Second Half Power Show

Filed under: General news, Sunday LSL team by: Paul McGowan

Terenure Rangers 2, Spartak 6

A powerful second half burst by the Sky Blues saw three goals scored without reply in the opening 15 minutes; this effectively sealed the points.

Spartak’ defence began poorly with some careless passes, and it was from one of these that the home side took the lead.

With Jason Northey injured, Martin Costello took the gloves and had a fine display.

The Sky Blues created a few chance, and Ger Byrne, Neil McGowan and Steve Walsh all had attempts at goal. However it took some composed play on the wing by Ger Byrne to tee up Steve Grier at the edge of the box to fire in a deflected equaliser.
Just a minute later, Steve Walsh fired in a second from Paul Kinsella’s pass. Terenure equalised from a corner right on half time.

Spartak took the lead when Dave Browne won a challenge and fed Steve Grier; Stev’e first attempt was blocked, but he showed good balance and composure to fire the second attempt low beyond the keeper from the edge of the box.

Ger Byrne robbed a defender before coolly and unselfishly setting up Steve Walsh for an easy tap in, and Neil McGowan then scored form 20 yards via the foot of the post to make it 5-2.

During this period the Spartak defence showed composure and aggression to keep the locals at bay, as Terenure fought to prevent the game slipping away from them.

Ger Byrne then rounded off the scoring with a rare right footed effort when put through by Steve Walsh.

A fine second half performance, and the only downside was the injuries a number of players; Dave Kernan took a knock which precipitated his withdrawal and several others were carrying injuries by the end.

Form Report
Martin Costello 8 Keith Kelly 7 Dave Browne 7 Paul Kinsella 7 Kevin O’Toole 7 Ken Buckley 7 Neil McGowan 8 Dave Kernan 7 Steve Grier 8 Ger Byrne 9 Steve Walsh 7
Subs: Mick Leslie 6 Ciaran Keane 6

Wake Up Call

Filed under: General news, Saturday LSL team by: Paul McGowan

Clontarf 5, Spartak 0

Spartak can have few complaints about this result. Having gone a goal down early on, the Sky Blues had a good chance to equalise when Cian Keane’s cross was controlled by Jeff Gamble, but his shot was saved, and straight away the home side broke for number 2, despite Spartak having men back in numbers.

Some ill advised excursions from the back by Niall Hanratty gave Clontarf the chances they needed. Up to now Niall’s form in midfield had been a key factor for Spartak, but the switch to defence did not work well on this occasion. In one instance Bobby Hayes took off a great save when faced one on one. But the home side added three more before the interval, as Spartak’s back four failed to stem the tide.

Spartak showed a level of spirit to battle their way through a goal-less second half, but the damage had been done.

Form Report
Bobby Hayes 7 Chris Hogan 4 Mike Burke-Sweeney 5 Niall Hanratty 4 Fintan Grace 4 Shane McInerney 5 Conor Callis 4 Jeff Gamble 6 Ciaran Keane 5 Ciaran Bermingham 4 Mick Costello 6
Subs: Mick Leslie 5 Evans Sarpong 5 Stephen Bermingham 5

Sunshine Football

Filed under: General news, Saturday LSL team by: Paul McGowan

Spartak 4, Knockmitten 2

A stunned Spartak found themselves a goal down after just 16 seconds in this match, but the response was impressive, with the Sky Blues building wave after wave of attacks, forcing the visiting keeper into a series of fine saves.

A sparkling bout of football eventually brought three first half goals, and a raft of chances missed. The highlight of the half came from Jeff Gamble, who snatched a poacher’s hattrick.

Before the goals, however the visiting keeper pulled off a string of stops, when it seemed certain that Spartak would score.

The equaliser came when Steve Browne, breaking from the back, essayed a through pass which Jeff Gamble converted. Gamble then fired in the loose ball from Niall Hanratty’s free kick, before heading in when Martin Costello’s cross deceived the keeper and came off the crossbar.

The second half was a somnolent affair, both teams’ energy sapped by the warm conditions. The visitors tended to hold the ball better, and pulled one back near the end. Spartak’s players had dropped their concentration levels and as a result passing and decision making suffered. Jeff Gamble, hero of the first half, was profligate with the ball, and missed a great chance after rounding the keeper.

Chris Hogan’s cross was turned in by a defender after 5 minutes, but from then on it was the visitors who looked more likely to score, as Spartak wilted in the sunshine. The fresher legs of three substitutes made no difference to the slow tempo of the second period.

Form Report
Greg Byrne 6 Chris Hogan 6 Mick Leslie 5 Steve Browne 5 Fintan Grace 6 Niall Hanratty 7 Conor Canavan 7 Jeff Gamble 7 Dave Kernan 6 Martin Costello 6 Mick Costello 6
Subs: Ciaran Bermingham 5 Ciaran Keane 5 Conor Callis 5

Spartak Exit Junior Cup

Filed under: General news, Sunday LSL team by: Paul McGowan


Spa Utd 5, Spartak 1

The Sky Blues long trek to Johnstown , Co Kilkenny, was an unrewarding journey.

A disastrous start against able opponents saw Spartak ship three goals in 17 minutes, with Spa making it 4 before Steve Grier reduced arrears near the break.

The second half saw a more even contest, with the nly score coming from a disputed penalty near the end for the home side, after Spartak had carved out several decent scoring chance.

Form Report: A collective 5

Disappointing Draw

Filed under: General news, Sunday LSL team by: Paul McGowan

Tymon Bawn 4, Spartak 4.

Spartak faced into this game without key players from the last win over Dundrum; Paul Kinsella suspended, Karl McCullough hamstrung, and Martin Costello, who was away at a hen party. Stuart Love, whose operation to repair a torn cruciate ligament is due, continues to be missed for his consistent

Not only that, goalkeeper Jason Northey tweaked his hamstring on his first run, after just 17 minutes, so Kevin O’Toole volunteered to go in goal. With so many forced changes to the Sky Blues defence, it was unsurprising that Tymon were able to score four. Spartak led four times, but could not close out the deal.

Several players had a sleepy start to proceedings, Steve Walsh, Keith Kelly, David Kernan and Steve Grier taking some time to realise they were in a game. A dull first half was enlivened when a half cleared corner was expertly turned back in by Tom O’Driscoll for Steve Grier to head in.

One nil at the interval, but then followed a goals avalanche.

Tymon equalised, and continued to do so after each Sky Blues score. Goals from Alan Farrington, Steve Walsh and Steve Browne were duly cancelled out

In the final 15 minutes, Spartak created opportunities to snatch a winner; Neil McGowan’s header from a deflected cross was just over, and Ger Byrne, just 6 yards out,stretched into an inviting cross but shot over.


Form Report
Jason Northey 5 Keith Kelly 5 Dave Browne 6 Steve Grier 6 Kevin O’Toole 6 Alan Farrington 6 Neil McGowan 7 Dave Kernan 7 Tom O’Driscoll 7 Ger Byrne 6 Steve Walsh 7
Subs: Steve Browne 6 Jeff Gamble 6

Sky Blues punish Earl

Filed under: General news, Saturday LSL team by: Paul McGowan

Earl Celtic 2, Spartak 6

Spartak were somewhat flattered by the final scoreline, as Earl had enough of the play to justify a closer margin. Indeed, when Earl reduced arrears to 3-1 just after the interval, and seemed likely to close the gap further, it was then that the Sky Blues displayed resilience and skill to add further scores against a stretched local rearguard and close the game out

The Sky Blues had a dream start when Shane McInerney fired home from a half cleared corner after just three minutes, and on six minutes Niall Hanratty headed in a Jeff Gamble cross to double the advantage.

Earl countered, and Spartak were grateful to the ample posterior of Steve Browne, who blocked a goalbound shot. Jeff Gamble further shocked the home side when, at the second attempt, he scored a third goal before the break.

Earl strained every sinew to get back in the game in the second period,and Spartak had to manfully face an onslaught, with some great blocks and interventions, one in particular from Shane McInerney being a standout. Indeed it was Shane who did well to start the move that saw Ciaran Keane cross for Jeff Gamble to head in number 4.

Earl did manage to reduce arrears to 4-2, but a first ever goal from Chris Hogan and a final score from Fidel Benson finished the scoring.

A triumph for spirit, togetherness and hard work.

Form Report
Bobby Hayes 7 Conor Canavan 7 Chris Hogan 7 Steve Browne 8 Martin Costello 7 Shane McInerney 8 Niall Hanratty 8 Jeff Gamble 8 Evans Sarpong 7 Fidel Benson 7 Mick Costello 7
Sub: Ciaran Keane 7

Hard Fought Derby Win

Filed under: General news, Sunday LSL team by: Paul McGowan

Dundrum 0, Spartak 1

In a tight game of few chances on a murky midweek evening, the better opportunities fell to the Sky Blues, who could have increased the margin of victory. In the Spartak goal, Jason Northey was well protected and had a routine evening, with safe handling and a couple of saves, particularly in the hectic closing stages as the home team pressed for an equaliser against a reduced Spartak complement.

Spartak went into this match without the ever industrious midfield services of Stuart Love, who had the misfortune to incur a cruciate ligament knee injury in the final friendly. A full recovery by Stu will be a big boost to the club.

The breakthrough goal came on 27 minutes when Steve Grier received a throw in from Dave Browne on the right, swivelled and then drove the ball into the corner left footed from 18 yards.

Spartak broke continually; Martin Costello overlapped and put in a great cross which just eluded the Spartak attackers. Keith Kelly made a fine run, was fouled, and from Steve Walsh’s free kick , Steve Grier’s stooping header was fractionally wide. Kelly and Grier had long range efforts off target, while Steve Walsh tried to lob the keeper, but his effort was comfortably saved.

At the other end some defensive slips caused some concern, but Dundrum’s shooting was always within Northey’s grasp.

Early in the second half a great move by Grier, Walsh and Ger Byrne saw Dave Kernan with a close range angled opportunity; his shot was marginally too high and struck the bar. Again Grier and Byrne combined to give Alan Farrington a chance to turn and shoot from close in, but he opted for an attempted lay off and the opportunity evaporated.

Paul Kinsella broke from defence and forced a corner from which Martin Costello shot wide.

Spartak had played two days previously on the Sunday while their opponents had not, therefore it seemed like a good idea (at the time) to utilise the substitutes. Having done so, with 15 minutes remaining, Karl McCullough had to go off with a hamstring injury having been jostled at full pace, while Keith Kelly also went off for a while, reducing the Sky Blues temporarily to 9 men.

It was then that Spartak showed their mettle, defending for their lives; indeed a break out following a corner saw Paul Kinsella lead an overload of Sky Blue attackers; however his pass to Jeff Gamble was not ideal and the home keeper, 40 yards from goal and with no defenders available, was able to block. A more precise pass and a second goal would have been a certainty.

Paul then foolishly reacted verbally to earlier physical intimidation and was dismissed with 5 seconds of the game remaining, the ball out of play and with a goal kick awarded to Spartak.

Form Report
Jason Northey 7 Dave Browne 7 Martin Costello 7 Paul Kinsella 7 Karl McCullough 6 Alan Farrington 6 Keith Kelly 6 Dave Kernan 7 Steve Grier 8 Ger Byrne 7 Steve Walsh 7
Subs: Neil McGowan 6 Jeff Gamble 7 Thom O’Driscoll 6

Brickfields Victory

Filed under: General news, Sunday LSL team by: Paul McGowan

Benbulbin United 2, Spartak 5

Spartak began this game in jittery fashion; passes went astray, touches were poor, tackles were missed, 50/50 balls were poorly contested. In contrast the home side swept the ball around almost as they pleased, without creating too many clear chances.

A free conceded by Paul Kinsella saw Benbulbin hit the top of the crossbar. Then a big chance fell to a locals but the shot was easily stopped by Jason Northey.

On 15 minutes, against the run of play, the Sky Blues fashioned a lightning break. Dave Kernan and Steve Walsh exchanged passes before Kernan’s cross was bravely met first time by Ger Byrne to open the scoring at the near post. The lead did not last long, and possession was conceded and followed by poor defending to allow the equaliser.

As half time approached, Spartak began to settle, and scored twice. Steve Grier’s header sent Ger Byrne clear and he took advantage of the keeper’s error to slot in. Steve Walsh then embarked on a coruscating run, beating several players before squaring to Dave Kernan, who was unceremoniously upended. Steve Walsh slotted home the spot kick.

Again a lapse of defensive concentration allowed the home side to score in the 6th minute of first half injury time, after a free kick had been harshly awarded against Steve Grier.

Steve Walsh might have added another early in the second period but his touch was heavy when through on goal. Jason Northey’s poor throw gave the home side a chance but the shot was weak and easily saved.

The home side had a burst of pressure and Spartak had to scramble a few clearances, including one off the line, before an Alan Farrington shot from Steve Walsh’s pass made it 4-2. Dave Kernan came close to adding another after Alan Farrington’s effort was blocked.

Benbulbin continued to press, pushing men forward, and Jason Northey fumbled a free kick around the post for a corner.

Spartak added number 5 on 81 minutes in a fine move involving Martin Costello, Jeff Gamble and Steve Walsh which presented Steve Grier with a straightforward chance.

Not the finest performance overall, but good spirit shown together with some sharp finishing made it a satisfying opening to the season.

Form Report
Jason Northey 6 Dave Browne 6 Martin Costello 8 Paul Kinsella 8 Karl McCullagh 7 Thom O’Driscoll 6 Alan Farrington 6 David Kernan 7 Steve Grier 7 Ger Byrne 8 Steve Walsh 8
Subs: Keith Kelly 6 Jeff Gamble 6 Ken Buckley 6

Callis to the Fore

Filed under: General news, Saturday LSL team by: Paul McGowan

Mid Sutton 2, Spartak 8

Spartak overcame an inexperienced Mid Sutton side with some ease in the end, having waited till the 33rd minute to open the scoring.

The Sky Blues began shakily enough, and an error and foul by Conor Canavan saw the locals awarded a free, which, luckily, came to nothing.

With Niall Hanratty dominating the middle of the park, Spartak created many openings in the first half hour, but invariably chose the wrong option. When a team has a period of domination without punishing the opposition, there is always the concern that missing those chances will return to haunt them, and the locals had a good opportunity during this period, but fired over.

So it was that when Conor Callis’ deflected shot beat the keeper for the opener, it was greeted with relief in the Sky Blue ranks.

Chris Hogan blasted a chance high and wide after a good move before Jeff Gamble fired in via the crossbar for number two, and just on half time Conor Callis slalomed past a number of defenders before driving in a third goal.

Any thoughts of a second half home revival were quashed just 2 minutes after the restart, when Callis claimed his hattrick from Gamble’s pass. Then a great Mick Costello cross was scrambled clear only as far as Hogan who crossed for Ciaran Bermingham to neatly head home and open his account for Spartak.

A lapse of concentration by Mick Leslie saw the home side reduce arrears, and late on Niall Hanratty took some of the gloss off a battling performance with a drilled own goal.

But Spartak added three more; Fintan Grace marked his return from a year long injury absence by converting a penalty after Jeff Gable was fouled; Conor Callis added his fourth; and sub Stephen Bermingham neatly chipped in number 8.

Form Report
Greg Byrne 7 Chris Hogan 7 Steve Browne 8 Fintan Grace 8 Mick Greene 6 Niall Hanratty 8 Conor Canavan 6 Jeff Gamble 8 Mick Leslie 6 Ciaran Bermingham 7 Conor Callis 9
Subs: Mick Costello 7 Stephen Bermingham 6 Bobby Hayes 6

Spartak secure friendly win

Filed under: Sunday LSL team by: Paul McGowan

Newlands Celtic 1, Spartak 2

A bumpy surface in Corkagh Park did little to make it easy to play good football, but a decent display by Spartak’s back four – apart from one lapse – laid the foundation for what was a more comfortable win than the scoreline suggests.

Alan Farrington, who had earlier missed a straightforward chance, converted a penalty after Dave Kernan’s surging run was stopped by a foul. Steve Browne scrambled a second before missing an easier chance to put the game to bed.

Some poor defending at a set piece saw the locals reduce arrears, but Spartak played the game out comfortably.

Form Report
Jason Northey 6 Dave Kernan 8 Dave Browne 7 Keith Kelly 7 Karl McCullagh 7 Stuart Love 6 Alan Farrington 6 Tom O’Driscoll 5 Ken Buckley 6 Conor Canavan 5 Steve Walsh 6 Steve Browne 6 Kevin Loftus 5