REIGNING champions Callan United made the perfect start to the defence of their McCalmont Cup title.
It was almost déjà vu for United, who beat Newpark to the spoils in last season’s entertaining finale, as they were drawn against Evergreen in the opening round ties. This time however it was Evergreen B who provided the opposition. Although Gary Owens netted once for Evergreen, Simon Burke scored twice as the holders came away from the Kells Road with a 2-1 win under their belts.
There was better news for Evergreen’s other teams in the competition. It was a case of two out of three ain’t bad as the A team beat Tullaroan 2-0 to advance to the second round. Niall Andrews and Oisin Corr scored for the Premier Division leaders while Evergreen C sprang a surprise when beating Division One title chasers Southend United 2-1 thanks to goals from Jack Walsh and Cormac Hogan.
There was better news for another of Division One’s league contenders, as Newpark claimed a top flight scalp in the form of Bridge United A. Shane O’Neill hit the net twice for Mark Ryan’s side, setting them up nicely for their league clash with Southend this weekend.
The biggest winners on the weekend were Thomastown United A, who put in a five-star performance when beating St John’s at Scanlon Park. Barry Maher, Robert Skehan, Sean Brennan, Nathan Sherry and William Flood were all on the scoresheet for the Blues.
Elsewhere Brookville staged a remarkable comeback as they got past Freshford Town in extra-time. The Ballyragget side looked to be in trouble when, after trailing 1-0 at half-time, they fell two behind midway through the second half.
It looked to be curtains for the hosts, until the introduction of Stephen Ruth. The sub hit the net twice inside 10 minutes, then worked his magic with an assist for Anthony Butler to score the winner in the opening period of extra-time.
Clover United A won out by the odd goal in five as they got the better of Stoneyford United in a good battle. James Campion, Ned Browne and Mark Daly were on target for the Rathdowney men as they beat Stoney’ 3-2 in Stoneyford.
Highview Athletic A’s season suffered another blow as they lost 2-0 away to River Rangers. Jason Dermody and Darragh Egan netted for the Kilmanagh men against the side they will be playing in Division Two next term.
Elsewhere AC Kilkenny B were beaten 1-0 at home by Lions B, the Durrow men’s second team joining their A side in the second round after the Lions A beat Spa United 3-0. St Anne’s are also into the second round after a 3-1 win over East End United B after extra-time.
The draws have been made for the Division One Cup, Division Two Ken & Michael Byrne Memorial Cup and Youths’ Cup.
Division One - Round One: Urlingford v Spa United. Round Two: (1) Callan United v Newpark, (2) AC Kilkenny A v Southend United, (3) Highview Athletic A v Stoneyford United, (4) Urlingford or Spa v East End United. Semi-finals: 2 v 3, 1 v 4.
Division Two Ken & Michael Byrne Memorial Cup - Preliminary Round: River Rangers v Thomastown United B, Evergreen C v Lions B. Round One: (1) Clifden United v River Rangers or Thomastown, (2) Tullaroan v Brookville, (3) Newpark B v St John’s, (4) Evergreen C or Lions B v Freshford Town. Semi-finals: 4 v 1, 2 v 3.
Youths’ Cup - Round One: Newpark v Thomastown United, Freebooters v Fort Rangers. Round Two: (1) Freshford Town v Lions, (2) Clover United v Callan United, (3) Evergreen v Newpark or Thomastown, (4) Deen Celtic v Freebooters or Fort Rangers. Semi-finals: 4 v 1, 3 v 2.
Clubs are also reminded that all trophies won last season must now be returned to the Kilkenny & District League. Silverware can be given to any League committee member.