2011/12 Match Reports

CCFL Counties Youths Cup Final 19/05/12

Tullamore Town  1   Mullingar Athletic  0

The Tullamore boys rang the curtain down on a magnificent season in Edenderry last Saturday by adding the Youths Cup to the League title that they had secured the previous week. Despite the one nil scoreline, this was a surprisingly one-sided affair with the winners dominating for long periods as Mullingar mounted a rear guard action in an attempt to contain them. Town were quickly into their stride with Mark Casey breaking clear on the right and cutting the ball back to Arron Hensey, but his first time effort flew narrowly over. Macdarragh O’Neill just failed to get on the end of a Shane Martino near post corner and then a great run on the right by Matthew Hynes saw him pick out Martino and his cross was fired inches wide by Hensey. With half an hour gone a lovely move involving Casey, O’Neill and Rory Condron ended with Terry Byrne firing over and then Casey played a great ball through to O’Neill who brilliantly slipped his marker, but his goal bound effort was deflected over. With Mark Casey and Gary Hutchinson outstanding in midfield, Tullamore continued to enjoy the lions share of possession and they again threatened when Martino picked out Hutchinson but his volley flew inches past the left post. Hensey and Martino were posing a constant threat on the right while Condron and O’Neill were raiding to similar effect on the opposite flank as they went in search of the opening goal. It was not all one way traffic and Mullingar went close when Danny Crowley pulled the ball back to Dale Monaghan and his fine twenty yard effort just missed the angle of post and bar. With a minute remaining in the first half Town made the breakthrough when Terry Byrne played a clever ball inside to Gary Hutchinson and, when Adam Gavin failed to hold his well struck shot, Arron Hensey pounced on the loose ball to drive it into the back of the net to put his side one up at the interval.

Tullamore began the second half as they had finished the first with Macdarragh O’Neill playing a great ball down the left to Arron Hensey but Greg Armstrong got across to clear and Hensey again went close when his header was saved by Adam Gavin following a Shane Martino corner. With Diarmuid Carroll giving a text book performance at the heart of the Tullamore defence, Mullingar struggled to get a foothold in the game as Mark Casey and Gary Hutchinson continued to pull the strings in midfield. With fifty five minutes on the clock they nearly increased their lead when O’Neill got on the end of a Hensey cross, but Gavin brilliantly kept his close range effort out with his feet. Carroll’s crisp tackling and impeccable distribution ensured that Tullamore maintained their dominance and they again went close when a weaving left wing run by Rory Condron saw him pick out O’Neill who cut the ball inside to Dillon Melia, but he was denied by a great last ditch tackle from Stephen Doyle. As they continued to press, O’Neill got on the end of a Martino corner but his shot found the side netting and then Hutchinson and Hensey combined to set up Martino on the right but his effort flew narrowly over. With Adam Shelly, Ted Conway and Michael James being introduced, Town continued to lay siege to the Mullingar goal with James winning back possession on the right and firing in a great cross to the far post that just missed out the inrushing Hensey. With ten minutes remaining they were reduced to ten men when, having used all their substitutes, Ross Kinnarney was forced off through injury. With the impressive Shelly filling in for Kinnarney in defence, Tullamore held firm as Mullingar sought to bring their numerical advantage to bear. With minutes remaining they almost equalised when Paul Reid played a great ball through to Danny Crowley, but Patrick Dunican brought off a superb point blank save to deny him. Town struck back with Casey and Melia combining to pick out James who saw his effort turned around the post by Gavin and, from the resultant corner, Melia fired wide as Tullamore ran out deserving winners.

This was an outstanding team effort with every player making a significant contribution on the day. For the winners there were exceptional performances from Ross Kinnarney, Rory Condron, Gary Hutchinson and Mark Casey with Adam Gavin, Greg Armstong, Stephen Doyle and Danny Crowley the pick of the Mullingar side, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s cultured central defender, Diarmuid Carroll.

Tullamore: Patrick Dunican, Matthew Hynes, Ross Kinnarney, Diarmuid Carroll, Rory Condron, Shane Martino, Mark Casey, Gary Hutchinson, Macdarragh O’Neill, Terry Byrne and Arron Hensey.

Subs: Dillon Melia, Adam Shelly, Ted Conway and Michael James (all used).

Michael Dolan Division 1 Cup Final 13/05/12

Tullamore Town  4   Grange United  0

Tullamore’s long years in the silverware wilderness came to a spectacular end in Clara last Sunday when they lifted the Division 1 trophy following this comprehensive win over Mullingar side Grange United. Fielding a strong starting line-up they were quickly into their stride and hit the front after ten minutes. Trevor Francis played a lovely ball through to Niall Lynch in the inside left channel and when he played it inside, Brian Francis was on hand to sweep the ball into the back of the net. As they looked to build on their early advantage, Matthew Carragher and Trevor Francis combined to pick out Brian Francis but this time his effort flew over. It was not all one way traffic and Grange went close when Shane Archibald got behind the Town defence and lifted the ball over the advancing Ciaran Carragher, but it drifted outside the right post. As Tullamore hit back, Brian Francis had his shot saved and then Trevor Francis won possession out wide on the left but his stunning long range effort was deflected over. Despite playing with a strong wind, Grange could make little or no impact on the rock solid back four of Niall Gorman, Scott Delaney, Anthony Coyne and Ross Kennarney and, with Stephen Francis and Matthew Carragher outstanding in midfield, Town continued to dominate proceedings. Trevor Francis fired over from twenty five yards and then Niall Lynch and Brian Francis combined to create an opening for Mark Gorman, but again the ball cleared the crossbar. As they continued to press Carragher fired past the far post but, with minutes remaining in the first half, Grange almost equalised when Craig Charles picked out Sean Reid in the inside left channel and his cross shot was hooked off the line by Anthony Coyne. Tullamore’s reaction was immediate with Brian Francis setting off on a surging run that took him through the United defence only to be denied by a superb save from Shane Weir down low to his left as the referee brought the first half to a conclusion.

With the wind behind them Tullamore went on the attack and with fifty minutes on the clock they increased their lead. Mark Gorman fired in an inch perfect cross to Trevor Francis and his glancing header found the back of the net. Five minutes later they hammered home their advantage when Niall Lynch’s corner was headed powerfully home at the far post by Scott Delaney. Brian Francis went close when he burst into the area before being taken down with the referee waving play on but, with sixty five minutes gone, they struck again when Niall Lynch got on the end of another great Mark Gorman cross to head home from close range. As they continued to press, good play by Gary Buckley on the right saw him flash the ball across the face of the goal and then Barry Walsh won back possession but his effort narrowly missed the far post. With minutes remaining Alvin Reilly picked out Shane Archibald but he fired inches past the left post and then Michael Myers got on the end of a Reilly cut back, but his close range effort was brilliantly kept out by Ciaran Carragher as Tullamore ran out deserving winners. 

This was a wonderful climax to the season for the Tullamore lads and in particular for their manager Noel Courtney and coach Alan Murray. In what was a tremendous team performance there were excellent contributions from Stephen Francis, Mark Gorman, Brian Francis, Niall Lynch and Trevor Francis, but the man of the match award went to their outstanding midfielder, Matthew Carragher.

Tullamore: Ciaran Carragher, Scott Delaney, Anthony Coyne, Ross Kenarney, Mark Gorman, Stephen Francis, Matthew Carragher, Niall Lynch, Trevor Francis and Brian Francis.

Subs: Gary Buckley, Fergal Gorman, Barry Walsh, John Smith, Dillon Melia, Niall McKenna, Edward Connolly, Niall Farrell and Ross Whittaker.

  

CCFL Under-19 Division 07/05/2012

Tullamore Town  2   Portlaoise Town  1

The Tullamore boys were crowned League champions in Leah Victoria Park following this nail biting finale to an enthralling season. Needing only a draw to clinch the title they had to come from behind against a determined Portlaoise side before emerging victorious in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd. The visitors started well with Gareth McGrath latching onto a through ball and firing wide but, with Mark Casey and Adam Shelly getting a grip on midfield and Arron Hensey posing a constant threat up front, Tullamore slowly began to dominate proceedings. With ten minutes gone Macdarragh O’Neill won a free kick that was fired over by Dillon Melia and then Matthew Hynes broke clear on the right, but he shot narrowly wide. As they continued to press, Shane Martino fired in a dangerous cross that just missed out the inrushing Melia while at the other end Patrick Dunican did well to keep out a well struck Robbie Ging free kick. The home side again went close on twenty five minutes when O’Neill picked out Melia in the inside left channel and, when his effort was parried by Shane Keane in the Portlaoise goal, Martino fired the loose ball wide. Mark Casey and O’Neill then combined to create an opening for Adam Shelly but he fired narrowly over from distance as they tightened their grip on the game. Using only Matthew Hynes, Diarmuid Carroll and Rory Condron at the back and pushing Ross Kinnarney into midfield, Tullamore continued to lay siege to the Portlaoise goal. Macdarragh O’Neill slipped his marker but failed to hit the target and he again threatened when he fired in a searching cross from the left that was headed wide by Hensey. With minutes remaining in the first half Shelly played a great ball through to Hensey, but his low cross just missed out Melia at the far post as the referee brought the first half to a conclusion.

Tullamore began the second half as they had finished the first with Mark Casey knocking the ball back to Adam Shelly but his effort flew wide. With fifty minutes on the clock they were rocked back on their heels when Gareth McGrath picked the ball up twenty yards out and sent a great looping shot over Patrick Dunican and into the roof of the net to put his side in front. With Portlaoise proving to be a decidedly tough nut to crack the home side threw everything into attack with Arron Hensey firing wide from close in but, with an hour gone, the introduction of Terry Byrne and Gary Hutchinson provided the platform for the Tullamore fight back. Byrne was immediately into the action when he latched onto a lovely ball from Shane Martino but Shane Keane brilliantly kept out his close range effort and then Casey and Martino combined to set up Hensey but his shot flew past the left hand post. Shelly picked out Martino on the right and his fine cross was headed over by Hensey and then, following a corner, Shelly had his header taken off the line by Liam Swayne. With seventy five minutes on the clock their pressure finally paid off when Ross Kinnarney found Ted Conway and his clever through ball was coolly fired into the bottom right hand corner by Terry Byrne to level the scores. Five minutes later they hit the front when Michael James managed to keep the ball in play before pulling it back to Gary Hutchinson who quickly moved it on to Mark Casey who made space for himself before slotting it through to the predatory Byrne who placed his shot into the bottom left corner of the net. As they looked to kill the game off, Rory Condron went on a fine run that saw him pick out Byrne, but this time his effort was saved by Keane and then James cut in from the right but shot into the side netting. With a minute remaining Casey and Byrne combined to set up Hensey but his effort was superbly tipped over by Keane as the Tullamore boys ran out deserving winners and worthy champions.

With the majority of the team still eligible to play at this level for the next two years, it is a measure of the extent of their achievement in winning the League at their first attempt and also a testament to the fine work done by manager John O’Connor and coach Tony Albin throughout the season. In what was an often tense encounter there were excellent contributions from Ross Kinnarney, Rory Condron, Adam Shelly and Arron Hensey with Shane Keane, Liam Swayne, Robbie Ging and Garret McGrath the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award was shared between Tullamore’s outstanding midfielder, Mark Casey and match winner Terry Byrne.

Tullamore: Patrick Dunican, Matthew Hynes, Diarmuid Carroll, Ross Kinnarney, Rory Condron, Shane Martino, Mark Casey, Adam Shelly, Macdarragh O’Neill, Dillon Melia and Arron Hensey.

Subs: Terry Byrne, Gary Hutchinson, Michael James and Ted Conway (all used).

LSL Sunday Major 24/04/12
 
Markiewicz Celtic  0   Tullamore Town  3

Tullamore kept their promotion push on course with this fine win over Markiewicz Celtic in Dublin last week. Played on an all-weather pitch, they quickly adapted to the conditions and nearly hit the front on ten minutes when Stephen Francis picked out Arron Hensey on the edge of the area, but he elected to pass instead of shooting and the chance was lost. Despite enjoying plenty of possession, Celtic were unable to make any impression on a resolute Tullamore defence and they fell behind on twenty five minutes. Scott Delaney played a great pass through to Hensey who expertly took the ball down on his chest before driving it into the bottom left corner for a superb goal. They should have increased their lead on the stroke of half time when Trevor Moylan sent Mark Gorman clear on the right and, when he cut the ball back, Michael Hoey fired over when well placed.

Celtic began the second half in determined fashion but on the few occasions when they breached the Tullamore defence the reliable Joe Mooney was equal to their efforts. With Stephen Francis and Matthew Carragher working tirelessly in midfield and Mark Gorman proving an increasing threat on the right, the visitors slowly began to wrest back control of the game and they increased their advantage on seventy five minutes. Stephen Francis lifted a lovely ball over the home defence for Arron Hensey to race clear before firing a great shot over the advancing keeper and into the back of the net. With ten minutes remaining they struck again when Brian Francis ghosted past his marker and managed to stay on his feet before slotting the ball home, but the referee called play back for the foul and Trevor Moylan duly blasted the resultant free kick into the top left hand corner. Francis again created havoc when he burst through before being taken down and Michael Kenaney’s free kick was brilliantly tipped over by the keeper as the referee brought proceedings to a conclusion.

With just two games remaining Tullamore know that promotion is in their own hands, which would be a fitting end to a wonderful season. In what was a fine all round performance there were excellent contributions from Scott Delaney, Ken Doyle, Stephen Francis, Matthew Carragher and Mark Gorman, but the man of the match award went to their outstanding young striker, Arron Hensey.

Tullamore: Joe Mooney, Trevor Moylan, Ken Doyle, Scott Delaney, Michael Kenaney, Mark Gorman, Stephen Francis, Matthew Carragher, Jason Pohl, Michael Hoey and Arron Hensey.

Subs: Stephen Duffy, Mark Goodings, Brian Francis and Ciaran Carragher.  

Leinster Senior League 20/04/12

Tullamore Town 1 Greystones Utd 1

Tullamore had to settle for a share of the spoils against second placed Greystones as they kept their promotion hopes alive in Leah Victoria Park last Friday. They were first to threaten when Ronan Kelly found Trevor Moylan on the right and he picked out Jason Pohl at the back post, but his effort flew over and then Pohl knocked a Stephen Francis cross down to Michael Hoey but his shot was charged down. With quarter of an hour gone they nearly hit the front when Trevor Moylan picked out Scott Delaney who played a lovely ball down the right to Arron Hensey and his beautifully measured cross was fired wide by the inrushing Hoey. With half an hour gone Greystones suddenly burst into life with Shay Brien firing wide from distance and then, following a free kick, Joe Mooney brilliantly tipped Kevin Farrell’s header around the post. As Tullamore hit back, Kelly played the ball through to Hensey but Ian Fowler was quickly off his line to avert the danger while at the other end Mark Gorman did well to get across to clear as Dean Byrne broke free on the left. With Matthew Carragher and Stephen Francis working tirelessly in midfield the home side held firm and, with minutes remaining, Hoey knocked a Mooney clearance on to Pohl who fired over as the referee brought the first half to a conclusion.

On the resumption both teams went all out for the opener with Dave Carroll bringing a fine save from Joe Mooney and then Jason Pohl played in Michael Hoey, but his effort flew past the left post. Tullamore again threatened when Ian Fowler held Trevor Moylan’s free kick at the second attempt and then Scott Delaney, Ronan Kelly and Trevor Moylan combined down the right before cutting the ball back to Kelly, but his shot was charged down. As Greystones hit back Shane Thompson broke free on the right but Mooney was out quickly to clear and then Conor O’Donovan weaved his way through the home defence before being crowded out. O’Donovan again created danger on sixty five minutes when he played a great ball through to Shay Brien but Mooney reacted superbly to save at his feet. The home side thought they had a shout for a penalty when great play by Ronan Kelly on the right carried him into the area before being taken down, but the referee waved play on. The visitors again went close when a Mooney punched clearance fell to Dean Byrne on the edge of the area and he struck a tremendous volley inches outside the left post. As manager Jimmy Green looked to get his side back in the game he brought on Stephen Duffy in defence and moved Trevor Moylan into the attack and the change brought immediate results. Duffy and Stephen Francis combined to send Moylan clear on the right and, when Fowler could only punch his dangerous cross to safety, Michael Hoey quickly fired the ball back into the area for Arron Hensey to get across the front of the defence and side foot it home from close range. Within minutes Greystones were back in the game when Paul Molloy sent in a searching cross from the left and Dave Carroll rose unchallenged to head the ball into the roof of the net for a fine equaliser. With Tullamore still reeling, Kevin Farrell headed narrowly wide from a corner and, with minutes remaining, they missed a glorious chance to win the game when Molloy cut through the home defence and, when Michael Kenaney charged down his effort, Shay Brien blasted the rebound over when it seemed easier to score.

This was a most entertaining game, but both these fine sides will see this as a missed opportunity. While Tullamore’s promotion hopes are still in their own hands, they have to gain maximum points from their remaining three matches which are all away from home. For the home side there were excellent contributions from Joe Mooney, Trevor Moylan, Stephen Francis and Arron Hensey with Kevin Farrell, Andy Flynn, Conor O’Donovan and Paul Molloy the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding young midfielder, Matthew Carragher.

Tullamore: Joe Mooney, Trevor Moylan, Mark Gorman, Scott Delaney, Michael Kenaney, Ronan Kelly, Stephen Francis, Matthew Carragher, Jason Pohl, Michael Hoey and Arron Hensey.

Subs: Stephen Duffy, Brian Francis, Simon Keegan, Mark Goodings and Martin Cunningham.

CCFL U-17 Cup Semi-Final 21/04/12

Tullamore Town 2 Killavilla Utd 3

League champions Killavilla advanced to the CCFL Cup Final with this thrilling win over Tullamore in Portlaoise last Saturday. Town were first to threaten when Gareth Byrne picked out Alan Geoghegan and his fine effort was tipped around the post by Stephen Byrne and then Derek Walsh knocked the ball on to Declan Cuskelly and his brilliant volley was somehow kept out by Byrne down low to his right. As Killavilla hit back, Sibtain Haider did well to keep out a Daniel Butler effort while at the other end Byrne and Walsh combined to set up Cuskelly, but he fired over. With David Doyle, Ken Hogan, Kevin Fletcher and Matthew Kilroe holding firm at the back and Alan Geoghegan working tirelessly in midfield play continued to ebb and flow as Butler again brought a fine save from Haider and then Hogan picked out Declan Cuskelly on the right and his deep cross found Gareth Byrne, but his header was scrambled clear. United nearly broke the deadlock on thirty minutes when Daniel Butler knocked the ball over Haider, but David Doyle got back to clear from under his crossbar and then Robbie Ryan played in Fergal Flanagan, but he fired wide when well placed as the referee brought the first half to a conclusion.

On the resumption Tullamore went on the attack and within five minutes had hit the front. Derek Walsh picked out Gareth Byrne and his cross was knocked behind and, from the resultant corner Alan Geoghegan flashed a brilliant header into the back of the net. Killavilla immediately threw everything into attack with Daniel Butler racing clear and Sibtain Haider saving superbly at his feet and then Butler found Fergal Flanagan, but they were again denied by an amazing double save from Haider. As Town hit back, Gareth Byrne swept in a dangerous cross that was fired over by Declan Cuskelly while at the other end David Doyle did well to charge down a Butler effort. With an hour gone United equalised when, following a corner, Jamie Colman rose above the defence to head home. As they went in search of the lead Alan Heffernan did well to block a goal bound effort from Flanagan and then, with sixty five minutes gone, Tullamore struck again. Eoghan Coffey picked out Declan Cuskelly on the left and, when Stephen Byrne failed to hold his deep cross, Derek Walsh pounced to send his header into the back of the net to put his side back in front. Killavilla responded like true champions when Daniel Butler won possession out wide on the right and fired a superb shot into the top left hand corner to once again level this thrilling cup tie. With seventy minutes on the clock United hit the front for the first time in somewhat controversial circumstances. Sibtain Haider brilliantly blocked a Butler effort and, as he lay injured in the goalmouth, Brian Maloney fired the loose ball into the unguarded net. Despite the Tullamore players protestations the score stood, with Derek Walsh taking over in goal and Declan O’Neill coming on in attack. As Killavilla went all out to kill the game off, Walsh twice saved superbly from Fergal Flanagan and Ian McCarthy but, with minutes remaining, Town thought they had equalised. Alan Geoghegan threaded a defence splitting pass through to Declan Cuskelly in the inside left channel and the big centre forward crashed the ball into the roof of the net only to be called back for off-side as Killavilla ran out deserving winners of this pulsating cup semi-final.

Played in a wonderful spirit, this was a game that was a credit to both the League and these two fine sides. For Tullamore there were excellent contributions from Kevin Fletcher, Ken Hogan, Matthew Kilroe, Alan Geoghegan and Derek Walsh with Brian Maloney, Fergal Flanagan, Robbie Ryan and Daniel Butler the pick of the Killavilla boys, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding goalkeeper, Sibtain Haider.

Tullamore: Sibtain Haider, David Doyle, Kevin Fletcher, Ken Hogan, Matthew Kilroe, Eoghan Coffey, Alan Geoghegan, Alan Heffernan, Gareth Byrne, Derek Walsh and Declan Cuskelly.

Subs: Declan O’Neill, Aaron McDermott, Austin Davis and David Geraghty.

CCFL Under-19 Division 14/04/12

Tullamore Town 3 Athy Town 0

The Tullamore boys kept their title challenge well on course with this comfortable win over fourth placed Athy Town in Leah Victoria Park last Saturday. They hit the front on ten minutes when the visitors keeper, Shane Foley, completely misjudged a through ball from Mark Casey, leaving Terry Byrne with the simple task of rolling it into the empty net. As they looked to press home their advantage Shane Martino twice fired in dangerous crosses from the right while at the other end Malcolm Ogoboue flashed his effort past the right post when well placed. Byrne created danger when he slipped the ball inside to Martino but his shot was charged down and then Gary Hutchinson picked out Arron Hensey, but his cross was knocked behind. Martino played a great ball through to Hensey but he was crowded out and then a tremendous twenty five yard drive from Hutchinson was brilliantly tipped around the post by Foley. With Nathan Germaine outstanding at the back and Aaron Meade working tirelessly in midfield, Athy managed to keep the Tullamore forwards at bay but they were not to be denied on thirty five minutes when, following a corner, Adam Shelly rose above the defence to power his header into the roof of the net to put his side two up at the interval.

Tullamore continued to press on the resumption with Terry Byrne, Gary Hutchinson and Shane Martino combining to create an opening for Arron Hensey, but his header was well saved. Hutchinson then swept the ball out to Macdarragh O’Neill on the left and his low cross picked out Mark Casey but his effort was deflected wide. O’Neill’s quick feet and close control ensured that the visitors defence was in a constant state of high alert, and they fell further behind on the hour. A wonderful move involving Hutchinson, Casey and Gareth Byrne saw the ball swept out to O’Neill, and Athy’s tormentor in chief cut in from the left before drilling his shot under the diving Shane Foley and into the back of the net. They again threatened when O’Neill cut the ball back to Michael James but his effort was blocked and then Hutchinson and Rory Condron combined to find O’Neill who brilliantly slipped his marker, but his low cross was cleared. As they continued to press, O’Neill picked out Gary Hutchinson but his long range effort flew over and then Hutchinson and Dillon Melia combined to set up Ted Conway, but his shot was charged down. Good play on the right by James created an opportunity for Hutchinson, but again his effort was too high and then Adam Shelly played a great ball through to Conway but he fired wide as the home side ran out deserving winners.

Tullamore are at home to second placed Abbeyleix Athletic this Wednesday, 18th April, at 6.45 pm when they hope to further narrow the gap at the top between themselves and Edenderry Town in what is developing into a thrilling title race.

In a very entertaining game there were excellent contributions from Adam Shelly, Diarmuid Carroll, Gareth Byrne and Gary Hutchinson with Aaron Meade, Nathan Germaine and Kevin Moran the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding striker, Macdarragh O’Neill.

Tullamore: Patrick Dunican, Matthew Hynes, Diarmuid Carroll, Adam Shelly, Gareth Byrne, Shane Martino, Mark Casey, Gary Hutchinson, Macdarragh O’Neill, Terry Byrne and Arron Hensey.

Subs: Michael James, Ross Kinnarney, Rory Condron, Dillon Melia and Ted Conway (all used).

CCFL Under-19 Cup Semi-Final 09/04/12

Edenderry Town 1 Tullamore Town 0

With the League a virtual two horse race between these two outstanding teams, Edenderry gained an important psychological advantage over their arch rivals with this fine Cup win in Portarlington on Monday. Tullamore were first to threaten when Rory Condron swung in a searching cross from the left that was headed to safety by Aaron McDonald and, with twelve minutes on the clock, they were desperately unlucky not to hit the front. Condron again created the danger when he cut in from the left only for Shane Hayes to brilliantly tip his goal bound effort onto the crossbar and, as the ball broke back into play, he managed to keep out Michael James’ diving header. Edenderry went close on fifteen minutes when John Moriarty threaded the ball through to Mark Nolan who dinked it over the advancing Patrick Dunican, but it drifted outside the left post. As Tullamore hit back, Dillon Melia swept the ball out to James on the right and his excellent cross was fired narrowly over by Arron Hensey and then a Melia free kick was gathered at the second attempt by Hayes. With half an hour gone, Ryan Lynch broke clear on the left but Ross Kinnarney got across to knock the ball behind and, from the resultant corner, Aaron McDonald sent a towering header into the back of the net to put his side in front. Tullamore nearly equalised within minutes when Mark Casey and Gary Hutchinson combined to pick out Ted Conway, but his well struck shot flew inches outside the left post. As they continued to press, James fired in a deep cross that found Hensey at the back post, but his effort found the side netting and James again created danger when he won back possession on the right but failed to hit the target from twenty yards. With Peter Cunningham outstanding in the middle, Edenderry hit back and Ryan Lynch went close when he broke clear on the left but Dunican got down well to save. With minutes remaining in the first half Hutchinson won a free kick thirty yards out and Michael James sent a superb shot arrowing towards the top corner, only for Shane Hayes to brilliantly tip the ball around the post. But it was far from one way traffic as Lynch played a lovely cross field ball to Eoin Feeney on the right, but he was denied by a great block tackle from Diarmuid Carroll as the referee brought the first half to a conclusion.

With the introduction of Macdarragh O’Neill and Shane Martino at the interval, Tullamore went in search of an equaliser and O’Neill was quickly into the action when he won back possession and played a great ball through to Arron Hensey, but he was penalised for pushing. Mark Casey picked out Hensey but shot effort was charged down and then O’Neill sent Martino clear on the right but his effort flew across the face of the goal. Gary Hutchinson and O’Neill then combined to pick out Hensey but his shot was deflected wide while, at the other end, Mikey Clear found Lorcan Pender but Patrick Dunican got down well to save. Edenderry nearly increased their advantage on sixty five minutes when, following a goalmouth melee, Matthew Hynes charged down Mark Nolan’s goal bound effort and then Lee Dempsey headed John Moriarty’s free narrowly wide. Tullamore went close on seventy minutes when a great move involving Mark Casey, Shane Martino and Terry Byrne created an opening for Macdarragh O’Neill, but Shane Hayes saved superbly at his feet. As the clock ticked down Casey, Martino and Byrne again combined to pick out Rory Condron but Hayes was equal to his effort as Edenderry ran out deserving winners of this pulsating cup tie.

For Edenderry there were excellent contributions from Shane Hayes, Peter Cunningham, Eoin Feeney and Lorcan Pender with Mark Casey, Michael James, Shane Martino and MacDarragh O’Neill the pick of the Tullamore side, but the man of the match award went to their outstanding attacking defender, Rory Condron.

Tullamore: Patrick Dunican, Matthew Hynes, Ross Kinnarney, Diarmuid Carroll, Rory Condron, Michael James, Gary Hutchinson, Mark Casey, Ted Conway, Dillon Melia and Arron Hensey.

Subs: Macdarragh O’Neill, Shane Martino, Adam Shelly and Terry Byrne.

Leinster Senior League Sunday Major 30/03/12

Tullamore Town  4   Parkvale FC  0

A devastating five minutes either side of half time that saw Parkvale concede three goals ensured that Tullamore  kept their title challenge on track in Leah Victoria Park last Friday. Up until the forty fifth minute the visitors had every reason to believe that they were worth at least a point from this game as they more than matched Town in almost every department. With Peter O’Donnell and Graham Campbell a constant threat on the flanks, the home side had to battle to stay in the game but, with Ken Doyle and Mark Gorman holding firm at the back and Scott Delaney and Stephen Francis working tirelessly in midfield, they slowly and relentlessly fought their way back into the game. Parkvale were first to threaten when Campbell broke clear on the left and his clever chip was brilliantly pushed around the post by Joe Mooney and, from the resultant corner, Dave Maloney headed narrowly over. Campbell again went close when he latched onto a great crossfield pass from Ronan Mangan and flashed a tremendous shot into the side netting. As Tullamore hit back, Trevor Moylan and Fergal Gorman combined to pick out Scott Delaney, but his effort was deflected wide while at the other end Ken Doyle had to be at his best to cut out a searching cross from O’Donnell. The home side went close when Brian Francis broke clear in the inside left channel but his shot flew across the face of the goal and, with a minute remaining in the first half, they struck for the opener. Fergal Gorman picked out Trevor Moylan on the right and his dangerous cross broke back to Scott Delaney who drove the ball unerringly into the left hand corner of the net. With the visitors still reeling, Town hammered home their advantage when Brian Francis swopped passes with Michael Hoey before rounding Colly Dunning in the Parkvale goal and firing home to leave the score two nil in Tullamore’s favour at the interval.

The home side were straight into the attack on the resumption with Scott Delaney having a shot charged down and then Fergal Gorman knocked the ball on to Brian Francis, but he was denied by a great relieving tackle from Paul Byrne. With just four minutes gone they increased their advantage in a classic counter attack when Michael Hoey latched on to a Ken Doyle clearance and swept the ball out to Brian Francis on the left and he curled a superb pass behind the defence for Hoey to drive the ball into the roof of the net at the back post. As Parkvale fought their way back into the game, Doyle twice got across to cut out dangerous crosses. With sixty five minutes on the clock they were desperately unlucky not to reduce the arrears when John Phillips got on the end of a Tom Kelly free kick and crashed his shot off the inside of the upright with the rebound being scrambled clear. A tremendous run through the middle by Mark Gorman saw him swop passes with Hoey before being crowded out while at the other end the visitors again went close when Kelly picked the ball up in the inside right channel only for his shot to clip the outside of the left post. The return of Matthew Carragher to first team duty on seventy minutes was warmly greeted by the home support. A fine move involving Michael Hoey, Brian Francis and Trevor Moylan ended with Jason Pohl volleying over and then Carragher played a lovely ball through to Mark Gorman, but his effort was charged down. It was also good to see Ross Kinnarney from the Youths team being given playing time as the home side tightened their grip on the game. With minutes remaining Ken Doyle, Stephen Francis and Jason Pohl combined to pick out Brian Francis in the area and the Tullamore captain drilled his effort into the bottom right hand corner of the net to set the seal on this very impressive display.

The win lifted Tullamore into fourth place in the League and, with games in hand, has given them a wonderful launching pad in their push for promotion. In what was a wonderful all round team performance there were excellent contributions from Joe Mooney, Mark Gorman, Scott Delaney and Michael Hoey with Ronan Mangan, Peter O’Donnell and Graham Campbell the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding central defender, Ken Doyle.

Tullamore: Joe Mooney, Trevor Moylan, Mark Gorman, Ken Doyle, Michael Kenaney, Fergal Gorman, Stephen Francis, Scott Delaney, Jason Pohl, Brian Francis and Michael Hoey.

Subs: Matthew Carragher, Ross Kinnarney, Mark Goodings and Ciaran Carragher.

Ita Farrell Cup Quarter Final (1st Leg) 31/03/12

Killeigh FC  1   Tullamore Town  3

The Tullamore Under-17’s took a giant step towards the semi-finals of the Ita Farrell Cup with this first leg win in Killeigh last Saturday. They were quickly into their stride with Alan Heffernan cutting in from the left and firing wide and then Ken Hogan, Dean Mills and Declan O’Neill combined to pick out Alan Geoghegan, but he was just off target. With Gareth Byrne a constant threat on the left, Tullamore continued to press and they again went close when Geoghegan got on the end of a fine Derek Walsh cross but his effort flew narrowly over. Walsh then played a lovely ball through to Declan Cuskelly, but Conor McEvoy got down well to save and he was again called into action when he scrambled a Geoghegan cross shot to safety. Conal Mahon had his long range effort saved following a corner and then Heffernan and O’Neill combined to send Cuskelly clear, but he shot over. Killeigh nearly took a surprise lead when Stephen McIntyre broke free on the left but Matthew Kilroe got across to snuff out the danger and he then turned provider when he picked out Heffernan and his searching cross was headed wide by O’Neill as the referee brought the first half to a conclusion.

On the resumption, great play by Derek Walsh on the right created a long range opportunity for Dean Mills, but he shot over and then Walsh found David Geraghty on the right, but his fine cross just missed out Declan Cuskelly. With fifty five minutes gone Tullamore hit the front when Alan Heffernan picked the ball up wide on the right and threaded a lovely shot inside the far post from twenty yards. As they looked to press home their advantage, Geraghty and Cuskelly combined to play in Walsh, but Conor McEvoy was quickly off his line to avert the danger and then Kevin Fletcher picked out Matthew Kilroe on the left and his fine cross was headed narrowly over by Walsh. The visitors were rocked back on their heels on the hour when Andy Carroll capitalised on a defensive mix up to fire his team back in the game but within minutes they had restored their advantage when Declan Cuskelly’s inswinging corner went all the way to the net. Alan Heffernan and David Geraghty then combined to pick out Cuskelly, but his shot was charged down but, with seventy five minutes on the clock, they increased their lead with a superb strike. Sibtain Haider picked out Matthew Kilroe on the left and when his cross was knocked back to Derek Walsh he rifled the ball into the top left hand corner of the net from fully twenty five yards. As they continued to press, Conal Mahon sent in a dangerous cross that Cuskelly fired wide and then, following a corner, Austin Brady fired narrowly over. Geraghty and Brady combined to pick out Cuskelly, but his effort flew across the face of the goal and then Heffernan had his shot deflected wide. A great run on the right by Brady created more danger as Geoghegan brought a fine save from McEvoy and, in the last minute, Walsh picked out Heffernan in the inside left channel and his fine effort came crashing back off the crossbar.

In what was a very entertaining game there were excellent contributions from Jack Dunne, Stephen McIntyre and Jason Dunne for Killeigh with Kevin Fletcher, Alan Heffernan and Alan Geoghegan the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding forward, Derek Walsh.

Tullamore: Sibtain Haider, Dean Mills, Ken Hogan, Kevin Fletcher, Matthew Kilroe, Declan O’Neill, Alan Heffernan, Alan Geoghegan, Gareth Byrne, Derek Walsh and Declan Cuskelly.

Subs: David Geraghty, Conal Mahon and Austin Brady (all used).

Leinster Senior League Sunday Major 25/03/12

Rush Athletic 1 Tullamore Town 2

Tullamore’s fine run of results continued apace with this excellent away win against Rush Athletic last Sunday. One goal down with only twelve minutes remaining, they drew on all their battling qualities to emerge with all three points and remain on course for promotion. Played on a bumpy pitch, Tullamore started brightly with Brian Francis and Michael Hoey going close, but they were rocked back on their heels on twenty five minutes when they failed to clear a right wing cross and the centre forward made no mistake from close range. As the visitors went in search of an equaliser the Rush goal led a charmed life as Scott Delaney, Francis and Hoey had efforts scrambled clear and then Delaney crashed a great shot against the crossbar with the rebound being knocked behind for a corner.

Tullamore continued their dominance in the second half as Hoey had his effort taken off the line and then two corners from Trevor Moylan created danger with Scott Delaney just failing to get his headers on target. With the clock ticking down they finally made the breakthrough in the seventy eight minute when Moylan fired in a great shot from the right which the keeper could only parry into the path of Brian Francis and, from the edge of the area, the teams leading scorer hammered the ball into the top corner of the net. With the scent of victory in their nostrils and with only minutes remaining, Michael Hoey got on the end of another deep Trevor Moylan cross and flashed a great header past the home keeper to put his side in front. The referee tacked on an additional six minutes injury time but Town closed out the game and deservedly left for home with all three points.

In what was an outstanding team performance there were excellent contributions from Trevor Moylan, Mark Gorman, Stephen Francis and Brian Francis, but the man of the match award went to the imperious Scott Delaney.

Tullamore: Martin Cunningham, Trevor Moylan, Ken Doyle, Mark Gorman, Niall Lynch, Stephen Francis, Ronan Kelly, Scott Delaney, Fergal Gorman, Brian Francis and Michael Hoey.

Subs: Jason Pohl, Simon Keegan, Mark Goodings and Michael Kenaney.

CCFL Under-19 Cup Quarter Final 24/03/12

Tullamore Town 5 Mountmellick 0

The Tullamore boys had their complete arsenal on display in Leah Victoria Park last Saturday as they pummelled Mountmellick into submission in this one sided encounter. They hit the front within three minutes when Macdarragh O’Neill got on the end of a Ted Conway cross to bundle the ball home from close range. Five minutes later they had increased their lead when, following good play from Mark Casey, Arron Hensey swung in a right wing cross that was headed home by Conway at the far post. As they continued to press Rory Condron picked out Dillon Melia, but he was crowded out while at the other end a dangerous left wing cross was headed to safety by Condron. The home side nearly went further ahead when O’Neill went on a wonderful run through the middle before rounding the keeper, but his shot was taken off the line. He again went close when he swopped passes with Hensey but his effort came back off the crossbar and then a fine run by Matthew Hynes resulted in a free kick that was headed narrowly over by Ross Kinnarney. Ted Conway then played in Adam Shelly but Roberto Pedro was quickly off his line to snuff out the danger and minutes later Hynes and Hensey combined to create an opening for Melia, but Pedro was equal to his effort. Dillon Melia was again in the thick of the action when he volleyed wide from O’Neill’s cross and then Condron broke clear on the left before firing past the near post. With thirty five minutes gone O’Neill picked out Hensey in the area but his drive came back off the upright with Melia volleying the rebound outside the post. It was not all one way traffic as Gary Green burst through the middle before firing narrowly wide but, with forty two minutes on the clock, Tullamore increased their lead. Ted Conway picked the ball up wide on the left and cut inside before drilling a fine shot inside the far post. He nearly added to his tally when he got on the end of a Melia corner but his volley flew outside the post as the interval arrived with the score three nil in the home sides favour.

On the resumption Tullamore picked up where they had left off with Dillon Melia playing a lovely ball through to Arron Hensey, but he was crowded out and then Mark Casey played a great cross field pass to Macdarragh O’Neill who picked out Hensey at the far post, but his effort flew narrowly wide. With fifty five minutes gone the home side were awarded a penalty with Roberto Pedro brilliantly turning O’Neill’s well struck spot kick around the post and, from the resultant corner, Matthew Hynes sent a great header against the angle of post and crossbar. As Mountmellick looked to get back in the game they were frustrated by some wonderful defensive play from Diarmuid Carroll and, with the introduction of Gary Hutchinson and Michael James, Tullamore relentlessly tightened their grip on the game. James was quickly into the action with a weaving run that carried him into the area before firing the ball across the face of the goal and he again went close when he beautifully controlled a Melia cross field pass, but his effort was too high. Hutchinson and O’Neill then combined to set up Melia but Pedro brought off a fine save to deny him while at the other end Patrick Davis fired inches outside the far post. With sixty five minutes on the clock they went further ahead when Dillon Melia played the ball through to the predatory O’Neill and he skipped around the advancing keeper before placing the ball in the empty net. Good play between James, Hutchinson and Hynes created an opening for O’Neill, but his effort was taken off the line and he again went close when, following great play from James, he fired narrowly past the far post. Melia then went on a surging run but fired wide and with ten minutes remaining Gary Hutchinson played a great ball through to Macdarragh O’Neill and he rifled his shot in off the left post to complete a fine hat-trick. Hutchinson nearly got his name on the scoresheet when his long range effort flew narrowly over as the home side ran out comprehensive winners.

This was a wonderful exhibition of controlled attacking football from a very impressive young side. There were outstanding performances from Diarmuid Carroll, Rory Condron, Mark Casey, Dillon Melia and Ted Conway, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s hat-trick hero, Macdarragh O’Neill.

Tullamore: Patrick Dunican, Matthew Hynes, Diarmuid Carroll, Ross Kinnarney, Rory Condron, Macdarragh O’Neill, Adam Shelly, Mark Casey, Ted Conway, Arron Hensey and Dillon Melia.

Subs: Gary Hutchinson and Michael James.

CCFL Under-17 24/03/12

Tullamore Town 6 Killeigh FC 1

The Tullamore boys clocked up their biggest win of the season with this fine attacking performance against their near neighbours in Leah Victoria Park last Saturday. Killeigh were first to threaten when Kevin Hinch broke through the middle and Sibtain Haider did well to keep out his effort with his feet but with fifteen minutes on the clock the home side hit the front. Gareth Byrne picked out Dean Mills on the left and his deep cross was volleyed home by David Geraghty at the far post for a fine goal. They again went close when Alan Geoghegan’s long range effort flew narrowly wide and then Declan O’Neill got on the end of another Mills cross, but his header came back off the upright. As they continued to press, Matthew Kilroe, Mills and Geraghty combined to create an opening for Byrne, but he was just off target. Great play on the right saw O’Neill pick out Alan Heffernan but his twenty yard rocket was blocked on the line and he again went close when he got on the end of a through ball from Geoghegan, but he fired inches past the left post. With minutes remaining in the first half they increased their lead when Matthew Kilroe played a lovely ball through to Alan Geoghegan and he drilled his shot into the far corner to leave the score 2-0 in the home sides favour at the interval.

Tullamore began the second half in determined fashion with Alan Heffernan pulling the ball back to David Doyle who sent a twenty yard drive fizzing inches outside the left post and Gareth Byrne then brought a fine save from Conor McEvoy. Dean Mills picked out Byrne and his cross was headed wide by Declan O’Neill but, with fifty five minutes gone, Killeigh hit back when Ronan Daly got on the end of a free kick to send a fine header into the back of the net to put his side back in the game. The home side nearly restored their two goal advantage when David Geraghty headed O’Neill’s cross narrowly over and they again went close when Gareth Byrne chased down a Sibtain Haider clearance but his effort came back off the upright. The woodwork again came to the visitors rescue when Dean Mills fired a free kick against the crossbar but they were not to be denied on the hour when Derek Walsh knocked the ball on to Mills and he cleverly lifted it over the advancing McEvoy and into the back of the net. As the home side tightened their grip on the game, Aaron McDermott picked out Declan O’Neill in the area but his header flew wide and then Derek Walsh sent a great shot off the crossbar, with McEvoy recovering superbly to keep out Byrne’s effort. Byrne then turned provider as he found Walsh but his shot flew narrowly wide and then Declan Cuskelly had his effort turned around the post with Ken Hogan heading over from the resultant corner. As they continued to press Alan Heffernan won possession and fired over but, with seventy five minutes on the clock, they went further ahead. Hogan and McDermott combined to pick out Gareth Byrne and he drilled his shot into the back of the net. Tullamore hit the woodwork for the fifth time when Heffernan picked out Walsh and his cross was volleyed against the crossbar by Cuskelly, but the goal of the game arrived on eighty minutes when Byrne pulled the ball back to Aaron McDermott and he rifled an unstoppable twenty five yard rocket into the roof of the net. McDermott nearly added to his tally when a Derek Walsh cross shot was knocked back to him but his effort flew inches outside the angle of bar and post. The scoring was concluded with five minutes remaining when Alan Heffernan picked out Declan Cuskelly on the edge of the area and he buried his shot in the bottom left hand corner. As Killeigh looked to hit back, Conal Mahon twice got across to snuff out the danger while at the other end McEvoy did well to punch a curling Heffernan cross out from under his crossbar. He was again called into action to keep out a Derek Walsh effort following a fine run on the left as the referee brought proceedings to a conclusion.

This was a very impressive performance from the home side with excellent contributions from Kevin Fletcher, Alan Geoghegan, Gareth Byrne and Aaron McDermott while Conor McEvoy, Kevin Hinch and Ronan Daly were the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding midfielder, Alan Heffernan.

Tullamore: Sibtain Haider, David Doyle, Kevin Fletcher, Ken Hogan, Matthew Kilroe, Declan O’Neill, Alan Geoghegan, Alan Heffernan, Dean Mills, Gareth Byrne and David Geraghty.

Subs: Aaron McDermott, Derek Walsh, Declan Cuskelly and Conal Mahon (all used).

Combined Counties Youths Cup 2nd Round 10/03/12

Tullamore Town 4 Monksland 1

It may have started on The Late Late Show, but it certainly finished with a late late show in Leah Victoria park last Saturday as Tullamore fired home three goals in the last five minutes to see them safely into the next round. Riding high at the top of the CCFL Under-18 League and having been beaten only once this season, Monksland were always going to provide a stiff test for John O’Connor’s talented young side, but they rose to the challenge superbly. The visitors were first to threaten when Matthew Hynes did well to head a dangerous cross out from under his crossbar while at the other end good play between Macdarragh O’Neill and Michael James won a corner and from the resultant kick Adam Shelly saw his effort deflected wide. Terry Byrne threaded a great ball through to James on the right but his cross was too deep and then a Ted Conway free was scrambled clear by Aaron Shine in the Monksland goal. Conway was again in the thick of the action when he burst through the middle before picking out James, but his shot came back off the crossbar. The visitors went close when Ryan McNamara fired a free kick inches outside the left post while at the other end a great run by Matthew Hynes on the right created an opening for James, but he was crowded out. Terry Byrne then played a lovely ball through to O’Neill but his effort flew past the far post. As they continued to press, Gary Hutchinson picked out Conway but his shot was charged down and then O’Neill and Conway combined to set up Byrne but his effort was deflected wide. Gary Hutchinson got on the end of a move involving Mark Casey, Conway and Byrne, but he shot narrowly wide and then, with half an hour gone, the visitors took a shock lead. Malcolm O’Hanlon got on the end of a long clearance and from twenty yards out he sent a tremendous half volley into the roof of the net for a superb goal. As Tullamore hit back, wonderful play by Macdarragh O’Neill on the right saw him pick out Terry Byrne, but his effort was blocked on the line. They again went perilously close when O’Neill burst into the area and found Byrne, but his shot came back off the crossbar with Michael James firing the rebound over. Hutchinson then picked out James in the inside right channel but Michael Hardiman got across to snuff out the danger. The home side again went close when James saw his volley charged down and, when the ball broke back to Ross Kinnarney, his effort was too high. Following a free kick, Adam Shelly had a fine header well saved by Shine and then a searching cross from O’Neill was hacked clear as the referee brought the first half to a conclusion with the visitors one goal to the good.

Tullamore were quickly into their stride on the resumption with Michael James firing inches outside the far post following a corner and with fifty five minutes on the clock they were back in the game. Terry Byrne got on the end of a through ball but was taken down by the keeper and Macdarragh O’Neill duly despatched the spot kick into the bottom left hand corner of the net. They nearly hit the front minutes later when an in swinging James corner was headed off the line and then a Mark Casey cross was headed over by Adam Shelly. Monksland had a real escape on the hour when O’Neill picked out Byrne in the area but his shot was superbly saved by Aaron Shine down low to his left. With Arron Hensey being introduced the home side stepped up a gear and they again went close when Ross Kinnarney got on the end of a James cross, but his header was well saved. It was not all one way traffic and Diarmuid Carroll had to be at his best to get across to avert the danger as Malcolm O’Hanlon threatened to break through. O’Hanlon was again denied when Patrick Dunican got down to save at his feet but, with just five minutes remaining, the home side hit the front in spectacular fashion. The excellent Michael James picked the ball up thirty yards out and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top right hand corner. They nearly increased their lead when Hensey cut the ball back to Shelly, but he shot wide and then Rory Condron found Dillon Melia on the left and his wicked cross shot was superbly tipped around the post by Aaron Shine. Hensey nearly got on the scoresheet with an acrobatic bicycle kick that flew narrowly over, but they were not to be denied when Mark Casey and Gary Hutchinson combined to pick out James on the right and he skipped inside before drilling his shot into the bottom corner. With minutes remaining they set the seal on a fine performance when Matthew Hynes found Dillon Melia on the right and he sent a wonderful twenty yard drive into the roof of the net to leave Tullamore comprehensive winners over a very good Monksland team.

This was a very impressive performance by the home side with excellent contributions from Matthew Hynes, Mark Casey, Gary Hutchinson and Macdarragh O’Neill, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s lethal right winger, Michael James.

Tullamore: Patrick Dunican, Matthew Hynes, Ross Kinnarney, Diarmuid Carroll, Mark Casey, Michael James, Gary Hutchinson, Adam Shelly, Ted Conway, Macdarragh O’Neill and Terry Byrne.

Subs: Arron Hensey, Rory Condron and Dillon Melia (all used).

CCFL Under-17

Tullamore Town 4 Mullingar Ath 3 10/03/11

The Tullamore boys once again demonstrated that they are the equal of any side in their Division with this thrilling win over third placed Mullingar Athletic in Leah Victoria Park last Saturday. The visitors took the lead on five minutes when they won a corner on the right and, when the ball was swung in, Darragh Daly sent a fine header into the back of the net. The home side quickly regrouped and, with ten minutes on the clock, they were back in the game. Alan Heffernan and Eoghan Coffey combined on the left to pick out Gareth Byrne who fired his shot beyond the reach of keeper Ben McCabe, with Declan Cuskelly finishing the ball to the net at the far post. They hit the front five minutes later when Alan Geoghegan found Coffey and his fine effort was turned around the post by McCabe and, from the resultant corner, Geoghegan sent a great diving header into the back of the net. With Mullingar still reeling Heffernan sent a fine long range effort inches outside the right post and on the half hour they increased their lead when Ken Hogan rose above the defence to power a Coffey corner into the roof of the net. They again went close when Coffey won back possession but his dangerous cross was knocked behind and then a great Matthew Kilroe tackle saw him pick out Cuskelly but his effort was saved. Good play between David Doyle and Heffernan sent Cuskelly clear but McCabe was quickly off his line to save at his feet and then Kilroe, Coffey and Geoghegan combined to create an opening for Byrne, but McCabe again came to his sides rescue with a fine save. With minutes remaining in the first half Tullamore were rocked back on their heels when the dangerous Daly picked the ball up twenty five yards out and drilled it into the bottom left hand corner to leave the score 3-2 in the home sides favour at the interval.

Tullamore began the second half brightly with Eoghan Coffey and Gareth Byrne combining to force a corner and from the resultant kick Declan Cuskelly had his header taken off the line. A great run by Alan Heffernan brought a fine save from Ben McCabe while at the other end Sibtain Haider did well to keep out a wicked cross shot from Darragh Daly. The game was thrown wide open when Mullingar were awarded a penalty and Daly sent the spot kick into the bottom left corner to level the scores. But Tullamore were not to be denied and on seventy minutes they regained the lead when Ken Hogan played a great ball through to Declan Cuskelly and, as the keeper advanced, he cleverly headed it over him and into the unguarded net to put his side back in front. As they tightened their grip on the game Gareth Byrne broke through the middle but Ben McCabe got down to save and then Kevin Fletcher found Eoghan Coffey but his searching cross was well held by the keeper. Alan Geoghegan and Dean Mills combined to set up David Geraghty but McCabe was out quickly to block his effort and then a lovely flick on by Geraghty sent Gareth Byrne clear, but he fired past the right post. With minutes remaining Monksland nearly grabbed a late equaliser but Sibtain Haider pulled off a fine save to deny Daly as the referee brought proceedings to a conclusion.

This was a very impressive performance by the home side with excellent contributions from David Doyle, Alan Heffernan, Alan Geoghegan, Eoghan Coffey and Gareth Byrne, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding central defender, Ken Hogan.

Tullamore: Sibtain Haider, David Doyle, Kevin Fletcher, Ken Hogan, Matthew Kilroe, Declan O’Neill, Alan Geoghegan, Alan Heffernan, Eoghan Coffey, Gareth Byrne and Declan Cuskelly.

Subs: David Geraghty, Dean Mills, Conal Mahon and Austin Brady.

Leinster Senior League 02/03/12

Tullamore Town 3 Markiewicz Celtic 2

In a game packed full of good goals, great goalkeeping and some glaring misses, Tullamore eventually emerged with all three points from this roller coaster ride in Leah Victoria Park last Friday. While Markiewicz Celtic will point to some critical decisions that went against them, in truth, Town should have been home and hosed after only twelve minutes had they not squandered a litany of scoring opportunities in the opening period.. They hit the front on two minutes when Stephen Francis got on the end of a Mark Connaughton cross and knocked the ball back to Michael Hoey who rifled it into the net via the crossbar. With Celtic still reeling, Trevor Moylan played a lovely ball through to Brian Francis and, as the keeper advanced, he squared it into the path of Hoey but, with the goal gaping, he pushed his shot outside the left post. Stephen Francis then played in his brother Brian, but Phillip Uezell was quickly off his line to avert the danger and minutes later Connaughton played a great through ball to Hoey, but Uezell saved superbly at his feet. Cathal Joyce had a fine thirty yard effort saved while at the other end Martin Cunningham did well to knock Dean Buckley’s shot around the post and, from the resultant corner, Anthony O’Connor fired over. Town were made to pay for their profligacy on eighteen minutes when Mark Gorman took down O’Connor in the area and, with the referee immediately pointing to the spot, Paul Gorman drove the penalty into the bottom right hand corner to put his side back in the game. As Tullamore hit back, Stephen Francis picked out Brian in the inside right channel but Uezell saved brilliantly and he again went close when he got on the end of a Fergal Gorman free kick, but just failed to get enough purchase on his shot. It was far from all one way traffic and Cunningham did well to keep the ball out following good play between Buckley and O’Connor but Town nearly regained the lead when Michael Kenaney played a great ball down the right to Brian Francis who pulled it back to Stephen, but again Uezell brought off a fine save to deny him. The visitors went perilously close on forty minutes when the dangerous O’Connor broke clear on the left with Cunningham managing to parry his shot and Fergal Gorman brilliantly heading the rebound off the line as half time arrived with both sides tied at one all.

Tullamore began the second half brightly with Brian Francis forcing a corner on the right and Cathal Joyce having his effort taken off the line from the resultant kick. Celtic nearly hit the front when Anthony O’Connor broke clear in the inside right channel, but he was denied by a great relieving tackle from Mark Gorman. They were desperately unlucky on fifty minutes when they had a wonderful goal disallowed when the cleverest of back heels from Dean Buckley found O’Connor, and he curled the ball around Cunningham and into the bottom right hand corner, but play was pulled back for offside. As the home side went on the offensive, Fergal Gorman twice fired in dangerous crosses from the right and then Ken Doyle played in Michael Hoey, but his effort flew inches outside the right post. With an hour gone Trevor Moylan picked out the big centre forward in the area but Phillip Uezell brought off a point blank save and, as the ball broke back to him, the luckless Hoey fired the rebound over. Five minutes later Tullamore were back in the lead when a searching Moylan cross evaded the defence and Fergal Gorman ghosted in at the far post to send a lovely header into the back of the net. He nearly added to his tally when his low free kick was well held by Uezell, but Town were rocked back on their heels on seventy five minutes when Anthony O’Connor latched onto a long clearance and drove the ball into the bottom left corner to put his side level again. As this exhilarating game continued to ebb and flow, Phillip Uezell capped off a goalkeeping master class with an astonishing double save. First Brian Francis unleashed a rocket from thirty yards and, with the ball destined for the top right hand corner, the keeper somehow managed to get a strong hand to it and, as it broke clear he recovered in time to scramble Mark Connaughton’s effort around the post. From the resultant corner Michael Hoey flashed a fine header narrowly wide and he again went close when he got on the end of a Moylan free, but his volley was well held by the keeper. Great play by Francis on the right picked out Adrian Kelly, but the young forward was denied by another fine save from Uezell and then, with five minutes remaining, the home side struck for the winner. Cathal Joyce threaded the ball through to Brian Francis and the Tullamore captain skipped around the advancing keeper before placing the ball in the empty net to bring this extraordinary match to a conclusion.

This was undoubtedly one of the games of the season that both sides contributed enormously to. Manager Jimmy Green was forced to observe proceedings from the clubhouse due to a recent foot operation, having watched this he may have developed a heart condition as well. For the home side there were excellent contributions from Ken Doyle, Mark Gorman, Brian Francis, Fergal Gorman and Michael Hoey with Phillip Uezell, Stephen Dillon, Stephen Callaghan and Anthony O’Connor the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding midfielder, Stephen Francis.

Tullamore: Martin Cunningham, Trevor Moylan, Ken Doyle, Mark Gorman, Fergal Gorman, Mark Connaughton, Cathal Joyce, Stephen Francis, Jason Pohl, Brian Francis and Michael Hoey.

Subs: Michael Kenaney, Mark Goodings, Adrian Kelly and Scott Delaney.

CCFL Under-17 03/03/12

Gracefield Ath 2 Tullamore Town 1

The Tullamore boys travelled to Portarlington last Saturday to take on the League leaders and came away empty handed after a hard fought encounter. They were first to threaten when David Doyle picked out Alan Heffernan who brought a fine save from the home keeper and then Gareth Byrne got on the end of a deep Eoghan Coffey cross but his effort flew over. With fifteen minutes gone Gracefield hit the front when Jamie Evans went on a great run on the left and cut the ball back for Mark Garry to fire home from close range. They nearly increased their lead when Evans again broke clear but he was denied by a superb save from Sibtain Haider. With Kevin Fletcher outstanding at the back, Tullamore went in search of an equaliser with Coffey picking out Byrne on the right, but his deep cross was headed to safety by Joe Molloy and then a dangerous cross from Doyle was scrambled clear. As they continued to press, Gareth Byrne knocked the ball on to Declan Cuskelly but he fired over and then a fine cross shot from Coffey was tipped around the post by the keeper. As the home side fought back, Sean Finlay went on a powerful run on the left but his close range effort was brilliantly saved by Haider but, when the visitors failed to clear their lines on thirty five minutes, Jason Knight sent a fine header into the roof of the net to put his side two up at the interval.

Tullamore were unlucky not to be back in the game on the resumption when a great move involving Matthew Kilroe, Eoghan Coffey and Gareth Byrne created an opening for Alan Heffernan, but his blistering drive was well held by the keeper. They again went close when Coffey played a lovely ball through to Byrne but his effort flew inches outside the far post and then the same two players combined to send Declan Cuskelly clear but his shot was saved. With sixty five minutes on the clock Mark Garry broke through the middle but Haider was quickly off his line to save at his feet and then Jamie Evans cut in from the right but again Haider saved superbly to keep his side in the game. As Tullamore hit back, Derek Walsh got on the end of a Byrne pass but was crowded out and then Kilroe picked out Coffey on the left and his cross was fired narrowly wide by Austin Brady. With five minutes remaining the visitors got a goal back when Gareth Byrne got on the end of a Derek Walsh knock on and rounded the keeper before sliding the ball into the empty net. As they went all out for an equaliser Conal Mahon fired in a great ball that was well held by the keeper and then Byrne cut the ball back to Brady but his low drive flew inches outside the left post as the referee brought proceedings to a conclusion.

For the home side there were excellent contributions from Jim Hendy, Joe Molloy and Jamie Evans with Kevin Fletcher, Matthew Kilroe, Eoghan Coffey and Gareth Byrne the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding goalkeeper, Sibtain Haider.

Tullamore: Sibtain Haider, David Doyle, Kevin Fletcher, Ken Hogan, Aaron McDermott, Declan O’Neill, Alan Geoghegan, Alan Heffernan, Eoghan Coffey, Gareth Byrne and Declan Cuskelly.

Subs: Matthew Kilroe, David Geraghty, Derek Walsh, Conal Mahon, Austin Brady and Dean Mills.

CCFL U17 Division 25/02/12

Tullamore Town 1. Portumna 1.

THE Tullamore boys had to endure a frustrating afternoon in Leah Victoria Park last Saturday as they failed to convert territorial advantage into scores against a tenacious Portumna side.
From the outset they went on the offensive with David Doyle picking out Declan Cuskelly but his effort was deflected wide and, from the resultant corner, Aaron McDermott fired outside the post.
With ten minutes gone they should have hit the front when Dean Mills played the ball through to Cuskelly, but he screwed his shot into the side netting when well placed.
Cuskelly was again in the thick of the action when he picked out David Geraghty, but Niall Royston brought off a fine save to deny him.
Cuskelly went close when he got on the end of a great through ball from Kevin Fletcher, but his effort drifted inches outside the right post while at the other end Sibtain Haider saved superbly from Simon Curran as both teams struggled to gain an advantage.
With twenty minutes gone the home side were made to pay for their profligacy when Curran picked the ball up in the inside left channel and drilled his shot into the bottom left hand corner to put Portumna in front.
Tullamore went perilously close when Declan O'Neill cut the ball back to David Geraghty but Royston brilliantly tipped his effort around the post and, from the resultant corner, Geraghty's close range effort was blocked on the line.
David Doyle won back possession on the right and played in Declan Cuskelly but he was denied by a great relieving tackle from Eoin Foley and then, following a corner, Ken Hogan volleyed narrowly over. As they continued to press, Cuskelly fired over and Dean Mills headed narrowly wide from a corner as the interval arrived with the visitors one goal to the good.
Tullamore began the second half in determined mood with Gareth Byrne making a great run on the right, but his low drive flew across the face of the goal. Sibtain Haider brought off a fine save to keep his side in the game while at the other end Declan O'Neill sent in a dangerous cross that was fired over by
David Geraghty. Eoin Foley nearly put through his own goal in attempting to clear a wicked Byrne cross shot and, from the resultant corner, Ken Hogan headed narrowly wide.
A lovely flowing move involving Kevin Fletcher, Byrne and O'Neill created an opening for Declan Cuskelly, but Royston got down well to save and then Byrne picked out Geraghty but Royston again came to his sides rescue.
With an hour gone the pressure finally paid off when David Geraghty knocked the ball back to Gareth Byrne and, from the edge of the area, he rifled it into the bottom left hand corner.
As they went all out for a winner, Royston kept out a good effort from O'Neill while at the other end Haider brought off a fine save at his near post. With Tullamore moving into top gear, Derek Walsh headed on an O'Neill cross to Declan Cuskelly but his effort was taken off the line and then a great move involving Eoghan Coffey, Cuskelly and Byrne created an opening for O'Neill but Royston saved brilliantly.
As the pressure continued to mount Coffey saw his inswinging corner headed off the line and then Walsh played in Cuskelly but his shot flew past the far post. They again went agonisingly close when Cuskelly picked out Walsh, but his shot was deflected wide and, from the corner, Ken Hogan had his header taken off the line. With time ebbing away Walsh headed on to Cuskelly but his effort flew outside the far post as the referee brought proceedings to a conclusion.
Although they kept their recent unbeaten run going, Tullamore will see this as two points dropped while Portumna will be well pleased with their day's work.
For the home side there were excellent contributions from David Doyle, Ken Hogan, Aaron McDermott and Declan O'Neill with Niall Royston, Eoin Foley and Simon Curran the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore's outstanding midfielder, Gareth Byrne.
Tullamore: Sibtain Haider; David Doyle, Ken Hogan, Dean Mills, Aaron McDermott, Declan O'Neill, Gareth Byrne, Dean Mills, Eoghan Coffey, David Geraghty, Declan Cuskelly. Subs: Derek Walsh, Austin Davis and Matthew Kilroe.

CCFL Under-17 18/02/12

Tullamore Town 4 Killavilla Utd 2

Having dropped only two points in their previous ten games, high flying Killavilla were brought crashing back to earth in Leah Victoria Park last Saturday as they ran headlong into a blistering second half barrage from the home side. Leading the shooting party was Gareth Byrne with two wonderful individual strikes that set the seal on this hugely impressive performance. The first half gave little indication of what was to follow with both teams battling for an early advantage. Tullamore were first to threaten when Alan Geoghegan got on the end of a Dean Mills free kick, but his fine header was well saved by Stephen Byrne and then good play between Geoghegan and David Doyle created an opening for Declan Cuskelly, but Byrne got down to save. Geoghegan was again in the thick of the action when he cut the ball back to Alan Heffernan, but his effort was brilliantly kept out by Byrne while at the other end team captain David Doyle came to his sides rescue with a great goal line clearance. With twenty minutes on the clock the visitors came within inches of breaking the deadlock when the ball was played back to Brian Maloney and he sent a tremendous shot crashing against the crossbar. As the home side hit back, Declan Cuskelly fired narrowly over from a free kick and then Gareth Byrne got on the end of an Alan Geoghegan knock on only for his close range effort to find the side netting. With forty minutes gone Killavilla made the vital breakthrough when the dangerous Daniel Butler broke clear on the right and swept the ball across the area for Fergal Flanagan to fire home. They nearly increased their lead minutes later when Butler again broke free, but this time he was denied by a fine save from Sibtain Haider as the interval arrived with the visitors one goal to the good.

With David Geraghty coming on up front and Gareth Byrne moving out to the left, Tullamore set about their task with renewed vigour and were soon back in the game when, following a corner, Byrne retrieved the ball out wide and cut inside his marker before drilling it unerringly into the far corner for a brilliant equaliser. With Killavilla still reeling they hammered home their advantage when Alan Geoghegan picked out Byrne and he played a lovely ball through to Declan Cuskelly who fired past the keeper to put his side in front. He again went close when, following good play between Geraghty and Byrne, he fired past the right post and then Declan O’Neill and Geraghty combined to set up Alan Heffernan, but his fine effort flew narrowly wide. The home side nearly increased their lead when David Geraghty’s shot was deflected wide and, from the resultant corner, David Doyle sent a tremendous twenty yard volley inches outside the right post. They went further ahead on seventy minutes when Alan Geoghegan swept a terrific ball out wide to Alan Heffernan who picked out Declan Cuskelly and the big centre forward brought his goals tally to double figures with a crisp finish into the bottom right hand corner. Killavilla refused to buckle and were only kept out by two amazing goal line clearances from Doyle and O’Neill but their pressure finally paid off when, following a corner, Brian Maloney rifled a great shot into the roof of the net to put his side back in the game. But Tullamore were not to be stopped and again it was the outstanding Gareth Byrne who stepped into the breach with a superb individual strike. Winning back possession out wide on the left he raced into the area before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top right hand corner of the net to restore his sides two goal advantage. As they tightened their grip on the game a lovely flowing move involving Doyle, Heffernan and Byrne created an opening for Cuskelly, but Stephen Byrne kept his fine effort out while at the other end a great crunching tackle from Aaron McDermott prevented Killavilla getting back in the game. With minutes remaining the visitors were denied a late consolation goal when Sibtain Haider brought off a wonderful point blank save as the home side ran out deserving winners of this absorbing match.

In what was a superb team performance there were excellent contributions from David Doyle, Kevin Fletcher, Alan Geoghegan, David Geraghty and Declan Cuskelly while David Brosnan, Daniel Butler and Brian Maloney were the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding striker, Gareth Byrne.

Tullamore: Sibtain Haider, David Doyle, Dean Mills, Kevin Fletcher, Aaron McDermott, Declan O’Neill, Alan Geoghegan, Alan Heffernan, Jake Jones, Derek Walsh and Declan Cuskelly.

Subs: Gareth Byrne, David Geraghty, Austin Davis and Conal Mahon (all used).

CCFL Under-17 11/02/12

Birr Town 1 Tullamore Town 2

The Tullamore boys travelled to Birr last Saturday and came away with all three points following a hard fought encounter on an energy sapping pitch. The home side were first to threaten when Conor Nolan broke clear in the inside left channel but Kevin Fletcher got across to snuff out the danger with a superb sliding tackle. He was again in the thick of the action when he combined with Eoghan Coffey to set up Alan Heffernan, but his shot flew outside the post and then Alan Geoghegan picked out Declan Cuskelly, but he also failed to hit the target. With quarter of an hour gone Tullamore should have hit the front when Heffernan played a great ball out to Coffey who found Declan O’Neill in the area, but somehow Tom Hough managed to tip his close range effort around the post. They again went close when Aaron McDermott went on a great run on the left but he was crowded out and then Geoghegan picked out Derek Walsh in the area, but the ball was taken off his foot just as he was about to pull the trigger. As they continued to press Heffernan played a lovely ball through to Cuskelly who fired narrowly wide but, with twenty five minutes on the clock, they made the breakthrough. Alan Geoghegan picked the ball up in midfield and drifted past two tackles before picking out Eoghan Coffey on the left and his pin point cross was brilliantly headed home by Declan Cuskelly. As Birr hit back Charlie Ward did well to keep out a long range effort from Conor Freeman but he was left helpless when, following a corner, Barry Hehir arrived at the back post to drill home the equaliser. As Tullamore looked to restore their advantage Dean Mills won the ball in midfield and burst through but his shot was well held by Hough and then Coffey played a defence splitting pass to Cuskelly, but the keeper was quickly off his line to avert the danger. They again went close when Alan Heffernan picked out Alan Geoghegan but his fine effort was brilliantly saved by Hough down low to his right as the first half ended with both teams tied at one all.

Birr began the second half full of determination and were desperately unlucky when a fine cross shot from Jonathan Burke came back off the woodwork while, at the other end, David Doyle latched onto a clearance and sent a tremendous twenty five yard effort inches outside the far post. Tullamore again went close when Eoghan Coffey fired in a terrific left wing cross that just missed out the inrushing Declan O’Neill and then Alan Geoghegan and Declan Cuskelly combined to set up Coffey, but his shot was saved. The visitors had a real scare on fifty five minutes when Charlie Ward raced from his line to clear but he managed to get back to turn Charlie Henley’s fine effort around the post. Tullamore nearly edged in front on the hour when Derek Walsh’s near post corner was fired narrowly over by Alan Geoghegan, but they were not to be denied minutes later.

Dean Mills picked out Walsh in midfield and he played a lovely ball through to Cuskelly who coolly slipped it past the advancing Hough to put his side back in the lead. As the visitors tightened their grip on the game Walsh had his long range effort saved and then Alan Heffernan won the ball in midfield and fired wide. As they continued to press, Aaron McDermott, Cuskelly and Walsh combined to set up Geoghegan, but his effort was brilliantly saved by Tom Hough and then Kevin Fletcher picked out Declan Cuskelly but again the keeper got down to save. They again went close when Geoghegan burst through the middle and found Charlie Ward but his shot flew outside the post. With Conal Mahon coming on for the injured Aaron McDermott, Tullamore held firm but with five minutes remaining Birr nearly levelled the game when Conor Freeman broke clear, but his well struck effort was superbly saved by Sibtain Haider as the visitors ran out deserving winners.

Played in terrible conditions, this was a fine game between these two great rivals that was a credit to both teams. For the visitors there were excellent performances from Kevin Fletcher, Aaron McDermott, Alan Heffernan, Eoghan Coffey and Declan Cuskelly, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding midfielder, Alan Geoghegan.

Tullamore: Charlie Ward, David Doyle, Kevin Fletcher, Dean Mills, Aaron McDermott, Declan O’Neill, Alan Geoghegan, Alan Heffernan, Eoghan Coffey, Derek Walsh and Declan Cuskelly.

Subs: Sibtain Haider and Conal Mahon

CCFL Under-17 04/02/12

Tullamore Town 0 Newbridge Town 0

(Game abandoned at half-time due to weather conditions)

This fixture fell foul of the weather in Leah Victoria Park last Saturday as the referee was forced to call a halt to proceedings at the half way stage. Played in driving rain on a glue pot pitch the Tullamore boys adapted quickly to the conditions and laid early siege to the Newbridge goal. First to threaten was Declan Cuskelly when he broke clear on the right but shot into the side netting when well placed. He again went close when he cut inside and fired narrowly wide and then a fine long range effort from Alan Heffernan was just off target. With quarter of an hour gone the home side nearly broke the deadlock when, following a corner, Alan Geoghegan cut in along the end line and fired in a wicked shot that the Newbridge keeper brilliantly tipped over the bar and, from the resultant corner, Geoghegan headed narrowly wide. He again went perilously close when he got on the end of a Dean Mills free kick but his effort was taken off the line and then Aaron McDermott picked out Eoghan Coffey on the left and his pin point cross found Declan O’Neill, but his fine header flashed the wrong side of the post. O’Neill turned provider when he swung in a great cross from the right, but again Alan Geoghegan failed to hit the target. With goalkeeper Sibtain Haider commanding his area and the back four of David Doyle, Dean Mills, Kevin Fletcher and Aaron McDermott operating to maximum effect, Newbridge struggled to create any scoring opportunities as Tullamore tightened their grip on the game but, despite all their pressure, they could not breach the visitors defence as the first half, and the game, ended in stalemate.

For the home side there were excellent performances from Dean Mills, Aaron McDermott, Alan Heffernan and Declan O’Neill, but the man of the match went to their outstanding midfielder, Alan Geoghegan.

Tullamore: Sibtain Haider, David Doyle, Dean Mills, Kevin Fletcher, Aaron McDermott, Derek Walsh, Alan Geoghegan, Alan Heffernan, Eoghan Coffey, Declan Cuskelly and Declan O’Neill.

Subs: David Geraghty, Conal Mahon and Gavin Troy.

CCFL Under-19 28/01/12

Tullamore Town 3 Edenderry Town 1

Edenderry saw their unbeaten League record go up in smoke in a first half fire storm in Leah Victoria Park last Saturday. Arsonist in chief was the home sides right winger, Michael James, who teased and tormented them into submission in a hugely impressive first forty five minutes. He was quickly into the action when he brought a fine near post save from Shane Hayes but with ten minutes on the clock Tullamore hit the front. Gary Hutchinson played a lovely ball through to Aaron Hensey and the big bustling centre forward drove it unerringly into the back of the net. They nearly increased their lead when a wonderful exchange of passes between Terry Byrne and James resulted in Hayes tipping Byrne’s goal bound header around the post. As Edenderry hit back Sean Doyle flashed a terrific thirty yard drive inches past the far post while at the other end Byrne and James again combined brilliantly to set up Hensey, but he shot wide from close range. He made no mistake however on forty minutes when his persistence carried him through two tackles before firing home for a fine individual goal. Edenderry went close when, following a free kick, Lorcan Pender volleyed narrowly over but they were decidedly lucky minutes later when Gary Hutchinson picked out Matthew Hynes on the right and his pin point cross was headed home by Hensey, but he was denied his hat-trick when the score was ruled out for off-side. As they continued to press Terry Byrne played in James, but he failed to get enough purchase on his shot and his effort was taken off the line. With minutes remaining in the first half they increased their lead when Michael James picked the ball up wide on the right and tied two defenders in knots before sliding the ball across the face of the goal to Ted Conway for the easiest of tap ins to leave the score 3-0 in Tullamore’s favour at the interval.

The home side appeared to take their foot off the pedal in the second half and the Edenderry boys sensed their opportunity. First Sean Moriarty sent a lovely curling shot inches past the angle of bar and post and then Jim Farrell picked out Lorcan Pender but his excellent drive came back off the post. As they continued to press, Ryan Lynch broke clear but was denied by a great save from Patrick Dunican in the home goal. In an effort to shake things up, manager John O’Connor introduced Shane Martino, Macdarragh O’Neill and Dylan Melia, and this nearly paid immediate dividends when Rory Condron and O’Neill combined to send Melia clear, but his attempted chip was comfortably gathered by Shane Hayes. Tullamore again went close when Aaron Hensey played in Macdarragh O’Neill but Hayes saved bravely at his feet. With ten minutes remaining Edenderry got the goal their second half performance deserved when Mark Nolan picked out Sean Moriarty on the right and Mikie Cleer blasted his cross in off the post for a fine score. As they tightened their grip on the game Ryan Lynch fired in a great cross that was headed narrowly over by Cleer but, with Ross Kinarney and Diarmuid Carroll outstanding at the back and Patrick Dunican dealing with everything thrown at him, the home side held firm and slowly wrested back control of the game. They nearly restored their three goal advantage when Macdarragh O’Neill picked out Dylan Melia who set off on a terrific run through the middle, but he lifted his shot over the bar and then Kinarney played a great ball through to Hensey, but Hayes was quickly off his line to avert the danger. As they continued to press, Melia knocked the ball down to Shane Martino but he fired wide and then Aaron Hensey brilliantly controlled a long ball from Rory Condron, but again the shot was off target as the referee brought this entertaining game to a conclusion.

For the home side there were excellent contributions from Ross Kinarney, Diarmuid Carroll, Terry Byrne and Michael James with Sean Doyle, Lorcan Pender, Ryan Lynch and Jim Farrell the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s two goal match winner, Aaron Hensey.

Tullamore: Patrick Dunican, Matthew Hynes, Ross Kinarney, Diarmuid Carroll, Rory Condron, Michael James, Gary Hutchinson, Mark Casey, Ted Conway, Terry Byrne and Aaron Hensey.

Subs: Shane Martino, Macdarragh O’Neill and Dylan Melia.

O’Neill’s Polikoff Cup 1st Round 27/01/12

Tullamore Town 2 Fettercairn FC 1

Riding high at the top of their Division, LSL side Fettercairn presented Tullamore with a significant obstacle to their progress in this competition but, in a tooth and claw Cup tie, they rose to the challenge magnificently in Leah Victoria Park last Friday. Both sides started tentatively but with ten minutes on the clock the home side nearly broke the deadlock. Fergal Gorman won a corner on the right and, when he swung the ball in, Scott Delaney’s powerful downward header bounced inches over. Delaney again went perilously close when he got on the end of a Hafeez Sholola free only for his header to be deflected past the left post. Tullamore should have taken the lead on twenty five minutes when Brian Francis played a great ball through to Ronan Kelly, but he elected to pass when well placed and the chance was gone. It was not all one way traffic and, on the half hour, Declan Glynn broke clear on the left and cut the ball back to Keith Coombes but Mark Gorman managed to charge down his effort. Minutes later the home side hit the front when Ronan Kelly picked out Jason Pohl in the inside right channel and he flashed the ball past Carl Scelly at his near post for a fine goal. As Fettercairn moved into top gear, Kenneth Ennis headed narrowly over from a corner and he again threatened when he got on the end of a lovely ball from Gareth Coombes but this time he drilled his shot well wide of the far post. As they continued to press Keith Coombes fired in a great ball from the right but Declan Glynn ballooned his effort over and then another dangerous cross from Coombes was cut out by Phillip Coffey as the referee brought the first half to a conclusion with Tullamore one goal to the good.

With Enda Carroll being introduced to the home back four at half time they took on a more steely aspect, but they had to withstand an early Fettercairn onslaught as they went all out for an equaliser. Within minutes of the restart Keith Ennis raced clear but dragged his shot outside the left post while at the other end Brian Francis pulled the ball back to Trevor Moylan and his tremendous twenty yard drive flew inches outside the far post. As the visitors tightened their grip on the game Scott Delaney was like a beacon at the heart of the Tullamore rearguard, but it was his defensive partner, Mark Gorman, who shone the brightest. His reading of the game, speed off the mark and excellent distribution continually frustrated the visitors as the home side slowly fought their way back into contention, and they nearly increased their lead when a fine Fergal Gorman cross was knocked back to Ronan Kelly, but his goal bound effort was blocked on the line. Hovering over this game like a chess master, manager Jimmy Green continued to make decisive substitutions at crucial stages, and none more so than the introduction of Michael Hoey on sixty five minutes. Although looking a little ring rusty, his physical presence and positional sense ensured that the Fettercairn defence had their hands full. With Tullamore moving up through the gears, Brian Francis picked the ball up in midfield and went on a surging run through the middle before firing narrowly wide and then a Scott Delaney free found Stephen Francis but again the shot was off target. Hoey then got on the end of a Hafeez Sholola cross and played the ball inside to Brian Francis but his effort was too high. In the slippery Sholola, Tullamore had a player capable of unlocking the tightest of defences. His close control and ability to ghost past defenders was a constant thorn in the Fettercairn rearguard and he amply demonstrated this on seventy five minutes. Receiving the ball out wide on the right from Delaney he set off on a great run that carried him into the area, only to be denied by a fine point blank save from Carl Skelly. With ten minutes remaining the home side increased their lead with a beautifully crafted goal. Sholola picked the ball up on the edge of the area and cleverly threaded it inside the defence to Brian Francis who played it across the face of the goal for the inrushing Hoey to sweep it into the back of the net. They nearly went further ahead when, following great play from Ronan Kelly and Michael Hoey, Brian Francis had his shot brilliantly blocked by Skelly and when it broke back to Hoey he fired wide. Kelly and Hoey again combined to bring another fine save from Skelly while at the other end Gavin Byrne pounced on a defensive error to fire narrowly wide. Fettercairn got the goal their efforts deserved in the last minute when a quick break out of defence saw Gareth Coombes race clear and lift the ball over the diving Coffey for a fine consolation score.

This was a rip roaring Cup tie with no quarter given by either side, but ultimately it was Tullamore’s footballing ability that carried them safely through to the next round. A special word of commendation to referee Pat Geoghegan, whose authority and good common sense contributed enormously to this enthralling match. For the home side there were excellent contributions from Scott Delaney, Brian Francis, Stephen Francis, Ronan Kelly and Hafeez Sholola with Carl Skelly, Craig Kelsh, Keith Coombes and Gareth Coombes the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding central defender, Mark Gorman.

Tullamore: Phillip Coffey, Trevor Moylan, Scott Delaney, Mark Gorman, Michael Kenaney, Fergal Gorman, Brian Francis, Stephen Francis, Hafeez Sholola, Ronan Kelly and Jason Pohl.

Subs: Enda Carroll, Michael Hoey, Mark Goodings and Martin Cunningham.

Leinster Senior League Sunday Major 1 13/01/12

Tullamore Town 6 Clondalkin Celtic 0

Tullamore chalked up their biggest win of the season and reignited their title challenge with this fine attacking display in Leah Victoria Park last Friday. They were quickly into their stride and with only seven minutes gone they nearly opened their account when Brian Francis played the ball through to Ronan Kelly on the edge of the area but Ian Martin brought off a superb save to deny him. With quarter of an hour gone they made the breakthrough when Brian Francis found Kevin Duffy on the right and he picked out Ronan Kelly who, showing wonderful composure, controlled the ball before slipping it inside for Francis to place it into the bottom left hand corner of the net. They doubled their advantage on twenty five minutes when Francis and Duffy again combined down the right and when Martin could only parry the Tullamore captain’s effort, the predatory Kelly was on hand to volley the ball into the unguarded net. Five minutes later they had gone further ahead when Ronan Kelly headed a long clearance from Kevin Duffy into the path of Brian Francis who raced through before firing the ball under the diving Martin and into the net. As they continued to press great play from Matthew Carragher saw the ball delivered out to Stephen Duffy on the right but his deep cross eluded everyone. The fourth goal duly arrived on thirty five minutes and it was all down to the brilliance of the home side’s Nigerian winger, Hafeez Sholola. Picking the ball up wide on the left he went on a searing run that took him past two defenders before cutting into the area and laying it on a plate for Brian Francis to complete a fine hat-trick. With minutes remaining in the first half they brought their tally to five when Brian Francis picked out Kevin Duffy on the right and his dangerous cross was headed behind and, from the resultant corner, Ken Doyle swept the ball home at the far post. They again went close when Matthew Carragher and Kevin Duffy combined to send Ronan Kelly clear but his cut back was just behind the inrushing Brian Francis as the interval arrived with Tullamore an improbable five goals to the good.

Clondalkin began the second half in determined fashion and should have reduced the arrears when Nicky Kelly’s powerful header sent Ciaran Dunne through on goal but he fired his effort past the left post. They again went close when Brian Grogan raced clear but Martin Cunningham saved superbly at his feet. As Tullamore regained control of the game Ronan Kelly played a lovely ball through to Brian Francis, but he could not get enough purchase on his shot and it was taken off the line. Kelly again turned provider when he slipped the ball inside to Hafeez Sholola but his effort was brilliantly parried by Ian Martin with Francis firing the rebound home, but the score was ruled out for off-side. Fergal Gorman and Stephen Francis then combined to send Brian Francis clear on the right but Ronan Kelly just failed to control his cross while at the other end Ciaran Dunne broke free in the inside left channel but his shot was too high. Kevin Duffy then played a great ball through to Brian Francis but, when well placed, he elected to pass and the chance was gone. With sixty five minutes gone Phillip Hall came on and he was quickly into the action when he played a fine ball out to Brian Francis and then got on the end of his cross, but his shot was charged down. Tullamore again went close when they won a free on the left and Sholola’s low delivery found its way through to Francis but Martin brought off a great point blank save to deny him. Goal number six arrived on seventy five minutes when Stephen Francis sent Ronan Kelly clear through the middle and he coolly rounded the keeper before placing the ball in the empty net for his second of the game. As they continued to press Stephen Duffy fired his free kick inches outside the right post and then Adrian Kelly picked out Brian Francis, but his shot was deflected behind as the referee brought this entertaining but somewhat one sided encounter to a conclusion.

This was a welcome return to form for Tullamore following the long winter break that will have delighted manager Jimmy Green. For the home side there were excellent contributions from Mark Gorman, Stephen Francis, Kevin Duffy, Ronan Kelly and Hafeez Sholola, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s hat-trick hero, Brian Francis.

Tullamore: Martin Cunningham, Stephen Duffy, Mark Gorman, Ken Doyle, Fergal Gorman, Kevin Duffy, Stephen Francis, Matthew Carragher, Hafeez Sholola, Ronan Kelly and Brian Francis.

Subs: Adrian Kelly, Phillip Hall, Jason Pohl, Phillip Coffey and Mark Goodings.

CCFL Under-17 14/01/12

Killeigh 0 Tullamore Town 0

Killeigh mounted a towering rearguard action to deny their near neighbours bragging rights over them in this absorbing encounter last Saturday. From the outset Tullamore went on the attack and within minutes David Doyle and John McEvoy combined to set up Declan Cuskelly but Conor McEvoy saved well. McEvoy was again called into action when he brilliantly tipped Cuskelly’s effort around the post and from the resultant corner Alan Heffernan had his shot deflected behind. As they continued to press, John McEvoy fired narrowly outside the right post and then Eoghan Coffey picked out Heffernan but his effort was too high. Conor McEvoy again came to his side’s rescue when he turned John McEvoy’s twenty five yard rocket around the post and then a great run by Gareth Byrne created an opening for Derek Walsh, but McEvoy was equal to his effort. With David Doyle and Gareth Byrne driving forward from the back, Tullamore moved into top gear while the Killeigh goalkeeper continued his boy in the dyke heroics as he kept out shots from Cuskelly, McEvoy and Alan Geoghegan in quick succession. With thirty five minutes on the clock the visitors were desperately unlucky not to make the breakthrough when Gareth Byrne and Alan Heffernan combined to set up Declan Cuskelly, but his low drive came back off the foot of the post. Byrne again created danger when John McEvoy got on the end of his left wing cross but his well struck volley flew inches over. It was not all one way traffic and with minutes remaining in the first half Charlie Ward did well to hold a wicked free kick as half time arrived with both teams still deadlocked.

Within minutes of the restart Tullamore went close when Eoghan Coffey crossed from the left and Dean Mills saw his effort fly inches outside the right post while at the other end Charlie Ward got down bravely to keep out a swerving free kick. As Killeigh found themselves pinned back in their own area, John McEvoy had his shot deflected over and from the resultant corner Alan Heffernan’s header came back off the underside of the crossbar. With Jason Dunne, Ronan Daly and Jack Dunne refusing to give an inch at the back and Fergus Flood working tirelessly in midfield the home side held firm as the pressure continued to mount. John McEvoy again went close with a rasping drive that Conor McEvoy saved superbly and then Gareth Byrne and Alan Geoghegan combined to set up Declan Cuskelly but McEvoy kept his effort out. As they continued to press Gareth Byrne and Eoghan Coffey combined to pick out John McEvoy but his shot was too high and then Coffey got on the end of an Aaron McDermott cross but his volley flew outside the post as both sides were forced to settle for a share of the spoils.

For the home side there were excellent contributions from Conor McEvoy, Jason Dunne, Ronan Daly, Jack Dunne and Fergus Flood while Dean Mills, Gareth Byrne, Alan Geoghegan and Alan Heffernan were the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamores outstanding right back, David Doyle.

Tullamore: Charlie Ward, David Doyle, Kevin Fletcher, Dean Mills, Gareth Byrne, Derek Walsh, Alan Geoghegan, Alan Heffernan, Eoghan Coffey, Derek Walsh and John McEvoy.

Subs: Aaron McDermott, Declan O’Neill, Sibtain Haider, Gavin Troy, Austin Davis, Conal Mahon and David Geraghty,

CCFL Division 1 07/01/12

Tullamore Town 2 Stradbally Town 3

This much anticipated game between second and third in the Division certainly lived up to its pre match billing in Leah Victoria Park last Saturday. Stradbally started the brighter but with ten minutes gone Tullamore hit the front in a lightening counter attack. Niall Lynch latched on to a long clearance and played a great reverse pass into the path of Jody Duffy and, from twenty five yards, he crashed a beautiful first time drive into the top right hand corner of the net for a superb score. Five minutes later they should have increased their advantage when Enda Carroll put Jonathan O’Donoghue through on goal but he dragged his shot outside the left post. As the visitors began to get a grip on the game Anthony Coyne had to be at his most alert to get back to cut out a dangerous break on the right and then Paraic Fitzpatrick picked out Alan Delaney but, with the goal at his mercy, he miscued his shot. They again went close following a mix up in defence but Joe O’Connor fired over when well placed but, with half an hour gone, their pressure paid dividends. Derek O’Gorman got on the end of a towering header from Billy Murphy and rifled the ball past Ciaran Carragher for a deserved equaliser. They hit the front five minutes later when Fitzpatrick pounced on a careless cross field pass and raced into the area where he was taken down by Coyne. With the referee immediately pointing to the spot O’Gorman duly despatched the penalty into the bottom right hand corner. They again went close when Damian Murphy crossed from the right and O’Gorman sent his near post effort narrowly wide while at the other end Carroll threaded the ball through to Aidan Nicholson but he fired wide. O’Gorman was proving to be a constant threat and on forty minutes he broke clear in the inside left channel but drilled his shot past the far post and with minutes remaining in the first half Joe O’Connor won possession but was denied by a great relieving tackle from Niall Gorman as the interval arrived with Stradbally 2-1 in front.

With Gary Buckley and Anthony Heffernan coming on at half time, Tullamore set out to get themselves back in the game and they went close when Enda Carroll picked out Alan Martin and his swerving shot just cleared the far post. Aidan Nicholson and Gary Buckley combined to send Niall Lynch clear on the left and his searching cross was headed clear and then Nicholson played Lynch in but Matt Kelly was quickly off his line to avert the danger. Great play by Carroll, Buckley and Lynch created an opening for Jonathan O’Donoghue but his effort was saved but, with an hour on the clock, they equalised. Niall Lynch played a short corner to Alan Martin and when the ball was returned to him he curled a wonderful cross shot into the top left hand corner. As Stradbally hit back Ciaran Carragher came to his sides rescue with a point blank save after his defence failed to clear their lines but on seventy minutes they regained the lead. Damian Murphy broke clear in the inside right channel and, as Carragher advanced, he cleverly played the ball inside to Derek O’Gorman who swept the ball into the unguarded net to complete a fine hat-trick. With Darragh Gorman commanding at the back, the home side went back on the offensive with Gary Buckley putting O’Donoghue through, but he elected to pass when the shot was on and the chance was lost. Buckley was again in the thick of the action when he picked out Nicholson but his effort was charged down, but with minutes remaining they almost salvaged a point. Anthony Coyne was taken down twenty yards out and from the resultant free Niall Lynch arrowed his effort towards the top left corner, but Matt Kelly brilliantly tipped the ball over to leave his side deserving winners.

For Tullamore there were excellent contributions from Niall Lynch, Enda Carroll and Gary Buckley with Billy Murphy, Damian Murphy and Derek O’Gorman the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding central defender, Darragh Gorman.

Tullamore: Ciaran Carragher, Niall Gorman, Anthony Coyne, Darragh Gorman, Niall Lynch, Alan Martin, Enda Carroll, Jody Duffy, Martin Holleran, Aidan Nicholson and Jonathan O’Donoghue.

Subs: Gary Buckley, Anthony Heffernan, Barry Walsh, Benny McCarthy and Andy Boyle.

CCFL Under-17 07/01/12

Tullamore Town 3 Gracefield 3

The Tullamore boys played host to League leaders Gracefield last Saturday and produced one of the games of the season in this pulsating six goal thriller. The home side were first to threaten when Alan Heffernan put Declan Cuskelly through but Stephen Houlihan was quickly off his line to clear and then Heffernan and Declan O’Neill combined to pick out Cuskelly but Houlihan brilliantly tipped his effort over. With ten minutes gone the visitors took the lead when, following a free kick, Mark Garry sent a lovely controlled volley into the back of the net. As Gracefield continued to press, Charlie Ward saved superbly from Jim Hendry while at the other end Heffernan played in Cuskelly but his fine effort came back off the crossbar. With twenty five minutes on the clock Tullamore levelled the game in spectacular fashion when Declan Cuskelly picked the ball up thirty yards out and rifled it into the top left hand corner for a superb goal. They almost hit the front when Heffernan threaded the ball through to O’Neill but his well struck shot was saved by Houlihan and then Derek Walsh cut in along the end line and his close range effort appeared to cross the line before being hooked clear, but the referee waved play on. With the introduction of John McEvoy on thirty five minutes, Tullamore tightened their grip on the game and they again went close when Eoghan Coffey played a great ball through to Heffernan but his shot flew narrowly over. As Gracefield hit back Ward again came to his sides rescue with a fine save from Jason Knight but, with forty minutes gone, the home side hit the front. Alan Heffernan won possession out wide on the right and somehow managed to squeeze his shot in at the near post to leave the score 2-1 in Tullamore’s favour at the interval.

The home side began the second half brightly with Austin Davis and Alan Geoghegan combining to set up Eoghan Coffey but Stephen Houlihan saved his effort while at the other end Gareth Byrne brought off a fine tackle to deny Paudge Kelly. Declan Cuskelly then got on the end of a Davis right wing cross but Houlihan was equal to his effort. With sixty five minutes gone Tullamore went perilously close to increasing their lead when Ken Hogan picked out Eoghan Coffey on the left and, when his fine effort came back off the near post, Declan Cuskelly fired the rebound narrowly wide. As the visitors hit back Charlie Ward did well to deny Jim Hendry and Cuskelly again went close when he latched onto a Geoghegan pass and sent a wicked cross shot inches outside the far post. With seventy five minutes on the clock Gracefield equalised when Jamie Evans picked the ball up wide on the left and cut inside before curling a great shot into the top right hand corner of the net. Events took a turn for the worse for Tullamore when central defender Ken Hogan was sent off for a second yellow card, but this only seemed to galvanise them and on eighty minutes the ten men regained the lead. Alan Geoghegan picked out John McEvoy on the right and the big centre forward powered past his marker before crashing his shot off a defender and into the back of the net. As the visitors went all out for an equaliser Jim Hendry’s fine header came back off the crossbar while at the other end Geoghegan broke clear on the right but Houlihan saved well. As the game moved into time added on Gracefield finally made the breakthrough when Tullamore failed to clear their lines and Paudge Kelly swept the ball home from close range to bring this absorbing game to a conclusion.

This was a very impressive display by the home side with excellent contributions from Ken Hogan, Gareth Byrne, Alan Heffernan and Declan Cuskelly while Joey Molloy, Jason Knight and Jim Hendry were the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding midfielder, Alan Geoghegan.

Tullamore: Charlie Ward, David Doyle, Ken Hogan, Dean Mills, Gareth Byrne, Derek Walsh, Alan Geoghegan, Alan Heffernan, Eoghan Coffey, Declan O’Neill and Declan Cuskelly.

Subs: John McEvoy, Austin Davis, Aaron McDermott, Gavin Troy and Sibtain Haider

Leinster Senior League Sunday Major 04/12/11

Tullamore Town 4 Fairview Utd 3

With thirty minutes gone, Tullamore were 3-1 up and playing against ten men and looked to be set fair for an easy win but, thanks to a battling performance from Fairview and some kamikaze defending, they had to depend on a last minute goal to clinch all three points in this enthralling match. They began brightly with Stephen Francis firing narrowly wide from twenty yards and with seven minutes gone they hit the front. Adrian Kelly sent in a searching cross from the right that was nodded on by Brian Francis and Jason Pohl was on the back post to force the ball home. Minutes later they were desperately unlucky not to increase their lead when a Kevin Duffy corner was knocked back to Brian Francis and the Tullamore captain crashed a tremendous shot off the inside of the left post. He again went close when, following another corner, he got on the end of Ken Doyle’s header, but this time his effort was charged down. With ten minutes on the clock they went further ahead with a candidate for goal of the season. Kevin Duffy picked the ball up in the centre circle and, spotting the keeper off his line, he sent a wonderful shot from fully forty yards into the roof of the net. Within minutes the visitors were back in the game when Alan Lynch was taken down in the area and Paul Hansard crashed the resultant spot kick into the roof of the net. They nearly levelled the game when Lynch broke clear in the inside right channel and flashed his shot inches outside the far post. With twenty five minutes gone the home side went perilously close when Adrian Kelly and Brian Francis combined to pick out Stephen Francis but his cross shot was taken off the line. As they continued to press, great play between Jason Pohl and Matthew Carragher created an opening for Brian Francis and, when his shot was superbly parried by Lee Donoghue, the ball broke back to Stephen Francis and he drilled it into the bottom corner to put his side 3-1 in front. Fairview went close on the half hour when the dangerous Alan Lynch cut in from the left and fired in a wicked shot that Martin Cunningham did brilliantly to tip over but, from the resultant corner, Karl Reynolds was red carded for violent behaviour. This setback seemed to galvanise the visitors and they reduced the arrears on forty two minutes when Derek Lynch neatly despatched a left wing cross into the bottom left hand corner of the net. As Tullamore looked to hit back, good play between Jason Pohl and Brian Francis picked out Kevin Duffy, but his deep cross just missed out Ronan Kelly at the far post. With a minute remaining in the first half Fairview nearly equalised when Paul Hansard cut the ball back to Paraic Galvin, but he missed his shot in front of goal as the interval arrived with the score 3-2 in Tullamore’s favour.

The home side were straight into the attack on the resumption with Jason Pohl cutting the ball back to Stephen Francis but his shot was deflected wide but, with fifty five minutes gone, they gifted Fairview the equaliser. In attempting to play the ball across their back four, they presented it to Alan Lynch in front of an open goal and he duly placed it in the empty net. Tullamore went back on the attack with Fergal Gorman picking out Brian Francis on the right and his surging run created an opportunity for Kevin Duffy but his shot was charged down. With an hour gone great play between Matthew Carragher and Kevin Duffy sent Brian Francis clear but Lee Donoghue tipped his effort around the post. Carragher again went close when he got on the end of a Duffy corner but his shot flashed across the face of the goal, and then Mark Gorman played a lovely ball through to Brian Francis but Donoghue was quickly off his line to save. As the pressure continued to mount, Duffy fired in a dangerous cross that Rory O’Neill did well to head clear and then Fergal Gorman swept the ball out to Duffy who picked out Pohl, but his fine volley flew inches outside the right post. Mark Connaughton and Stephen Francis then combined to send Brian Francis clear but he was denied by a superb relieving tackle from Karl Curran, while at the other end Alan Lynch fired a great 20 yard effort narrowly over. As the game continued to ebb and flow, Carragher went on a powerful run through the middle, but again Curran got across to cut out the danger. With Scott Delaney coming on, manager Jimmy Green switched to a three man back line as Tullamore went all out for the decisive score. Delaney was straight into the action when he put Brian Francis through on goal, but his effort was deflected wide. Jason Pohl picked out Ronan Kelly but his shot was saved and then Pohl got on the end of a Carragher cross, but Donoghue brought off a fine save down low to his right. With a minute remaining Kevin Duffy fired the ball into the packed area and, when it broke to Matthew Carragher, the young midfielder drilled it unerringly into the bottom right hand corner to give his side all three points.

Playing for an hour with ten men, Fairview can count themselves unlucky to come away from Leah Victoria Park empty handed after such a brave performance. For Tullamore it was a hugely important win that keeps them well in the hunt for League honours. For the home side there were excellent contributions from Mark Gorman, Stephen Francis, Kevin Duffy and Matthew Carragher with Karl Curran, Derek Lynch, Paul Hansard and Alan Lynch the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s inspirational captain, Brian Francis.

Tullamore: Martin Cunningham, Stephen Duffy, Mark Gorman, Ken Doyle, Fergal Gorman, Adrian Kelly, Stephen Francis, Matthew Carragher, Jason Pohl, Kevin Duffy and Brian Francis.

Subs: Ronan Kelly, Mark Connaughton, Scott Delaney and Mark Goodings.

CCFL Under-17 26/11/11

Portumna 1 Tullamore Town 4

The Tullamore boys extraordinary renaissance continued unabated last Saturday with this fine win over a very good Portumna side. Playing with a strong breeze in the first half they laid siege to the home goal from the outset and went perilously close on ten minutes when Gareth Byrne played the ball down the left to Eoghan Coffey and his pin point cross picked out John McEvoy who saw his effort clip the left hand post. McEvoy and Alan Heffernan then combined to create a chance for Declan Cuskelly, but Niall Royston saved well and then good play between Dean Mills and Aaron McDermott sent McEvoy in on goal, but Royston was quickly off his line to clear. McEvoy again went close following good play from Mills and Coffey, but his shot was charged down and then David Doyle got on the end of a searching Gareth Byrne cross, but his fine header flew narrowly over. As they continued to press Eoghan Coffey fired over from thirty yards, but with twenty five minutes on the clock they broke the deadlock. Byrne picked out Coffey on the left and he crossed for McEvoy to fire a terrific shot into the roof of the net to put his side in front. They nearly doubled their advantage when Byrne and Coffey again combined, but this time his accurate cross to the far post just missed out the inrushing Declan Cuskelly. Good play between McEvoy and Alan Heffernan created an opening for Cuskelly but his effort flew outside the far post, but with thirty minutes gone they increased their lead in somewhat fortuitous circumstances. John McEvoy picked the ball up twenty yards out and his curling shot completely deceived the Portumna keeper who allowed it to slip from his grasp and into the net. The home side nearly reduced the arrears when a right wing cross was fired over from close range while at the other end Heffernan found Cuskelly and his fine effort was tipped around the post by Royston and, from the resultant corner, Ken Hogan had his header well saved. As Portumna hit back a dangerous right wing cross was well held by Charlie Ward, but with forty minutes on the clock they reduced the arrears when Tullamore failed to clear their lines and Ronan O’Meara fired home from close range. The visitors went back on the offensive and Declan Cuskelly got on the end of a fine McEvoy right wing cross but his header was comfortably held by Royston as the referee brought the first half to a conclusion.

The Tullamore boys began the second half as they had started the first with Eoghan Coffey picking out John McEvoy, but his shot was charged down. Portumna demonstrated just how dangerous they could be when Ronan O’Meara won possession twenty five yards out and his goal bound drive was superbly saved by Charlie Ward down low to his right. Great play between Dean Mills and David Doyle created an opening for Declan Cuskelly, but he failed to connect in front of goal. With fifty five minutes gone Tullamore were again indebted to their goalkeeper when O’Meara fired in a tremendous shot from thirty yards, but Ward threw himself to his right to brilliantly tip the ball over the bar. As the home side tightened their grip on the game they again went close but were denied by a great relieving tackle from Gareth Byrne. With Kevin Fletcher and Ken Hogan outstanding at the heart of the Town defence, they held firm and the introduction of Austin Davis on the hour saw them wrest back control of midfield. He was immediately into the action when he sent Eoghan Coffey clear on the left but his effort was well saved by Niall Royston. As they continued to press, Dean Mills and Alan Heffernan combined to send David Doyle free, but his effort flew narrowly wide, and then great play by Davis saw him pick out McEvoy, but again Royston came to his sides rescue. Tullamore thought they had restored their two goal advantage when Davis picked out Alan Heffernan on the left and his cross was finished to the net by Declan Cuskelly, but he was adjudged to have been offside. Derek Walsh and Dean Mills then combined to send Cuskelly clear, but he shot past the right post. Cuskelly again went close when he cut in from the right but Royston managed to parry his shot at his near post, but with ten minutes remaining the visitors made the game safe with the goal of the game. Good play on the left between Davis and Coffey picked out Cuskelly who laid the ball back to Derek Walsh and, from twenty five yards, he rifled it into the top left hand corner of the net for a superb score. They nearly went further ahead when McEvoy slipped the ball through to Alan Heffernan, but he fired narrowly over, while at the other end Byrne did well to get back to snuff out a dangerous break on the right. As Tullamore went back on the attack, Eoghan Coffey picked out David Geraghty, but his fine effort was deflected over and then Davis played a lovely ball through to McEvoy who crossed to Coffey on the edge of the area, but his well struck shot was brilliantly saved by Royston. Geraghty then played a great ball through to McEvoy who crashed his effort inches outside the far post. With minutes remaining Gareth Byrne picked the ball up deep in his own half and set off on a weaving run that took him the length of the pitch before firing in a pin point cross to John McEvoy, and the Tullamore captain made no mistake from close range to complete a fine hat-trick.

This was a wonderful battling display by the Tullamore boys and, after a shaky start to the season, they are now developing into a team to be reckoned with. There were excellent contributions from Charlie Ward, Kevin Fletcher, Ken Hogan, Eoghan Coffey and John McEvoy, but the man of the match award went to their outstanding attacking defender, Gareth Byrne.

Tullamore: Charlie Ward, Dean Mills, Kevin Fletcher, Ken Hogan, Gareth Byrne, David Doyle, Aaron McDermott, Alan Heffernan, Eoghan Coffey, Declan Cuskelly and John McEvoy.

Subs: Austin Davis, Derek Walsh and David Geraghty.

Leinster Junior Cup 19/11/11

Tullamore Town 1 WFTA 3

If you want to get ahead, get a head ! This was certainly the case in Leah Victoria Park last Saturday where a hat-trick of headed goals from Eoin Fowler saw West Finglas Tenants Association safely through to the next round. Tullamore began brightly with Brian Francis putting Jason Pohl through but Liam Nelson got across to clear. The visitors showed how dangerous they could be when Mark Summers was only denied by a great Ken Doyle tackle and then, following a corner, Summer’s flashed a header inches outside the left post. With twenty minutes on the clock WFTA hit the front when Eoin Fowler got on the end of an Alan Barrett cross and sent a looping header over Martin Cunningham and into the net. Five minutes later they increased their lead when they won a corner on the left and, from the resultant kick, Fowler powered his header into the roof of the net. As Tullamore looked to get back in the game, Matthew Carragher played a great ball through to Jason Pohl but Robert Jordon was quickly off his line to clear. The visitors again threatened when Summer’s sent Fowler clear but Mark Gorman managed to get back to cut out the danger while, at the other end, Ken Doyle got on the end of a Brian Francis knock on but Jordon saved comfortably. Town went close when a searching Jason Pohl cross was knocked back to Carragher, but his beautifully struck volley flew inches over the bar, and then a lovely move involving Kevin Duffy and Pohl found Ronan Kelly in space but a heavy first touch saw the chance go a-begging. With forty minutes gone the home side deservedly fought their way back into contention when Brian Francis picked the ball up twenty yards out with his back to goal and, turning on a sixpence, he drilled his shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net for a superb score.

On the resumption Tullamore went in search of an equaliser and they went close when good play from Ronan Kelly saw him pick out Jason Pohl in the area, but he was crowded out, while at the other end Martin Cunningham did well to save at the feet of the dangerous Eoin Fowler. The home side twice went close when Robert Jordon saved from Pohl and then, following a free kick, Ken Doyle headed narrowly wide. As they continued to press, Phillip Hall played a great ball down the right to Brian Francis but his cross just missed out the inrushing Pohl. Francis again threatened to break through but Paul McCarthy got across to clear, and then Stephen Francis and Ronan Kelly combined to set up Kevin Duffy, but he shot wide. With the pressure mounting, Stephen Keogh surged into the area and, as the ball broke back, Adrian Kelly fired narrowly over and following a corner, Ken Doyle had his close range effort blocked on the line. With eighty minutes on the clock WFTA caught Tullamore in a deadly counter attack when Eoin Fowler got on the end of a left wing cross and sent a fine header in off the right post to restore his side’s two goal advantage. Town refused to lie down and went desperately close when Ronan Kelly’s shot was deflected into the path of Brian Francis, but the Tullamore captain dragged his effort outside the left hand post. As the visitors wrested back control of the game, Barry McGowan picked out Stephen Hanna but Martin Cunningham saved superbly and then Darren O’Brien broke clear but again Cunningham came to his side’s rescue with a great save down low to his left. With minutes remaining McGowan found Sean Pouch and his curling shot was brilliantly tipped over by Cunningham as the visitors ran out deserving winners of this hard fought cup tie.

Despite the scoreline this was a much improved performance from Tullamore against a very good WFTA side. They were particularly impressive in the second half and can count themselves a little unlucky not to have got back on level terms before the game was finally put to bed. There were excellent contributions from Stephen Keogh, Mark Gorman, Brian Francis and Jason Pohl with Gavin O’Brien, Alan Barrett and Darren O’Brien the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to WFTA’s match winner, Eoin Fowler.

Tullamore: Martin Cunningham, Phillip Hall, Mark Gorman, Ken Doyle, Stephen Keogh, Kevin Duffy, Stephen Francis, Brian Francis, Matthew Carragher, Jason Pohl and Ronan Kelly.

Subs: Adrian Kelly, Michael Kenaney, Jonathan O’Donoghue, Ciaran Carragher and Mark Goodings.

FAI Junior Cup 06/11/11

Tullamore Town 1 Kilbarrack Utd 3

Tullamore never recovered from a calamitous opening five minutes that saw them concede two goals against a very impressive Kilbarrack side in Leah Victoria Park last Sunday. With only two minutes on the clock they fell behind when Mark Revins got on the end of a lovely Keith Holt cross to send his header into the top left hand corner for an excellent goal. Within minutes they had increased their advantage, but this time it was more down to defensive frailty than individual brilliance. Phillip Coffey failed to hold a left wing corner and, as the ball broke free, Mark Mooney was on hand to guide his header into the unguarded net. As the home side looked to get back in the game Brian Francis knocked a Jason Pohl cross back to Matthew Carragher but his shot was too high. With Francis and Carragher working tirelessly in midfield and Mark Gorman outstanding at the back Tullamore managed to stay in the game and, on twenty minutes, they again went close when Carragher’s fine thirty yard effort was superbly tipped around the post by Nico Kantonous. Almost immediately the visitors struck to deadly effect when Revins picked out Mark Towney in the inside left channel and he turned inside his marker before blasting the ball into the roof of the net to leave the score 3-0 at the interval.

Tullamore began the second half in determined fashion with Ronan Kelly firing over from the edge of the area and then good play by Jason Pohl created an opening for Kevin Duffy but again the shot was too high. As they continued to press Kelly headed over from a Matthew Carragher free while at the other end a tremendous run and cross by Gavin Gaughran caused havoc in the home penalty area with Stephen Keogh just managing to knock the ball behind for a corner. Brian Francis played a great ball through to Ronan Kelly but Niall Cullen got across to clear the danger and then Mark Towney broke clear but was denied by a great last ditch tackle from Michael Kenaney. Towney again threatened on sixty five minutes when he got on the end of a David Jackson cross but his header was well held by Coffey and he was again called into action when he brilliantly tipped Towney’s curling thirty yard effort over. As Kilbarrack continued to press, Eoin Mulligan picked out Jackson but his looping header came down on the crossbar and the woodwork again came to Tullamore’s rescue when Mulligan was taken down twenty five yards out and Jackson sent the resultant free kick crashing off the left upright. They nearly increased their lead on eighty five minutes when Mulligan cut the ball back to Sean Beresford but he fired over from the edge of the area. Tullamore finally got on the scoresheet in the dying minutes when Stephen Keogh fired a dangerous cross into the area and Matthew Carragher controlled the ball before laying it into the path of Adrian Kelly who rifled it home for a fine consolation goal.

This was an uncharacteristically lack lustre performance from Tullamore with a number of players patently below their best, but they can look back on a battling second half performance. There were excellent contributions from Matthew Carragher, Brian Francis and Ronan Kelly with Mark Mooney, Mark Revins and Mark Towney the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding central defender, Mark Gorman.

Tullamore: Phillip Coffey, Marty Holleran, Mark Gorman, Ken Doyle, Michael Kenaney, Matthew Carragher, Brian Francis, Kevin Duffy, Mark Goodings, Jason Pohl and Mark Kelly.

Subs: Stephen Keogh, Hafeez Sholola, Adrian Kelly, Ciaran Carragher and Phillip Hall.

Leinster Senior League Sunday Major 28/10/11

Tullamore Town 2 Rush Athletic 2

Tullamore let a two goal lead and two valuable points slip through their fingers in Leah Victoria Park last Friday. They were quickly into their stride and went close after three minutes when Matthew Carragher’s thirty yard free kick was well held by Stephen Kirwan down low to his left and then Fergal Gorman struck a tremendous shot from fully forty yards that fizzed past the right post. As they continued to press Brian Francis played a clever ball inside the defence but Ronan Kelly’s effort was scrambled out for a corner. They were not to be denied on twenty minutes when Brian Francis got on the end of a great ball from Mark Goodings and powered through before sliding it into the bottom left hand corner of the net. They nearly increased their lead following a fine move involving Fergal Gorman, Ronan Kelly and Brian Francis but Mark Goodings shot flew just outside the right post. With half an hour gone Rush had their first attempt on goal when Danny Gillie’s twenty yard effort was comfortably held by Phillip Coffey and then a Mark Doyle shot from the edge of the area was again saved by Coffey. As Tullamore went back on the attack Mark Goodings had his effort blocked on the line following an Adrian Kelly corner but they increased their lead on forty minutes when Goodings got on the end of Marty Holleran's pin point cross and sent a lovely header in off the right hand post. Having dominated the game the home side fatally took their foot off the pedal and the visitors grabbed their opportunity with both hands. The warning signs were there when Gary Powell picked out Ronan Maguire on the edge of the area and he fired over when he really should have scored but, with minutes remaining in the first half, they were back in the game when the same two players combined with Powell drilling his shot into the far corner to leave the score 2-1 in Tullamore’s favour at the interval.

The home side went close on the resumption when Matthew Carragher’s twenty yard free kick flew narrowly wide and then Stephen and Brian Francis combined to create a chance for Adrian Kelly but his effort was off target. Great play by Brian Francis picked out Mark Goodings but he was crowded out and then a flowing move involving Stephen Francis, Ronan Kelly and Mark Goodings sent Adrian Kelly clear, but Stephen Kirwan brought off a fine save to deny him. With seventy minutes on the clock Rush levelled the game when Ronan Maguire picked the ball up in the inside left channel and hammered it into the far corner for an excellent score. With Jason Pohl coming on he was quickly into the fray when he found Brian Francis but his shot was charged down while at the other end Richie Lawson picked out Dave Byrne on the right and his dangerous cross was well held by Phillip Coffey. Tullamore had a real escape on seventy minutes when Coffey allowed the ball to bounce off his shins but the inrushing Maguire just failed to make contact with it and it was scrambled clear. As they went all out for the winner Hafeez Sholola played in Brian Francis but he fired over when well placed and with minutes remaining Stephen Francis sent Brian clear but Stephen Kirwan just managed to divert his shot inches past the far post as the game ended in stalemate.

Tullamore were lacking the spark they have shown in recent games but manager Jimmy Green will be confident of getting his charges back to winning ways over the coming weeks.

For the home side there were excellent contributions from Fergal Gorman, Stephen Francis and Brian Francis with Stephen Kirwan, Ronan Maguire and Gary Powell the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s central defender, Mark Gorman.

Tullamore: Phillip Coffey, Marty Holleran, Mark Gorman, Stephen Duffy, Fergal Gorman, Adrian Kelly, Brian Francis, Stephen Francis, Matthew Carragher, Ronan Kelly and Mark Goodings.

Subs: Michael Kenaney, Jason Pohl, Hafeez Sholola, Martin Cunningham and Phillip Hall.

CCFL Under-17 29/10/11

Tullamore Town 4 Birr Town 1

The Tullamore boys picked up their first points of the season in Leah Victoria Park last Saturday with this fine win over their near neighbours. They started brightly and went close when Aaron McDermott got on the end of a great through ball from David Doyle but the keeper saved well and he was again called into action when he cut out a dangerous cross from John McEvoy. With twenty minutes gone the home side hit the front when they won a free twenty yards out and McEvoy sent a lovely curling shot just inside the right upright. Great play between Aaron McDermott and Eoghan Coffey saw Declan O’Neill’s shot deflected out for a corner and then Coffey and Alan Heffernan combined to send McEvoy clear but his effort was charged down. With thirty five minutes on the clock Tullamore increased their lead in spectacular fashion when Declan Cuskelly picked the ball up in midfield and, from thirty yards out, crashed an unstoppable shot into the top left hand corner of the net. Minutes later Birr went close when they won a free twenty yards out and Val Feeney’s effort was brilliantly saved by Charlie Ward. The home side increased their lead on forty minutes when Aaron McDermott picked out Declan O’Neill on the edge of the area and he slipped a lovely ball through to John McEvoy and the big centre forward made no mistake from close range. As they continued to press Gareth Byrne played a clever ball through to Eoghan Coffey but his dangerous cross was cleared while at the other end Val Feeney fired a free kick over as the first half ended with the score 3-1 in Tullamore’s favour.

Birr began the second half in determined fashion and within ten minutes they had breached the home defence when Ger Hutchinson picked the ball up in the inside left channel and drilled his shot into the far corner for a fine goal. The home side immediately hit back when Declan Cuskelly got on the end of a long Charlie Ward clearance and drove the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the net. With Alan Heffernan controlling midfield Tullamore tightened their grip on the game and went close when John McEvoy fired a free kick narrowly over and then Heffernan played a great ball through to Cuskelly but his shot was charged down. As they continued to press Eoghan Coffey picked out McEvoy who fired his shot across the face of the goal and minutes later a Ken Hogan free kick broke back to Derek Walsh and his fine effort flew inches outside the right post. With seventy five minutes gone Declan Cuskelly got on the end of a McEvoy knock on and fired over and then Gareth Byrne found Eoghan Coffey whose shot was deflected wide and from the resultant corner Coffey had his effort taken off the line. With minutes remaining they nearly went further ahead when Austin Brady fired in a great shot from twenty yards, but the keeper somehow managed to claw it out of the top corner while at the other end Ger Hutchinson broke clear but Conal Mahon got across to avert the danger as Tullamore ran out comfortable winners.

For the home side there were excellent contributions from Gareth Byrne, Kevin Fletcher, Aaron McDermott and Declan Cuskelly, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding midfielder, Alan Heffernan.

Tullamore: Charlie Ward, David Doyle, Kevin Fletcher, Ken Hogan, Gareth Byrne, Declan O’Neill, Alan Heffernan, Aaron McDermott, Eoghan Coffey, John McEvoy and Declan Cuskelly.

Subs: Derek Walsh, Sibtain Haider, Austin Brady, David Geraghty, Conal Mahon, Matthew Kilroe, Gavin Troy and Jake Jones.

CCFL Division 1 22/10/11

Tullamore Town 5 Clonbonny Utd 0

Tullamore continued their fine run of form in Leah Victoria Park last Saturday with this comprehensive win over Athlone side, Clonbonny United. They were quickly into their stride and hit the front on ten minutes when Jonathan O’Donoghue got on the end of a Stephen Keogh corner to power his header into the back of the net. With twenty five minutes on the clock they increased their lead when they won a free kick out wide on the right and Keogh sent his effort curling into the top left hand corner of the net. As they continued to press Daithi Gorman played a great ball through to O’Donoghue but David Jinks was quickly off his line to save while at the other end Francis Earl fired in a dangerous left wing cross that just eluded the inrushing Shane Monaghan. On the stroke of half time Monaghan again went close when he picked the ball up in the inside right channel but his shot flew narrowly wide as the interval arrived with Tullamore two goals to the good.

The home side should have increased their lead straight from the restart when Daithi Gorman sent Jonathan O’Donoghue through on goal but, in attempting to round the keeper, he dragged the ball too far wide and the chance was lost. Five minutes later Tullamore were awarded a penalty when Shane Colsh and O’Donoghue combined to set up Stephen Keogh but he was taken down in the area by the keeper. Anthony Coyne took the spot kick but his well struck effort was superbly kept out by David Jinks in the Clonbonny goal. They again threatened when Keogh pulled a great ball back to Alan Martin but he fired wide while at the other end Willie Duffy did well to scramble a dangerous right wing cross from David Earl out for a corner. A fine move involving Anthony Coyne, Stephen Keogh, Enda Carroll and Alan Martin created an opening for Trevor Francis but Jinks brought off an excellent save to deny him, but the visitors went perilously close on sixty five minute when Eric Farrell sent David Earl clear and his lob just drifted outside the left post with Ciaran Carragher stranded. As the home side hit back Keogh played a lovely ball through to O’Donoghue but Jinks got down to save. He was not to be denied on seventy minutes when Jinks did brilliantly to keep out Carroll’s close range effort but, as the ball broke back, O’Donoghue rifled it into the bottom left hand corner to put his side three up. They nearly went further ahead when Keogh’s left wing cross came down on the crossbar but minutes later O’Donoghue got on the end of a great through ball from Martin and the big centre forward crashed his shot into the roof of the net to complete his hat-trick. With five minutes remaining Tullamore set the seal on a fine display when Trevor Francis swept the ball out to Stephen Keogh on the left and he cleverly slipped his marker before picking out Alan Martin who fired it into the bottom right corner to leave the final score 5-0 in the home sides favour.

This was a very impressive performance by the home side with excellent contributions from Anthony Coyne, Shane Colsh, Enda Carroll and Stephen Keogh with David Jinks, Gearoid O’Neill, Dane Gilligan and Alan Monaghan the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s three goal centre forward, Jonathan O’Donoghue.

Tullamore: Ciaran Carragher, Anthony Heffernan, Shane Colsh, Willie Duffy, Anthony Coyne, Alan Martin, Daithi Gorman, Aidan Nicholson, Stephen Keogh, Enda Carroll and Jonathan O’Donoghue.

Subs: Trevor Francis, Daragh Gorman, Niall Lynch and Mark Hayes.

FAI Junior Cup 14/10/11

Tullamore Town 1 Villa Celtic 0 (aet)

Tullamore opened their Cup campaign in Leah Victoria Park last Friday with this hard fought win against Dublin AUL side Villa Celtic. In an uncompromising cup tie the home side contributed to their own difficulties in failing to convert two penalties before finally copper fastening their passage into the next round in extra time. They started brightly but the tough tackling and well organised visitors soon battled their way back into the game and were first to threaten when Glenn Cleary flashed a long range effort past the left post. Good play by Kevin Duffy and Brian Francis released Alan Martin on the right and Matthew Carragher got on the end of his cross but his header was well held by James Cotter while at the other end Mark Gorman had to be at his best to clear a dangerous through ball from Charlie Fagan. With half an hour gone Andy Holmes got on the end of a long ball from Paul Dempsey but Martin Cunningham was quickly off his line to avert the danger and then Brian Francis swept a lovely ball out to Fergal Gorman on the left but his shot was too high. As Tullamore began to turn the screws both Duffy and Martin were narrowly adjudged to be off-side when played in but, with forty three minutes gone, Villa nearly broke the deadlock when Dempsey raced clear in the inside left channel but Cunningham got down to save at his near post. On the stroke of half time the home side were presented with a gilt edged opportunity when Ronan Kelly was taken down inches inside the area with the referee pointing to the spot, but Kevin Duffy’s nonchalant effort curled outside the left post as the first half ended in stalemate.

Tullamore emerged after the interval in determined mood and nearly took the lead when Kevin Duffy drilled a diagonal ball into the area with James Cotter just managing to scramble Brian Francis’s shot around the post and minutes later Stephen Francis and Marty Holleran combined to create an opening for Ronan Kelly but Cotter prevented his close range effort crossing the line. Stephen Francis and Alan Martin were in the thick of the action when they sent Fergal Gorman free on the left and he expertly picked out Kelly in the area but Cotter again came to his sides rescue with a fine save. As they continued to pile forward Duffy played a great ball out to Holleran and his cross was knocked back by Stephen Francis to Brian Francis but his shot flew inches outside the left post while at the other end good play by Paul Dempsey saw him nearly breach the home rearguard but Stephen Duffy got across to clear. An indication of the tremendous spirit in this Villa Celtic side was the inclusion in their starting line-up of Evander Barkivich who had recently recovered from a triple by-pass operation and this resoluteness was in evidence on seventy minutes when Dempsey picked out Mark Donoghue on the edge of the area but his wicked cross shot was superbly turned away by Martin Cunningham. Startled into action by this close escape, Tullamore went back on the offensive with Stephen Francis, Matthew Carragher and Ronan Kelly combining to set up Kevin Duffy but his effort was too high and he again went close when, following a foul on Brian Francis, he drove the resultant free kick across the face of the goal. With Adrian Kelly being introduced on seventy five minutes he was quickly into the action when he fired over following great work from Stephen Francis, Matthew Carragher and Ronan Kelly and he then became provider when he picked out Stephen Francis but his shot was charged down. As they continued to press Kelly again created danger when his fine cross found Ronan Kelly in the area but Cotter somehow managed to keep his point blank effort out and with minutes remaining he again came to his sides rescue when he brilliantly saved Stephen Francis’s drive down low to his left as both sides prepared for extra time.

Villa were first to threaten in extra time when Andy Holmes broke clear but Martin Cunningham was quickly off his line to snuff out the danger and within minutes the home side had made the vital breakthrough. Matthew Carragher picked out Brian Francis in the inside left channel and the Tullamore captain cut inside his marker before drilling the ball into the left hand corner of the net for a fine goal. Five minutes into extra time Stephen Francis and Ronan Kelly combined to release Alan Martin in the area and when he was taken down Kevin Duffy was presented with his second opportunity from the spot, but this time his well struck effort was superbly saved by the outstanding James Cotter.

The second half of extra time saw the home side again go close when fine play by Carragher saw him win the ball in midfield and pick out Mark Goodings who knocked it back to Brian Francis, but he was denied by another brilliant stop by Cotter as the referee brought this absorbing cup tie to a conclusion.

Made up almost entirely of local players, this is one of the finest footballing teams Tullamore Town has produced in recent years, but they also had to show their steely side against a very experienced and well organised Villa Celtic who never made life easy for them. It is this resilience that will stand them in good stead as the season evolves and on current form they will surely be challenging for honours. For the home side there were excellent contributions from Mark Gorman, Brian Francis, Matthew Carragher and Alan Martin while James Cotter, Charlie Fagan, David Cox, Terry Moore and Andy Holmes were the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding midfielder, Stephen Francis.

Tullamore: Martin Cunningham, Marty Holleran, Mark Gorman, Stephen Duffy, Fergal Gorman, Kevin Duffy, Brian Francis, Stephen Francis, Matthew Carragher, Alan Martin and Ronan Kelly.

Subs: Adrian Kelly, Mark Goodings, Shane Colsh, Jonathan Donoghue, Hafeez Sholola and Phillip Coffey.

LSL Sunday Major 09/10/11

Tullamore Town 4 Ratoath Harps 2

Arriving with 5 wins from 5 games, Ratoath Harps presented Tullamore with their biggest challenge to date, but the home side rose to the task superbly with a wonderfully controlled and skilful performance in Leah Victoria Park last Sunday. With only five minutes gone they were first to threaten when Ronan Kelly picked the ball up in the inside right channel but fired over and then, following a Kevin Duffy corner, Mark Connaughton headed wide. At the other end Phillip Coffey had to be alert to push a long range effort around the post and then Matthew Carragher, Jason Pohl and Kelly combined to set up Duffy but his shot was too high. Good play by Brian Francis on twenty minutes released Duffy but Lar Halpin was quickly off his line to clear. With twenty five minutes on the clock Harps hit the front when the Tullamore defence failed to deal with a long kick out from Halpin and, as Jordan Finlay chased the ball into the area, he was taken out by Coffey with the referee immediately pointing to the spot and Darren Tinnelly firing the penalty into the bottom left corner. The visitors nearly increased their lead minutes later but Coffey managed to scramble a glancing header out for a corner and then Mark Gorman did well to head clear a dangerous near post cross. With five minutes remaining in the first half Tullamore were back in the game when Ronan Kelly got on the end of a Jason Pohl cross and sent a lovely half volley into the bottom right hand corner and two minutes later they hit the front when Kevin Duffy sent a swerving thirty yard free kick into the top left hand corner of the net. As the home side continued to press Stephen Francis, Pohl and Carragher combined to set up Duffy but his low drive flew outside the left post and, as the game moved into time added on, they scored a goal of real quality. Mark Gorman played a great ball through to Jason Pohl and he raced thirty yards before rounding the keeper and sweeping the ball into the empty net to leave the score 3-1 at the interval.

Tullamore began the second half on the offensive with Matthew Carragher sending Jason Pohl clear but Lar Halpin was quickly off his line to avert the danger and then a Kevin Duffy thirty five yard free kick was well held by Halpin under his crossbar. As they continued to press Mark Connaughton crossed for Pohl but his header was scrambled clear and then Fergal Gorman and Pohl combined to release Ronan Kelly but his effort was superbly saved by Halpin down low to his left. They again went close when Connaughton got on the end of a knock on from Pohl but his lob just cleared the crossbar. With fifty five minutes on the clock the home side increased their lead when Brian Francis pounced on a defensive error to drive the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the net. Minutes later Harps were unlucky not to pull a goal back when Darragh Timoney went on a great run that took him past three defenders but his shot flew inches outside the far post. Tullamore again threatened when Pohl played a lovely reverse ball to Trevor Moylan and his cross was headed narrowly wide by the inrushing Kevin Duffy and then Moylan and Fergal Gorman combined to pick out Pohl but Halpin got down to save. Connaughton then played a great ball through to Kelly but Halpin raced from his goal to hack clear and minutes later the same two players combined but this time Kelly fired past the right hand post. Duffy again went close when he latched onto a loose clearance but his looping shot was just too high and then Carragher picked out Pohl in the inside left channel but he fired past the near post. With ten minutes remaining Brian Francis won possession on the half way line and raced through but his shot flew into the side netting but five minutes later Kevin Timoney picked the ball up on the edge of the area and drilled it into the far corner to put his side back in the game. As Tullamore hit back great play by Matthew Carragher picked out Trevor Moylan but his shot was deflected wide and from the resultant corner Ronan Kelly headed narrowly over as the referee brought the game to a conclusion.

For the home side there were excellent contributions from Mark Gorman, Mark Connaughton, Brian Francis, Matthew Carragher and Jason Pohl while Gary Eiffe, Darragh Timoney and Kevin Timoney were the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding striker, Ronan Kelly.

Tullamore: Phillip Coffey, Ken Doyle, Mark Gorman, Michael Kenaney, Matthew Carragher, Stephen Francis, Brian Francis, Kevin Duffy, Jason Pohl and Ronan Kelly.

Subs: Fergal Gorman, Trevor Moylan, Mark Goodings and Adrian Kelly (all used).

CCFL Division 1 08/10/11

Tullamore Town 2 Noreside Celtic 0

Following a fairly lack-lustre first half Tullamore burst into action five minutes into the second when, following a corner, Willie Duffy volleyed the ball into the roof of the net. Five minutes later they increased their lead when Daithi Gorman played a great ball through to Jonathan Donoghue and, when he was taken down in the area by the keeper, Anthony Coyne fired the spot kick into the bottom left hand corner. For the home side there were excellent performances from Shane Colsh, Willie Duffy and Alan Martin but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s centre forward, Jonathan Donoghue.

Tullamore: Ciaran Carragher, Anthony Heffernan, Shane Colsh, Anthony Coyne, Willie Duffy, Alan Martin, Stephen Duffy, Daithi Gorman, Stephen Keogh, Aidan Nicholson and Jonathan Donoghue.

Subs: Niall Lynch, Edwin Finnerty, Jody Duffy, Darragh Gorman and Larry Nicholson (all used).

O’Neill’s LFA Junior Cup Round 1 25/09/11

Clonmore United 0 Tullamore Town 1

Tullamore travelled to Boora last Sunday to take on near neighbours Clonmore United and got through to the next round by the narrowest of margins. Played on a tight pitch in driving rain the well organised and highly motivated home side never allowed their more illustrious opponents to dictate proceedings and, in a keenly contested first half, one would have been hard pressed to tell which was the Leinster Senior League side. With Paul McConway and Andy Quinn outstanding in defence and Gearoid Byrne pulling the strings in midfield, Clonmore enjoyed the better of the first half exchanges. Indeed were it not for the work rate of Matthew Carragher and the defensive performances of Anthony Coyne, Mark Gorman and Anthony Heffernan, Tullamore could very easily have found themselves in arrears. With both teams fully committed, chances were at a premium as it became obvious that the first goal would have a huge impact on the final result. With forwards struggling to find space, Tullamore’s main threat came from dead ball situations with Martin Holleran whipping in dangerous crosses but, with the home defence holding firm, the first half ended in stalemate.

Within minutes of the restart the visitors were ahead, and it came from a predictable source. Tullamore won a free out wide on the right and Martin Holleran cleverly drove a low near post shot into the back of the net. Goals change games, and this was certainly the case as Tullamore began to play with greater urgency and confidence and they nearly increased their lead minutes later when a searching Mark Gorman cross just drifted beyond the far post. They again went close when Ken Furlong failed to hold an Anthony Heffernan long range effort and Adrian Kelly drove the rebound wide. As they continued to press, Matthew Carragher headed a Holleran corner over and then Kelly cut the ball back to Daithi Gorman but his twenty yard drive was too high. Following another corner, Anthony Coyne had his shot blocked on the line and then great play between Carragher and Jason Pohl sent Ronan Kelly clear but Furlong brilliantly tipped his effort around the post. With minutes remaining Clonmore almost levelled when, following a corner, the ball fell to Brian Gleeson in the area but his goal bound effort was charged down by Michael Kenaney. There then followed an extraordinary sequence of events as Tullamore went on the counter attack. Holleran crossed to Pohl but Ken Furlong somehow managed to keep out his point blank shot and, as the ball broke free, Kelly crashed it off the underside of the crossbar with Kenaney firing the rebound against the upright as the referee brought this pulsating cup tie to a conclusion.

Tullamore manager, Jimmy Green, used this fixture to introduce a number of younger players and was highly delighted with their contributions. For Clonmore there were excellent performances from Ken Furlong, Paul McConway, Andy Quinn and Gearoid Byrne while Anthony Coyne, Mark Gorman, Anthony Heffernan and Martin Holleran were the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding young midfielder, Matthew Carragher.

Tullamore: Phillip Coffey, Anthony Heffernan, Mark Gorman, Anthony Coyne, Michael Kenaney, Adrian Kelly, Matthew Carragher, Daithi Gorman, Martin Holleran, Jason Pohl and Ronan Kelly.

Subs: Mark Gooding and Kieran Carragher.

LFA Leinster Youths Cup 24/09/11

Tullamore Town Youths 2 Crossabeg AFC (Wexford) 0

This was a game that the Tullamore boys dominated for long periods but their inability to convert a litany of scoring opportunities meant that they had to wait until the last ten minutes before despatching their resilient opponents. The first chance came as early as the first minute when Shane Martino burst into the area and rolled the ball to Dylan Melia but, with the goal gaping, he miscued his shot and the danger was cleared. They again went close when Ross Kinnarney headed a Michael James corner over and then Ted Conway sent Martino clear but Colm O’Dowd was quickly off his line to save. Melia then got on the end of an Aaron Hensey knock on but he delayed his shot and Sean Stephenson got across to clear. It was not all one way traffic and Jamie Coyne had to be alert to deny Conor O’Sullivan when he was put through by Cian Lambert. Adam Shelly then played a lovely ball out to Martino who picked out James but he was taken down, and from the resultant free James fired over. With quarter of an hour gone Shelly and Conway combined to send Martino clear on the right but his cross shot clipped the outside of the far post. They again went perilously close when Mark Casey sent in a pin point cross to Conway but the big centre forward headed over from three yards. The home side were nearly made to pay for their profligacy when Emmett Fox got on the end of a long clearance but his lob just drifted past the right hand post. As Tullamore returned to the attack Conway and Martino sent Melia clear but O’Dowd tipped his effort around the post and then Eddie Connolly found Martino on the right but his shot flew wide. Melia got on the end of a lovely through ball from Hensey but he was denied by a great relieving tackle from Stephenson and then good play by Shelly resulted in James firing over as the referee brought the first half to a close.

Tullamore began the second half in explosive style when Michael James picked the ball up in the inside left channel and fired in a rocket that Colm O’Dowd brilliantly tipped over. At the other end Andy Butler swung in a dangerous cross that was headed to safety by Eddie Connolly and then Conor O’Sullivan made a great run through the middle but was denied by a superb Ross Kinarney tackle. With an hour gone Dylan Melia slipped the ball inside to Ted Conway but he fired wide when he seemed certain to score. Crossabeg again threatened when Cian Lambert broke into the area but Ross Condron got across to avert the danger and then Conway sent Martino clear but the outstanding Sean Stephenson stopped him in his tracks. With manager John O’Connor introducing Macdarragh O’Neill and Terry Byrne, the home side went all out for a winner and they were straight into the action when Mark Casey, Adam Shelly and Shane Martino combined to send O’Neill clear on the right and his searching cross just missed out the inrushing Byrne. The all important goal arrived on eighty minutes but it was shrouded in controversy. Connolly picked out Martino on the right and he cut in along the endline with the ball appearing to go out of play but, as the Crossabeg defence fatally hesitated, Martino pulled the ball back to Macdarragh O’Neill and he gleefully powered it into the roof of the net. As they looked to press home their advantage Matthew Hyndes sent Martino clear but he was bundled over in the area with the referee waving play on. With five minutes remaining they made the game safe when Mark Casey played a lovely diagonal ball through to the mercurial Martino and he swept it into the back of the net. Casey was again in the thick of the action when he played a great ball through to O’Neill who found Martino but his shot was blocked on the line. With a minute remaining Connolly and O’Neill combined to pick out Terry Byrne but his effort found the side netting as the home side ran out deserving winners.

This was a very impressive performance by the Tullamore boys but manager John Connolly will be hoping they will have found their shooting boots before the next round. There were excellent contributions from Ross Kinnarney, Mark Casey and Adam Shelly with Sean Stephenson, Andy Butler and Cian Lambert the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s flying winger, Shane Martino.

Tullamore: Jamie Coyne, Eddie Connolly, Rory Condron, Ross Kinnarney, Mark Casey, Shane Martino, Adam Shelly, Aaron Hensey, Michael James, Ted Conway and Dylan Melia.

Subs: Macdarragh O’Neill, Terry Byrne, Matthew Hyndes and Diarmuid Carroll.

Leinster Senior League Sunday Major Division 16/09/11

Greystones Utd 1 Tullamore Town 3

Tullamore travelled to Greystones last Friday for their third away game in a row and came away with all three points thanks to a terrific second half performance. Playing on an artificial surface the visitors took time to settle with neither side able to create any clear cut chances in the early stages. With Ken Doyle returning to the defence, Brian Francis was pushed into midfield where his pace and vision caused problems for the home side. Keeper Phillip Coffey made a couple of good saves while at the other end Jason Pohl was always a threat but was unable to break the deadlock. On the stroke of half time Ronan Kelly had a great chance but his effort flew the wrong side of the post as the first half ended scoreless.

The second half started badly for Tullamore when in the fifty second minute Ken Doyle was adjudged to have handled in the area and the resultant penalty was duly despatched to the net. Town quickly shook off this set back and went in search of an equaliser as they slowly but surely began to tighten their grip on the game. With Kevin Duffy, Matthew Carragher and Brian and Stephen Francis dominating midfield they pinned the home side back and in the sixty fifth minute the equaliser duly arrived. Stephen Francis played the ball into the area and, when Jason Pohl challenged the keeper, the ball broke back to Ronan Kelly and, with his back to goal, he hooked a brilliant shot into the roof of the net. As they went all out for a winner Brian Francis let fly from twenty five yards but his shot was superbly saved by the home keeper. He was not to be denied minutes later when he played a lovely one two with Duffy and, from the edge of the area, he crashed the ball into the top left hand corner to put his side in front. Tullamore added a third in the eightieth minute when the outstanding Carragher made a great run into the box where he was upended and dead ball expert, Trevor Moylan, sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot.

This was a hugely impressive performance that will have delighted manager, Jimmy Greene. In what was a great team effort there were excellent contributions from Mark Gorman, Brian Francis, Matthew Carragher and Stephen Francis, but the man of the match award went Tullamore’s outstanding striker Ronan Kelly for his non stop running and superb goal.

Tullamore: Phillip Coffey, Trevor Moylan, Mark Gorman, Ken Doyle, Fergal Gorman, Stephen Francis, Kevin Duffy, Brian Francis, Matthew Carragher, Jason Pohl and Ronan Kelly.

Subs: Stephen Keogh, Adrian Kelly and Mark Goodings (all used).

CCFL Division 1 17/09/11

Tullamore Town 0 Abbeyleix Ath 1

Tullamore saw their 100% record go up in smoke in this top of the table clash last Saturday as a hard working Abbeyleix side carried out a smash and grab raid in Leah Victoria Park. The home side should have gone ahead straight from the kick off when Trevor Francis was put through but his tamely hit shot was comfortably saved by Shane Burke and he then got on the end of a Stephen Keogh cross but his glancing header flew wide. As they continued to dominate the early exchanges chance after chance went a begging as they failed to turn possession into scores. With twenty minutes gone a Francis free kick rebounded off Burke and, as the ball ran free, Aidan Nicholson fired it across the area only for Keogh’s effort to be taken off the line. Three minutes later Abbeyleix struck with devastating effect when Neill Cooney played a great ball out of defence and Stephen Hawkins ghosted between the Tullamore centre backs before hammering the ball into the bottom left corner of the net. With the home side still reeling the visitors nearly increased their lead when Adrian Freeman picked the ball up in the inside right channel only to be denied by a superb one handed save by Ciaran Carragher. As Town battled to get back in the game Nicholson got on the end of a Martin Holleran cross but Burke kept out his effort and then Daithi Gorman swept the ball out to Keogh but Francis just failed to get on the end of his searching cross. Their profligacy continued when Keogh again picked out Francis with a pin point cross but he guided his close range header wide as the referee brought the first half to a conclusion.

With Alan Martin coming on at half time Tullamore looked a much more potent force and he was straight into the action when he combined with Mark Gorman and Stephen Duffy to set up Stephen Keogh, but Shane Burke was quickly off his line to save at his feet. Aidan Nicholson then played a lovely ball out to Martin on the right and he cut inside his marker but again Burke came to his sides rescue with a fine save. With Martin proving a constant threat down the right he again breached the Abbeyleix defence but his dangerous cross was hooked clear. With sixty five minutes on the clock manager Noel Courtney introduced Barry Walsh, Jonathan O’Donoghue and Anthony Heffernan in an attempt to get his side back in the game and it almost paid immediate dividends when Martin sent Mark Gorman clear on the right but his cross was headed over by Heffernan. Great play by Alan Martin created danger when he again released Gorman and his vicious cross shot was brilliantly finger tipped clear by Shane Burke. Following a goalmouth melee Martin and O’Donoghue had shots taken off the line and then a fine thirty yard effort from Nicholson was well held by Burke. With Neill Cooney, Ryan Peacock and Darren Whelan outstanding at the back Abbeyleix held firm and, despite further good play by Alan Martin and Stephen Keogh, Tullamore failed to make the vital breakthrough. Deep into injury time the visitors almost increased their lead when Willie Bowen latched onto a poor back pass but Ciaran Carragher brought off a fine save to deny him as Tullamore were left to rue their many missed chances.

For the home side there were excellent contributions from Ken Doyle, Willie Duffy, Stephen Duffy and Stephen Keogh with Shane Burke, Neill Cooney, Ryan Peacock, Darren Whelan and Adrian Stynes the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding right winger, Alan Martin.

Tullamore: Ciaran Carragher, Niall Gorman, Ken Doyle, Mark Gorman, Willie Duffy, Martin Holleran, Daithi Gorman, Stephen Duffy, Aidan Nicholson, Stephen Keogh and Trevor Francis.

Subs: Alan Martin, Barry Walsh, Jonathan O’Donoghue, Anthony Heffernan and Dean Molloy.

CCFL Division 1 10/09/11

Tullamore Town 3 Temple Villa 2

Coming from two goals down, Tullamore snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the dying minutes of this dramatic encounter in Leah Victoria Park last Friday evening. Dominating the early stages they went close on eight minutes when Trevor Francis cut the ball back to Ross Whittaker and his twenty yard drive was brilliantly tipped onto the crossbar by Dave Harmon in the Villa goal and then good work on the right by Barry Walsh resulted in a corner from which Francis fired narrowly over. They again threatened when Francis got on the end of a fine Stephen Keogh cross but his shot was charged down by Ian Gardiner in the area. Keogh again created danger when Jonathan O’Donoghue swept the ball out to him on the left but his cross shot flew inches outside the far post. As they continued to press, Daithi Gorman played a great ball down the right to Walsh with Francis just failing to connect with his searching cross. With twenty seven minutes on the clock the home side were caught cold when Anthony Coyne knocked Ian Gardiner’s dangerous cross behind and from the resultant corner David Tone fired the visitors in front from close range. With Tullamore still reeling, Tone and Thomas Brown combined to create confusion with Coyne nearly putting through his own goal in attempting to clear. On thirty four minutes the men from Moate increased their lead when Noel Mulligan latched onto a lovely glancing header from Tone and raced fifty yards before sliding the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the net. As Town looked to get back in the game O’Donoghue and Gorman combined to set up Keogh but his swerving shot flew outside the far post and then Niall Gorman lofted the ball into the area only for Walsh to see his drive cannon off the top of the crossbar as the referee brought the first half to a conclusion.

Tullamore began the second half in determined fashion with Barry Walsh and Jonathan O’Donoghue testing the Villa keeper with long range efforts but their situation was not helped when Daithi Gorman was forced off following a clash of heads on fifty five minutes. With the experienced Stephen Duffy coming on as replacement the home side began to slowly regain control of midfield and they went close when Trevor Francis knocked the ball back to O’Donoghue but his effort was well held by Dave Harmon. As the pressure continued to mount, manager Aidan Courtney threw on young players Martin Holleran and Darragh Gorman as Tullamore again moved into top gear. Holleran was quickly into the action when he won a free on the edge of the area which Stephen Keogh fired over and then Shane Colsh played in Francis but again the shot was too high. With sixty five minutes on the clock they were back in the game with a goal of real quality when, following a corner, Keogh cut the ball back to Stephen Duffy and from fully thirty five yards he curled a superb shot into the top right hand corner of the net. Two minutes later they were level when Harmon did well to tip a vicious inswinging free kick from Ross Whittaker over the bar and, from the resultant corner, Trevor Francis deflected Stephen Keogh’s low drive beyond the reach of the Villa keeper. As they went all out for a winner, Keogh pulled the ball back for Stephen Duffy but his effort flew narrowly past the right post and then good play by Duffy and Keogh down the left saw O’Donoghue head wide. But it was not all one way traffic and Ciaran Carragher had to be quickly off his line to avert the danger as David Tone broke into the area. With four minutes remaining Town struck for the winner when Shane Colsh played a great ball through the middle and the outstanding Stephen Keogh skipped between the two central defenders before coolly placing the ball past the advancing keeper to clinch all three points for his side.

This was a hugely entertaining game in which Tullamore demonstrated that they have real strength in depth together with a wonderful mix of youth and experience and, with maximum points from their opening three fixtures, will be hoping to keep the momentum going over the next number of weeks. For the home side there were excellent contributions from Shane Colsh, Stephen Duffy, Trevor Francis, Darragh Gorman and Martin Holleran, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s match winner, Stephen Keogh.

Tullamore: John O’Connor, Niall Gorman, Shane Colsh, Anthony Coyne, Willie Duffy, Ross Whittaker, Daithi Gorman, Jonathan O’Donoghue, Stephen Keogh, Trevor Francis and Barry Walsh.

Subs: Ciaran Carragher, Stephen Duffy, Martin Holleran, Darragh Gorman and Enda Carroll.