Only two games went ahead in the top flight for differing reasons this weekend and the results from both games having telling effects at either end of the table. First up was the visit of Thurles Town to the VEC to play Nenagh Celtic as the home side look to make full use of their games in hand with title rivals Streamstown Celtic and Cloughjordan not in league action this weekend. But, it was the visitors who started brightest when they took an early lead in the first minute thanks to a lightning strike from Stevie Coppinger. However, Town were missing a number of regulars and Nenagh took full advantage to put the early set back behind them as they went into the break 4 – 1 ahead. The second half was a more even affair with both sides only scoring the once, with Barry Ryan converting from the spot for Town. On the mark for Celtic on the day were Danny Ryan, Paddy Flynn, Sean Healy and a brace for the inform Jimmy Hynes. Clodiagh Rangers conceded home advantage in their basement battle with BT Harps and despite the odds, managed to come away with all three points thanks to a hard fought 3 – 2 victory to go level on points with their hosts, making for intriguing few weeks ahead in the battle to avoid relegation. Clodiagh took the lead early in the first half when Greg Fewer ghosted unmarked in to the BT area and headed home a perfectly delivered Denis McCullagh corner kick. Not to be outdone, Cathal Leahy scored with an impressive 25 yard volley to level matters, but McCullagh once again turned provider shortly after, with another great delivery from a corner, which this time was met by Brian Carroll to see the Drombane side go in to the half time break ahead. Harps were enjoying the majority of possession in the second half but couldn’t break down a stubborn Clodiagh defence, but they did equalise with an inch perfect free kick from Johnny Coleman which found the top corner. With 15 minutes remaining, substitute Robbie Hanrahan found Clodiagh front man Joe Cullagh whose deft flick deceived the home defence to find John Ryan Casey free and slot home from close range and throw his side an important lifeline in the battle to retain Premier League status.
Roscrea United gained a much needed three points this weekend in their battle to avoid relegation, as they overcame relegation rivals Ardcroney thanks to a 3 – 1 score line. Timmy Brosnan was the form player for Roscrea as he netted twice and a strike from Paul Brussels guaranteed all three valuable as the bottom three teams in the First Division now all rest on 13 points each, with all but Borrisokane looking over their shoulder at the unfolding drama closely behind them.
First Division Barry Cup
Borroway Rovers welcomed league leaders Borrisokane to Loughtagalla and booked their spot in the divisional cup semi final thanks to a brace of goals from Pat Lawlor. Borroway will be looking to make it 2 finals in three years and having knocked out the cup favourites, all remaining teams will fancy their chances at cup glory this season.
Nenagh Celtic took full advantage of their game in hand over title rivals Gurtagarry when they travelled to Drombane to face an under strength Clodiagh Rangers. Celtic were clinical in the first half in front of goal, and the game was all but over at half time when the away side were leading thanks to a 4 nil score line. The home sides woes were compounded in the second half, when Celtic added two more goals to win out 6 nil and extend their lead at the top of the table by 8 clear points, leaving them favourites to clinch the league title. Shannon Rangers breathed life into their faltering league campaign as they overcame Cloughjordan by the odd goal in seven to lift themselves out of the relegation zone, forcing Borrisokane to sit in the bottom two with only two games remaining each.
Ballymackey continue to stay in the hunt for league honours this season as they won their final league game of the season away to Sallypark 2 nil to go top of the Division overcoming long term leaders Holycross by a single point. With both Holycross and Ballymackey having concluded all their league games, it’s now up to Ballywilliam who sit in third place, requiring a minimum of 4 points from their remaining two games to see an entertaining conclusion to this year’s third division. Rearcross lost out to Barnane by the odd goal in nine in this floodlit encounter played in Rearcross on Saturday evening. The visitors led 3 nil before Rearcross opened this account with a Joey Nolan penalty. Barnane restored their advantage early in the second half, however Liam Nolan got on the score sheet to narrow the gap. The visitors were on target again to leave the hosts with an uphill battle, however Rearcross found another gear and pulled it back to 5-3 with another converted penalty from Joey Nolan. A hectic finish ensued when John Ryan Luke rifled to the corner of the net from outside the box with four minutes to play, however time ran out for the home side on this occasion.
NTDL Tipperary Cup
First Division side Moneygall welcomed Second Division side Gurtagarry Sunday last and it was the visitors who narrowly edged out their hosts thanks to a 2 – 1 victory in a match that was played in demanding conditions. The home side struck first in this encounter when Mark Fanning powered home a header from close range in the 25th minute. Gurtagarry were spurred into action and after creating a number of chances, eventually levelled matters in the 60th minute. With the visitors now in the ascendancy, they managed to grab the games winner with 15 minutes remaining when Mikey Ryan grabbed his second of the day to see his side through to the next round.
NTDL Youths Cup
Moneygall maintain their unbeaten run and advance in the Cup as they overcame fellow First Division side Ballymackey last Saturday afternoon. Mark Fanning opened the scoring for the visiting side before Ballymackey levelled, but to only see Jessie Gilmartin restore the visitor’s advantage on the stroke of half time. Niall Maher then added a third for Moneygall before Ballymackey added a second late on to unsettle the nerves of the away side, who eventually managed to hold on for a hard earned victory on the road.