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Ross puts Cashel title bid on hold

So near and yet so far. For much of this season Cashel Celtic have been leading the way in Division 1 Saturday.

This was an ideal way for them to wrap up the title. A victory in this contest at fortress Stanaway would have sufficed and it looked like they were going to get it when Karl Henderson fired them ahead.

Instead Rialto came back to conjure up an equaliser with a header from their player/manager Ross McNally and spoil the party.

Now the focus turns to Wednesday night when Cashel Celtic take on Hoganville away from home.

A draw or a victory there will mean they bag the silverware and end a long wait for Cashel Celtic and their manager Podge Douglas. For the past few seasons his side have been there or thereabouts yet the ultimate prize has proved elusive.

His team has lost only once in the league all season and few would dare to say that they won't do the business against Hoganville. They have the talent and the desire.

Manager Douglas reckoned that Henderson's goal was the best his side has netted all season because it came from a move that was built on two-touch, swift football with at least six players involved. Henderson applied the finishing touch.

The home side produced their best football in the opening half hour. Brian Finnegan and Greg Wilson went close from half-chances.

Overall Cashel Celtic produced enough good play to win yet Podge Douglas was left with the nagging feeling that while his team played well enough they were below their best.

"It's hard to put a finger on it, we were just slightly below par, maybe it had something to do with nerves," he said. "I don't want to take anything away from Rialto because they are a tough, strong side. We could have scored more in that opening half hour. We didn't."

While Rialto rescued a point in this contest they are looking beyond the league now for glory.

Ross McNally's side are in the semi-final of the Sheeran Cup and they are sure to present big problems for anybody who comes up against them.

They created their own opportunities on Saturday with Noel Chubb and Karl Crowe among those to threaten. McNally also had a 'goal' disallowed near the end. Graham McNevin and Matthew Furey showed up well according to sources as Rialto engineered a spirited revival.

After an uncertain start to their season Rialto have begun to find some impressive form. "They had the better of the opening half. We played well in the second-half, a draw was a fair result," added their manager.

Big days ahead for both clubs starting with Hoganville on Wednesday.

Cashel Celtic: Robert Bernie; Alan Ferris, Lar Johnson, Kenneth Smith, Derek Long, Craig Gough, Brian Finnegan, Luke Wilson, Noel Murtagh, Karl Henderson, Craig Wilson. Subs: Ian Douglas, Emmet Murphy, Christopher Donovan, Stephen McGrath.

Rialto: Joey O'Boyle; Matthew Furey, Danny Maher, Paul Kelly, Lar Keane, Noel Chubb, Ross McNally, Graham McNevin, Stephen Brady, Karl Smith, Ray Daly. Subs: Karl Crowe, Stephen Keane, Joseph Cully.