Title twist as St Peter’s narrow gap at top

There was a major twist to the chase for the Premier Division title in the Roscommon and District League, when St Peter's of Athlone benefited considerably from the defeat of table toppers Castlerea Celtic.

The Saints had put the pressure on Celtic by beating local rivals Moore United last Thursday night (January 18 ) to get within two points of the leaders. The gap, though, was expected to revert to five, but Boyle Celtic created a major shock by beating Castlerea.

Philip Coffey’s men put their unbeaten record on the line when they faced Moore. Any slight advantage Padraig Moran’s side had slipped away when the Falty pitch was deemed unplayable and the game went to Lecarrow.

The Saints are hard to beat at league headquarters and had the points secured by the half-time break. The opening goal came from a most unlikely source, as Scott Delaney found the net. The central defender is not renowned as a goal scorer but set the Saints on their way to victory with the opener.

The lead was doubled after 20 minutes from the penalty spot as Noel McGee slotted past the Moore goalkeeper. Mark Sherlock made it three nil on the half hour mark and the game was ended as a serious contest when Mark McConnell scored goal number four just before the half-time beak. It completed a fine week for McGee and McConnell on the scoring front, as both had been on target in the previous game against Erris in the Connacht Cup.

The second half was uneventful. Although Moore improved somewhat and created a few chances, they were unable to make any inroads. Coffey’s men comfortably held onto their advantage as the meanest defence in the division recorded yet another clean sheet. Following this defeat, Moore remain in mid table, but will want to avoid being sucked into a relegation battle.

Three days later, Lecarrow again played host to a top four battle, as Castlerea faced up to Boyle Celtic, who trailed the leaders by a whopping 10 points. Crucially, though, the league new boys had two games in hand and took full advantage of an off day for Castlerea.

At half-time, however, Celtic looked the more likely winners as they held a two nil lead, but an unexpected second half collapse threw the title race wide open. An early goal on the resumption of play cut the deficit to the bare minimum, as five further scores then completed an amazing turnaround from Boyle.

Castlerea still retain top spot, but advantage is now with St Peter's as they trail by just two points and have two games in hand. The league title remains very firmly in their own hands as the campaign passes the half way stage. Third placed Ballinasloe are still in contention, with Boyle the outsiders of what looks to be a four horse race to the finish.


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