Chasing Pack: Breska, Broadford and Glin win to stay in pursuit of Rathkeale

The 2022/23 Desmond Premier Division was nearing the midway point, with teams vying for position in an attempt to secure their status in the top flight. With three sides to be relegated, each week feels important for the sides in the bottom half. Equally, at the top, there are now probably three sides who have a realistic opportunity of hunting down top side Rathkeale.

The Reidy Cup was the focus for some of the lower tier while a lack of referees decimated the fixture schedule. There is a loyal, long-serving and dedicated band of officials in the region, but clubs will need to be aware that an influx of new officials is needed to help maintain a full schedule of games each week.

Weekly Observer Premier Division
Rathkeale AFC 0-1 Breska Rovers
League leaders Rathkeale fell to their second loss of the season, falling 1-0 to Breska Rovers. These sides hadn’t met in competitive action for many years and the visitors did enough over the 90 minutes to shade the win. Their goal arrived on the half hour, through a James Purcell penalty. The goalkeeper was the coolest man in the ground sending his opposite number the wrong way. This came after a handball following good work from winger David Hall. Rathkeale didn’t create much during the remainder of the contest, though Thomas Quilligan’s set-piece deliveries did cause some issues. Breska may now look up the table, as their youthful side showed plenty of battling qualities needed at the top table. Rathkeale see their lead cut, but there is no panic yet from Alan Doyle’s experienced side.

Granagh United 1-3 Glin Rovers
Glin Rovers had to come from behind to defeat basement boys, Granagh United. Dan Shelton had found the net for the home side who played some nice football in the early part of the game. Glin eventually got on top and Tadhg Culhane levelled this clash, heading home from a corner at the back post. AJ Behan put them ahead, he raced onto a dropping ball and capitalised on confusion in the home defence. Culhane sealed the points in the second half, heading from a corner for the insurance goal. Granagh remain 10 points adrift of the safety zone. Glin remain third, level with Breska and one point behind 2nd placed Broadford United.

Broadford United 3-1 Ballingarry
With Rathkeale slipping up, it was vital that last seasons runners-up, Broadford United took full advantage. They made no mistake, seeing off Ballingarry. Michael Brosnan opened the scoring just after the 20-minute mark. But there was a reply from midtable Ballingarry, this from Adam Hickey, who finished low having received a Mark Carmody pass, on 35 minutes. Tied at the break, John Hayes and Bryan Hannigan both hit the crossbar as Broadford caused problems from corner kicks in the second half. It took strikes from Ray Lynch and Brosnan to secure a crucial win. Brosnan curled home a free-kick, with 12 minutes remaining.

Abbeyfeale United 3-1 Newcastle West Town
This was a repeat of last seasons Desmond Cup final, and like that showpiece event, it was Abbeyfeale who won out. They led 2-0 thanks to strikes from Tommy Smith and another from Jamie O’Connor. There was a reply from Newcastle West attacker Darren Lawlor immediately after the restart, he rifled low to the corner from range. Liam Collins sealed the spoils just when it appeared Newcastle West could rescue a point. These teams are part of a really congested middle part of the table, where victories are vital, with Abbey jumping Newcastle West. These sides are now 5th and 6th with half their games now played.

Reidy Cup 1st Round
St. Itas 5-1 Breska Rovers B
With two divisions separating these sides, it was always going to be an uphill task for Breska Rovers B away to St. Ita’s. The victors spread the goals around with Aaron Kelly, an own goal, Seanie Curtin, Michael Nolan and Michael Begley all on target. Youngster Conor McMahon marked his Junior debut with a goal for Breska.

Newcastle West Town Reserves 5-5 Shannonside (AET – NCW win 5-4 on penalties)
In a most bizarre game in Woodfield Estate on Sunday afternoon, it took penalties to separate these two Division One sides. Newcastle West trailed 3-1 early on, but battled back. It was 4-4 after 90 minutes and the sides share two more goals in the extra 20 minutes. Mike Aherne, Pedro Tavares and Eoin Tucker got the early strikes for Shannonside, with Charlie Power in reply for the Magpies. A Saoirse Joyce brace made it 3-3, and the home side led thanks to Chris Reidy. But there was more drama, as Aaron Hanlon made it 4-4. Ray Flaherty thought he had the winner for Shannonside but once more, Newcastle West showed powers of recovery. Josh Joyce joined his father on the scoresheet to force penalties when scoring in the second period of extra time. It was 4-4 after five penalties each, with Kevin Mee coming up with the crucial save to send Town through.

Knockaderry AFC 0-1 Glantine
These two Division Two sides clashed and with extra-time looming, Glantine snuck through to the second-round when they scored a last minute penalty.

Mountcollins AFC 1-0 Athea United
Division Two basement side Mountcollins ignored their league struggles, when seeing off Division One leaders, Athea United, with a single goal. Sean Lane provided the late winner, heading home a Jack Murphy cross with just five minutes remaining. Athea’s focus will turn to getting over the line in the Division One title race, but they’ll be ruing exiting to a side who have yet to win a game in Division Two.

Glin Rovers B V Broadford United B – OFF

Weekly Observer Division 1
Dromore United 2-0 Askeaton AFC
This game was an important game in the pursuit of Division One football next season. Dromore United were four points behind Askeaton, but now move to within one, with a vital victory here. Ryan Kelly netted the opener in the first half and Ciaran Galvin was on hand to firm up the result in the second period. Dromore remain in the bottom three but have three games left, while Askeaton have just two.

Weekly Observer Division 2
Abbeyfeale United B 1-0 Ballingarry B
It was the battle of the B’s on Saturday evening, as two sides who still have realistic ambitions of securing Division Two honours. In a tight contest, home advantage counted as Abbeyfeale edged the 90 minutes to take the points. Ballingarry are still leading the way but Abbeyfeale B’s stop-star season means they’ve games in hand. The win puts Abbeyfeale into third, behind Glin Rovers B, and now five behind Saturday’s opponents, with two games fewer played.

Weekly Observer Division 3
arrig Celtic v Dromore United B – OFF

Shannonside FC B v Ballysteen – OFF

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