Thomastown’s triumph turns title race on its head

The race for the Premier Division title might not be as cut and dried as many expected after one result raised a few eyebrows over the weekend.

The race for the Premier Division title might not be as cut and dried as many expected after one result raised a few eyebrows over the weekend.

Thomastown United A kept the heat on table-toppers Freebooters A, and ended the unbeaten record of reigning champions Evergreen A, with a 1-0 win on Sunday. Steven Connolly was the man of the moment for United, striking the only goal of the game two minutes before half-time.

The result keeps Thomastown safely in second place. They are seven points behind Booters with two games in hand - win those, and the gap could be down to one. Evergreen are still well in the title race, but even if they win their four games in hand they cannot overtake the Blues.

Newpark A’s title hopes suffered after they were held to their second draw in a row. A week after their 0-0 with East End United, the city side were forced to share the spoils again when they drew 1-1 with the Lions in Durrow.

There was better news for Bridge United A, who saw off Fort Rangers 4-2. Goals from Conor English (2), Eoin Kavanagh and Sean Murphy did the trick for United, the first time they’ve collected three points since a 6-0 demolition of East End United A on August 25.

The result means bad news for Fort, whose record of being the third longest team in the top flight (after Evergreen A and Freebooters A) looks like finally coming to an end. They are five points adrift at the bottom of the table.

Meanwhile in Division One Callan United hit the goal trail as they blasted their way past Tullaroan. With Simon Burke and John Mark Egan helping themselves to a brace apiece, more goals from Lee Delaney and Cathal Byrne saw United rise to the top of the table by lunch-time. Brendan Burke struck twice from the penalty spot for Tullaroan.

While the stay was short-lived - two goals from Enda Purcell saw Spa United move back to the summit that evening after the Johnstown men beat Freebooters B 2-0 - the result still leaves Callan in with a shout of achieving promotion.

The final game in the division saw Stoneyford United grab a point in their 2-2 draw at home to Newpark B. The result keeps them a point clear of bottom-placed Freebooters B but they are still in the relegation zone as they trail Deen Celtic by one point - but the ’Comer men have three games in hand.

Away from the local games Freshford Town proudly marched into the last 16 of the Leinster Junior Cup, holding their nerve to beat Offaly’s CK United on penalties.

Keen to bounce back from their FAI Junior Cup loss to Sheriff YC, Freshford made all the early running in Tullamore and took the lead when Paul Guinan netted a first half penalty after Eoin Vaughan was brought down in the box.

Freshford maintained that lead well into the second half, but suffered a blow when goalkeeper Seamus Hayes, who had been performing well for the visitors, was forced out of the game with an injury. Darren Brennan took his place between the posts, but in the seven minutes of injury-time played CK bagged an equaliser, forcing the game into extra-time.

The tie went all the way to penalties, where Town made no mistake. Jim Kenny, Eoin Vaughan, Paul Guinan and Liam Hickey all scored, with Brennan saving one, as Town advanced to a home tie against Crumlin.

“It’s been a tough month for us,” said team manager James Farrell, “but we’ve enjoyed it.”