The Premier Division is developing into a scrap between Woodstock Celts and Bridge United who shared leadership on 26 points from twelve games prior to Sundays action. Newbridge Town were just two points behind with Kilcullen and Sundays Well also in the mix.
The key games on Sunday were the Celts away game just across the Barrow River at Clonmullion and Bridge United’s joust with Kingstown just down the road at the Tegral Sports Grounds. In the final analysis it was Woodstock who took over clear leadership with a 4-0 demolition of Clonmullion, while the other joint leaders Bridge United needed a last minute goal to salvage a point against an impressive Kingstown outfit.
Two goals from Ricky Moriarity and one each from Tommy Nolan and Dean Connell done the trick for Tommy Connell’s side against a Clonmullion side ravaged by injuries and suspensions. Their first goal came after just a minute of play when Corey Lammon’s corner was flicked on by Jonathan Fennell for Moriarity to blast past keeper Shane Foley.
They were two up after twenty-six minutes when a mix up between Foley and his centre back Mark Donovan allowed Tommy Nolan in to finish. Indeed were it not for a superb goal line clearance from Liam Leonard following another Lammon corner the Celts would have gone three up. Clonmullion introduced young David Graydon, who is home on holidays from a soccer scholarship in the USA and he made an immediate impact with a superb display of ball control and passing. He almost pulled one back for the home side just before the break when it took a good save from Celts keeper Mick Lawless to keep out his well struck free from 25 yards.
However any hopes of a revival by the home side were well and truly dashed when Woodstock netted their third one minute after the resumption. Gary Foley threaded a through ball in behind the home defence sparking a race between Dean Connell and defender Liam Leonard. There was only going to be one winner to that race and Connell gave keeper Shane Foley no chance from twelve yards.
The Celts were now content to defend their advantage and this allowed Clonmullion to get control in midfield with the tricky Graydon bringing Ryan Hennessy and David Persse into the game with intelligent use of the ball. They came close to pulling one back when Gary Foley gifted the ball to Brendan Curtis in the danger area but the midfielders shot flew inches over Mick Lawless’s bar.
Woodstock regained control however and could even afford to miss a spot kick when ‘keeper Shane Foley saved well from Ricky Moriariry after the custodian had taken down Tommy Nolan. Woodstock then wrapped a good day at the office when Moriarity was not to be denied a second , sweetly volleying Corey Lammon’s left wing cross to the net from twenty yards with the outside of his right boot with one minute remaining. There was elation for the large crowd of Celts supporters at the final whistle as news filtered through that their main rivals Bridge United had dropped two points to Kingstown, leaving them two points clear at the top.
Clonmullion FC: Shane Foley, Barry Foley, John Mahon, Liam Leonard, Mark Donovan, Ryan Hennessy, David Persse, Brendan Curtis, Nathan Robinson, John Joe Donovan, Dom Redmond. Subs: David Graydon (for Robinson 43) , Shane Redmond.
Woodstock Celts: Michael Lawless, Robbie Donogher, Jonathan Fennell, James Lawless, Gary Foley, Rolly Lammon, Corey Lammon, Ricky Moriarity, Dean Connell, Tommy Nolan, James Fennell. Subs: Tommy F Connell, Kieran Mulhall, Martin Brennan (for Connell 85), John Robinson, Mark Keogh (for James Fennell 86).
Referee: Peter Moore.