EAST End United A booked their place in the second round of the McCalmont Cup, but needed extra-time to get the better of AC Kilkenny A.
Michael O’Neill scored in the first half time but an injury-time strike from Stephen Quinn gave AC Kilkenny’s A team a last-gasp equaliser.
That left the sides with an additional 20 minutes of extra-time, but East End didn’t panic. A Brian Lannon penalty six minutes from the end ensured the Bennettsbridge side advanced. How they would settle for the same result next time they play AC, as a win in their final league game could see them promoted.
Fort Rangers had the Nugent brothers to thank as they beat Thomastown United B 3-2 to set up a meeting with Evergreen C in the second round. Eddie Nugent grabbed a brace, while little brother Emmet also hit the net as they scored a good win away to United’s second string side on Sunday. Danny McDonald netted twice for the hosts.
While their A team celebrated winning the Division One title there was no joy for Newpark B. They lost their city derby with Freebooters A on Sunday afternoon, but not before giving the visitors a fright when they took an early lead. However, Greg Morton (2) and Julian O’Keeffe led the fight back as the Blues won to set up an interesting clash at home to East End United A in the second round.
Thomastown United A moved back into second place in the Premier Division, but may have done more damage at the other end of the table.
Sean Brennan’s goal was enough to give the Grennan men all three points, but has left Clover United A looking nervously over their shoulder.
The chance of the title may be gone for Thomastown - Evergreen A have a seven-point lead with a game in hand - but second place would be a remarkable finish for their first season back in the top flight.
With just one game left in their league season Clover are third from bottom on 11 points, two clear of a Fort Rangers side who have two games in hand. Clover have a tough task in the fact that their last game is against Freebooters A, but Fort haven’t got it easy either; their last three games are against Evergreen A, Evergreen B and Lions A - but they have already beaten the Lions on their own home turf.
In the only other top flight game Evergreen B shared the spoils when they drew 2-2 with Bridge United A at the Kells Road. Scorers for the hosts were Mikey McDonald and Conor O’Neill.
Urlingford’s hopes of avoiding the drop back to Division Two took a hit as they were rocked by Stoney’ on Sunday. United’s 4-2 win on Sunday was their fourth victory in five games, a remarkable change in form which has seen them charge away from the threat of the drop to the safety of fourth place.
Conor Coffey, Eamon Foley, James Moran and Simon O’Shea were on target as they beat Urlingford for the second time in three games - Moran’s goal made it three in two matches against the North Kilkenny side, who are now third from bottom on 16 points with 15 games played.
Fellow Northerners Spa United are on the same tally with just one game to play themselves. They eased their worries slightly with a 5-1 win over the already relegated Highview Athletic A in Harristown. That was enough to ease them to fourth from bottom, but both Spa and neighbours Urlingford know that Callan, who are currently second from bottom on 15 points, can overtake them should they win either of the two games they have in hand.
Freshford Town’s failure to pick up the three points at home to Evergreen C means that Tullaroan have all but been crowned the Division Two champions.
The league leaders made sure of opened a gap at the summit when the ever-dangerous Brendan Burke (2) and Ger Brennan continued their fine scoring run to get all the goals in the 3-1 win over Clifden.
That result meant Freshford needed to get a win to keep their slim hopes alive. However, Sean Lowry and Peter Tierney scoring for Evergreen C Town could only manage a 2-2 draw, a result which means they are four points adrift in second place having played two games more than Tullaroan.
The real danger now for Freshford is that they could be overtaken by third-placed Thomastown United B, who are seven points behind but have three games in hand on Town. A win away to Newpark B next Sunday would be a step in the right direction for the Blues.
Elsewhere Brookville scored a magnificent seven as they beat St John’s 7-1 on Sunday, while goals from Jason Dermody, Gearoid Murphy and Jimmy Murphy ensured River Rangers took all three points with a 3-2 away win over Lions B in Durrow. John Muldowney and Kevin Donohue were on the mark for the hosts.
IF CALLAN United are going to retain the McCalmont Cup they’re going to have to do it the hard way.
The champions’ got a strange reward for knocking out Evergreen B in the when the draw for the second round of the 2013 competition was made over the weekend - they got a home game against Evergreen A this Sunday!
It might look like Callan have been a little unlucky to be paired with the Premier Division’s champions-elect, but they can draw on their experiences of last season. Back in 2012 they were pitted against Evergreen A in the opening round of the Cup and caused an upset when they progressed on penalties.
McCalmont Cup draw, second round: Callan United v Evergreen A, Lions B v Brookville, Newpark A v Clover United, Bridge United B v Thomastown United A, Freebooters A v East End United A, Evergreen C v Fort Rangers, St Anne’s v River Rangers, Lions A v Clifden United.