Late strike denies Monksland United in eagerly contested CCFL league fixture



Monksland United’s under 17s came close to ending the only unbeaten record in the CCFL Premier Division as a stoppage time goal salvaged a point for Mullingar Athletic in Cushla Park on Saturday last.

The home team enjoyed a two nil half time lead but the visitors struck twice late on to earn a point.

The visitors started in confident mood as they looked to keep their winning run going. Monksland earned the first corner kick of the contest with 10 minutes gone from which Patrick Hussey headed over the bar. The hosts could easily have fallen into arrears on 20 minutes, only to be rescued by the woodwork as Sean Plunkett was unlucky to see his shot hit off the post.

Monksland struck for the opening score on 42 minutes, Luke Wheatley firing a strike from long range past the keeper’s left to the net. It was to get even better when they doubled their lead right on the stroke of half time. A corner kick saw Sean Fortune head down in a crowded goalmouth and Hussey forced the ball home from close range. Mullingar still had time to try and reduce the deficit in stoppage time but Ryan Digan came to United’s rescue when getting down at his near post to push behind a shot from Tom Daly.

The game was to take a dramatic turn in Mullingar’s favour after 71 minutes when a penalty was awarded for handball. Brian Ronan took the spot kick and found the net. The two goal advantage could have been restored in the penultimate minute but Darren Kenny’s free kick from the left clipped the bar.

There was further drama to follow however as the game headed into stoppage time with victory taken away from United in dramatic fashion. A free kick in the third additional minute proved costly for the home team as O’Gara headed home in a crowded goalmouth. Mullingar had a good chance to then steal all three points but Digan ensured it would end honours even with a good block.

Mixed Fortunes

There was mixed fortunes for the clubs two senior teams. The B team failed to recover from conceding twice in the opening half as they made an early exit from the Paddy Cotter Cup at the hands of St Carthages.

It was a different story though for the Senior Division team as they overcame a similar half time deficit in amazing fashion after Abbeyleix Athletic appeared to have put a major dent in United’s hopes of lifting the title. It was still two nil to the visitors heading into the last 10 minutes as a goal late on from substitute Tomas O’Neill appeared to be mere consolation for Tony O’Sullivan’s men. Dylan Jinks looked to have salvaged a point when scoring on the stroke of full time but there was more drama to follow when, deep into stoppage time, Callum O’Brien headed home from a free kick as United stretched their lead at the top of the table to four points.


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