A second half Brendan Sweeney goal seals the deal for Dynamos
CHARLEVILLE CHEESE PREMIER A
Tralee Dynamos 2
This was a big game in the title race at Cahermoneen on Sunday morning with Tralee Dynamos needing maximum points against the league leaders Castleisland to close the gap at the top of the Premier A table.
There was six points between the sides going into this game and a win for Dynamos would reduce this lead significantly and enhance their title aspirations considerably. Meanwhile a share of the spoils would be a satisfactory enough result for Castleisland.
Played on a heavy pitch it turned out to be a very robust and foul ridden game that hung on a thread right up to the final whistle.
It was a stern test for referee Ray Matthews as tackles went in often and hard by both sides and he had to brandish a number of yellow cards to keep everyone on the straight and narrow.
A couple of players were lucky not to get an early shower for tackles of dangerous nature in the second half. Supporters and players of both sides were engaged in continuous heated arguments with the referee during the game but he took it all in his stride and did not affect his decisions.
With so much at stake it was always going to be a tight game with both sides adopting a cautious approach with neither side willing to take any chances in the early part of the game.
Dynamos appeared to have a greater appetite for the game and that was understandable as they badly needed the three points to stay in the title race.
Castleisland have been renowned for their route one football and they always pose a threat from any kind of dead ball situation with their goalie Steven Bartlett delivering free kicks in to their main target man Aidan O’Callaghan who comes up from the back for set piece situations in every game and he makes a habit of scoring crucial goals in big games.
However, Dynamos had two seasoned campaigners in Shane Guthrie and Peter Murphy at the heart of their defence and they were the glue that held the Dynamos defence together when the pressure was on in the concluding stages of the game.
As usual Dynamos played their passing game as best they could but Castleisland were closing them down quickly and did not allow them much time to settle on the ball.
There was a great battle for supremacy at midfield, but heavy underfoot conditions was not conducive to any kind of free flowing football and it was a scrappy game in general. Nevertheless both sides created a good few scoring opportunities.
Territorially Dynamos enjoyed much more possession than their opponents and consequently they produced the best of the scoring chances. Dynamos had an early chance when Darragh Lowth made space down the left wing and centered the ball to Pa Dowling, but his shot missed the target.
Dynamos had a lucky escape when their goalkeeper Brian Horgan made a meal of a high ball into the box and it proved costly when he conceded a corner kick.
This was delivered into the goalmouth by Tommy Feehan and while the Dynamos defence were trying their very best to subdue the aerial threat of Aidan O’Callaghan they did not see Ray Huggard coming in at the near post and he planted a great header in the back of the net.
They only held their lead for a short period of time with Darragh Lowth getting freedom down the left flank and he laid the ball off to Pa Dowling and when he was bundled over in the box referee Ray Matthews had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Shane Lowth was given the responsibility to take the spot kick but his shot was parried out by Castleisland keeper Steven Bartlett, but Robert Lynch was on to it in a flash and buried it in the top corner of the net.
Castleisland went close to regaining the lead in the 33rd minute after a Tommy Feehan free kick the ball fell kindly for Cathal Shire and he tried to scoop the ball over the advancing keeper and his effort went just inches wide.
The game was wide open at half time and the sides came out for the second half with everything to play for. A good attack produced a corner kick for Dynamos which was sent into the goalmouth by Darragh Lowth finding Pa Dowling but his header went over the top.
As the half moved on Dynamos brought on Brendan Sweeney and Lorcan Seymour as they strived to try and engineer a winner. In the 73rd minute their very industrious right back Nemawija Samardic won possession at midfield and made a good run down the right wing.
After making space for himself he drilled in a very teasing daisy cutter of a shot across the goalmouth which almost evaded everyone, but sub Brendan Sweeney sneaked in at the back post and rifled the ball to the back of the net from close range.
After this Castleisland threw caution to the wind and went all out in search of an equaliser.
At one stage after an incident near the side line it looked as if the game might boil over into a brawl after a two foot challenge on a Castleisland player provoked outrage among his colleagues and they were not happy when the offender went unpunished.
In a tension charged conclusion of the game periods of pressure by Castleisland produced free kicks and corner kicks, but they were unable to break down a solid Dynamos defence and they ran out deserving winners at the end.
It is great to see Dynamos veterans James Sugrue and Shane Guthrie still playing the game at this level and while they have a lot of miles on the clock they can still turn in solid performances.
Both sides played their part in an end to end game that kept supporters on their toes right up to the final whistle.
Castleisland felt they were on the wrong side of a number of decisions by the referee and they were making this plain to everyone present at the game. Despite losing the game Castleisland are still three points ahead at the top of the table and it will be difficult to shift them out of it.
This result will be pleasing for the other two title contenders Killarney Celtic and Killarney Athletic with both having a number of games in hand due to their involvement in the Munster Junior Cup and FAI Junior Cup.
However, there is still an awful lot to be played for by the title contenders and many more twists and turns could emerge in the weeks ahead.
TRALEE DYNAMOS: Brian Horgan, Nemawija Samardic, Pa Dowling, Peter Murphy, Shane Guthrie, David Rogers, James Sugrue, Robert Lynch, Shane Lowth, Darragh Lowth, Jeffrey Roche Subs: Brendan Sweeney, Lorcan Seymour, Seán Foley, Seán Lovett. John O’Brien
CASTLEISLAND: Stephen Bartlett, Ryan Dennehy, Padraic O Connor, Ray Huggard, Aidan O Callaghan, Timmy Walsh, Jason Brennan, Tommy Feehan, Cathal Shire, Eamon Nolan, Stan Divane Subs: Stephen McCarthy, Finn Nolan, Kian Downey, Matthew Browne, Kieran Griffin. Chris Divane