Killavilla United closed in on the North Tipperary & District League Premier Division title on Sunday afternoon when beating Nenagh Celtic 7-2 in Nenagh. The result has propelled Killavilla seven points clear at the summit of the division. United have two games to play and although Celtic are now out of the running third-placed Blackcastle Templemore Harps could still catch the league leaders.
BT Harps have a game in hand on Killavilla, but are eight points behind United. BT Harps have three games to play with, significantly, one of those at home to the league leaders. On Sunday afternoon the Templemore side beat Thurles Town, the defending league champions, 4-1.
Although Thurles Town won the Premier Division Shield earlier this season when seeing off Blackcastle Templemore Harps 3-2 in the decider the defending champions are a shadow of the side which won consecutive league titles while BT Harps are chasing the club's first Premier Division league title since 2001.
Killavilla United’s remaining games are against Holycross (home) and BT Harps (away) while the Templemore outfit will face Killavilla (home), Nenagh Celtic (home) and Portumna Town (away). And, it is worth noting that BT Harps beat Killavilla United 3-2 earlier this season (United’s sole defeat during the league campaign).
On Sunday Killavilla United proved far too strong for Nenagh Celtic and for periods of the contest ran the home side ragged.
Celtic ‘keeper Andrew Lennox saved brilliantly from Ruairí Moloney as early as the second minute and while Joe Moloney had a goal ruled out for offside and Paul Kirwan saw a header saved in the tenth minute Killavilla United took a deserved lead in the 12th when Ruairí Murphy’s cross found the head of Paul Kirwan and the centre-forward made no mistake (0-1).
Strangely, Killavilla lost concentration completely on the re-start and Jimmy Hynes played in Szymon Popula for an equaliser (1-1). In an illustration of their ambition the United players were annoyed at themselves for such a slip up and settled back down to their work with two Paul Kirwan opportunities preceding a second Killavilla goal in the 24th minute - this time Tom Aherne swung in a cross and there was Kirwan to deliver the finish (1-2).
Joe Moloney thundered a half volley off the crossbar in the 27th minute and three minutes later Moloney’s through ball found Paul Kirwan who completed his hat-trick (1-3).
Prior to the break Joe Moloney and Craig Phelan spurned chances, but in the opening minute of the second half a superb right-footed Craig Phelan cross found the head of Paul Kirwan and he thundered home from close range (1-4).
Kirwan headed home another Phelan cross for his fifth goal in the 58th minute before setting up Shane Moloney for Killavilla’s sixth in the 62nd. Seven minutes later Tom Aherne’s free kick found the head of Joe Moloney for United’s seventh goal (1-7).
Nenagh Celtic’s Robbie Ryan played in Szymon Popula in the 54th minute and when the winger was up-ended the home side appeared to have a decent penalty shout which was waved away. Celtic, however, could not be denied a spot kick in the 84th minute when Christopher Ryan was fouled and Szymon Popula converted the opportunity.
Nenagh Celtic: Andrew Lennox, Dane Ryan, Shane Aherne, Danny Ryan, Dylan Armstrong, Christopher Ryan, Michael Hynes, Jimmy Hynes, Alan Kelly, David Walsh, Szymon Popula. Subs: (16th) Robbie Ryan for Alan Kelly.
Killavilla United: Jason Ryan, Tom Aherne, John Cordial, Ian Treacy, Jason Fitzpatrick, Denis Moloney, Ruairí Murphy, Joe Moloney, Paul Kirwan, Shane Moloney, Craig Phelan. Subs: (58th) Roddy Teehan for Jason Fitzpatrick, (63rd) Jamie Boland for Craig Phelan, (63rd) Michael Ryan for Denis Moloney, (74th) Dion Carney for Joe Moloney.
Referee: James McGrath.
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