A Welcome Three Points

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

Spartak 4, Palmerstown 1

Spartak completed the double over Palmerstown on a typically bobbly March pitch in Marlay park.

Jeff Gamble, returning after a extended injury-enforced absence, lost no time in getting back on the scoresheet, receiving Steve Walsh’s pass and cutting inside at pace before unleashing a fierce shot pat the visiting custodian.

Spartak doubled their lead when Gamble’s attempt was cleared at the expense of a corner; Steve Grier powerfully headed Walsh’s flag kick home.

Stuart Love had to go off nursing damaged ribs at the interval, with his replacement Cian Donohoe wasting no time in making his usual impression on the match!

Spartak then dropped the tempo somewhat, but still continued to create chances; Ger Byrne fired one wide and then shot over with his next effort. Owen Marron fired wide before getting his name on the scoresheet for number three.

Palmerstown got more into the game and a defensive slip up saw them fire in a goal from the edge of the box.

The game was now more open as the visitors saw that a second goal would make for a competitive end to the match. At the other end Steve Walsh had a effort wide after a Steve Grier pass; Mick Leslie had time and space but fired wide of the far post.

The result was put beyond doubt when Walsh slotted home Marron’s pass from angle on the right.

A satisfactory victory.

Form Report
Daniel Galvin 6 David Kernan 7 Steve Walsh 7 Ian Harmon 8 Paul Kinsella 6 Stuart Love 6 Owen Marron 7 Jeff Gamble 7 Steve Grier 6 Ger Byrne 6 Niall Lennon 6
Subs: Cian Donohoe 6 Mick Leslie 6

Frustrating Defeat

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

Newlands/Castle Park 3, Spartak 1

Both sides suffered at the hands of the worst referee in the League. Newlands had a player booked for heading the ball; Spartak had a bad foul and an offside ignored in the move for the home sides second goal.

Newlands took the lead on 8 minutes when a corner was cleared back to the taker, who was given too much time to measure his cross to the back post, where poor marking proved costly. Spartak soon equalised, with Gary Bridges finding Mick Leslie on the right; Shane McInerney’s guided header fond the corner of the net.

Before the disputed second goal, Spartak had a golden opportunity to take the lead, when, after a fine move , Owen McCormack cut inside to find himself twelve yards out, but, opting for power, he blasted the ball against a post.

The Sky Blues renewed their efforts in the second period, with a great chance falling to Geoff Abraham following Sean Molloy’s cross; Geoff’s effort, from five yards, was too close to the keeper.

Owen McCormack wormed his way through and looked certain to score, but the keeper saved with his leg; consistent with other decisions, the ref awarded a goal kick rather than a corner. Then, Owen McCormack just failed to connect with Cian Stenson’s corner.

Newlands broke well for a third goal, with a header from a cross, and Conor Canavan made a good save from a one on one as Spartak threw men forward.

Form Report
Conor Canavan 7 Chris Hogan 5 Cian Stenson 7 Gary Bridges 6 Dave O’Kelly 6 Shane McInerney 7 Sean Molloy 6 Geoff Abraham 6 Darren Ritchie 6 Mick Leslie 6 Owen McCormack 6
Subs: Leo Bradley 5 Conor Callis 5 Conor Brady 5 Rob Collins 5

Spartak Slump

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

Spartak 0, Valeview Shankill 5

Spartak, without several regulars, faced the form team of LSL Premier in the Polikoff Cup, and failed to match the pace and tenacity of the winners.

Two unnecessary penalties conceded along with a dismissal early in the second half contrived to place Spartak in an impossible position. The dismissal, which was harsh, came after just a few second half minutes.

Valeview had most of the first half play, and hardly need the boost of a sloppy 3rd minute penalty conceded. They generally dominated play for the first quarter and could have been more than one ahead. Gradually, Spartak got a foothold in the game with good runs by Dave Kernan getting the Sky Blues up the pitch. One fine cross from Dave drifted across the goalmouth without a Spartak player to apply the finishing touch. Steve Grier fired against the outside of the post, and Ger Byrne’s shot on the turn was fumbled by the keeper.

On 48 minutes, a red card reduced Spartak to ten men , and the visitors added a fine second from distance. Spartak had a couple of half chance, but the game drifted out of reach when a second penalty was conceded.

The game was played out with the visitors adding a fourth with the aid of a deflection, and capped the victory with a fifth.

Form Report
Peter O’Toole 7 Ian Harmon 7 Cian Donohoe 5 Steve Grier 7 Darragh Logue 7 Stuart Love 5 Neil McGowan 4 Dave Kernan 7 Niall Lennon 5 Ger Byrne 5 Steve Walsh 5
Subs: Paul Kinsella 5 Sean Molloy 6 Mick Leslie 5

Bray Woes

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

Bray 3, Spartak 2

A decent game in sticky conditions in Bray saw Spartak finish with nine men. The referee controlled the game in general, but erred on some major decisions .

Bray were awarded a penalty when the centre forward slipped in the mud.

A free kick was awarded against stand in keeper Karl McCullagh for heading the ball outside the box. In this case, the ref clearly thought it was a handball, with a possible sanction. The free was eventually taken but no card shown, as he must have realised the error. In the confusion, one Sky Blue player was dismissed for giving the ref the benefit of his opinion on the incident. The Sky Blues were reduced to ten for a retaliatory trip (when the instigator went unpunished).

In between all this, there was quite a good game of football, with both sides exchanging early goals. Steve Walsh set up Neil McGowan for the equaliser after defensive lapses had allowed Bray to score first. Bray added a second on the half hour, with the penalty awarded just a minute later. 1-3.

Undaunted, Spartak attacked repeatedly in the second period and created plenty of opportunities. Steve Grier sent Ger Byrne through but his shot was hasty and wide. Neil McGowan fired just over, before Ger Byrne found himself clear again, but his effort was saved. Niall Lennon cracked a long range effort off the post.

Finally Spartak got a late consolation when Steve Grier converted Steve Walsh’s cross.

Form Report
Karl McCullagh 4 Cian Donohoe 5 Dave Browne 4 Steve Grier 7 Darragh Logue 7 Stuart Love 7 Neil McGowan 7 Mick Young 5 Niall Lennon 6 Ger Byrne 6 Steve Walsh 6
Subs: Ian Harmon 6 Geoff Abraham 6

Wasted Opportunity

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

Spartak 1, Corduff 4

In atrocious conditions in Marlay, Spartak missed many scoring chances to have this game sealed in the first half.

A first half header from Mick Young gave the Sky Blues the lead, but the visitors equalised when the ball was pulled back from an out-of-play position just before half time. The referee, unfortunately, was on the half way line, and allowed the score to stand.

Even allowing for this setback, Spartak should have been out of sight by then, after taking the lead, with good chances missed by Ciaran Keane, Owen McCormack and Dave Haczynskyj. Mick Greene, deputising in goal for the injured Greg Byrne, made a couple of decent stops.

Corduff, emboldened by the equaliser, took the lead early in the second period with a breakaway goal.

The Sky Blues then laid siege to the visitors goal, Dave HAczynskyj firing wide of an unguarded goal, Owen MCCormack too slow to pass to an unmarked Conor Callis, Conor Brady firing over from a rebound, and OWen McCormack fireing a few efforts too close to the keeper.

As conditions deteriorated, Corduff scored a third as Spartak pushed on; Mick Greene made a fine save from another attack. Corduff added a fourth in injury time.

Failure to take straightforward chances at key stages of the game proved to be Spartak’s undoing.

Form Report
Mick Greene 7 Chris Hogan 5 Cian Stenson 8 Mick Young 6 Darren Ritchie 6 Shane McInerney 7 Sean Molloy 6 Conor Canavan 5 Ciaran Keane 5 Dave Haczynskyj 5 Owen McCormack 5
Subs: Conor Callis 5 Geoff Abraham 5 Conor Brady 5 Leo Bradley 5

Maurice Timmins – an appreciation

Filed under: General news, Over 35 team, Saturday LSL team, Sunday LSL team by: Paul McGowan

Maurice Timmins, who passed away suddenly on 22nd February, was closely associated with Spartak in the ’80s and ’90s.

While he played for Spartak occasionally, Maurice’s main role was as physical trainer. He led his charges on lengthy runs around the Churchtown and Rathfarnham areas on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The toughness of those runs were recalled recently by some former players, who winced at the memory!

It was also noticeable how many players developed sudden hamstring strains and had to sit out the runs, only to miraculously recover to full fitness for the football at the end…they got little sympathy from Maurice!

Maurice gradually drifted away from Spartak as he concentrated on his real love, marathon running, and completed over 200 marathons, some in far off places.

Maurice is fondly remembered as a cheerful and dedicated individual, and his contribution to Spartak was a valuable one.

May he Rest in Peace.

Last Man Standing

Filed under: General news by: Paul McGowan

A Last Man Standing competition will be i place for the start of April. €10 per team, contact Mick Greene or Barry O’Connor to get involved.


Filed under: General news by: Paul McGowan

The Annual General Meeting will take place on Thursday 30th March at 9.30 in The Eden House, Rathfarnham.

Sky Blues advance in Polikoff after shoot out

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

Transport 2, Spartak 2 (Spartak win 5-3 on pens)

Spartak advanced in an incident packed game at Rutland Avenue, in a tough encounter, which would have needed a firmer referee. Greg Byrne dislocated his shoulder, while Steve Walsh suffered a bloody nose. Geoff Gamble also came in for some rough treatment. A further factor, which both teams complained to the ref about, was that the match footballs were over inflated which meant the ball was like a concrete block!

The Sky Blues opened at a decent pace, but squandered several good opportunities early on. Geoff Gamble shot straight at the keeper, Ger Byrne missed a couple of chances, Steve Walsh stopped allowing the goalkeeper recover after missing the ball. Failure to put away these early chances might have been costly.

Transport had a couple of chances themselves as the half progressed.

The pitch, which started out in good shape, gradually deteriorated and the second half was more of a slog. Greg Byrne made a double save, before, on 58 minutes, Ger Byrne’s run set up Steve Walsh to fire home from the edge of the box.

However Spartak suffered a triple blow as Transport’s effort was deemed to have crossed the line; worse, Greg Byrne was injured in the melee and Steve Walsh was off the pitch receiving treatment, and unable to return. All three substitutes would play a key role before the end.

The opening minutes of extra time saw Transport miss a great chance by blazing over, while at the other end Ger Byrne rounded the keeper, was fouled, but no whistle.

A few minutes into the second period Transport took the lead. Hesitation in the Spartak rearguard allowed the forward to turn and shoot low to the corner.

Geoff Gamble then rolled one past the keeper, and the ball was cleared from behind the line, but the ref waved play on. As Spartak threw everything into frenzied attack, it was Dave Kernan who pounced on a half clearance to fire in with the last kick of the match. The ref did not even bother to allow a restart.

Spartak were clinical in their penalties, with Neil McGowan, Geoff Gamble, Dave Browne, Cormac O’Connor all scoring before stand in keeper Mick Greene saved Transport’s fifth kick, and that man Dave Kernan completed he rescue act with his spot kick.

A poor attitude to start with almost cost the game, but Spartak battled against the odds in the end.

Form Report
Greg Byrne 7 Dave Kernan 8 Cian Donohoe 7 Niall Lennon 6 Karl McCullagh 7 Stuart Love 6 Neil McGowan 6 Geoff Gamble 6 Owen Marron 6 Ger Byrne 6 Steve Walsh 6
Subs: Dave Brown 6 Mick Greene 7 Cormac O’Connor 6

Spirited Fightback Too Late

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


Balbriggan 4, Spartak 2

An unusual time for the first post Christmas fixture saw Spartak play on the Balbriggan astro with a Friday night kick off.

Spartak clearly showed signs of rustiness and found themselves 3-0 down at half time. Hesitancy by Cian Donohoe saw him caught in possession to concede the free kick, which was scored – Dan Galvin touching the ball onto the woodwork only to have it rebound against the keeper and in. Steve Grier’s missed tackle allowed a cross for the second, which Dave Kernan unwittingly turned into his own net.

Two own goals, and a third from play ( with a suspicion of offside) quickly followed before Spartak regained some form of equilibrium.

Geoff Gamble had a couple of half chances, before Steve Grier blazed over after the home keeper fumbled a ball from a corner kick.

Spartak began the second period in much brighter fashion, containing the home team and creating a good number of chances. From Steve Walsh’s corner, Steve Grier’s header was deflected in by a defender; game on, Steve Grier then fired a free kick just over and a longer range effort by Neil McGowan skimmed the crossbar.

Steve Grier then had a shot palmed out by the keeper, but Geoff Gamble (given offside) struck the bar with the goal open. Spartak pummeled the home defence which held out in the face of relentless pressure.

With ten to go, Dan Galvin allowed a pass to slip under his foot to permit the local striker an easy tap in. Neil McGowan’s late goal was a consolation only.

Form Report
Dan Galvin 7 Dave Kernan 8 Cian Donohoe 5 Steve Grier 7 Darragh Logue 7 Stuart Love 7 Neil McGowan 7 Geoff Gamble 5 Owen Marron 7 Ger Byrne 5 Steve Walsh 6
Subs: Karl McCullagh 7 Niall Lennon 6 Dave Haczynskyj 6 Sean Molloy 6