Men’s Leinster Division Two
The title race in men’s division two remains as it was after Pembroke II and Avoca picked off wins to keep the margin at four points going into the last three rounds of matches. For Pembroke, they picked off a comfortable win to edge ever closer to the edge of the title though they have dates with Kilkenny and Avoca still on the agenda.
For Avoca, they saw off Clontarf 2-1 in a high tempo, competitive affair in Newpark. The Blackrock hosts got off the blocks quickest and applied early pressure which saw Dante Tait’s one-on-one with Stephen Cairns squirt harmlessly wide.Tarf worked their way into the game through the composure of Gareth Borland at the back and the hard work and creativity of the Mullins brothers through midfield. The opening goal followed soon afterwards as turnover ball led to a circle penetration that found Cain Cooney unmarked at the back post where he duly tapped home.
Avoca continued to press high putting pressure on the ‘tarf defence. Elliot Goode missed a chance in front of goal but, shortly afterwards, a crash ball from Richard Couse was deflected home by the diving Andrew Ramsay to get Avoca back on terms.
They were lucky to stay that way, though, as Tarf earned a penalty stroke. Stefan Gallagher saved superbly, though, with an outstretched left boot to deny John Mullins.
The second half continued in the same high tempo spirit with Avoca edging the chances. Cairns saved brilliantly from a reaction shot from Goode and a reverse stick drive from the influential Couse. Eventually, the hosts made their breakthrough with Couse picking up a mistrapped corner to drive right and crash the ball home.
Clontarf continued to press and probe the Avoca defence in the final quarter forcing a couple of short corners and high turnover ball but were unable to find the all important equaliser.
It proved an important three points for them as Kilkenny – while they beat Clontarf 4-3 on Saturday – fell 5-0 to Monkstown on Sunday to lose ground and hand Avoca a huge boost in terms of guaranteeing second place and a potential playoff spot against the tenth place side in division one should they be unable to overhaul Pembroke.
At the bottom, Tarf’s two losses drags them back into a bit of trouble with two sides to go down. Three Rock Rovers II leap-frogged Weston and moved out of the relegation zone courtesy of a 4-1 win in Lucan. Dylan Cullen got them up and running with a close range finish in the first ten minutes but Weston were level at half-time when Adam Clayton intercepted on the 25 and set in motion a three on one move that Richie Bagnall flipped over Wendel Armstrong.
The game was won, however, early in the second half with three goals in quick succession with Cullen and Luke McSharry scoring from corners before Dylan Shirley scored a peach, stealing the ball on halfway before rocketing into the top corner.
YMCA II, meanwhile, made it eight points from four games since the turn of the year as Will Powderly netted a hat trick against a threadbare Suttonians while Andrew Meates and Dylan Swanepoel were also on the mark. It lifts them into a share of fifth place and four points ahead of the red zone.
Men’s Leinster Division Two results
Saturday: Kilkenny 4 Clontarf 3 (John Lennon, Kevin Mullins, own goal); YMCA II 5 (Will Powderly 3, Andrew Meates, Dylan Swanepoel) Suttonians 1
Sunday: Weston 1 (Richie Bagnall) Three Rock Rovers II 4 (Dylan Cullen 2, Dylan Shirley, Luke McSharry); Pembroke II 6 (Justin Sherriff, Scott Furlong, Andy Shekleton, David Quinn, Patrick Good, Jacob Offerman) Dublin University 1; Avoca 2 (Richard Couse, Andrew Ramsay) Clontarf 1 (Cain Cooney); Monkstown II 5 (Andrew Gaw 2, Zack Dutton 2, Jake Beirne) Kilkenny 0
** If you know of the missing scorers from last weekend, please get in contact. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org