Aisling Annacotty earned a 3-2 win in an enthralling encounter against second placed Ballynanty Rovers on Thursday night in the Limerick District League Premier League.
Annacotty took the lead through Shane Clarke but fell behind thanks to two quickfire goals from an own goal from Kennedy N’dip and Connor Ellis. However, Shane Donegan and Nathan O’Callaghan scored superb goals to earn the victory for Mike Aherne’s men.
Annacotty began brightly and it was the experienced recent acquisition Shane Clarke who opened the scoring with a neat side footed finish following a cross from the left hand side.
Left winger James Cleary came close to extending the lead for the home side but his effort hit the crossbar and was cleared to safety. Aisling were in the ascendancy at this stage as Ballynanty struggled to gain a foothold in the game and couldn’t bring front trio Connor Ellis, Barry Quinn and Adrian Power into it.
The visitors first real chance fell to former Limerick player Ellis following Annacotty’s failure to clear a cross but the striker blasted the ball wide, much to the relief of the home defence.
As the half time whistle approached, Paudie Walsh’s crossed for Mark McGrath but the striker attempted to take a touch at the edge of the six yard box and the ball ricocheted off his shin and safely into Stephen McNamara’s grateful hands.
At the beginning of the second half, it looked as though Annacotty would continue where they left off when Walsh met a corner from Brendan O’Dwyer but his header travelled wide.
Ballynanty began to grow into the game without creating chances of note but were given a lucky break when Kennedy N’dip turned the ball into his own net following a front post corner delivery from Derek Daly.
Moments later, Daly was again involved as his cross from deep was met by the head of Kevin Nolan but goalkeeper Brian O’Connor excellently denied the striker.
Ellis was not to be denied his seventh goal in three games as he picked up possession on the half way line and drove past four Aisling Annacotty players before slotting the ball into the far corner. It was a superb goal from the former Cork man and a moment which showed his capabilities.
Just as it looked like Ballynanty would overtake Pike at the top of the Limerick District League Premier Division, Kennedy N’dip won possession on the right before feeding Shane Donegan who played an effective one-two with Mark McGrath before shifting past Ryan Earls and shooting past McNamara.
The home side scored a dramatic winner with five minutes to go when they were awarded a corner. Everybody was expecting a cross to be delivered into the six yard area in the direction of the Clarke brothers but O’Dwyer floated a ball to the edge of the box to the onrushing Nathan O’Callaghan who caught the ball first time and smashed it into the bottom corner which sparked huge celebrations.
It was a well worked training ground move and worthy of winning any game. It brought to an end Ballynanty’s unbeaten start to the season. Mike Aherne’s side are now unbeaten in four games following the victory.
Annacotty will now travel to Prospect on Sunday morning while Ballynanty host Pike at Limerick Institute of Technology in a top of the table clash. Both games kick off at 10.30.
Aisling Annacotty: Brian O’Connor, Kennedy N’dip, Thomas Clarke, Nathan O’Callaghan, Killian Moloney, Brendan O’Dwyer, Shane Donegan, James Cleary (Tommy Canty), Paudie Walsh (Dion Lynch), Shane Clarke, Mark McGrath
Ballynanty Rovers: Stephen McNamara, Michael Guerin, Dara Hughes, Ryan Earls, Dan Lucey, TJ O’Dwyer, Derek Daly (Ronan Ryan), Barry Quinn (Dylan Higgins), Adrian Power, Connor Ellis, Kevin Nolan.