A TOP of the table clash which didn’t disappoint at Oscar Traynor Road as Premier 1A Saturday leaders Kilmore Celtic overcame second placed Tallaght Town after a titanic battle that was full of incident and no little amount of skill.
BY EAMON SCOTT
Tallaght Town have two games in hand on Kilmore and came into the match two points adrift of the pacesetters on 15 points and although early days in the season, the points on offer were equally coveted by both protagonists.
And it was the home side who hit the front with Jordan Cromwell showing good strength to fend off two Tallaght Town tackles and he slotted home from an acute angle from the left hand channel past the dispairing dive of Mark O’Leary.
Cromwell celebrated at the corner flag and the significance of the score ensured a raucous celebration of Celtic team mates despite just five minutes on the clock.
The goal however allowed Celtic to settle and they were frustrated with the concession of the equaliser in the 13th minute as they failed to clear their lines.
The ball had dropped in from the right hand flank and allowing the ball to bounce, James O’Neill, unmarked, was lurking at the back post and he drilled the ball home through a forest of legs to the back of the net.
The tempo of the match was frenetic and challenges and tackles were flying in and despite the feisty nature it was played in a decent sporting spirit.
Referee John McCarthy was keeping the game on a short leash and when Malcolm McDonald decided to argue the toss over a throw in decision he drew McCarthy’s ire who flashed a yellow card. It was an innocuous reason to draw a yellow but McDonald then jumped into a tackle in the centre circle in the 27th minute and McCarthy reached for his back pocket to produce the red-card.
With advantage swinging in Tallaght’s way Kilmore’s task was looking all the more difficult. Cromwell was proving a thorn in the side for Tallaght and he produced some more magic down the left channel and he was unlucky his shot cum cross just evaded the inrushing Craig Meehan who arrived a fraction too late with an open goal in front of him.
And Cromwell came close to bagging his second in the 42nd minute when Tallaght central defender Robbie Shorten took a heavy touch spilling possession to the Kilmore number 10 and as he looked to bear down on goal Darren Moore came up with a big challenge to nick the ball off Cromwell’s toe as he was about to shoot.
The game was soon ‘evened’ up with Tallaght’s Alan Lawson seeing red when McCarthy sent him off for a flying tackle on assistant player manager Michael Leggett .
Level at the break both teams engaged in serious half-time team talks and while Tallaght returned with the same 10, Kilmore brought in Robbie Keogh and he found himself on the scoresheet in the 49th minute.
Cromwell won an aerial battle with Moore and his flick on fell invitingly for the substitute to swivel and crack the ball home past O’Leary in the visitors’ goal from jut beyond the penalty spot.
By minute 51 Moore returned the favour for Cromwell with a neat interchange put the big striker in on goal but O’Leary was quick off his line to block the shot out for a fruitless corner.
Kilmore’s discipline let them down again with an exchange of words close to the sideline not to referee McCarthy’s liking and once again he reached for his back pocket and this time it was Shane Burke dismissed just past the hour mark.
Tallaght sensed opportunity but credit to Kilmore whose character and resolve were being seriously questioned but they answered magnificently with a nine man power play to the finish.
Credit KIlmore’s management team who utilised their bench to maximum effect and this was very much a squad effort on the home side’s part. Those entering the field of play all had something to offer but all were ball players and happy to retain possession.
But like any good side, success is built around a solid defence and skipper Jamie Ashmore led the back line brilliantly while goalkeeper Dean Weldridge was a safe pair of hands and broke up some dangerous Tallaght attacks.
Player of the match Cromwell set up the third goal in the 66th minute with a pacy burst down the right flank and he surveyed his options before picking out Liam Connolly who gleefully drove the ball past O’Leary to put some daylight on the scoreboard. But things were to get even better when five minute later Ryan Casey got his name on the scoresheet.
Again Tallaght allowed a ball to bounce inside the box and as it dropped to Casey who delivered a crisp finish to the Tallaght net.
Game set and match to Kilmore and despite their numerical shortage they had enough in the tank to see them to the final whistle. Cromwell was excellent but Kilmore had excellent performers all round the pitch. It’s still early days in the season but expect these two still to be in the mix for honours at the business end of the season.
A great advertisement for grassroots soccer and a great advertisement for the Leinster Senior League.
KILMORE CELTIC: Dean Weldrige; Paul Boylan, Shane Burke, Jamie Ashmore, Luke Finley, Malcom McDonald, Ray Scully, Ryan Casey, Michel Leggett, Jordan Cromwell, Meehan. Subs: Jason Reilly, Josh Peyton, Patrick Symes, Adam Miller, Liam Connolly, Luke Stanley, Josh Kelly.
TALLAGHT TOWN: Mark O’Leary, Michael Kinsella, Sean O’Neill, Darren Moore, Robert Shorten, Alan Lawson, Lee Dillon, Bryan Flanagan, Dylan Mahoney, Coly Benson, Jamie O’Neill. Subs Liam Grogan, Robbie Keogh, Stephen Hyland, Dan Gala, Niall Dunne, Glen Quinless, Alan Dowdall.
Referee: John McCarthy.