2009 Newstalk "A" Championship Match Reports

Newstalk League of Ireland A Championship

Derry City 1 Tullamore Town 2

 Tullamore brought the curtain down on their League of Ireland campaign last Saturday against Derry City in the Brandywell and after another tremendous performance came away with all three points. Lining out without regulars Mark Clohessy, Brendan Bracken, Brian Francis and Shane Mannion they made light of their absence to produce a wonderful display of attacking football and thoroughly deserved their win. The conditions were far from ideal with strong winds and driving rain hampering good play but both teams still managed to serve up a hugely entertaining game. Michael Hoey continued his recent run of great form scoring both goals and was only denied his hat-trick by a superb save by the home keeper. Playing into the wind in the first half Tullamore were quickly into their stride and with twelve minutes gone Stephen Francis played a lovely ball through to send Hoey clear but just as he seemed certain to score the Derry centre back denied him with a great last ditch tackle to knock the ball out for a corner. With twenty minutes on the clock Stephen Duffy was forced off with a nasty ankle injury and was replaced by Mark Goodings and minutes later Kevin Duffy whipped in a dangerous free kick from the right that was headed inches wide by Eoghan O’Shea. Despite their wind advantage the home side failed to trouble Tullamore keeper Joe Mooney, primarily due to the excellence of his defence in which Eoghan O’Shea and Willie Duffy were outstanding, as half time arrived scoreless.

On the restart the visitors were back on the attack and in the fifty second minute Mark Goodings crashed a great twenty yard effort just outside the post. Ten minutes later they nearly hit the front when Michael Hoey received the ball with his back to goal, swivelled and arrowed a tremendous shot from twenty five yards towards the top corner only for the keeper to superbly tip the ball over the bar. But he was not to be denied minutes later when he gathered the ball on the edge of the area and drilled his shot low into the bottom left hand corner of the net. Tullamore were now rampant and in the seventieth minute increased their lead with a brilliant second goal. Stephen Francis won the ball on the edge of his own box and picked out Scott Delaney on the right who played a lovely ball down the line to Mark Goodings who cut it back for Michael Hoey to rifle it into the bottom right hand corner. Derry now poured men forward as they attempted to rescue the game but with Town holding firm at the back they failed to breach their defence until the eighty eighth minute when a right wing cross was headed home by their centre forward to leave the final score 2-1 in the visitors favour. There were great scenes of excitement at the end and it was a very happy group of players and supporters who made the long journey home. There were outstanding contributions from Eoghan O’Shea, Scott Delaney, Willie Duffy, Stephen Francis and Kevin Duffy but the man of the match award went to Michael Hoey for his two goals and excellent all round performance.

That they finished the season so strongly is a testament to the great work done by the management team of Mark Dempsey, Brian O’Shea and Tony Albin throughout the past year and the sides final mid table position is proof positive that the players are more than capable of competing at this level.

Tullamore : Joe Mooney, Scott Delaney, Eoghan O’Shea, Willie Duffy, Michael Kenaney, Stephen Francis, Stephen Duffy, Kevin Duffy, Ross Whittaker, Simon Keegan and Michael Hoey.

Subs : Mark Goodings and Fergal Gorman (both used).

League of Ireland "A" Championship

Dundalk  1   Tullamore Town  1

Tullamore travelled to Dundalk last Saturday and were denied a famous victory when the home side equalised six minutes into injury time. Forced to play with only ten men for seventy minutes they produced one of their best performances of the season. With the back four of Michael Kenaney, Brendan Bracken, Eoghan O’Shea and Shane Mannion outstanding, goalkeeper Joe Mooney had a relatively untroubled afternoon. In midfield Stephen Francis and Stephen Duffy controlled affairs and were ably assisted by Ross Whittaker and Mark Goodings while up front Michael Hoey had what was probably his best game of the season. Tullamore started brightly and nearly opened their account after fifteen minutes when Hoey sent Simon Keegan clear but the keeper saved superbly. With twenty minutes gone disaster struck when Ken Doyle was sent off in controversial circumstances when the linesman called the referees attention to an off the ball incident. Manager Tony Albin pulled Mark Goodings back into midfield leaving Michael Hoey to plough a lone furrow up front. Despite this setback they continued to dominate and on the stroke of half time they hit the front when Stephen Francis played a lovely ball through to Hoey and he held off two defenders before drilling his shot into the bottom corner.

On the restart they should have gone further ahead when Francis made a great run through the home defence and cut the ball back to Ross Whittaker but his shot drifted agonisingly wide of the far post. With an hour gone they again went close when Brendan Bracken got on the end of a Stephen Duffy free kick to send a bullet header inches over. As Tullamore began to tire the home side came more into the game but their defence held firm with Joe Mooney only called into action with five minutes left when he dealt expertly with a snap shot. With the game deep into time added on Dundalk won a corner and when the ball was swung in their centre half rose to power his header goalwards with Michael Kenaney blocking it at the post but the referee deemed the ball had crossed the line.

It was a heartbreaking end to a fine match that was packed full of outstanding performances from the visitors but special mention must go to young Michael Kenaney who had a brilliant game at full back. Tullamore finish their League campaign next Saturday when they make the long trip north to take on Derry City in the Brandywell.

Tullamore : Joe Mooney, Michael Kenaney, Brendan Bracken, Eoghan O’Shea, Shane Mannion, Stephen Francis, Ken Doyle, Stephen Duffy, Ross whittaker, Simon Keegan and Michael Hoey.

Subs : Mark Goodings and Fergal Gorman.

Newstalk League of Ireland "A" Championship

 

Salthill Devon 2 Tullamore Town 0

 

TULLAMORE travelled to Galway last Saturday to take on the League leaders and despite dominating play for long periods they were undone by defensive lapses and, not for the first time this season, a failure to convert scoring chances.
League of Ireland A Championship

They began brightly and with ten minutes gone a great ball from Brian Francis sent Simon Keegan clear but the keeper was quickly off his line to block his effort with Michael Hoey firing the rebound inches wide from thirty yards.

They again threatened in the eighteenth minute when Eoghan O'Shea rose above the defence to power a Stephen Francis corner narrowly wide. As the game progressed chances for both sides were at a premium until the thirty seventh minute when Town failed to deal with a long ball out of defence and striker Michael Gilmore pounced to give keeper Mark Clohessy no chance.

The second half started disastrously for Tullamore when after only a minute they conceded a free on the edge of the box and Sean Murphy blasted to the net.

They nearly fell further behind in the fiftieth minute when Michael Gilmore was taken down in the area but Mark Clohessy flung himself to his right to keep the spot kick out.

With the introduction of Gary Buckley the visitors began to trouble the Salthill defence and a great run by him in the seventy fifth minute saw him take on three defenders before pulling the ball back to Michael Hoey but his shot just cleared the crossbar. Hoey again threatened minutes later but the keeper saved well and despite a succession of corners late on Town were unable to breach the home defence.

In what was a good overall display by Tullamore there were excellent contributions from Willie Duffy and Michael Kenaney in defence with Brian Francis, Kevin Duffy and Stephen Francis working tirelessly in midfield. Up front Michael Hoey was particularly impressive but the man of the match award went to young Gary Buckley.

Tullamore : Mark Clohessy, Stephen Duffy, Eoghan O'Shea, Willie Duffy, Michael Kenaney, Stephen Francis, Kevin Duffy, Brian Francis, Simon Keegan, Mark Dunne and Michael Hoey. Subs: Gary Buckley, Ross Whittaker and Shane Mannion.

Newstalk League of Ireland "A" Championship

Tullamore Town 0 Galway United 1

 

Galway United sent their premier division team to Tullamore last night for Tullamore's final home game of the season. Despite a great performance Town were very unlucky to lose.

With no game at the weekend Galway Utd arrived in Leah Victoria Park last Wednesday with their full Premiership side. Whether this could be regarded as being in the spirit of the game is open to conjecture but it certainly provided Tullamore with an opportunity to flex their muscles against the best league in the country, and they were not found wanting. The speed and sharpness of the visitors was clearly in evidence early on as Town were forced to chase and harry to stay in the game. Derek O’Brien was first to threaten when he flashed his shot just outside the left post and then Cian McBrien cut the ball back to O’Brien but this time his effort flew well wide. As Tullamore hit back Kevin Duffy played a lovely ball through to Michael Hoey but Ger Hanley was quickly off his line to clear while at the other end Eoghan O’Shea did well to cut out the danger following good play on the left by Seamus Conneeley. Brian Francis nearly opened the scoring on thirty minutes when he charged down a clearance from Sean Kelly but Shane Guthrie did well to get back to clear and then Mark Clohessy was called into action to save a long range effort from Derek O’Brien down low to his right. With forty minutes on the clock Galway hit the front when John Russell crossed from the right and John Sangi rose to send a looping header just inside the right post to leave the score 1-0 at the interval.

With Simon Keegan coming on at half time Tullamore started to hit their stride and good play between Kevin Duffy, Michael Hoey and Stephen Francis set up Brian Francis but his shot was charged down while at the other end a great break through the middle by Iarlaith Davoren resulted in a fine save by Mark Clohessy. Town again threatened when following good play on the left by Keegan, Willie Duffy fired in a dangerous cross that found Stephen Francis but his shot flew inches wide. At this stage of the game the home side were more than matching their more illustrious opponents but Galway demonstrated how dangerous they could be when John Sangi just failed to get on the end of a great John Russell cross. Russell again went close when he got on the end of a Gary Breen pass but his effort was too high. As the visitors began to raise the tempo both O’Brien and Breen were denied by superb relieving tackles from Scott Delaney and Stephen Francis, but it was not all one way traffic as Keegan fired in a fine cross from the right only for the ball to be hacked clear. Kevin Duffy then created danger on the left but Ger Hanley was quickly off his line to gather and as the game continued to ebb and flow Eoghan O’Shea did well to get back to deny Russell as time ran out for the home side.

Given the quality of the opposition this was a hugely impressive performance by Town which delighted manager Mark Dempsey. The back four of Stephen Duffy, Eoghan O’Shea, Scott Delaney and Willie Duffy were outstanding while Kevin Duffy and Brian Francis in midfield showed they are comfortable in any company. Up front Michael Hoey was a great target man throughout while Mark Dunne always looked dangerous. Unfortunately for Tullamore their final three games are all away from home with Salthill Devon up next, but based on this showing they are well capable of picking up points on the road.

Tullamore : Mark Clohessy, Stephen Duffy, Eoghan O’Shea, Scott Delaney, Willie Duffy, Ross Whittaker, Brian Francis, Kevin Duffy, Stephen Francis, Michael Hoey and Mark Dunne.

Subs : Simon Keegan, Michael Kenaney, Shane Mannion, Gary Buckley and Joe Mooney.

Newstalk League of Ireland "A" Championship

Tullamore Town 0 Drogheda United 1

HOME advantage counted for nothing as a very good Drogheda side went away with all three points from Leah Victoria Park last Sunday. This was a strangely ineffective performance by Tullamore who seemed off the pace for most of a game which saw them create few scoring chances.

They began well with Gary Buckley pressurising full back Michael Clarke and nearly putting Mark Dunne in on goal. With ten minutes gone a great run through the middle by Derek Kierans was halted by Willie Duffy and then Kevin Ross picked out Ronan McEntaggart and his fine thirty yard effort was well saved by Mark Clohessy down low to his left.

As the home side hit back Eoghan O'Shea crossed from the left but Buckley's far post header was just wide. With twenty minutes gone Drogheda were nearly the authors of their own misfortune when Stephen Murphy fired a long back pass at his goalkeeper but Gabriel Sava expertly took the ball down on his chest and cleared. Town again threatened when Kevin Duffy sent Buckley free on the right but his fine cross was well taken by Sava while at the other end a dangerous cross by Kierans was headed over his own bar by O'Shea.

The home side again went close when Kevin Duffy played a great ball through to Simon Keegan but his first touch allowed Sava to come off his line to clear.

Stephen Francis then got on the end of a Stephen Duffy cross but was bundled over in the area with the referee waving play on and Francis was again in the thick of the action when he picked out Mark Dunne who brilliantly controlled the ball but his shot was high and wide.

As they continued to press Stephen Duffy put Keegan away on the right but Luke McDonnell got across to clear the danger. Drogheda should have opened their account on the stroke of half time when Paul Montondo got on the end of a free kick in the area but Mark Clohessy kept his side in the game with a magnificent point blank save.

Tullamore were first out of the traps on the resumption with Simon Keegan firing over from a Kevin Duffy pass and then Mark Dunne picked out Brian Francis but he shot wide while at the other end Eoghan O'Shea did well to get across to block Chris Kerr.

With fifty five minutes on the clock Dunne won a corner on the left and when the ball was floated over O'Shea saw his header cleared off the line and as the ball was played upfield Ronan McEntaggart was on hand to sweep the ball home from close range to put his side ahead.

As Town strove to get back in the game Dunne picked out Simon Keegan but his shot was well saved while at the other end Derek Kierans set up William Woods but he fired over.

With ten minutes remaining Kevin Duffy won a corner on the right and from the resultant kick Willie Duffy rose above the defence to send a great header inches wide and minutes later a fine run through the middle by Michael Hoey saw him pick out Kevin Duffy but his effort flew outside the post.

With minutes remaining Mark Clohessy launched a long ball upfield to Mark Goodings and his knock on found Hoey in the area but he snatched at his shot and the chance was gone as Drogheda emerged deserving winners.

Manager Mark Dempsey will be looking for a much improved performance from his team as they take on Galway United next Sunday in Leah Victoria Park, kick-off 2pm.

Tullamore: Mark Clohessy, Stephen Duffy, Eoghan O’Shea, Scott Delaney, Willie Duffy, Gary Buckley, Brian Francis, Kevin Duffy, Stephen Francis, Simon Keegan and Mark Dunne. Subs : Michael Hoey, Mark Goodings, Fergal Gorman, Michael Kenaney and Ross Whittaker.

The match was sponsored by James O’Connor Construction, Marian Place, Tullamore and Michael Farrell Menswear, The Mall, William Street, Tullamore.

Newstalk League of Ireland "A" Championship Friendly

Tullamore Town 2 Willow Park 2

Tullamore kept themselves match fit during the mid season break with this very entertaining friendly against Athlone side Willow Park. Current CCFL Champions and also Counties Cup winners they provided excellent opposition for the home side and if this performance is anything to go by they are sure to be among the trophies again this season. After a lively start Tullamore hit the front on twenty minutes when the Willow Park keeper and his defence failed to deal with a through ball and when it broke free the predatory Mark Dunne pounced to drive it into the back of the net. As the visitors went in search of an equaliser Hafeez Sholola twice went close, first firing over and then bringing a fine save from Mark Clohessy down low to his right. With half an gone Gary Buckley played the ball through to Dunne but it was knocked out of play and from the resultant throw in Stephen Duffy picked out Dunne at the far post but his header flashed wide. Mark Dunne again provided the danger when he got on the end of a fine Kevin Duffy pass but Ian Bolger saved well. As play continued to ebb and flow Robbie Shine and Craig Tone combined well but Clohessy saved from Tone while at the other end Dunne was again denied by Bolger after being put through by Stephen Francis. With forty five minutes on the clock the visitors unleashed their full attacking potential as Clohessy saved superbly from Peter Sherlock and as the ball broke free Sholola saw his effort brilliantly blocked on the line by Stephen Duffy but this time there was to be no reprieve as Craig Tone blasted the rebound home for a fine equaliser. As the Athlone side looked to press home their advantage Mark Nicholson played a great ball through to the lively Sholola but Willie Duffy got back to clear and then on the stroke of half time Ronan Frawley picked out Nicholson but his fine thirty yard effort flew inches outside the post to leave the sides tied at 1-1 at the interval.

With both managers ringing the changes at half time there was no let up in tempo and with only five minutes gone Tullamore were rocked back on their heels when Gareth Gaffey played a superb ball through to Gary McHugh who expertly lifted his shot over the advancing Joe Mooney and into the back of the net. With Ronan Frawley dominant at the back and Craig Tone and Mark Nicholson pulling the strings in mid-field the home side struggled to get back in the game but on fifty five minutes they were thrown a lifeline when Jimmy Mullally was adjudged to have handled in the area and Kevin Duffy fired the spot kick into the bottom right hand corner to put his side back in the game. As they continued to press Ross Whittaker fired in a searching cross that Frawley did well to head clear and then Brendan Bracken sent Simon Keegan clear on the right but again Frawley got across to snuff out the danger. Willow threatened when Gaffey sent McHugh clear but Mooney was quickly off his line to knock the ball out for a corner and from the resultant kick Frawley headed inches wide and they again went close when Mark Nicholson released Hafeez Sholola but he was denied by a great relieving tackle from Willie Duffy. As the pressure continued to mount Peter Sherlock played in Aidan Hyland but Scott Delaney got back to clear and then Frawley sent McHugh free with a defence splitting pass but he was ruled to be fractionally offside. As Town hit back good play by Fergal Gorman on the right saw him pick out Mark Dunne at the near post but he fired wide and then a great run and cross by Gary Buckley just missed out the inrushing Whittaker. With minutes remaining the home side nearly won the game in spectacular fashion when Brian Francis picked out Buckley and from fully thirty yards out he crashed a wonderful shot off the angle of bar and upright. With the last action of the game Craig Tone brought a fine save from Joe Mooney as both sides settled for a share of the spoils.

With the signing of Sholola Hafeez, Craig Tone and Gary McHugh from Athlone Town and Ronan Frawley from Galway Utd the Willow Park manager Tony O’Sullivan has assembled a formidable squad of players for the coming season. Having given his team two weeks off Tullamore manager Mark Dempsey will have been delighted with the opportunity to sharpen up his players after the mid season break for next Sundays clash with Drogheda Utd in Leah Victoria Park which could see them move back into the top half of the table.

For Willow Park there were outstanding performances from Ronan Frawley, Mark Nicholson, Craig Tone and Gary McHugh while all the home side showed that they are getting back to full match fitness.

Tullamore Town : Mark Clohessy, Stephen Duffy, Scott Delaney, Willie Duffy, Shane Mannion, Gary Buckley, Brian Francis, Kevin Duffy, Stephen Francis, Michael Hoey, Mark Dunne, Joe Mooney, Brendan Bracken, Fergal Gorman, Michael Kenaney, Simon Keegan and Ross Whittaker.

Willow Park : Ian Bolger, Robbie Shine, Earl Gaylord, Ronan Frawley, Peter Sherlock, Craig Tone, Mark Nicholson, Gary McHugh, Aidan Hyland, Hafeez Sholola, Brian Frawley, Aidan Brown, Jimmy Mullally

Newstalk League of Ireland "A" Championship

Castlebar Celtic 0 Tullamore Town 0

Celtic Park, Castlebar, Sat July 25th 2009

This was the gunfight at the Castlebar corral as Tullamore found themselves embroiled in a wild west style shoot-out in Celtic Park last Saturday. Setting out to soften up the visitors the high flying home side adopted an over zealous approach from the start but quickly found out that they had picked a fight with the wrong team. Under the mercurial Mark Dempsey, Tullamore have developed into a very tight, well organised unit that are proving a match for any team in the Division and they demonstrated this in spades in this explosive encounter. They came under early pressure when Peter Dravins fired a shot across the face of the goal after five minutes and then Chris Rowland probably should have done better when he carved out an opening in front of goal but he sliced his effort wide. As Town began to settle to the task Gary Buckley and Kevin Duffy combined to set up Stephen Duffy but Andy Neary got back to clear and then Darren Coleman picked the ball up from a throw-in and brought a good save from James Jennings. With the tackles flying in the match officials struggled to keep up and with thirty minutes on the clock the game spiralled out of control. Ashley Stevenson provided the spark that ignited the fireworks with a dreadful challenge on Coleman that resulted in a free-for-all in the middle of the pitch and when the dust had settled there were two Castlebar players stretched out on the ground. The referee immediately brandished a red card to Tullamore’s Brendan Bracken and yellow carded Stevenson and Dravins. With Scott Delaney filling in at centre half, Stephen Duffy withdrawn into defence and Simon Keegan ploughing a lone furrow up front the ten men set their stall up for a prolonged siege. As Celtic piled forward Rowland fired in a dangerous shot but Mark Clohessy saved superbly down low to his right as Town refused to give an inch.

The second half proved to be equally fractious but with Tullamore contesting every ball the home side failed to prosper from their numerical advantage and with Mark Clohessy giving a goalkeeping master class behind his back four they never looked like capitulating. Joseph O’Reilly threatened with a fine header that was well held by Clohessy and then Declan Flynn headed over from a free kick. The drama continued when on sixty five minutes the Castlebar manager was sent off for abusive behaviour and then in a rare break out of defence Darren Coleman nearly put Town in front when his free kick beat the Celtic keeper but was scrambled clear at the far post. Ashley Stevenson then got on the end of a free only to see his header fly inches over as the yellow card count continued to mount in this high octane encounter and with minutes remaining O’Reilly unleashed a wicked cross shot that Eoghan O’Shea brilliantly headed out for a corner as the referee brought proceedings to a conclusion. The small band of supporters that made the long trip West gave the ten men a standing ovation as they left the field following a performance that was marked out by courage and defiance and no little skill. This truly was a game to set the pulses racing and could yet turn out to be a season defining one for Tullamore. While it is almost impossible to single any particular players out, special mention must be made of lone striker Simon Keegan, young midfielder Gary Buckley and stand in defender Stephen Duffy, but the man of the match award went to goalkeeper Mark Clohessy whose safe handling and mastery of his defence laid the foundation for this excellent result.

Tullamore : Mark Clohessy, Scott Delaney, Eoghan O’Shea, Brendan Bracken, Willie Duffy, Stephen Duffy, Gary Buckley, Kevin Duffy, Stephen Francis, Darren Coleman and Simon Keegan.

Subs : Joe Mooney, Shane Mannion, Mark Goodings, Michael Hoey and Michael Kenaney.

Newstalk League Of Ireland "A" Championship 

Tullamore Town FC 0 Finn Harps 2

Leah Victoria Park, Tullamore, Sunday July 12th 2009

Tullamore's attempt to become genuine promotion contenders took a set back last Sunday when Finn Harps went away with a surprise bonus from Leah Victoria Park on Sunday.

The high flying home side were looking to capitalise on their recent good form against second from bottom Harps but as so often happens in football, things don't always go to plan. As expected Tullamore enjoyed the better of the early exchanges and created a number of early chances.

Town nearly made the breakthrough on twenty minutes when Goodings got on the end of a Kevin Duffy free but his header was well saved by Mailey down low to his left.

With O'Shea dominant at the back Harps were unable to create any clear cut chances and were fortunate when Goodings latched onto a fine ball over the top from Stephen Duffy but he was ruled to be fractionally offside.

With half time approaching Coleman was taken down thirty yards out and again Mailey did well to parry Kevin Duffy's free kick as the sides remained scoreless at the interval.

Tullamore were straight into the attack on the restart and another Duffy free kick created real danger as Brian Franncis saw his header flash inches wide of the left hand post.

Michael Hoey then played a fine ball over the top to Mark Goodings but he was crowded out while at the other end Brian Lafferty picked the ball up from a throw-in and fired in a vicious cross shot which O'Shea did well to head out for a corner.

The home side's tendancy to miss out midfield by playing long balls forward to Goodings and Hoey was handing possession back to the visitors on a regular basis and this eventually proved their undoing on seventy minutes.

Fintan Bonner picked the ball up wide on the right and his speculative cross eluded both the defence and keeper Joe Mooney and nestled in the far corner of the net for a somewhat fortuitous goal.

With new signing Mark Dunne coming on Town went all out for an equaliser and again went close when Brendan Bracken got on the end of a Darren Coleman corner but his header went wide and then Kevin Duffy played a great ball through to Mark Goodings at the far post but he just failed to control it and the chance was lost.

Harps were desperately unlucky not to go further ahead when Mark Moran crashed a tremendous free kick off the underside of the crossbar with Gavin McGlanaghey knocking home the rebound only to be flagged offside but they were not to be denied on seventy five minutes when Patrick Bonner broke clear on the right and cut the ball back for James Doherty to send a rocket into the top left hand corner of the net for a superb goal.

With Gary Buckley and Ross Whittaker coming on the home side tried manfully to get back in the game but the Donegal boys held out for a well deserved victory.

Despite this defeat Tullamore are still in fourth place in the table but following on their recent good form this was a strangely lacklustre performance which manager Mark Dempsey will be hoping to correct before their visit to Castlebar on Saturday week.

The match was kindly sponsored by Hugh Lynch's Public House, Kilbride Street, Tullamore.

Tullamore : Joe Mooney, Stephen Francis, Eoghan O’Shea, Brendan Bracken, Shane Mannion, Stephen Duffy, Brian Francis, Kevin Duffy, Darren Coleman, Mark Goodings and Michael Hoey. Subs: Mark Dunne, Gary Buckley, Ross Whittaker, Michael Kenaney, Willie Duffy and Mark Clohessy.

Newstalk League Of Ireland "A" Championship 

Tullamore Town FC 4 Sligo Rovers 0

Leah Victoria Park, Tullamore, Saturday July 4th 2009

TULLAMORE lifted themselves into joint third place in the league table with this comprehensive victory over a talented Sligo Rovers side in Leah Victoria Park last Saturday.

 It was confirmation, if any was needed, of the enormous strides made by the team under manager Mark Dempsey and his assistants Brian O'Shea and Tony Albin and with seven games remaining pushes them into the thick of the promotion race.

The visitors started this match the brighter and created three early goal scoring opportunities.At the other end Simon Keegan got on the end of a Kevin Duffy free but his glancing header flew the wrong side of the post.

As Brian Francis and Kevin Duffy began to get a grip on midfield Town came more into the game and they again went close when a Darren Coleman free was knocked out to Duffy but his shot cleared the crossbar.

With half an hour on the clock Sligo's Shane Brannigan flashed a fine long range effort inches past Mooney's left upright but five minutes later the home side eventually made the vital breakthrough. Brendan Bracken played a great ball through to Mark Goodings and he held it up before slipping it to Simon Keegan in the inside right channel who expertly placed the ball inside the far post to put his side ahead.

With five minutes remaining in the first half Sligo squandered a wonderful chance to equalise when Danny Fallon headed the ball down to substitute Daniel Breslin but he blasted his effort over from two yards out to leave the score 1-0 at the interval.

Tullamore were quickly out of the traps on the resumption with Brian Francis bursting through the middle and bringing a fine save from Sligo 'keeper Michael Schlinnermann. Ten minutes into the second half, the home side increased their lead when another surging run on the right by Francis saw him pull the ball back to Kevin Duffy and he unerringly drilled his shot low into the bottom right hand corner for a fine goal.

It was nearly a case of déjà vous five minutes later when Mark Goodings broke clear on the right and cut the ball back to Buckley but this time Schlinnermann got down to save. Goodings was again in the thick of the action when he brilliantly controlled the ball in the middle before playing a great ball out to Simon Keegan wide on the left and when he was taken down Brendan Bracken and Eoghan O'Shea just failed to get on the end of Duffy's free kick.

Town again went close when Goodings picked out the flying Buckley on the right but the talented youngster saw his shot drift inches outside the far post and minutes later Schlinnermann had to be at his best to keep out a great Darren Coleman effort.

Mark Goodings topped off a fine individual display on seventy minutes when he got on the end of a lovely lofted pass from Stephen Francis and cleverly lobbed the ball over the advancing keeper and into the empty net. Tullamore continued to press forward and Brian Francis picked out Keegan on the left.

He found Goodings on the edge of the area but his effort was saved while at the other end Joe Mooney was called into action when he dealt comfortably with a Jason Noctor header.

Tullamore continued to press later and eventually added a fourth goal when Michael Hoey got on the end of a corner kick to send a lovely near post header into the back of the net. Goodings very nearly had the last word when he picked the ball up on the left wing and cut inside before sending a great effort inches over as the referee brought the curtain down on a very impressive team performance.

This was a win in which everyone played their part with the man of the match award going to the outstanding Mark Goodings.

With the visit of Finn Harps next Sunday, kick-off 3pm, Tullamore will be hoping to keep their great run going as they set their sights firmly on the First Division in what is turning out to be a momentous season.

The match was kindly sponsored by Dinny O’Meara and Kevin O’Connor of D&K Refuse Collection.

At half time Tullamore Town Council chairman Tommy McKeigue presented League winners medals to the victorious Under-10 team who, under managers John Connolly and Stuart Kavanagh, had remained unbeaten for the entire season.
Tullamore: Joe Mooney, Stephen Francis, Brendan Bracken, Eoghan O’Shea, Shane Mannion, Stephen Duffy, Brian Francis, Kevin Duffy, Darren Coleman, Mark Goodings and Simon Keegan. Subs: Gary Buckley, Michael Hoey, Willie Duffy, Michael Kenaney, Mark Clohessy and Ross Whittaker.