break it was Town who grabbed the decisive goal in the 65th minute when Tom Brophy rifled home. Celtic pushed hard to get something out of the game, but found Jim Gooney in the Town goal in fine form and the experience of the back four in front of him, with a combined age of over 120 years, saw the game out for an impressive hard fought 3 points. BT Harps lifted themselves out of the relegation zone thanks to a home victory over relegated Holycross, but had to work hard after relinquishing an early 2 goal advantage. Stephen Quinlan and Christy Moore put Harps ahead only to see their goals cancelled out early in the second half. However, man of the match Johnny Coleman settled the home side’s nerves to head home from a corner to restore their lead. Not long after, it was 5 – 2 as Harps ran riot with James Kavanagh, Shane Fogarty adding to a second for Stephen Quinlan to cancel out the visitors third goal which was too little and too late on the day.

First Division

Roscrea United secured their First Division status for next season thanks to an impressive 3 – 2 victory over second placed Moneygall, who themselves also required 3 points to secure promotion to the Premier League, and as a result of loosing this encounter, will have to await the outcome of Ballymackey’s last league game to see how they fare against their hosts in this game played at Kennedy Park. Moneygall took an early lead, but it was cancelled out when Joe Callaghan grabbed his first of the day when he converted from the penalty spot. Roscrea then took the lead with 25 minutes remaining somewhat against the run of play. With time almost up, Moneygall grabbed what they thought was a valuable point when Andrew Hodgins free kick from distance found the net. However, Joe Callaghan grabbed an injury time winner when he made space in the penalty area to fire home a shot from close range to see off Moneygall, but both sides will have it all to do again next Sunday when they meet again, this time in the Barry Cup semi final. Ballymackey continue their late charge for promotion and sit only one point behind Moneygall after they overcame hosts Arra Rovers 3 nil to condemn the Portroe side to the Second Division.

Second Division

Gurtagarry’s recent charge up the leagues came to halt in their final league game as they fell to a 2 – 1 defeat to visitors Borrisokane, a result which see’s the Latteragh lose out on promotion to the First Division as Portumna ran riot in Drombane to overcome Clodiagh Rangers 6 – 1 and book their spot in the second tier of NT&DL football next season. There was no denying Portumna who raced into a 4 – 1 lead at half time and then added another two goals late on in the game.

Fast Food Cup Final

Ballywilliam United made it an impressive league and cup double in the space of two weeks after they put in a titanic performance against Holycross at the Greyhound Stadium last Sunday evening. The games opening goal came against the run of play when Colm O’Brien struck an unstoppable volley form all of 25 yards to put the league champions ahead. This was a lead they held onto up until the 60th minute when substitute for Holycross, Jo Jo O’Meara scored an impressive individual goal when he cut in form the left and slotted home with some aplomb. Neither side could be separated for the remainder of the game, with Ballywilliam sitting deep and confined to counter attacks as Holycross pushed hard for the winning goal, but found Ballywilliam ‘keeper Taylor Duffy in fine form as he helped his side hang on for the inevitable penalty shootout. Once again Duffy showed why he earned the man of the match status as he expertly saved two penalties to allow his team mate Niall Madden grab the winning penalty.

FAI Youths Last 16

Moneygall welcomed top Dublin outfit Finglas United last Saturday and turned in an impressive display, and felt unlucky not to have at least brought the game to extra time. Finglas took the lead when a wind assisted corner kick deceived the entire home defence to find its way into the net, but Moneygall equipped themselves well against their visitors and were unlucky themselves not to equalise shortly after half time when they almost scored in similar fashion, but the upright came to the help of the Dublin side. They game was sealed in injury time in favour of Finglas when they made it 2 nil thanks to a wonder strike from distance.

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