25 Years ago – 2 Cup Final Wins on successive nights

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

A look back on a notable 24 hours in Spartak’s history.

On 15th May 1991 Spartak’s Saturday side beat Claremont Rangers 2-1 in the Kemp Trophy final. Mario Borza got both goals. The following evening a Dave Mohan goal saw Spartak’s Sunday lads beat St Nicholas, who were the team of prison wardens, 1-0 in the Vere Deane Cup Final.

The line ups were:

V Claremont Rangers
Jimmy Browne, Tim O’Sullivan, John Curtin, Paul Burke, Mick St Leger, Liam Brady, Paddy Brady,Leo Gartlan, Mario Borza, Peter Mahony and Frank Keegan. Subs were Martin McGorian and Bobby Long

v St Nicholas

Sean Lynam, Liam Cullen, Gerry Doran, Derek Keane, Tom Maher Dave Mohan, Ken Byrne, Dave Murphy, Dave Keegan, Barry Crowe, Dave Pender. Subs : Paul Burke and Mario Borza

A notable achievement by the lads and a memorable couple of evenings.

Promotion Hopes Dented by Alpine Oldchurch

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

10.5.16
Spartak 4, Alpine Oldchurch 5

Another remarkable game between these teams. This game was played out in an absolute downpour. Spartak showed seven different starters than in the recent meeting, due to injuries and absentees.

Both teams had promotion hopes, with a victory vital for both to maintain that challenge.

The Sky Blues were shell shocked by a fast starting visiting squad and fell three goals behind in the opening ten minutes.

Gradually a remarkable fightback ensued, and Spartak clawed their way into a 4-3 lead at half time. Dave Kernan was stooped at the expense of a penalty, which Steve Grier converted; then Steve Browne calmly finished form Grier’s cross. Up popped Niall Lennon with two well taken goals, the first a chip over the stranded keeper, the second a close in finish following a flick on.

The second half turned on a soft goal conceded from a free kick; this equaliser gave the visitors the encouragement they needed to go on and score the winner.

Despite Spartak’s frantic efforts to equalise, the game slipped away. In the final play, Karl McCullough should have been awarded a penalty for a bad foul while he attempted to shoot, but the ref did not agree.

Form Report
Jason Northey 5 Dave Browne 4 Tom O’Driscoll 5 Steve Grier 6 Karl McCullagh 5 Kevin O’Toole 5 Neil McGowan 4 David Kernan 7 Niall Lennon 7 Ger Byrne 6 Steve Browne 6
Subs: Keith Kelly 6 Graham Campbell 5 Mick Leslie 5

Midfield On Top

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

15.5.16
Willows 0, Spartak 5

The Sky Blues quickly established midfield dominance in this game, affording the front players plenty of opportunities to score, but, particularly in the first half, the Sky Blues were profligate in their efforts to score.

A particular feature was a reluctance to shoot with weaker foot, and it was ironic that midfielder Thom O’Driscoll scored the opening goal with his weaker right foot, volleying in from the edge of the box after Dave Browne’s long throw was cleared to him.

Before that, Jeff Gamble and Conor Callis had vied with each other for most chances spurned; both hit the woodwork from close in, but they both had several weak efforts.

Willows occasionally threatened, but Jason Northey was rarely troubled, and well protected by his back four.

The second period saw Conor Callis miss a one on one, before once again racing forward to pull the ball back to Jeff Gamble, who laid on for Thom O’Driscoll to fire in number two.

Almost immediately Jeff Gamble finally got on the scoresheet, looking suspiciously offside, from an excellent through ball by Chris Hogan.

Steve Grier had a volley cleared off the line, before Owen McCormack and Gamble added numbers four and five as Willows wilted.

Substitute Ciaran Keane then blazed over when through one on one for the final clear chance of a match which had yielded many scoring opportunities.

Form Report
Jason Northey 6 Chris Hogan 7 Fintan Grace 7 Steve Grier 7 Dave Browne 7 Shane McInerney 7 Conor Callis 6 Jeff Gamble 7 Niall Lennon 7 Tom O’Driscoll 8 Mick Leslie 6
Subs: Ciaran Keane 5 Owen McCormack 7 Tom Maher 6

Big Effort not Enough

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

14.5.16
Hyde Park 4 , Spartak 1

The fine spell of weather gave the lie to the attractiveness of summer football, at least as far as some Spartak players were concerned. Unavailable players and late cry offs saw Spartak venture to Balbriggan with just the bare eleven, of whom two were injured.

The home side needed the win to ensure runners up spot and promotion, and displayed a nervous approach.

Mick Greene, playing on one leg, created a number of scoring chances for the Sky Blues. Returning a corner cleared back to him, his cross found the indefatigable Jeff Gamble at the back post, but Jeff fired over. Spartak did take the lead when an excellent Niall Hanratty pass found Gamble, out wide. With plenty to do, Jeff did all required, beating his man and scoring a fantastic goal from a narrow angle.

Fintan Grace was fortunate to escape a red card when pulling back an attacker; he escaped with a yellow, and the resultant penalty, perhaps reflecting the tension in the home side, was fired hopelessly wide.

On the stroke of half time, Chris Hogan misjudged a cross field pass, and was unable to prevent the winger from getting to the backline and crossing. The first effort was cleared off the line by Conor Canavan, but the follow up went in to equalise.

The second half was bound to be a big ask, with Spartak having played just two days earlier, while the home side had not played that Thursday.

But Spartak were not without an attacking threat; Mick Leslie might have pulled the trigger when given a chance, and Fintan Grace headed Mick Greene’s free against the crossbar.

Hyde Park took the lead just before Grace’s effort and eventually added two more near the end, after Hanratty and Leslie had joined the list of walking wounded.

A sterling effort by the Sky Blues was a cause of satisfaction, but there were too few present to make a realistic challenge for the points on offer.

Form Report
Greg Byrne 8 Conor Canavan 7 Chris Hogan 6 Niall Hanratty 8 Fintan Grace 7 Glen Burke 6 Mick Leslie 6 Jeff Gamble 8 Niall Lennon 7 Mick Greene 7 Dave Kernan 7

Spartak pipped by League Champions

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

12.5.16
Spartak 2, Clontarf 3

In a close contest, the visitors edged this game in fine conditions in Marlay. Clontarf arrived with the League Title already wrapped up with games to spare, but Spartak gave a good account of themselves in what was, at times, a feisty affair.

Adam Doran gave Spartak the lead with a fine finish from a tight angle after dispossessing a defender, but two soft goals allowed Clontarf to hold a half time lead.

Ciaran Keane’s cross was fumbled by the keeper, and Mick Leslie looped in the equaliser from the edge of the box.

Just after this, Leslie laid on a great chance fro Mick Young, but his shot, from a good position, was way off target

Two frees conceded gave Clontarf their chances; the first clattered off the crossbar and was cleared, but the second fell nicely for the forward to follow up and score from close range.

Form Report
Greg Byrne 7 Chris Hogan 5 Dave Browne 6 Fintan Grace 6 Dave O’Kelly 6 Mick Young 5 Conor Callis 5 Mick Leslie 6 Niall Lennon 6 Adam Doran 7 Ciaran Keane 5
Subs: Brian Burgess 6 Lee Malone 5

Awards Night Saturday 11th June

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

After a hectic round of voting, nominations have now been finalised for the main awards for the season just ended.

Presentations will be made to the winners on Saturday evening in the Eden.

Dave Browne and Steve Grier will receive their awards for 200 appearances. Dave (Daithi) started out with 13 appearances in 2005/6 and finished 2014/15 on the 199 mark. Steve also started in 2005/6, with 14 appearances that season.

Clubman of the year shortlist consists of Shea McClafferty, Barry Crowe, Colm Reid, Chris Hogan, Paul McGowan and Mick Greene.

The Sunday player of the year will be chosen from the following nominations – Steve Walsh, Karl McCullagh, Ger Byrne , Dave Kernan, Neil McGowan, Steve Grier and Paul Kinsella.

The Saturday award saw votes tightly bunched resulting in the following shortlist: Fintan Grace, Greg Byrne, Niall Lennon, Mick Leslie and Geoff Gamble.

For the over 35s the main contestants are Paul McGrath, Terry Fallon and Gerry McGuinness.

Stats will be available on the night, which show most appearances for the season was 34 by Geoff Gamble, followed by Mick Leslie on 31 and Messrs Grier, Browne, Hogan and Kernan on 25 each.

Spartak Continue Good Run

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

30.4.16
Spartak 6, Balbriggan 0

Despite the one sided scoreline, this was a game that Spartak’s defence needed to play well, and they did. The first goal emanated from a series of defensive blocks which finally broke to Chris Hogan. Chris’s long ball was controlled by Conor Callis around half way, and he went on a strong run to finish from close range.

Niall Lennon, impressive throughout, nodded in a Mick Greene corner for number two.

Two early second half goals put the contest out of reach of the visitors, who nevertheless continued to press continuously in a sporting contest.

Spartak’s third saw a move by Conor Canavan and Dave Kernan finished of by Conor Callis, while the fourth was a sweeping break initiated by Dave O’Kelly, carried on by Conor Canavan and Niall Lennon for Dave Kernan to race in and finish.

Conor Callis completed his hattrick by slamming in a Dave Kernan cross, while Dave O’Kelly and Niall Lennon combined again for Dave Kernan to slot number six.

Form Report
Greg Byrne 7 Chris Hogan 6 Mick Greene 7 Tony Kavanagh 7 Dave O’Kelly 8 Lee Malone 5 Conor Callis 8 Dave Kernan 8 Niall Lennon 8 Darren Ritchie 7 Conor Canavan 7
Subs: Bruno Martins 5 Barry Maguire 6 Tom Maher 6

Smash and Grab

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

25.4.16
Walkinsown 1, Spartak 2

The home side had more possession, and as promotion contenders showed plenty urgency on this midweek fixture on a cold and blustery evening. The Sky Blues displayed some doughty defending which foiled the home side’s ambition on this occasion, with some outstanding saves from Greg Byrne a highlight.

Early breaks by Spartak were foiled by some dubious offside calls, and gradually the home side assumed midfield control. Walkinstown took the lead when a long ball was eventually slid home from an angled shot.

The Sky Blues equalised just before the break from a set play, after a foul on Mick Young. Tom O’Driscoll’s free found Jeff Gamble lurking at the back post and he stooped to nod in.

In the second period Walkinstown pushed hard for the winning score, but in their anxiety pushed too far; with 8 minutes remaining a Greg Byrne kick was touched on by Barry Maguire to Conor Callis, who beat the advancing keeper for a fine winning goal.

Prior to this it had been a disciplined defensive performance which kept the home side at bay, with only sporadic attacks by Spartak. In one such breakout,Darren Ritchie turned, slalomed past a couple of defenders to fire a shot from a narrow angle which was saved.

A pleasing performance and result.

Form Report
Greg Byrne 9 Chris Hogan 7 Tom O’Driscoll 7 Steve Grier 8 Dave Browne 7 Shane McInerney 6 Mick Young 7 Jeff Gamble 7 Lee Malone 6 Darren Ritchie 6 Ciaran Keane 5
Subs: Conor Callis 7 Fintan Grace 6 Barry Maguire 6

Tired Sky Blues rescue a Point

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

23.4.16
Spartak 3, Rush 3

Once again the vagaries of LSL fixtures saw Spartak play a second game in three days against opponents who were fresher.

Spartak took a two goal lead with two fine efforts from Ciaran Keane , who twice fired powerfully home.

However the second period saw a different pattern, as tired legs gave a fresher Rush eleven time and space which allowed them to claw their way into the game. When Conor Callis failed to stop a cross, Rush reduced arrears.

Poor passes by Mick Leslie and Ciaran Keane opened the door for the Rush equaliser, and for a while the Sky Blues were in a backs to the wall situation.

Then the home side rallied, with Jeff Gamble hitting a post and Ciaran Keane touching wide from Niall Lennon’s pass.

But a flick on from a free kick saw Spartak’s central defenders caught out and suddenly a 2-0 lead had become a 2-3 deficit.

Again Spartak threw men forward, but had no joy until deep into injury time. Niall Lennon, determinedly on the burst, was met by a high boot to the head at the edge of the box. With the last kick of the game Jeff Gamble fired the resultant free home to rescue a point for the Sky Blues.

Form Report
Greg Byrne 7 Chris Hogan 7 Mick Greene 5 Steve Browne 5 Fintan Grace 5 Darren Ritchie 5 Conor Callis 5 Dave Kernan 7 Niall Lennon 8 Mick Leslie 5 Ciaran Keane 7
Subs: Jeff Gamble 6 Barry Maguire 5 Lee Malone 5

Tymon Thumped

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

21.4.16
Spartak 4, Tymon 0

A fine opening goal set the tone for this game; Jeff Gamble’s quickly taken corner was volleyed sumptuously home from the edge of the box by Steve Grier, with his weaker left foot.

Grier also had a header cleared off the line in the opening period, during which Tymon Bawn must have wondered how they reached the interval without scoring. Prompted by former Sky Blue Conor Keegan, they had a litany of chances, but were denied by some excellent goalkeeping by Greg Byrne and their own lack of finishing finesse.

The opening period of the second half saw Tymon dominate for a while, with Chris Hogan clearing off the line, and Greg Byrne continuing to excel. When Greg did miss a cross, Mick Greene was on hand to clear.

On the break a Grier/Leslie/Gamble move saw the latter miss a big chance, and Gamble then had a goal disallowed after a Leslie/Lennon move. In between Jeff displayed his old penchant for being caught offside, breaking down a few moves to the frustration of his teammates.

A turning point saw the visitors defender dismissed for a second yellow card, and it was then that Spartak began to turn the screw.

Jeff Gamble showed skill and determination to score Spartak’s second following a solo run. Mick Young kept his composure to beat a poorly laid offside trap to add number three, and sub Ciaran Keane added the fourth.

Form Report
Greg Byrne 9 Chris Hogan 7 Mick Greene 5 Steve Browne 7 Fintan Grace 8 Steve Grier 7 Mick Young 7 Jeff Gamble 7 Niall Lennon 7 Darren Ritchie 5 Mick Leslie 7
Subs: Conor Callis 5 Ciaran Keane 6 Shane McInerney 5