Munster Senior League Senior Premier Division
Avondale United – 1
Douglas Hall – 0
Avondale United claimed a huge 1-0 victory over Douglas Hall at Avondale Park last night to ensure the MSL Premier Division title chase is now down to a two-horse race.
Coming into the game, Douglas had an outside title chance as they trailed leaders Avondale and UCC by five points where a win would have cut the lead down to 2 going into the last day of the season.
Avondale knew that a win here would continue their title charge and set up a final-day title clash with UCC who were also in action with another title contender in the form of Rockmount.
Douglas Hall edged the opening half and came close on two separate occasions. First, on 25 minutes, Mark Murphy’s sublime shot forced an equally sublime save from Avondale stopper Daniel O’Leary.
Ten minutes later, Hall broke through the Dale defence only for a last ditch Stephen Barrett challenge to divert the danger and keep the tie at a stalemate going into the break.
Hall kept up the pressure in the early stages of the restart and on 49 minutes should have really been in front when Kiely capitalized on a defensive mix-up but could only send his effort wide when through on goal.
Minutes later, O’Leary was again on hand to make a solid stop with his legs from a Kelleher strike.
Brian Murphy had an excellent chance for Avondale before they broke the deadlock on 68 minutes. A Hughie Donavan free-kick found Jack Cairns flicked it on to Danny Long who buried it home from close range.
Four minutes later Long was inches from doubling his and Avondale’s tally but he missed a Josh O’Shea in-swinger by the narrowest of margins.
Five minutes from time, Hall had a chance to pull the scores level when Donovan got on the end of a wicked cross only to see his header fantastically saved by Man of the Match O’Leary to secure the vital three points.
UCC and Rockmount drew their game nil-all meaning Rockmount and Douglas Hall, who meet on the final day, are now out of the title race. Avondale will now host UCC in their final game where a win or draw will hand them the league crown while UCC need the win to leapfrog Avondale and take the trophy for themselves.