Ballynanty Rovers produced a superb display to beat Fairview Rangers 4-1 at Limerick Institute of Technology on Thursday night. Eddie Byrnes, Josh Adams x2 and Adrian Power accounted for the Ballynanty goals while Daragh Rainsford was the scorer of Fairview’s goal.
Entering the game, there was a lot of pressure on Ballnynanty even at this early stage as they needed a victory if they were to maintain their title ambitions for the coming season. Fairview had a 100% record in the league and were 7 points clear of tonight’s opponents, so the task was clear for the home side.
Dave Dunphy opted to start with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Josh Adams and Aidan Hurley named as central defensive partners. Habideen Gbadebo led the line with support being provided from Adrian Power and former Fairview duo Eddie Byrnes and James Fitzgerald. Fairview retained their settled line-up with Connor Ellis, Conor Coughlan and Daragh Rainsford once again spearheading a lethal attack.
It was the visitors who created the first chance when former Ballynanty central defender Jake Dillon headed goalwards from Shane Duggan’s corner, but it was cleared off the line and Steven Bradley blazed over the rebound.
However, three minutes later it was the home side who took the lead when Fairview switched off from a throw in which allowed Ballynanty left-back Liam Byrnes to feed Adrian Power and the veteran winger delivered a perfect cross for Eddie Byrnes to attack at the back post and he duly obliged to score. Five minutes later, Fairview managed to equalise when a midfield run by Jeffrey Judge was spotted by Duggan and Judge crossed for Rainsford who cut inside Aidan Hurley before burying a shot past Stephen McNamara.
James Fitzgerald’s set-piece deliveries were proving a handful for Fairview, but it was a shot of his own from the edge of the area which forced McNamara into a save. It was from one of the aforementioned Fitzgerald crosses that the next goal arrived from when Josh Adams leaped above his marker before heading past Savage.
Fairview’s failure to clear crosses haunted them all evening and they were made to pay once more when a second ball from a Fitzgerald cross fell to Power and the winger placed a shot past Savage much to the joy of the large contingent of Ballynanty supporters.
There was still time for the home side to profit from poor set-piece defending on the stroke of half time when Fitzgerald’s cross was powerfully met by Adams to score his second of the evening. Paul Danaher introduced new signing Jack Arra at half time as Fairview changed to a 4-4-2 which was more like a 4-2-4 in the opening stages with Judge moving to left-back.
Ballynanty kept their shape and outside of a strike from Coughlan which travelled over the crossbar, the home side did not cough up many chances as they were well marshalled by the experienced Aidan Hurley and Daragh Hughes. McNamara did have to react quickly at his near post to deny Duggan late on and Gbadebo almost scored his 6th goal of the season as Fairview pushed bodies forward, but Savage did well to save from close range.
Attention now turns to the Munster Junior Cup where Ballynanty face Knockainey while Fairview face Aisling Annacotty D. In the only other Premier League game on Thursday, Nenagh AFC stretched their unbeaten run to 5 games with a 3-1 win over Carew Park. Arron Nunan opened the scoring for the visitors, but Kieran Barr equalised.
Carew were then quickly reduced to 9 men when David Power was dismissed for two yellow cards before Daragh Walsh was shown a red card for dissent. To make matters worse, the visitors then conceded a second goal through an own goal before Matthew Spain continued his recent goal glut to seal the win.
Ballynanty Rovers: Stephen McNamara, Daragh Hughes, Josh Adams, Aidan Hurley, Liam Byrnes, Thomas Byrnes, Cian Fitzgerald (Cian Power 63), James Fitzgerald, Adrian Power, Eddie Byrnes (Dylan Higgins 77), Habideen Gbadebo
Fairview Rangers: Aaron Savage, Wayne Colbert (Bobby Tier 81), Jake Dillon, Jason Cross, Scott Kirwan (Jack Arra H/T), Jeffrey Judge, Steven Bradley, Shane Duggan, Conor Coughlan, Daragh Rainsford, Connor Ellis