CCFL Senior Division
Tullamore Town 0 Birr Town 2
Birr Town’s first team proved too strong for Tullamore’s second string in Leah Victoria Park last Saturday as they emerged comfortable winners of a very entertaining game.
The home side were first to threaten when lovely play by Ben Connolly saw him break clear on the right but his cross just failed to pick out the inrushing Ted Conway.
With only 3 minutes gone Birr opened the scoring when David McEvoy’s cross to the far post was superbly volleyed into the far corner by Johnny Corboy. Tullamore immediately hit back with Conor Hogan parrying Brendan Bracken’s vicious free-kick and, when Niall Kearns pounced on the rebound, he managed to recover to bring off a fine double save.
The home side went in search of an equaliser as brilliant play by Ben Connolly saw him leave his marker for dead, but his cross was too deep. Bracken picked out Ted Conway but his shot was charged down while, at the other end, Ger O’Brien sent Corboy clear on the left but Barry Walsh got back to cut out the danger.
The home side again threatened when Dean Carroll broke clear on the right but Rian Dempsey was alive to the danger and then Paul Egan latched onto a poor clearance and played in David McEvoy, but his effort flew over.
As the game continued to ebb and flow Barry Walsh sent Ben Connolly clear on the right but his cross failed to pick out a colleague. With minutes remaining in the first half Ken Doyle picked out Dean Carroll but he was denied by a great last-ditch tackle from Rian Dempsey and, as the ball broke free, Niall Kearns fired it across the face of the goal as the interval arrived with the visitors one goal to the good.
On the resumption, Birr went straight into the attack with Johnny Corboy intercepting a weak clearance and breaking into the area, but his shot was deflected inches outside the right post. With Shane Martin coming on, Tullamore tried to get back in the game but it was the visitors who were posing the greater threat.
David McEvoy and Stefan Shalloe combined to send Nicky Molloy through but Dean Molloy was quickly off his line to save
at his feet while, at the other end, Paul McTigue was stopped in his tracks by a fine relieving tackle from Keith McEvoy.
Manager Brendan Bracken introduced Niall Bracken and David Kluz in an effort to wrest back control of the game but it was the visitors who stamped their authority on proceedings as, with 72 minutes on the clock, they again breached the home defence. Nicky Molloy pounced on a bad back pass and, despite being surrounded by three defenders, he squeezed his shot in off the near post for a fine individual goal.
The home side tried to get back in the game with Ross Kinnarney picking out Shane Martin but he was crowded out and, with 10 minutes remaining, Tullamore had a real stroke of good fortune. Johnny Corboy broke free on the right and his low cross found Willie Hanlon but his close-range shot struck the inside of the post and was scrambled clear.
The home side never gave up with David Kluz picking out Ben Connolly in the area but his effort was deflected narrowly wide as Birr ran our deserving winners.
For Tullamore there were fine performances from Brendan Bracken, Ken Doyle and Dean Carroll with Ceilim King, Rian Dempsey and Keith McEvoy the pick of the visitors, but the man of the match award went to the home side’s skilful winger, Ben Connolly.
There was yet more heartache for Tullamore on Monday when they lost out by two goals to one when a depleted town side travelled to Dublin to take on Wayside Celtic in the Leinster Senior League Division 1.
A stunning individual goal from Brian Francis wasn't enough to overcome the sturdy Dublin outfit.
Tullamore Town: Dean Molloy, Barry Walsh, Mark Hayes, Ross Kinnarney, Brendan Bracken, Ken Doyle, Ben Connolly, Paul McTigue, Niall Kearns, Dean Carroll, Ted Conway.
Subs: Shane Martin, Niall Bracken, Andy Quinn, David Kluz, Stephen Fitzgerald.
Birr Town: Conor Hogan, Ceilim King, Ryan Walker, Rian Dempsey, Keith McEvoy, Paul Egan, Ger O’Brien, David McEvoy, Nicky Molloy, Stefan Shalloe, Johnny Corboy.
Subs: Willie Hanlon, Joe Kelly.