Welcome Win, But Injury Strikes

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

Pormarnock 1, Spartak 3

Two goals by substitute Keith Kelly, the second with the last kick of the match, decided his tie in Spartak’s favour.

The win was overshadowed by the arm injury to Mick Costello, sustained in a clash when punching clear. Mick tried to continue, before departing for hospital, and was replaced in goal by the ever reliable Mick Greene, who did a capable job of deputising.

The game featured a very open first half, with many chances to either side. Ciaran Keane had a goal disallowed for offside against a colleague, while Jeff Gamble, Ciaran Keane and Darren Ritchie all missed presentable opportunities. Slack play by Spartak allowed the hosts to create at will, and they took the lead. Portmarnock also forced Mick Costello into a number of saves, and missed some good openings.

Portmarnock gained the upper hand for a while, and, with more composure, might well have increased their lead. The equaliser for Spartak arrived just before the break, with Darren Ritchie prodding home Jeff Gamble’s knock down.

With Thom O’Driscoll and Niall Lennon taking more control in the middle of the park, Spartak began to set up more attacks in the second period, but all too frequently fell into the home side’s offside trap.

The introduction of Keith Kelly, for the injured Ciaran Keane, proved pivotal. Neither of his finishes could be called powerful, but both were on target. The first where Darren Ritchie’s touch sent him through; with Jeff Gamble square, Keith opted for the shot, and it trickled weakly under the keeper. The second, in injury time, saw Thom O’Driscoll’s free kick cleverly pick out Keith, who swiveled and fired a looping effort with his hitherto unused left foot which the keeper allowed dip over his head.

The home side had poured forward after Spartak took the lead, but the Spartak defence shook off their first half lethargy, and stood firm. The third goal permitted no comeback, as the ref blew for time as Portmarnock restarted.

A welcome three points and a boost before next week’s cup tie versus Seaford Rock.

All are hoping for a speedy recovery for Mick Costello, detained in hospital with a broken arm.

Form Report
Mick Costello 7 Dave Browne 6 Mick Greene 6 Steve Browne 7 Fintan Grace 7 Thom O’Driscoll 8 Martin Costello 6 Jeff Gamble 6 Darren Ritchie 6 Niall Lennon 7 Ciaran Keane 6
Subs: Keith Kelly 7 Tom Maher 6

Bright Start to New Year

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

Spartak 4, Swords 1

Conditions for this game were difficult after the recent heavy rain – long grass and soaked pitch was a severe tester for players who had not played for some weeks.

Spartak’s ranks were depleted by injuries and absentees, but the available players put in a solid performance, full of energy and pace, particularly in the first half.

Spartak raced into an early two goal lead, but not before the visitors had a clear chance as Mick Leslie misjudged a header. Luckily, the forward prodded the ball straight at Jason Northey.

The opening goal came from a free taken by Neil McGowan after Keith Kelly was fouled. Mick Young’s miscue fell straight into Ger Byrne’s path and he made no mistake from close range. Jeff Gamble then won a penalty, which he took himself. It was not his best effort, but the ball squirmed under the diving custodian to make it 2-0. Jeff Gamble then spurned a decent chance after Mick Young’s run and cross, and Ger Byrne raced onto Jeff Gamble’s header but shot wide. Swords responses were sporadic and generally their attack was well held by the Sky Blues’ back four.

The visitors had a couple of decent efforts in the second period, aided by some distracted defending and erratic clearances. In one scramble, only great work by Paul Kinsella and Jason Northey prevented what seemed to be a certain goal.

It was not until the 83rd minute that Spartak made the game safe with a third score after a couple of chanacs had gone astray. Dave O’Kelly headed over from close range. Keith Kelly, who had earlier been just off target with a blistering shot, made a lung bursting run down the right flank, outpacing several defnders, before squaring for Jeff Gamble, who applied the simple finish. Swords responded by reducing arrears a minute later with a snap shot, but with a couple of minutes remaining Mick Leslie released Ger Byrne who ran from inside his own half to apply a calm finish for goal number four.

In the circumstances, a highly creditable performance.

Form Report
Jason Northey 7 Keith Kelly 7 Mick Leslie 7 Paul Kinsella 7 Karl McCullough 7 Ken Buckley 7 Neil McGowan 7 Jeff Gamble 7 Ger Byrne 7 Mick Young 7 Paul Byrne 7
Subs: Dave O’Kelly 7 Neil Walsh 6 Steve Grier 5

New Year Friendlies

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

9th and 10th Jan 2016

On Knocklyon Astro Spartak turned out in numbers for two weekend games.

Firstly the over 35s took on the saturday boys, who won 4-3, somewhat against the run of general play. The possession stats showed the senior men in control, but sharper finishing saw the younger crew come out on top. Goals from Ciaran Bermingham, Darren Ritchie, Ross Kelly and Niall Hanratty for the winners, while Ciaran O’Sullivan, Kevin Nolan and Gavin Johnson netted for the over 35s, who had a large squad in attendance.

The Sunday lads took on Tallaght City and came out the wrong side of a 5-3 scoreline. Steve Grier (2) and Ger Byrne were the scorers, with Neil McGowan and David Kernan missing a hatful of chances between them. The concession of 5 goals will be a talking point, some of which were soft in the extreme. Some of the Spartak players are to be congratulated on a wonderful Christmas period, especially Steve Grier who must have had a wonderful Yuletide!

League games resume on 16th/17th.

Form Reports
Niall Hanratty 8 Chris Hogan 6 Mick Greene 7 Steve Browne 7 Tom Maher 6 Mick Leslie 7 Niall Lennon 7 Darren Ritchie 7 Ross Kelly 6 Conor Canavan 6 Ciaran Keane 6 Dave O’Kelly 7 Ciaran Bermingham 6

Jason Northey 6 Dave Browne 6 Tom O’Driscoll 7 Mick Young 6 Karl McCullough 6 Kevin O’Toole 6 Neil McGowan 6 Dave Kernan 6 Steve Grier 6 Ger Byrne 6 Mick Leslie 6 Ciaran Keane 6

Spartak pipped in Polikoff

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

Boyne Rovers 4, Spartak 3

With atrocious weather conditions rendering Marlay unplayable, along with almost every other grass pitch in Dublin, it was a surprise to find Boyne Rovers pitch in declared on. Spartak had to surrender home advantage and travel to Drogheda, making it an even more formidable task against the Premier Division leaders.

The pitch started out wet and muddy, and ended as a quagmire, but the conditions did not prevent a wonderful game of football, played in a sporting manner by both sides.

Spartak adapted quickly , and Ger Byrne rifled the Sky Blues into an early lead from Steve Walsh’s cross. Spartak quickly added another by Steve Walsh after Mick Leslie had done the spadework. In between, a very dubious offside call saw another Ger Byrne effort chalked off.

Spartak continued to create chances, with a Walsh effort saved, and Neil McGowan’s volley just over, while Dave Kernan had the best opportunity after a great run but shot too close to the keeper.

The home side pulled one back just on half time, shooting past stand-in keeper Martin Costello. who had a fine game, and Boyne piled on the pressure in the second period and they equalised very early on, before taking the lead for the first time.

With 20 minutes of this fine cup tie to go, Mick Leslie forced a corner; Walsh’s flag kick was nodded down by Karl McCullough to Ger Byrne, and Neil McGowan fired in for the equaliser.

It was end to end stuff now as both sides strove for a winner. Steve Walsh fired narrowly wide; Martin Costello took off a fine save at the other end; but with three minutes to go Boyne got a fourth after a scramble in the goalmouth.

The drama was not over however; Spartak fought back and won a free when Dave Kernan was fouled. Walsh’s effort was saved, but the ball rebounded invitingly to the inrushing Ger Byrne. It seemed certain to be the equaliser, but Ger went for power and fired over.

Form Report
Martin Costello 7 Dave Browne 7 Tom O’Driscoll 8 Paul Kinsella 7 Karl McCullagh 8 Ken Buckley 7 Neil McGowan 8 Dave Kernan 7 Mick Leslie 8 Ger Byrne 7 Steve Walsh 8.

Spartak end Sallynoggin Pearse unbeaten run

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

Sallynoggin Pearse 2, Spartak 3

Not content with keeping the local forwards at bay, Adam Doran provided a drilled assist for Steve Walsh’s winning goal in the 89th minute. Steve took the second of his two goals with equal facility, both terrific finishes.

The game began in dramatic fashion with a 2nd minute goal from the home side, but by the 10th minute , one of their players received a second yellow and Spartak faced 10 men for 80 minutes.

The remainder of the first half saw a disjointed Spartak X1 gradually settle, as Dave Kernan, Steve Walsh and Steve Grier got on the ball to good effect. Indeed Sallynoggin continued to have the better chances.

The second period, from Spartak’s viewpoint, got off to a great start, but only after a miraculous escape as the ball struck bar and post from a home forward’s header before rolling back into Adam Doran’s relieved clutches. Immediately Spartak equalised after a scramble from a corner kick, Steve Grier forcing home. Heartened by this, Spartak took the lead when Steve Walsh raced onto Neil McGowan’s pass to score.

The home side had a goal disallowed before Neil McGowan headed over from close range. But the ten local men equalised when the Sky Blues back four was caught out of shape.

Then began the search for the decisive goal.

Sallynoggin then had three fine chance, Adam Doran foiling each one in turn. Steve Grier mishit his shot when set up by Ger Byrne , Ger missed his touch on a Grier long throw.

As the clock ticked towards time, Doran gathered the ball and sent Walsh away to secure the three points.

Form Report
Adam Doran 9 David Kernan 7 Tom O’Driscoll 7 Karl McCullagh 7 Kevin O’Toole 6 Ken Buckley 6 Neil McGowan 7 Mick Leslie 6 Steve Grier 7 Ger Byrne 6 Steve Walsh 8
Sub: Neil Walsh 6

Return of the Maestro

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

After resigning as Quiz master in a hissy fit, leaving poor Uncle Dex to pick up the pieces, Mick Greene has completed a massive U Turn and returns to his rightful spot on the podium next Thursday, 18th November, in Firhouse Community Centre.

Mick , after doling out questions on Dingbats, Counties of Ireland and other puzzles to tease the slightly sozzled members of the audience, will then lead the weary troops in the time honoured march into town, eventually leaving Coppers at an ungodly hour.

All club members expected to attend, and for €10 on a Thursday night, it can’t be bet for entertainment value.

The Quiz starts at 9.15, so aim for 9 O’Clock, unless your name is Steve Grier, in which case you would need to aim for the previous day. Chris “Tubes” Hogan is carrying on Gerry Doran’s tradition of always being last to everything. Dave Kernan may well travel through town , so could be delayed. Mick Leslie even might bring the water bottles for a special guest appearance.

So, for those not paying attention (that’s you Bobby Hayes and Jason Northey) its a 9.15 kick off on Thursday 18th November in Firhouse Community Centre.

Rush gain advantage

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

Rush Athletic 4, Spartak 2

Spartak departed St Catherines Park in Rush feeling somehwat hard done by after a tough game against the locals.
The final scoreline here did not reflect the balance of play, as Spartak struck the frame of the goal three times. But individual errors at vital times gave the home side the key scores.

Almost straight from the kick off Spartak had one of the game’s best chances, when Ciaran Keane intercepted a stray pass. With a clear run to goal he opted for the early shot which flew well wide. Spartak’s nest chance came when good work by Ger Byrne and Steve Grier saw the latter’s attempt deflected into the path of Jeff Gamble, whose shot struck the post and rebounded into the grateful arms of the keeper.

Mick Leslie’s reluctance to strike with his right foot meant two half chances went a-begging., but approaching half time he collected from Jeff Gamble’s cross to put Ciaran Keane in on goal. This time Ciaran showed more composure and put the Sky Blues one up.

Rush gave early intent of their second half ambitions by crashing a free kick off the cross bar almost on the restart. Spartak almost increased the lead after a foul on Ger Byrne. Mick Greene’s free was headed goalwards by Jeff Gamble, but he was again thwarted by a combination of keeper and post.

Rush equalised following a run on the Spartak left and the cross was nodded in.

Spartak restored their lead when a Browne/Keane/Byrne move saw Jeff Gamble head in, but the Sky Blues were disappointed when Rush equalised from a free kick from 40 yards.

Rush took full advantage of Chris Hogan being caught in possession to go ahead for the first time with 17 minutes remaining, but Spartak raised fresh onslaughts on the home goal with substitutes Darragh Dnnelly and Conor Callis going close. It was from the latter’s shot that was pushed onto the crossbar that saw Rush clinch the game in comedic fashion when the resulting long clearance was missed by Bobby Hayes, who had raced far from his goal, to allow a walk in score.

Form Report
Bobby Hayes 5 Chris Hogan 5 Mick Greene 6 Steve Browne 6 Fintan Grace 6 Shane McInerney 7 Steve Grier 6 Jaff Gamble 6 Ciaran Keane 6 Mick Leslie 5 Ger Byrne 7
Subs: Conor Callis 6 Darragh Donnelly 6

Poor Display

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

Swords Celtic 2, Spartak 1

A lethargic first half proved costly as lowly Swords put in an aggressive performance unmatched by the Sky Blues in the first period. The first half was all Swords, who showed greater urgency and aggression, picking up a few yellow cards in the process. Greg Byrne in the Spartak goal was by far the busier keeper, and took knocks as the subject of some rough inteventions, with Kevin O’Toole and Karl McCullough overworked at the back, as the Spartak midfield misfired.

Spartak’s only real effort came following a foul on Neil McGowan when a quick thinking Thom O’Driscoll spotted the keeper off his line; but Thom’s execution did not quite match the intention, just missing the target.

On 47 minutes, inevitably, Swords took the lead; a long ball was misheaded by Martin Costello back into a central area and , while Greg Byrne saved the initial effort, the rebound was tucked home.

Spartak lifted their game in the second half, while Swords conceded many free kicks in an attempt to stem the tide. Just on the hour marked Dave Kernan bundled in Ger Byrne’s cross at the second attempt. Then moments later Neil McGowan found Steve Walsh in space on the right, his cross found Thom O’Driscoll, whose header forced a good save from the home keeper.

The game looked to be going in Spartak’s favour, with a second goal in prospect, when a calamitous error of judgment by the hitherto commendable Kevin O’Toole handed the points to the home side. A rash tackle inside the box saw the penalty dispatched for the winning goal.

Martin Costello, Dave Kerna and Steve Grier all had half chances to equalise, but Swords held on.

Form Report
Greg Byrne 8 David Kernan 6 Martin Costello 6 Karl McCullough 6 Kevin O’Toole 5 Ken Buckley 5 Neil McGowan 5 Tom O’Driscoll 5 Steve Grier 5 Ger Byrne 5 Steve Walsh 4
Sub: Dave Browne 5

Derby Spoils to Spartak

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

Spartak 4, Dundrum 1

Spartak took the honours in a game that was closer than the scoreline would suggest.

Two identikit goals just before the break saw Karl McCullough head home successive Steve Walsh corner kicks gave the Sky Blues a 2-0 half time advantage.

Earlier chances had been missed, most notably after brilliant work by Steve Grier and Dave Kernan had sent Steve Walsh in on goal, but two attempts were not sufficient to score. Dundrum struck the crossbar, and Kev O’Toole made a strong savin tackle when a score looked certain.

Spartak virtually clinched the points when a first time Neil McGowan pass sent the ovelapping Martin Costello clear on the left. He jinked past the advancing keeper but was forced very wide. Nonetheless he produced the perfect cross amid a cluster of covering defenders for Ger Byrne to shoot into the unguarded net.

This appeared to be the signal for Spartak to relax and for Dundrum to come strongly into the game.

A quickly taken free saw Dundrum reduce arrears and Dundrum had several atempts to close the gap, but Spartak were grateful to Greg Byrne for some fine stops, including tipping one shot onto the post.

Spartak made the game safe when a super through ball b Tho O’Driscoll sent Steve Walsh in, and he finished at the second attempt.

Form Report
Greg Byrne 8 Dave Kernan 7 Martin Costello 6 Karl McCullough 8 Kevin O’Toole 8 Ken Buckley 6 Neil McGowan 6 Tom O’Driscoll 6 Steve Grier 6 Ger Byrne 7 Steve Walsh 6
Sub: Neil Walsh 5

Soft Goals Costly

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

Spartak 1, Sallynoggin 3

Who would be a keeper?

Having kept his team in the game with some fine saves for most of the first half, Bobby allowed a soft shot to elude him for the decisive third goal early in the second period.

Sallynoggin had most of the first half play, but Spartak were not without their chances; Ciaran Keanes’ run and cross gave Jeff Gamble a chance, but his reluctance to shoot with his left saw the chance evaporate.

Niall Lennon and Jeff Gamble combined but Darren Ritchie could not reach the latter’s cross.

Salynoggin took the lead when a cross from Spartak’s left was nodded in, and an unfortunate og by Fintan Grace just on half time doubled that advantage.

The Sky Blues strove to get back in the contest as the visitors were happy to defend their lead, and Fidel Benson reduced arrears on 54 minutes after good work by chris Hogan and Jeff Gamble. Conor Canavan fired straight into the keeper’e midriff from a couple of yards out, while Jeff Gamble had a couple of efforts, including a header just over.

Form Report
Bobby Hayes 6 Chris Hogan 5 Mick Greene 5 Steve Browne 5 Fintan Grace 5 Darren Ritchie 5 Conor Canavan 5 Jeff Gamble 6 Niall Lennon 5 Fidel Benson 6 Ciaran Keane 5
Subs: Evans Sarpong 5 Ciaran Bermingham 5 Stephen Bermingham 5