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Kelly plays the jester for Castle

Villa beat fellow strugglers Kilcullen with the minimum of fuss on Wednesday night.

Kilcullen looked off the pace from the kick-off and Villa took full advantage after only eight minutes when they opened the scoring, Mark Kavanagh latching onto a long ball down the centre and placing it perfectly to Kieran Brennan's left.

Villa dominated possession, however Kilcullen were still in the game trailing by just a single goal as referee Richard Foley sounded the half- time whistle.

With 15 minutes of the second half gone, a one touch passing move between Michael Reclik, Shane Carty and Brian Kelly ended with Villa striker Mark Kavanagh intercepting, but he left his pass to centre-back Paddy Mackey short and Kelly nipped in to dink the ball over Alan Proctor in the Villa goal to level the scores.

Villa replaced David O'Shea in midfield with Colm Kelly and this move by Villa manager Liam Murphy proved to be decisive.

The Castledermot side won a succession of corners and from one of these Kavanagh whipped the ball into the box where Kilcullen's Michael Kelly and Villa midfielder Roy Byrne contested a header. To Kilcullen's annoyance a penalty was awarded, which was dispatched to the net by substitute Kelly, giving Villa a 2-1 advantage.

Things were to get worse for Kilcullen in this crucial game when another decision went against them when Enda Bowes, who had come on as a substitute, was dismissed.

Kilcullen came unstuck again when Villa exploited the space at the back and Colm Kelly sidefooted past 'keeper Brennan.

This was quickly followed by goal number four when Mark Kavanagh met another cross to volley home. Kelly completed his hat-trick with a right-footed drive from 12 yards late in the game. A frustrating night for the Kilcullen men, who were best served by Kieran Brennan in goal and they are now facing a huge battle in their remaining five games if they are to maintain their Senior Division status.

Castle Villa: Alan Proctor, David Keating, Mick Lawlor, Mark Malon, Paddy Mackey, Brendan Kelly, Timmy Doyle, David O'Shea, Anto Lawlor, Roy Byrne, Mark Kavanagh. Subs: Paul Mackey, Colm Kelly, Vinny Dowling, Cormac O'Toole.

Kilcullen AFC: Kieran Brennan, Trevor Harris, Fran Shortt, Mark Dooley, Aidan Carroll, Paul Maher, Michael Kelly, Mick Doyle, Brian Kelly, Neil Kavanagh, Shane Carty. Subs: Michael Reclik, Enda Bowes, David Doyle.

Referee: Richard Foley.