Sometimes a single change can spark incredible results – just ask Callan United A, who found a switch paid rich dividends.
United put their name in the hat for the next round of the McCalmont Cup when two goals from Robbie Wall helped them past the tricky test provided by Ormonde Villa.
While the meeting of a Premier Division side against Division Three opposition might have seemed like an easy route for the hosts, they didn’t have it all their own way.
In fact, it wasn’t until Wall was moved up top that the home side hit the jackpot. Just when it looked like Villa would hold out until the break, they were undone by a Callan break down the left eight minutes from half-time.
Dylan Dunphy and Tony Delaney did the legwork, dashing down the left before Dunphy fired over a teasing cross. Switched to up top from the right wing, Wall was in the perfect spot to meet the delivery, firing it home via the inside of the far post.
The goal came at just the right time for United, who had threatened in the early stages but couldn’t find that telling final ball. They went close when a short Dunphy corner was drilled across goal by Luke Burke after 11 minutes, but Villa netminder John Rice managed to tip the ball skyward before collecting it at the second attempt.
Rice was called into duty for the under-fire visitors again on 24 minutes. This time Brian Doheny tried his luck from a set-piece, firing a menacing free past a five-man wall, but Rice got down smartly to his right to push the ball away.
Under the Cosh
Villa had been under the cosh for spells, but lifted the siege and almost grabbed the opening goal ten minutes before the break. Paul Denieffe was at the heart of the chance, acrobatically turning the ball into the path of strike partner Aidan Nolan. He poked a low shot past his marker, one that looked like sneaking it at the far post, but his effort went wide.
Callan were spurred on by that goal, but for all their efforts they couldn’t find another. They went close – really close – when C.J. Delaney got on the end of a Dylan Dunphy corner less than a minute into the second half, but David Barry headed clear from the goal line.
Villa, who had soaked up plenty of pressure, grew in confidence in the second half. With Peter Vickery, Barry and Gavin Bourke driving them on from midfield they fashioned a great chance to get back into the game with 51 minutes on the clock.
Dropping deep to win possession Paul Denieffe worked the ball to Bourke, who released Aidan Nolan with a great pass. Played onside, Nolan sprinted through and aimed at goal, but his shot was straight at netminder Owen Wall.
Failing to take the chance came back to haunt Villa when Callan made the game safe 18 minutes from time.
With Ormonde Villa still pressing for a way back into the game they were caught when Callan stepped up in attack. Seizing on a loose ball, Robbie Wall dashed towards goal and let fly with a searing shot.
Netminder John Rice did well to thwart Wall at the first attempt, but wasn’t so lucky when Dylan Dunphy’s rebound was deflected back into Wall’s path. Given a second bite, he didn’t miss, firing home with a cool strike.
Callan United A: Owen Wall; Alan Costigan, John J. Egan, Cathal Byrne (John Mark Egan, 63 mins), Luke Burke; Dylan Dunphy, Brian Doheny, Mark Laffin, Robbie Wall; Tony Delaney, C.J. Delaney.
Ormonde Villa: John Rice; Jamie Cahill, Daniel Driscoll, Kieran Banville, Mark Croghan (Mohamid, 87 mins); David Barry (Liam Walsh, 63 mins), Gavin Bourke (Charlie Deegan, 80 mins), Peter Vickery, Dylan Walsh; Paul Denieffe, Aidan Nolan.
Referee: Jimmy Nolan.
Deen demolition job
Deen Celtic’s A team also advanced to the next round of the McCalmont Cup thanks to a big win on the Kells Road.
The ’Comer side went on a goal spree against Evergreen 46, beating their hosts 8-1. Robert Brennan led the way with a hat-trick, while five other players – Jonny Dowling, Jack Brennan, John Deevy, Graham Lawlor and Eoin Brennan – all got their names on the scoresheet.
The Kells Road was also the venue for another Cup clash during the week, as Evergreen B took on Evergreen C for a place in the next round.
Sent on their way by a powerful Gary Owens free-kick the B team took the lead, only to be pulled back by an Eoin Connolly goal that forced extra-time.
Again, the B team took the lead in the 20 additional minutes, this time through a John Brett header, but just when they looked to be through Donal Brennan popped up with a volley to send the game to penalties. This time Gary Maher’s side made no mistakes, scoring all five spot kicks to beat their clubmates.
Also through are East End United and Freebooters B, albeit via walkover.
Away from the Cup Stoneyford United took a big step towards retaining their Premier Division status when they beat Freebooters A 5-1 on Sunday morning.
Goals from Ciaran Colfer (2), Damien Raggett, Martin Murray and Conor Coffey helped United blitz ’Booters – who pulled a goal back through Sam Watkins – as they moved four points clear of Newpark A in the battle against the drop.
With three games in hand on their city rivals, a win away to Thomastown United this weekend would secure their top-flight status.