Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Soccer – CCFL Senior Division

Mountmellick Utd A          1

St Peter’s      0

By Mark Comerford

MOUNTMELLICK United A picked up a huge win on Sunday morning – their first of the season. Sean George’s men beat Athlone side, St Peter’s by a Conor Comiskey goal to nil after putting in their best performance for months. The win lifts them off the bottom of the Senior Division and just one point behind today’s opponents.

Mountmellick got off to a bright start, getting the ball down and playing at pace. Owen Thomas and Luke O’Connor were the midfield pair and each played a huge role in their side’s victory, dictating the play and creating a lot of problems for St Peter’s.

But it was the visitors who created the game’s first chance. A ball over the top beat the Mountmellick back-line, leaving John Stapleton one-on-one with Michael Spain, but the big centre forward scuffed his shot.

Moments later it was Mountmellick’s turn to go close. A great team move ended with Conor Comiskey turning his man and getting the shot away, but it went just wide of the post

Comiskey did get his goal in the 24th minute however, the match-winning strike coming from an intelligent counter attack. Thomas played a lovely pass to release Comiskey; the striker got the ball caught under his feet, but kept his composure to put it beyond Noel Mulligan. Comiskey has been a revelation since making the move from the ‘B’ team and took his goal here very well.

Mountmellick had two big opportunities to double the lead, but the second goal did not come. Comiskey, first, kissed the post with a header from ten yards out. His forward partner, Mark Grennan came close soon afterwards with a great long-range effort, but Mulligan got a strong hand to it.

St Peter’s are a big, physical side but they struggled to get going, let down time and again by inaccurate passing. Their 5-4-1 formation showed a lot of negativity and they created very little as a result. Mountmellick never really looked in much danger, thanks in no small part to an outstanding performance from centre back Colin Murphy.

The visitors did, however, have a chance to steal a point in injury time. The ball sat up nicely for Ben Kilkenny, whose strike looked destined for the net, but Shane O’Connell was there to clear the ball off the line. How valuable could that clearance be at the end of the season?

Mountmellick employ a very traditional, very rigid 4-4-2 formation, but it may be hampering the potential of the squad. Eoghan O’Riordan is sensational player in central midfield, but struggles to have as much impact on the game from full-back.

Thomas and O’Connor played extremely well together on the weekend, but the addition of O’Riordan to make it a three-man midfield could be just what Mountmellick need to turn their season around.

MOUNTMELLICK UTD A: Michael Spain, Jordan Collins, Colin Murphy, Shane O’Connell, Eoghan O’Riordan, Jack Gorman, Owen Thomas, Luke O’Connor, Robert Hibbitts, Mark Grennan, Conor Comiskey.

Subs: Jamie Sales for Grennan (52m), Cian Thompson for Hibbitts (81m), Brandon Cooper for Thomas (84m)

ST PETER’S: Noel Mulligan, Dean Reynolds, Oran Holland, Fergal Murray, David Asijave, Owen Summer, Graham Whitten, Ben Kilkenny, John Stapleton, Dylan Summer, Luke Kelly.

Subs: Gary Kelly for Asijave (h/t), Jayden Timothy for Summer (65m), Alex Small for Whitten (80m) Luke Francis for Stapleton (80m) Phillip Coffee for Summer (88m)

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