Pike Rovers picked up a massive victory over last season’s champions Janesboro as the Hoops ran out 6-1 winners at Crosagalla. Eoin Hanrahan (x2), Wayne O’Donovan, Johnathan Grant, Conor Kavanagh and Shane Walsh accounted for the Pike goals. Shane Clarked scored Janesboro’s solitary goal from the penalty spot.
Janesboro started brightly and came close to taking the lead when Shane Clarke set up debutant Tyrique Leamy and the former Kilfrush man hit the crossbar. It was a scare which sprung Pike into life and Hanrahan rolled back the years when reaching the byline on several occasions but the final ball evaded attackers, much to the home support’s frustration.
Pike felt they had two genuine penalty claims waved away by referee Donal Power but it didn’t take long for the home side to take the lead. Hanrahan picked up possession on the edge of the box before swivelling past Thomas Clarke and burying a shot into the bottom corner.
Hanrahan doubled his tally and the lead when he curled a well placed shot into the corner of the net, much to the delight of new manager Robbie Williams.
In the second half, right-back Wayne O’Donovan was continuing to have an influence in the attacking third and was rewarded when he advanced to within 30 yeards of goal and let fly, scoring a superb goal. Last season’s top goal scorer Johnathan Grant got in on the act when Colin Daly dispossessed Jason Cross and squared it to Grant to finish.
Hanrahan had two further efforts to complete his hattrick but lady luck deserted the winger as he saw a header rebound off the crossbar and a ferocious shot hit the post.
The visitors had well and truly given up the chase at this point but when Wayne Colbert was adjudged to have fouled Shane Clarke inside the penalty area and the striker dusted himself down to convert the spot-kick. Unfortunately for Clarke, he was shown a second yellow card moments later and was subsequently sent off.
With time running out, Janesboro goalkeeper Adrian Duhig brought down Colin Daly and referee Power wasted no time awarding the penalty. Conor Kavanagh slammed the ball into the net. However the rout wasn’t completed as Shane Walsh lobbed Duhig with the final kick of the game to round off a superb night for Pike.
The victory certainly sends a message to the rest of the league that Pike are desperate to end their Premier Division drought. Janesboro were missing the likes of Tommy Holland and Steven Bradley tonight and will be hoping those players will be available as quickly as possible to defend their title.
Pike Rovers: Gary Neville, Wayne O’Donovan, Wayne Colbert, Pat Mullins (Ian Fletcher), Eddie O’Donovan, Conor Kavanagh, Shane Walsh, Colin Daly, Eoin Hanrahan, Steven McGann, Johnathan Grant (Brian O’Callaghan)
Janesboro: Adrian Duhig, Aidan Hurley, Thomas Clarke, Lee O’Mara, Jason Cross, Thomas Lyons (Frankie Hehir), Aaron Grant, Shane Stack, Tyrique Leamy, Declan Cusack, Shane Clarke