All Out Attack

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

St Anthonys Kilcoole 5, Spartak 5

Another extraordinary match and scoreline in what is becoming a weekly goalfest.

Three up inside fifteen minutes, Spartak’s blistering attacking moves showed zest, quick passing and clinical finishing to disorient the home defence. Jeff Gamble’s persistence and tenacity got the first goal inside a minute; then he combined with Ger Byrne who crossed for Owen Marron to nod in. Owen and Dave Kernan’s move saw Ger Byrne hit the bar with Stuart Love knocking in the rebound.

The home side rallied somewhat and forced Kevin Loftus into a couple of saves. Darragh Logue produced an elegant piece of defending to halt a dangerous move. But it was not till the stroke of half time that they reduced arrears when Kevin Loftus parried a shot into the path of an attacker who fired in.

There were several penalty claims by Spartak ignored, most obviously when Steve Grier was pushed in the back before he could shoot.

With just four second half minutes gone, St Anthony’s made it 2-3 when a long cross was squared back across the six yard box for an unmarked tap in. Worse was to follow when Owen Marron, having tracked back assiduously, made a hash of his clearance and the local player took full advantage – 3.3.

Steve Grier forced in Steve Walsh’s spot kick at the second attempt to regain the lead for the Sky Blues before the hosts struck back twice to gain the lead for the first time. With 8 minutes remaining the Walsh/Grier axis struck again from a flag kick for Steve Grier to equalise.

Then the real helter-skelter began as both sides went all out attack.

Both Niall Lennon and Dave Kernan had clear runs on goal as the final whistle approached, but heavy touches proved costly. The home team also spurned a couple of good opportunities before the game ended as Spartak broke again – but the ref blew to book a home player, before finally blowing the whistle on a breathtaking match.

Form Report
Kevin Loftus 6 Dave Kernan 7 Billy O’Neill 7 Darragh Logue 7 Karl McCullagh 7 Stuart Love 7 Owen Marron 7 Niall Lennon 8 Steve Grier 8 Ger Byrne 8 Jeff Gamble 8
Subs: Dave Browne 5 Steve Walsh 7 Cian Donohoe 5

No Joy in Finglas

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

Finglas Utd 4, Spartak 3

A Spartak side missing a few regulars went down to a late comeback by the local side.

A dramatic goal line block in the last seconds denied Darragh Logue an equaliser.

On a fine pitch, Spartak started brightly and took the lead in the first minute. A move involving Dave Browne, Owen Marron, Neil McGowan and Dave Kernan gave Ger Byrne the opportunity, and he scored despite a defender handling en route to the net.

Owen Marron made a marvellous block to prevent a certain goal after Kevin Loftus parried a shot in the goalmouth. Spartak took a two goal lead when Neil McGowan volleyed in, right footed, from Ger Byrne’s cross after a blistering run down the touchline.

Almost immediately the home side reduced arrears; but then Spartak, playing fast attacking football, created a host of chances. Dave Kernan’s effort was blocked; Neil McGowan and Stuart Love both fired wide from decent positions.

The home side came back strongly, forcing a goal line clearance, and then equalised when sloppy defending conceded possession. Ger Byrne converted Dave Kernan’s cross, but despite the home side going down to ten men, they availed of two crass defensive errors to score twice as Spartak squandered good possession.

A decent display, spoiled, yet again, by lack of concentration in the final quarter.

Form Report
Kevin Loftus 6 Dave Browne 5 Billy O’Neill 6 Darragh Logue 6 Karl McCullagh 7 Stuart Love 5 Neil McGowan 6 Dave Kernan 7 Niall Lennon 5 Ger Byrne 9 Owen Marron 7
Subs: Cian Stenson 5 Tom O’Driscoll 5 Mick Leslie 5 Andrei Gabriel 6

Junior Cup Defeat

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

Spartak 1, Gorey Rangers 3

Spartak came up against an strong Wexford outfit in the second round, and despite a decent performance, exited the cup.

A scoreless first half saw Spartak defend well and attack only sporadically. The Sky Blues best chance fell to Dave Kernan, who headed onto the top of the bar from Stuart Love’s pass.

A deflected goal on the hour mark gave the visitors a breakthrough, and Spartak’s luck was out when Steve Grier’s goalbound shot was blocked. Almost immediately Gorey made it 2-0.

Gorey plundered a third before Spartak reduced arrears when Owen Marron’s pass gave Dave Kernan the chance to fire in, and Spartak then saw a Jeff Gamble header go wide before Mick Leslie had half chance, as the visitors relaxed and Spartak pushed on.

But a deserved win for the vistors.

Form Report
Johnluke Hayes 5 Dave Browne 6 Billy O’Neill 7 Ken Ward 7 Darragh Logue 7 Stuart Love 6 Neil McGowan 6 Dave Kernan 7 Steve Grier 7 Ger Byrne 8 Owen Marron 7
Subs: Jeff Gamble 6 Collie Dunne 6 Mick Leslie 6 Keith Kelly 6

Points Thrown Away

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

Spartak 3, St Anthony’s Kilcoole 4

Two calamitous individual defensive errors, early and late, saw Spartak drop all three points in a game they should have won comfortably.

Spartak went a goal down before gradually imposing themselves on the game, with goals by Steve Grier, Ger Byrne and Grier again to lead 3-1 midway through the second half.

Spartak then failed to stop the cross, and an unmarked Anthony’s player fired in to reduce arrears. A long ball through the middle saw the Spartak defence at sixes and sevens, and the runner rounded Johnluke Hayes to equalise.

The final ignominy saw Spartak concede possesion in the box, recover it, usher the opponent away from goal and the concede a spot kick.

Probably best not to dwell too long on this one.

Form Report
Johnluke Hayes 6 Cian Donohoe 5 Darragh Logue 5 Ian Harmon 5 Keith Kelly 5 Niall Lennon 6 Neil McGowan 6 David Kernan 6 Steve Grier 6 Ger Byrne 6 Steve Walsh 5
Subs: Ken Ward 5 Stuart Love 5 Billy O’Neill 6 Dave Browne 6

Junior Cup Progress

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

22.9.17 Tom
Derry Rovers 0, Spartak 2

A Friday night trip to Edenderry saw Spartak through to the second round, courtesy of an own goal and a Steve Grier clincher.

Played on grass under lights, the surface did not lend itself to early season craft, and Spartak generally had less possession than the locals. However the Sky Blues’ centre back pairing had a near impeccable evening to deny Derry clear cut opportunities.

Johnluke Hayes kept Spartak in the game when he pushed away a piledriver and Spartak’s tenacity was rewarded when a move down the right saw Sean Doyle’s header deflected just over the line to edge Spartak in front at the break.

Derry Rovers huffed and puffed to no great avail and when Jeff Gamble’s persistence saw him escape the attentions of two defenders to break free on the left, his cross was met first time by Steve Grier to seal Spartak’s passage to round 2.

Form Report
Johnluke Hayes 8 Cian Donohoe 6 Darragh Logue 6 Sean Doyle 9 Keith Kelly 9 Niall Lennon 6 Owen Marron 6 Neil McGowan 7 Steve Grier 8 Jeff Gamble 7 Tom O’Driscoll 6
Subs: Stuart Love 6 Niall Hanratty 6

Epic Contest

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

Spartak 6, Transylvania 6

An all action show in Marlay. Even in injury time, the game was still wide open. An infringement by a Spartak defender saw a spot kick awarded, but it was fired over, and then , in the dying seconds, Owen Marron turned in the box to shoot against the butt of the post.

And that was just injury time!

An epic contest in Marlay, well refereed by Jimmy Wynne, and with former Spartak player David Meehan in the dugout for the opposition.

The game looked over after 16 minutes, with the free flowing visitors rampant and three goals to the good. Spartak looked down and out.

Gradually, the Sky Blues regained their mojo. Steve Walsh was fouled, and Steve Grier scored low with the free from the edge of the D. The visitors responded with a free of their own, 1-4. The Spartak produced a flowing move, with Steve Walsh scoring after a slick series of passes by Niall Lennon, Neil McGowan, Steve Grier and Tom O’Driscoll.

Hope flickered in Sky Blue hearts when Steve Grier, Ger Byrne and Jeff Gamble combined to put Dave Kernan in 3-4 at the break.

Transylvania made it 5-3, before the best goal of the game by Spartak. Jeff Gamble latched onto a quick Steve Grier throw, beat his man and fired in a high velocity cross. Dave Kernan, racing goalwards, planted a firm header on it and the ball fairly flew to the net for a wonderful score. Steve Grier then turned and shot from the edge of the box to level the scores, before Neil McGowan forced home a Steve Walsh corner to finally give Spartak the lead.

A deflected free kick saw the visitors equalise, and then cam the drama of added time.

A most memorable game.

Form Report
Johnluke Hayes 6, Dave Kernan 9 Tom O’Driscoll 5 Ian Harmon 6 Keith Kelly 7 Niall Lennon 6 Neil McGowan 6 Jeff Gamble 7 Ger Byrne 6 Steve Grier 9 Steve Walsh 6
Subs: Owen Marron 6 Billy O’Neill 6 Cian Donohoe 6

Points Dropped

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

Drumcondra/Stella Maris 5, Spartak 5

Conceding three goals when in a comfortable lead does not leave a team feeling on top of the world. Nonetheless there were positives to be drawn from this first Premier Sunday game of the season.

When Mick Leslie fired in from Steve Grier’s knockdown to make it 5-2, Spartak looked home and hosed. However a combination of tiredness and lack of concentration allowed the home side back into the game. A needless corner conceded saw a penalty awarded for handball against Ger Byrne and a snapshot a minute later made it 5-4. The home side were revived, Spartak were pinned back, and finally a rather lucky looping header beat debutant JohnLuke Hayes in the Spartak goal for the equaliser. JohnLuke had an excellent debut, and could not be faulted for any of the goals conceded.

Spartak began tentatively and a lack of defensive cover allowed Drums to take the lead. Steve Grier nodded home Keith Kelly’s free to equalise, and then Dave Kernan’s cross was lashed in by Ger Byrne.

Against the run of play Ian Harmon handled to concede the equaliser from the spot, but Ger Byrne then took advantage of a goalkeeping lapse to put Spartak 3-2 up at the break.

The Sky Blues then had a fine spell of fluent passing and began creating opportunities in waves of attack. Neil McGowan’s effort was blocked; Mick Leslie shot too close to the keeper; Stephen Walsh hit the crossbar with a header. Pressure mounted on the hosts and a flowing move involving Billy O’Neill, Ger Byrne, and Steve Walsh saw Steve Grier make it 4-2.

Then came what seemed like the insurance score from Mick Leslie, but a late collapse saw Spartak fritter away two valuable points.

Form Report:
JohnLuke Hayes 8 David Kernan 8 Billy O’Neill 5 Ian Harmon 6 Keith Kelly 7 Stuart Love 5 Neil McGowan 6 Mick Leslie 6 Steve Grier 8 Ger Byrne 7 Steve Walsh 5
Subs: Paul Kinsella 5 Niall Hanratty 6 Cian Donohoe 6 Karl McCullagh 6

Appearances and Goals updated on Site

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

All time appearances and goals have been updated on the website, as at end of 2016/17 season.

Notable milestones are in reach for some players. Chris Hogan finished the season on 197 games, while Niall Hanratty’s single game during the season brought him to 195. Fintan Grace reached the 600 games milestone, while Neil McGowan passed the 500 mark and Ger Byrne is approaching 300 games. Mick Leslie is making fast progress on 126 matches, while Ross Kelly is taking the scenic route, on 62 games so far.

On the goals front, the race to 100 goals sees Jeff Gamble on 89, closing fast on Steve Walsh who has 92 goals, just behind Ger Byrne on 96.

To date 11 players have scored 100 or more goals for the club – here’s the list:

375 Tony Little
250 Barry Crowe
183 Leo Gartlan
177 David Keegan
173 Neil McGowan
150 Kevin O’Connell
147 Martin McGorian
127 Dave Pender
125 Gerry Doran
116 Jimmy Galloway
101 Martin Morrison

Year End Awards

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

Saturday 13th May will see the presentation of the year end awards in the Eden.

Fintan Grace will receive an award for completing 600 competitive appearances.

Nominations have now closed, and the following are the players who are in contention:

Sunday POTY

A wide range of votes saw a record number of nominees:
Dave Kernan, Niall Lennon, Jeff Gamble, Ger Byrne, Steve Grier, Neil McGowan and Stuart Love

For Saturday, the voting was more concentrated and the following are the contenders:
Greg Byrne, Darren Ritchie, Cian Stenson and Mick Leslie.

For Clubman of the Year the nominations are
Mick Leslie, Mick Greene, Paul McGowan, Paul Mohan, Ger Byrne and Jason Doyle.

Spartak edge it

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

Spartak 1, Sallynogin Pearse 0

A free kick scored by Steve Walsh just four minutes from the end clinched a narrow win over a visiting side who created more chances over the course of the game.

Given the circumstances, with injury and suspension restricting the Sky Blues, it was a decent win; all the more so when Steve Grier had to take the keepers jersey. Indeed when Niall Lennon pulled up with a muscle strain with 15 minutes left, he swapped places with Steve; Mick Leslie, as substitute, was carrying a knock and unable to play.

Spartak began shakily and the green clad visitors took the initiative. A couple of runs down Spartak’s right flank saw a header just over and the Sky Blues were later grateful to Niall Lennon for a superb headed clearance when a goal looked certain.

A half clearance by Paul Kinsella saw SallynogginPearse slam a shot against the post in what was probably the best chance up to then, and then the opponents made a mess of a good opportunity when Dave Browne conceded possession on the edge of the penalty area.

Spartak did manage to get in a few crosses, but only one chance, when Jeff Gamble’s heavy touch allowed the ball to run away from him.

Sallynoggin threatened again when Steve Grier advanced to save and Paul Kinsella’s attempted clearance gave the forward the chance to lob the stranded Grier, but luckily the lob cleared the crossbar.

A neat move by Dave Browne, Dave Kernan and Jeff Gamble saw Kernan’s cross from an overlapping run cleared by an alert defender. Then Neil McGowan headed over from Dave Browne’s cross, while Ger Byrne had a goalbound shot blocked from close range.

A late surge saw the visitors concede a free kick on the edge of the “D”. Up stepped Steve Walsh, anonymous until then, to fire a dipping effort over the wall and into the corner.

Form Report
Steve Grier 7 Dave Browne 6 Cian Donohoe 6 Paul Kinsella 6 Darragh Logue 7 Jeff Gamble 6 Neil McGowan 6 Dave Kernan 6 Niall Lennon 7 Ger Byrne 6 Steve Walsh 6
Sub: Mick Leslie