00:00 Saturday 19 March 2011 

Sullane crowned 2A champs

SULLANE were crowned Division 2 A champions following their comfortable 3-0 home win against fellow promotion rivals Mizen AFC last Sunday morning in Coolea.

Conor Lynch, Jason McCarthy and Sean O'Riordan netted the goals for the Mid Cork based outfit which propels them into the first division next season. Sullane currently celebrating their 20th anniversary in existence also annexed the U14 schoolboys' league title over the course of the weekend to cap a dream double for the Gaeltacht side. Mizen AFC who have embarked on a great run of form over recent week's must now pick themselves up for this Thursday's semi-final first leg play-off home clash against Bay Rovers A.

The winners of this tie proceed to a play-off final decider against the victors of the Riverside Athletic v Dunmanway Town B tie which is delicately poised at 2-1 to the Ballineen based team at present following their narrow victory achieved last Sunday afternoon in West End. John Hennessy with a brace was the Riverside hero. Colin O'Donovan replied with the solitary Dunmanway Town to ensure a cracking second leg tie awaits this Thursday morning.

Knockavilla secured their Ladies' Cup final berth for the first time in their illustrious history following their hard earned 2-1 away win achieved against Dunmanway Town last Sunday. Cork football stars Elaine Cotter and Caoimhe Creedon struck for the Upton based side to secure a comprehensive 6-2 aggregate victory. Knockavilla will meet Drinagh Rangers in this year's much anticpated ladies cup final following Drinagh's comprehensive 5-0 home win against Lyre Rovers last Sunday afternoon in Canon Crowley Park. Cathriona Moloney opened the scoring for the home team to ensure they held a deserved one goal interval lead. Lyre Rovers' goalkeeper Gretta Cormican was in inspired form but Drinagh upped the ante significantly in the second half with long serving midfielder Aisling Connolly netting a hat-trick before right winger Eileen Coughlan concluded the scoring in the final minute to secure a crushing 7-1 aggregate victory. The Ladies Cup Final will be held on Sunday April 10th, as part of a bumper cup final double header. Drinagh have won the Ladies Cup once before in 2007.

Bunratty United extended their lead at the summit of the premier league to eleven points following their comfortable 3-0 away win against Dunmanway Town. Colm Cleary netted a brace to make it nine goals thus far for the ace attacker and Kevin Holland struck the visitors'goals. Reigning league champions Skibbereen were held to a scoreless draw by Clonakilty AFC. Skibb laid siege to the Clon goal but could not penetrate a resolute Clon defence for whom in particular experienced custodian Paudie Ahern excelled with the aforementioned keeper making a brilliant penalty save to deny James Reen in the 75th minute after Aaron O'Regan was felled.

Clonakilty always maintained a threat on the break mainly through lively young attacker Connor McKahey who forced a superb save from Ryan Price in a thrilling finale. Skibb are now eleven points behind the league leaders Bunratty with three games in hand as the leagues gear up for a thrilling conclusion. Skibb are due to travel to play Leeside in Inchigeela this Thursday morning at 11am.

Droumree Dynamos gave their hopes of preserving their premier league status a real fillip following their 3-1 home win against Drinagh Rangers last Sunday morning in Rusheen. Drinagh opened the scoring through JJ Hurley but a brace from Martin Kelleher which was followed by a Sean Kelleher strike paved the way for a shock home win. Droumree are now two points clear of Togher Celtic with a game in hand and three points ahead of Leeside in their bid to avoid relegation to the first division. Togher Celtic also recorded a crucial away win against Ballydehob. Niall Hurley was the Togher hero with the solitary goal. Despite this win, Togher remain in a perilous position as they are currently engulfed in the relegation zone, with only two games remaining. Togher play host to Drinagh this Sunday before concluding their league programme with an away fixture against Skibbereen.

Crookstown moved to within two points of Division 1 leaders Bay Rovers with both sides possesing two games remaining this season as the race to clinch the championship crown develops into a fascinating finale. Crookstown cruised to a 3-1 away win against Kilmichael Rovers. Finbarr Crowley with his 12th league goal and Martin O'Sullivan struck the goals for a Crookstown team bidding to make it back-to-back successful promotion campaigns. James O'Leary replied with a consolation Kilmichael goal. Crossmahon's hopes of automatic promotion suffered a severe setback as they succumbed to a 3-0 home defeat against Aultagh Celtic for whom Luke Murphy and Colm O'Neill (2) scored to all but secure Aultagh's safety. Crossmahon remain four points behind Crookstown following this shock reverse.

Ardfield inflicted a crushing 5-0 home defeat to compound local rivals Clonakilty Town's relegation fears following their clash last Sunday morning. Ardfield cruised into a three nil interval lead following strikes from Niall Barrett, Conor Uhl following a long range drive and a close range Mark Evans goal. Long serving striker Diarmuid Keohane made an immediate impact upon his arrival in the closing stages with a neat strike before Colin Lynch concluded the scoring with a sweetly struck volley. Rosscarbery and Castletown shared the spoils following their entertaining 1-1 draw. Daniel Harte opened the scoring for a Rosscarbery team for whom Daniel Kelly was their star man. Colin O'Leary restored parity for Casteltown Celtic. Rosscarbery and Clonakilty remain in the drop zone three points adrift of Castletown Celtic, with Castletown also possessing games in hand thus ensuring a very difficult task lies in store for both Clonakilty and Rosscarbery FC in their bid to preserve their first division status.

Baltimore continued their very impressive end of season form with a 3-1 away win against Bantry Gunners which condemns the Bantry outfit to second division soccer next year. Gavin Kiely, Martin Murphy and Edward Sheehy struck the Crabs' goals. Experienced left back Danny O'Driscoll struck the Gunners' consolation goal to make it two goals in three games.

There was one game played in the ladies' league with Bandon recording an emphatic 8-3 home win against Crookstown. Fiona Crowley (2), Ciara Desmond (2), Sinead O'Regan (2), Stacey Paul and Caroline Sugrue netted for Bandon. Melissa Finn with a brace and Cathy Kenneally replied with the Crookstown goals. Bandon are now three points clear of both Drinagh Rangers and Dunmanway Town at the summit of the ladies league, but reigning champions Drinagh possess one game in hand as the ladies' league also gears up for a thrilling finale.

Cloughduv secured their Division 2 Cup final berth following their facile 5-1 home win achieved against Clonakilty AFC B. William Buckley (2), Ger Ahern, Kevin Crowley and John Madden struck for a Cloughduv team bidding to make it a league and cup double. Georgi Birlea replied with the Clonakilty AFC B goal.

There are a number of important games down for decision this Thursday, with Clonakilty AFC playing host to Togher Celtic in the quarter-final stages of the Premier Division Cup. Ballydehob and Skibbereen have secured their semi-final berths thus far. The U18 league resumes this Saturday afternoon with league leaders Drinagh Rangers due to entertain Riverside Atheltic in a repeat of their Cup semi-final clash which the visitors won following a penalty shoot-out. Drinagh currently lead the table by a point ahead of nearest challengers Lyre Rovers. A vital game which could have vital implications at either end of the first division table takes place next Sunday morning in Darrara beween Clonakilty Town and Crookstown. The home side need to win to secure their first division status whilst the visitors need to win to clinch promotion to the top flight.

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