The final weekend of the local soccer season for 2019 was once again hit by the weather with a number of fixtures called off.
The biggest victory of the day came in the FAI Junior Cup as Crettyard advanced to Round 6 with a 4-3 win over Mullingar Town after extra time.
Lee Salter gave them an early lead but the Laois club fell 3-1 down by half time.
However, Ger Murphy and Bobby Doyle drew them level to force extra time where Danny Doyle grabbed the winner.
Here are reports on two CCFL games involving Stradbally Town.
Highfield United 0 Stradbally Town A 2
CCFL Division 1
Stradbally travelled to Birr to take on Highfield on what could only be described as a crisp and fresh Sunday morning. A credit to the home side for having the pitch in such good condition considering all the foul weather we’ve had recently.
Stradbally started strong and within 90 seconds were awarded a penalty after Justin Lalor broke through the Highfield defence to flick on a through ball only for a Highfield defender to stop it with his hand. Alex Conway stepped up to calmly slot the ball home from the spot.
Stradbally continued to press hard and control the game and they got just reward. Jimmy Langton drove down the right wing to cross to Benny Lawlor, who’s header drew a fantastic save from the Highfield keeper but Lawlor was quickly up on to his feet to smash home the rebound.
Highfield started to create a few chances and were almost back in the game but for brilliant one-on-one save from Stradbally keeper Joe Walshe. That brought an end to the proceedings for the first half.
Stradbally started the second period just as quickly as the first one and were very unlucky not to be three up after Conway’s header just sailed wide from a Langton cross.
The game was nip-tuck for a period but Stradbally held firm at the back. Walshe was called into action with 15 minutes to go, again making a tremendous one-on-one stop to keep his clean sheet in tact.
Stradbally had a couple more chances to increase their lead but found the Highfield keeper in similar form to Walshe and very difficult to beat.
Stradbally head into the Christmas break just 1 point off the top of the table and will hope to continue they’re recent good form on the resumption in January to mount a strong challenge for the Division 1 league title.
TEAM: Joe Walsh, Colin Beale, Podge Fitzpatrick, Richie Ryan, Tim Flood, Justin Lalor, Colin Murphy, Damien Murphy, Alex Conway, Benny Lawlor, Jimmy Langton. SUBS: Billy Murphy for Fitzpatrick, Jack Langton for Jimmy Langton, Jake Byrne for Conway, Jack Deegan for Flood.
Stradbally Town B 3 Abbeyleix Athletic 2
CCFL Division 3A
A fantastic team performance saw Stradbally Town B topple league leaders Abbeyleix in The Lawn this morning.
In extremely cold conditions, the home side saw a two goal first half lead evaporate before they struck late to claim a priceless win.
Abbeyleix had won the reverse fixture 3-1 at the start of the season but Stradbally started this game really well.
They dominated the first 30 minutes and were duly rewarded with two goals.
The first came from the most unlikeliest of sources – left back Richard ‘Stalks’ Carolan.
He combined well with Noel Delaney to start the move before slipping the ball through to Derek O’Gorman. He took the ball past the Abbeyleix defence and beat keeper Paddy Mulligan with his shot but the ball came back off the butt of the post. However, Carolan had continued his run and he smashed home the rebound from inside the six yard box – almost breaking the net.
Stradbally’s second goal was just around the corner as the excellent Luke Kelly combined with O’Gorman to set up Liam Clancy who went around keeper Mulligan before scoring into the corner.
In fairness to Abbeyleix though, they battled back and got a goal before half time.
It was rather fortuitous though as Jamie Whelan’s free kick from 40 yards was misjudged by Robbie Moore, who, while back-peddling, got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out.
And the sides were level just five minutes into the second half. Sean Devoy was harshly adjudged to have handled the ball in the box and Eoghan Fennelly dispatched the penalty and tie the game at 2-2.
Having seen their lead evaporate, Stradbally could have buckled but they regrouped and got back on top.
Liam Clancy was fouled on the win in the 75 minute and brother Colm swung in the free which was flicked on by Murtagh Condron into the path of Sean Devoy at the back post who forced in his second of the season.
Stradbally then had to withstand a barrage of Abbeyleix attacks in the time that remained.
Richard Carolan, Murtagh Condron, Noel Delaney and Ciaran O’Neill all made goal saving clearances and blocks as Stradbally held on to win.
STRADBALLY TOWN B: Robbie Moore, Colm Clancy, Richard Carolan, Murtagh Condron, Noel Delaney, John Clancy, Sean Devoy, Luke Kelly, Ciaran O’Neill, Derek O’Gorman, Liam Clancy. Subs: Tadhg Murray, Mark Gannon
Under 17 Preliminary Division
Portlaoise 1 Mucklagh 3
Highfield Utd 0 Stradbally Town 2
Stradbally Town B 3 Abbeyleix Athletic 2
Maryborough FC 1 Rosenallis B 4
CARLOW SOCCER LEAGUE
New Balance FAI Junior Cup 5th Round
Mullingar Town 3 Crettyard Utd 4 AET
Nationalist Premier Division
St Pat’s 3 Dolmen Celtic 2
Killeshin 2 Parkville United 3
Tully’s Travel Division 1
Parkville United B 3 Crettyard United B 0
St Fiacc’s 0 Baltinglass 3
White’s Total Health Pharmacy Division 2
Round Tower Rovers 2 Vale Wanderers B 2
Bagenalstown 2 St Pat’s B 1
Killeshin B 1 Baltinglass B 1
KILKENNY SOCCER LEAGUE
Clover United 1 Bridge United 1
Bridge United B 2 Durrow Lions 2