Men’s Leinster Division One opened up significantly last Saturday as YMCA inflicted a first defeat of the campaign on rivals Corinthian to bring them back within range going into the closing stages of the campaign.
Goals from rising star Jack O’Grady and Eric Prehn did the damage in a 2-0 result that reopens the title race. The Y had lost ground a couple of weeks back when they fell to Rathgar 4-3 which saw them fall back from the Whitechurch Park outfit.But this result puts them within three points of the leaders going into this weekend’s matches. The two sides are well clear of the chasing pack and look all but assured of taking the first two of the EYHL promotion playoff places but top spot – guaranteeing a direct ticket to the final playoff weekend – will be hugely coveted.
For the reds, perhaps the key remaining on the agenda is their away date at third place Rathgar on March 9 who are the only side with an unbeaten home record.
Corinthian won 2-1 on Tuesday evening against Clontarf to retake a three-point lead in the table – having been level after Saturday on 27 points – but are not in action on Saturday as they focus on Sunday’s Irish Senior Cup semi-final at Banbridge.
As such, YM can move back into a share of first if they beat Avoca on Saturday. Rathgar, meanwhile, have carved out a gap in third place off the back of that win over the Y with Stuart and Andrew Malcolm running up the goals.
They both netted in a 2-1 away win over Weston, their only success away from High School to date – a stark contrast to their home form.
Clontarf are four points back courtesy of a 4-2 win over Dublin University but a 1-1 draw at home against Kilkenny – John Mullins and Ben Wallace trading goals – was a result that sytmied their progress.
Indeed, five draws from 10 games makes Gareth Borlands’s side hard to beat but they are not getting enough maximums to propel them up the table.
The bottom half of the table remains well-matched with plenty of high scores. Fingal got their second win of the campaign when they saw off Weston 5-3, coming back from an early concession to lead thanks to goals from former Skerries men Ronan Gannon and Jason Rogan.
Weston equalised again before half-time but a Shane Dempsey double and one from Jim Dunne saw the Fingallians pull away after the break.
Kilkenny picked up five points from their last four games in their bid to rise off the bottom, beating Avoca 3-2 thanks to a pair of Billy McEnery double before their draw with Tarf. Next on their agenda is a tie against Trinity on Saturday.
Weston, meanwhile, shared the points with Avoca last Saturday 2-2 to stay within range of Kilkenny and Fingal with Avoca a point better off.
Men’s Leinster Division One
January 21: Kilkenny 4 (D McClure 2, E McClure, D O’Gorman) Fingal 4 (J Rogan 2, E Bane, S Dempsey)
January 28: Corinthian 3 (J Bruton 2, G Holmes) Kilkenny 1 (S Charles); Avoca 2 (E Ramsay 2) Dublin University 3 (A Colton, C Hynes, R Nichols); Fingal 5 (S Dempsey 2, J Rogan, R Gannon, J Dunne) Weston 3 (R Booyens, K Bell, P Lawson); Rathgar 4 (S Malcolm 2, J Orr, S Gould) YMCA 3 (N Berichon 2, T Ritchie)
February 2: Weston 1 (T Donnelly) Rathgar 2 (S Malcolm, A Malcolm)
February 4: Dublin University 2 (R Nichols 2) Clontarf 4 (S Cassidy, J Lennon, G Borland, O’Donnell); Kilkenny 3 (B McEnery 2, E Walshe) Avoca 2 (E Ramsay, H Fowler-Hudson); Weston 1 (G Ruddock) Corinthian 6 (G Holmes 2, D Howard 2, J Perdue, R Clarke); YMCA 2 (A Jones, N Berichon) Fingal 0
February 11: Avoca 2 (S Lowry, A Meagher) Weston 2 (T Donnelly, P Lawson); Clontarf 1 (J Mullins) Kilkenny 1 (B Wallace); Corinthian 0 YMCA 2 (J O’Grady, E Prehn)
February 14: Clontarf 1 (K Murray) Corinthian 2 (D Howard, R Clarke)
Saturday, February 18 fixtures: Clontarf v Weston, 12.30pm, Mount Temple; Kilkenny v Dublin University, 12.30pm, Kilkenny College; YMCA v Avoca, 3.45pm, Wesley College