FIVE MORE teams kept themselves in the hunt for the McCalmont Cup as Kilkenny’s premier cup competition provided plenty of cracking entertainment over the Easter weekend.
The potential of a glittering end to their season is still on the cards for Thomastown United A, who moved into the final eight with a 2-0 home win over Clover United A.
In the battle of the two promoted teams, second half strikes from Marty Lawrence and Barry Maher saw Thomastown keep up a winning run that has left them within touching distance of capturing the Division One title.
After a close first half, Thomastown took the lead on the hour when Lawrence took down a long ball from out on the left and fired it across goal to the far corner.
The lead was doubled soon after. Chasing after a long David Prendergast ball, Barry Maher was rewarded when he recovered possession following an untimely spill by the Clover ’keeper and tucked home the insurance goal.
Thomastown, who can wrap up the title with a win against Freshford Town this Sunday, are determined to end their season on a high.
“That win helped us keep our momentum going,” said player/manager Paul Dunne. “We have put together a great run which leaves us in a great position to end our season well. It’s a credit to the lads, who have put in a great effort all year.”
It really was a Good Friday for Callan United, who became the second team to move into the quarter-finals when they beat Orchard Rovers over the weekend.
United, who saw off Evergreen A in the opening round, made it back-to-back wins in the competition as they got past the Division Three opponents in the city on Friday.
The winners didn’t have it all their own way, however. Rovers, who comfortably beat Gowran in the first round, proved tough to break down and kept the game locked at 0-0 at half-time. Two quick Callan goals after the restart, the second coming from Simon Burke, gave United a lead they held on to, but a late Orchard penalty gave them some nervy moments before the final whistle.
Freebooters A also advanced, keeping their dreams of a hat-trick of McCalmont Cup titles very much alive thanks to a 3-0 win over fellow Premier Division side Fort Rangers.
Goals from Greg Morton, Damien Raggett and Michael Comerford were enough to help the Blues see off Fort in Wallslough and book their place in the last eight.
Fellow top flight side East End United showed they were in goal-hungry mood again as they beat St Anne’s 6-1 in Bennettsbridge.
Having disposed of St John’s 7-2 in the first game in the Cup, they made sure of another win against a Division Three team by a five-goal margin on Sunday afternoon.
Brian Lannon helped himself to the lion’s share, bagging a hat-trick in their big win against the team from Gortnahoe/Glengoole. Michael O’Neill chipped in with a brace to bring his Cup haul to four goals – he grabbed a brace in the win over St John’s.
Paul Murphy was also on the scoresheet for the second McCalmont match in succession as the Bennettsbridge men ensured their safe passage to the quarter-finals. So too did the Lions A team, who beat Freshford Town 2-1 in Durrow.
The last quarter-final spot will be filled this weekend, as AC Kilkenny A host Evergreen C at the Waterbarracks on Sunday.
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