Airtricity League: It’s not La Liga, but it’s ours!

In case you missed it, the 2016 Airtricity League was launched last week. That’s the league staged in Ireland and competed for by teams with funny Oirish names like Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk and the quaintly named Finn Harps.

  Sure, there’s no Diego Costas or Alexis Sanchezes, but the tickets are cheaper and you don’t have to put up with Ryanair legroom to watch it.

  National broadcaster, RTE, even got around to advertising it earlier this week. Grand bit of filler for them ahead of The Late Late show every Friday evening! Oh and don’t forget the highlights show which can usually be viewed Monday nights.

  The live TV coverage hasn’t always been popular, however, Shamrock Rovers claimed that it kept fans away from the games. Although at some of these grounds, the facilities don’t help either.

  Let’s be honest here though, there’s no way our national league will thrive without the support of fans and media across Ireland. It’s far from perfect, but with the right marketing and strong support it can be something which continues to produce players like Shane Long and Kevin Doyle if not a Diego and or an Alexis.

Local scene

Meanwhile, back in Roscommon, the fourth round of the Connacht Cup took centrestage last weekend and overall it was a bad day at the office for teams from the Roscommon & District League.

  Premier Division leaders Ballinasloe Town displayed all their skill and experience during an excellent 4-0 win over Castlebar Celtic away from home. The visitors silenced the home support by racing into a 3-0 lead in the first half with goals from Mark Duffy, Peter Keighery and Liam Lynch. Jordan O’Leary added a fourth in the second half.

  Skyvalley Rovers endured a miserable trip to Renmore going down 1-0 to the Galway side.  

  Castlerea Celtic were slightly unfortunate to lose 2-0 away to the Galway Premier side Mervue United. Castlerea created plenty of chances, even hitting the woodwork twice before Mervue opened the scoring. Barry Moran scored one in each half for the Galway team.

  Elsehwhere, Dysart were beaten 4-1 away to the Galway Premier side West United. Johnny Coyne scored their goal. Moore United were surprisingly beaten 2-1 by NUI Galway’s second string in Galway. St. John’s Athletic didn’t fare any better and were beaten 3-1 away to Ballina Town. Tommie Hurley scored their goal.

  In the Connacht Shield, Shiven Rovers came from behind to lead 2-1 against Loughrea FC away from home with five minutes to play. They then proceeded to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and concede two late goals to go down

3-2. Shane Harkin with a brace for Rovers.

  The Ballinlough side Lough Harps were involved in an eight goal thriller at home before they were beaten 5-3 after extra-time by the Galway side Barna Furbo United.

  Harps were 3-0 ahead with sixty-five minutes played thanks to Kevin Lynch, Michael Golden and Stephen Comer. However the Barna Furbo class shone through and they struck back with three late goals to send the game to extra-time.   They completed an excellent comeback in extra-time to go through to the fourth round.

  In Norio’s Division One Kilkerrin United beat Rahara Rovers 3-0 in Rahara. Damien Mahon scored their first and Keith McMahon converted a penalty kick before Tommie Curley put the icing on the cake.

  A young Loughglynn United side were beaten 2-0 at home by a much improved Ahascragh United. Both teams created chances in an exciting game with Kenny English finally breaking the deadlock with eighteen minutes played in the second half. Colin Concannon sealed all three points for Ahascragh when he scored a second ten minutes later.

  Ballinasloe Town were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Glen Celtic. Luke Connelly opened the scoring for the Glenamaddy side after twenty-five minutes of play before Brian Campbell struck an equaliser for Ballinasloe just five minutes later.

  In Division Two, Moore United drew 1-1 with Cloonfad United at home. James McDonagh gave Cloonfad United a deserved lead after only five minutes before Shane Kenny replied for Moore United three minutes later.

  The Castleplunkett side CP Ajax beat MD Town 4-1 at Milltown. Ajax were 1-0 ahead thanks to an own goal and Dean Burns added a second before Damian Fetherstone added two more. Shane Gleeson scored for the Milltown Dunmore side.