Fassaroe title dreams remain on course
BALLYWALTRIM 1 Deevlin 12 FASSAROE YC 2 K. Byrne 2, Kelly 45+1 DIVISION 1 FASSAROE YC’S title dreams remain on course after they survived a stern test against a youthful Ballywaltrim FC side on Sunday morning.
The Division 1 leaders must have been licking their lips in anticipation of a rout when Keith Byrne blasted them ahead after just a minute and 30 seconds of the contest.
But they were quickly pegged back by a superb goal from Darren Devlin when the winger cut inside his man and smashed an unstoppable effort into the bottom corner of Daniel Gaynor’s net.
The match ebbed and flowed and both sides had chances to grab the lead but Dan Kelly snatched what proved to be the winning goal on the stroke of half-time when he poked home from close range.
After a minute’s silent was held for Frank O’Toole – partner of Fassaroe YC secretary Marina Gaskin – the match exploded into life when with a little under 90 seconds played, Keith Byrne picked the ball up in space and rifled home a 20-yard drive that flew into the net.
It wasn’t an ideal start for the hosts, but they immediately began searching for a leveller and almost got it in the fifth minute.
Brazilian Antonio Thiago found livewire Paddy O’Brien on the edge of the box and the played a lightning quick one-two with Barry Hanna but couldn’t beat Gaynor with his 15-yard effort.
Gaynor was beaten – and in spectacular style – seven minutes later. Hanna fed Darren Devlin and the midfielder appeared to pose little threat standing out on the left. But he shipped the ball inside quickly, bamboozling the Fassaroe defender and unleashed an unerring drive that whistled into the back of the net from 22 yards.
Dan Kelly then spurned a golden chance to restore his side’s lead on 17 minutes. Man of the match John Gaughan feigned to shoot before threading the ball through for Keith Byrne. The striker drew out Ballywaltrim goalkeeper Brian O’Toole before slipping it inside to Kelly but the striker fluffed his lines and somehow contrived to slice harmlessly off target.
Kelly’s strike partner had the next chance of the match. Mark O’Sullivan pumped in a cross from deep that Keith Byrne rose to meet but the number nine’s glanced header finished the wrong side of the far post.
Kelly had another half-chance to get himself on the scoresheet three minutes before the break when a sliced clearance bounced kindly for him but he was unable to punish the mistake. And then, just as it looked like his luck in front of goal had run out, the youngster struck what proved to be the decisive blow.
Lee Maloney’s inswinging corner from the right caused trouble in the Ballywaltrim area and when it fell to Kelly six yards from goal, he didn’t need asking twice as he promptly prodded it home much to his own relief.
Fassaroe thought they had stretched their lead in the 56th minute. Wayne Byrne’s launched free-kick was flicked on by brother Keith and then steered home by Ross O’Brien – a half-time replacement for Kelly – but referee Dave Jameson ruled out the goal for an offside against O’Brien.
With the home side pushing for a reply, Fassaroe were presented with chances on the break and it was from one such break that they should have added a third.
After breaking into the Ballywaltrim half, Keith Byrne played a give-and-go with O’Brien; bursting into the box as he collected the return pass. But after a moment’s hesitation from the striker, Stephen Temple was able to get back and execute a brilliant last-ditch tackle just as Byrne looked set to pull the trigger.
Fassaroe captain Mark O’Sullivan was denied a moment of glory six minutes from time when his close-range effort was hacked off the line by a Ballywaltrim defender and then Keith Byrne found the side netting in the 92nd minute but neither miss proved significant in the end, with Fassaroe edging closer to Division 1 thanks to their tenth league win of the campaign.
Top Form: John Gaughan (Fassaroe YC): Pulled the strings all day long for his side.
Fassaroe's Dean troy tries to get past Ballywaltrim defender Rory Doyle during the league match at Ballywaltrim.
Fassaroe's Dan Kelly skips past Adam Gilligan.