Play-off between Raheen, Taghmon for Over-35 title
After nine rounds and 36 games in the first-ever Over-35 soccer league, the champions will not be known until next Saturday, August 19, when Taghmon United and Raheen United will have to face each other in a play-off to decide who will reign supreme following last week's results in the final round of games, which saw both teams tied at the summit.
The match will take place in Corach Ramblers' grounds next Saturday at 6 p.m., and if needed will be decided with extra-time and penalties. Corach Ramblers will be regretting the missed opportunity to make it a three-way tie at the top as they lost out to Campile United in their final league game.
Raheen United 6, All Blacks 3: Raheen/Cushinstown finished the regular league season with a home game against All Blacks knowing a win would guarantee at least a play-off for the title.
They got off to a great start, racing into a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes. Mark Lee chipped the 'keeper for the first before the away team's Anthony Dowd saw his penalty hit the post and go wide.
Dylan Whitty scored the second and an in-swinging corner was headed to the net by a defender to put the home team in control. All Blacks kept battling and scored a goal either side of half-time to put doubts into Raheen's title hopes.
Anthony Dowd converted from the spot and Thady Redmond added the second. A nervy home team eventually finished the contest with two further goals from Mark Lee to complete his hat-trick.
Michael Breen got a consolation third before Shane Whelan tapped home on the full-time whistle for a 6-3 scoreline.
Taghmon United 2, Fastnet Rovers 1: It was a quick start from the home side and they went 1-0 up early on when a Jason McLoughlin cross was headed back across goal by Kieran Kelly for Ian Stafford to force the ball home from close range.
Moments later Taghmon saw their lead increased when poacher Ian Stafford was again on hand to poke home after a mix-up in defence. Just before the break Fastnet pulled a goal back when a long ball was superbly taken down by Darren Hunt before he played in Oscar Pitt who calmly slotted it past the 'keeper. It was 2-1 at the break.
The second-half was a dull affair with both teams sharing the possession but creating very little in the way of goalscoring chances. Trevor Berry came closest when his 25-yard free-kick skimmed the top of the crossbar with the 'keeper scrambling.
Taghmon will be delighted to come away from the game with full points as it now leaves them joint top with Raheen/Cushinstown, and one of them will be crowned champions when they meet in the play-off this weekend.
Corach Ramblers 1, Campile United 2: Coming into this game in joint first and needing a win to maintain any hopes of winning the league, Corach Ramblers entertained Campile United in Danescastle at the same time as Taghmon and Raheen/Cushinstown were kicking off their games with the same tasks ahead of them.
Corach looked edgy from the start and failed to retain the ball for decent periods, thus not allowing them to get a foothold. Campile on the other hand, with the Cup final to look forward to, looked much more composed and settled into the game much quicker than their opponents.
A late tackle on 13 minutes led to a penalty to Campile which was coolly converted by Alan Myler. Corach upped the intensity but found space at a premium as the Campile team continued to repel them once inside their defensive third of the field.
That was to soon change however as a hopeful ball over the top was chased down by Alan Diskin and he got his reward when he headed over the onrushing Campile 'keeper to level the game and it was just the tonic Corach needed as they went in at half-time level.
The second-half saw Corach come out of the traps quick as they needed the three points, and with news coming from the other games, they knew it had to be all three points if they were to keep their title challenge alive.
A great through ball by Alan Diskin led to a shot that was pulled wide, and soon after it was Campile and 'Dax' Howlin in particular who broke the Corach hearts as he rose highest in the box to head home from a free-kick and give his side the lead.
Try as they might, Corach couldn't muster the equaliser and Campile held out for the three points which, on the balance of play, one would have to say they deserved.
Corach, although disappointed, will lift themselves for the shield final in two weeks' time whilst Campile will also have the Cup final to look forward to.
Kilmore United 0, Duncannon 3: And so, on Saturday evening after exactly three months of summer soccer, the final game of the league series was played as Kilmore United hosted Duncannon.
Duncannon came out of the starting blocks the quickest and after 15 minutes were 1-0 up following some good work by Pat Chapman who squared the ball for Mikey Banville to make no mistake from close range.
The Kilmore outfit settled down to the task at hand after this and possession for the remainder of the half was evenly divided, with arguably Duncannon looking the livelier with the pacey Pat Chapman giving Willie Keating no time in defence.
The second-half saw Kilmore a bit more composed and retaining some good possession, working the Duncannon 'keeper a bit more, and with Pat Chapman up front always willing to chase every ball and pressure defenders, it seemed that they would be more likely to score.
And so it proved late on afteranother long ball to which Chapman gave chase, putting Keating under pressure which caused Willie Keating to play the ball past his own 'keeper.
That made it 2-0 to Duncannon and soon after it was 3-0 as Pádraig Doran rounded off a fine performance from the seasiders.
Points tallies after eight league rounds: Raheen United and Taghmon United, 17; Corach Ramblers and Campile United, 14; St. Leonards, 12; Fastnet Rovers and All Blacks, 7; Kilmore United, 6; Duncannon, 4.