Tullamore Town 2
Swords Celtic 1
Tullamore followed up their recent draw against Tolka Rovers with a fine win over Swords Celtic in Leah Victoria Park to get their Division 1 campaign off to flying start.
The home side began slowly and came under early pressure with Gavin Smith firing in a dangerous cross that just missed out the onrushing Owen Jones. Smith then picked out the overlapping Dave Cox, but Ian Bolger managed to punch his cross to safety.
As the home side hit back, Anthony Kavanagh broke clear on the right but his fine cross was headed clear by Sean
Kelly. Celtic went close on 20 minutes when Graeme Leahy pulled the ball back to Owen Jones but he was denied by a great relieving tackle from Brendan Bracken.
Tullamore nearly jumped into the lead on the half hour when Kevin Williamson found Warren Conroy on the left and his deep cross was met by Robert Bracken at the far post, but Stephen Trimble superbly blocked his effort on the line.
Williamson again created danger when he picked out Stephen Francis but his shot was charged down by Andrew Timmons
and then Anthony Kavanagh cut in from the right only for his effort to be deflected inches past the post.
With 35 minutes on the clock the Dublin side broke the deadlock when Owen Jones won possession in midfield and went on a a surging run through the heart of the home defence before planting the ball in the right hand corner of the net for a fine
As Tullamore went in search of an equaliser Stephen Francis had his shot deflected wide and Kevin Williamson’s in-swinging corner was well taken by Trimble in the Celtic goal.
They nearly fell further behind when Evan Kelly broke clear in the inside right channel but Ian Bolger did brilliantly to keep his effort out down low to his right, while at the other end, a great run by Robert Bracken took him clear of the defence but
Trimble once again came to his sides rescue with a great full length save.
As the game continued to ebb and flow Evan Kelly bore down on the home goal but he was stopped in his tracks by a fine Stuart Carroll tackle as the referee brought the first half to a conclusion with Swords Celtic one goal to the good.
The introduction of Macdarragh O’Neill at half-time had an immediate impact when within minutes of the restart Robert Bracken and Brian Francis combined to pick him out on the left and, when he played the ball back across the area, Francis was taken down with the referee pointing to the spot. Kevin Williamson duly despatched the penalty into the bottom right corner of the net.
O’Neill was again in the thick of the action as he played a lovely ball through to Brian Francis, but he was denied by a great point-blank save from Stephen Trimble. Tullamore were now in full flight and only a wonderful double save by the Celtic keeper prevented Enda Carroll and Robert Bracken putting the home side in front.
As the pressure continued to mount Anthony Kavanagh sent Brian Francis away but Owen Jones got back to clear and then Carroll and Francis combined to find O’Neill on the left and his dangerous cross was hacked clear by Andrew Timmons. With 70 minutes gone Tullamore hit the front when Robert Bracken played a lovely ball through to Brian Francis in the inside left channel and he squeezed his shot under the advancing Trimble and into the net.
With Brian Gill, Rory Condron and Andy Quinn coming on the Dublin side came under increasing pressure as Brian Francis got on the end of Kevin Williamson’s free kick, but his cross just failed to pick out Brian Gill in the area.
As Celtic tried to hit back Gill managed to hook Gavin Smith’s searching cross to safety while, at the other end, Macdarragh O’Neill sent Robert Bracken clear but Trimble was quickly off his line to avert the danger. Calvin Dooney tried to get his side back in the game with a surging run on the right but Shane O’Connell got across to execute a great last ditch tackle.
Trimble did well to keep Bracken’s effort out and Dooney again threatened when he broke through the middle but Rory Condron got back to tidy up.
With minutes remaining O’Connell and Kavanagh combined to pick out Condron on the left but Graham Duff got across to knock the ball behind as the referee brought the curtain down on a hugely enjoyable game.
Based on their first two league games the standard of football in Division 1 is of a very high calibre and Tullamore have demonstrated that they are certainly not out of their depth.
They have a very attractive fixture this Wednesday when they play host to Dublin side TEK United and manager Tony O’Sullivan will be hoping that they can continue their good start to the season.
In what was a fine team performance there were excellent contributions from Brendan Bracken, Stuart Carroll, Anthony Kavanagh and Macdarragh O’Neill while Stephen Trimble, Graeme Leahy, Andrew Timmons and Evan Kelly were the
pick for the visitors, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s midfield dynamo, Robert Bracken.
Tullamore Town: Ian Bolger, Anthony Kavanagh, Brendan Bracken, Stuart Carroll, Shane O’Connell, Kevin Williamson, Robert Bracken, Stephen Francis, Enda Carroll, Warren Conroy and Brian Francis.
Subs: Macdarragh O’Neill, Brian Gill, Rory Condron, Andy Quinn, Brian Norris, Sean Connolly and Mark Goodings.
Swords Celtic: Stephen Trimble, Gavin Logan, Dave Cox, Sean Kelly, Graham Duff, Graeme Leahy, Owen Jones, Andrew Timmons, Jason Conden, Evan Kelly and Gavin Smith.
Subs: Calvin Dooney, Niall Tormey, Andrew Birmingham, Keith Dowson, Don Mahon, Jack Leahy and Michael Walczac.
Tullamore are at home to TEK United this evening, Wednesday, September 6, in Leah Victoria Park, kick-off 7.45 pm.
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