IT TOOK more than a month, but the Premier Division finally cranked back into action with a bang for Thomastown United A when they beat Clover United A 5-0, writes Trevor Spillane.
The Division One champions picked up their second win of the league campaign against fellow promoted outfit Clover United A, but had to wait for the floodgates to open.
Thomastown had pressed and probed for a way through, but found little joy until just before the hour mark.
Paddy Khan did the hard work with a great run into the right corner before hooking the ball back across the box. Stephen Connolly did the rest, volleying the ball home from six yards out, albeit with the help of a deflection off a Clover defender.
Didn’t hang about
Having waited 57 minutes for their first goal, the hosts didn’t hang about when it came to grabbing a second. Captain Andy Kavanagh was on hand to the net, sending ’keeper Tommy Moore the wrong way from the spot after Connolly had been tripped in the box by Pat Phelan.
The two-goal haul was harsh on Clover, who travelled to United Park with a young midfield core. With several under-19s in their ranks the Rathdowney side had to plenty of defending at times, but had been coping well with whatever Thomastown threw at them.
Capable between posts
Netminder Moore proved to be a capable foil between the posts, getting down well to beat away a low Connolly drive after just five minutes.
The goalkeeper almost turned provider on 23 minutes when his booming kick-out came off a Thomastown head and fell at the feet of Danny Campion.
The youngster sped off for goal, teeing up Lee Kinsella with a quick cross, but the striker dragged his shot wide.
Play quickly swung back to the other end, with Moore again denying United. It looked as if the hosts had finally taken the lead when Connolly got on the end of a teasing Eoin Manning free, but somehow Moore clawed the ball away to safety.
In Daniel Browne and Danny Campion Clover displayed a good raw threat, but the visitors rarely threatened Thomastown’s netminder Paul Dunne. His opposite number was the busier goalkeeper and came to his side’s rescue again just before half-time.
Pouncing on some slack play in midfield, Robbie Kavanagh raced forwards and fed Connolly with a quick pass. He let fly with a screamer, but Moore was quickly down to his right to push the ball to safety.
For all their pressure, Thomastown almost found themselves a goal down inside four second half minutes. Browne was the provider, glancing a kick-out on to Kinsella. He did the hard part, effortlessly skipping beyond the diving Dunne, but the striker saw his shot roll agonisingly wide.
Clover and Kinsella had another crack at breaking the deadlock a few minutes later, when he combined with Raymond Bowe to carve United open. A quick one-two gave Kinsella time to stand up a cross at the back post, but Colm Ryan’s header was too high to trouble Paul Dunne.
Those scares woke Thomastown up, as they proved with that swift brace. It wasn’t all plain sailing after that - Bowe went really close with volley from the edge of the box that whistled past the target – but Thomastown began to relax once Nathan Sherry smashed in Khan’s 65th minute cross from close range.
Thomastown made three changes in the closing stages, with the trio playing their part in swelling the score. Barry Maher delivered a peach of a ball on 85 minutes, firing a swerving cross from right to left that Robert Skehan knocked across goal for Connolly to finish.
Sixty seconds later they added a fifth, Maher and Paul Dempsey teaming up to allow Manning complete an emphatic win.
Thomastown United A: Paul Dunne, Robbie Kavanagh, Joey Murray (Paul Dempsey, 75 mins), Nathan Sherry (Robert Skehan, 66 mins), Davy Wemyss, Kevin O’Neill, Paddy Khan (Barry Maher, 66 mins), Eamon Lyster, Eoin Manning, Andy Kavanagh, Stephen Connolly.
Clover United A: Tommy Moore, Barry Bowe, Damien Madden (Alan Burke, 85 mins), Willie Bowe, Pat Phelan, Colm Ryan, Daniel Browne (James Fox, 55 mins), Raymond Bowe (Aiden Browne, 76 mins), Lee Kinsella, David Phelan, Daniel Campion.
Referee: Packie Geoghegan.