Monksland return to winning ways in local derby with Willow Park

The big game in Athlone at the weekend saw Cushla Park host a local derby between Monksland United and Willow Park.

The home side were looking to bounce back from two successive defeats while Willow also needed points to keep in contention at the top of the table in the only Senior Division game scheduled.

The visitors got off to a good start when Mickey Greene opened the scoring, and although Willow had chances to increase the lead, Donie Beirne equalised before the half-time break.

In-form David O’Brien then put the hosts in control with two second-half scores, including a penalty kick, and although Greene grabbed a second for Willow before the finish it failed to affect the result. With title rivals Inny FC not in action, the three points earned allow Colum McDaid’s men to steal a march on their North Westmeath opponents. Despite the defeat, Willow still retain their top three placing.

All the other local action was in the cup competitions with mixed fortunes for local teams in both the Paddy Cotter Cup and the CCFL Shield.

League placings won out as both Moate Celtic and Clonown Rovers made their exit from the Cotter Cup in Mullingar to Senior Division teams Athletic and Town respectively. Rovers were knocked out by the only goal of the game, but there was no giant-killing act in Gainstown as Division Two outfit Celtic were well beaten.

St Peters had little difficulty in advancing to the third round as they put six past First Division Coolraine in an entertaining encounter at McCarthy Park.

In the Shield, it took penalties to separate the B teams of Ballinahown and Rosenallis in an all-Division Four clash. Ninety minutes and extra time failed to yield a winner, with Ballinahown eventually successful by three two on spot kicks. There was no such luck for Monksland’s second team though who were well beaten by Highfield United.

There was also action in the Premier Division at both U17 and U19 level. Willow Park and Hodson Bay played out a nine-goal thriller, with the league new boys from the Bay winning out. The Roscommon visitors raced into an early two-goal lead but incredibly Willow fought back to go ahead during the second half through Nicky Hamm. However, the lead was short-lived as Hodson Bay recovered to travel home with full points.

Willow were more fortunate in the U19 division when they returned from Clongowes Wood with a share of the spoils, Nathan Fahy Kelly and Brian Malone finding the net in a two-all draw.

Monksland went even better in Birr as Ruairi Lenihan chipped in with two goals and Sean Dowd with one, making it back-to-back wins for the Cushla Park lads.

Finally, in the Women’s Division, Bealnamulla came out the wrong side of an eight-goal encounter against Killeigh’s A team to remain second from bottom as the Offaly ladies continued with their unbeaten run.

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