Fairview Rangers and Pike Rovers Play out Stalemate

THE clash of the top two sides in the Limerick District Premier Division ended 0-0 on a cold Sunday afternoon at the Fairgreen. Both sides had chances to win it particularly in the second period but the result means that Pike remain three points clear at the summit.

These two rivals have often had fiery encounters over the years and it looked as if this would be no different when two minutes into the game, both Jeffrey Judge and Colin Daly contested the ball in the middle of the field with Daly staying down following the clash. Pike players and management were furious and calling for a dismissal but referee Donal Power brandished a yellow card to Judge.

The opening 20 minutes failed to inspire with both Steven McGann and Conor Coughlan trading wayward volleys. Pike manager Robbie Williams was forced into an early change as the injured Shane Walsh was replaced by Brendan O’Dwyer.

Shane Duggan had a good outing for Fairview Rangers against Pike Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Lorcan Doherty

The Hoops began with a 4-3-3 formation with Eoin Hanrahan continuing in his new recent slot at left-back alongside a trio of Wayne O’Donovan, Adam Lipper and Danny O’Neill. Goal scoring threat Conor Layng led the line and was flanked by both Arron Murphy and Colm Walsh-O’Loughlen.

It was Walsh-O’Loughlen who had the best chance of the half as he was quickest to react to Layng’s flick on and was goal side of Jamie Enright before taking the ball beyond Aaron Savage but a combination of Mark Slattery and Martin Deady prevented what looked like a certain goal with clearances on the line.

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From this point forward, Shane Duggan began to show his experience and worth to the Fairview team as he was the most composed player on the pitch. Duggan combined well with midfield partners O’Gorman and Judge which resulted in the latter firing over from the edge of the area.

The Pike Rovers team which took to the field against Fairview Rangers

The former Galway man then had two chances of his own as we approached half-time. The first was a superb acrobatic effort inside the area which hit the crossbar following Pike’s failure to clear Conor Coughlan’s corner. Two minutes later, Duggan flicked the ball over O’Dwyer’s head before volleying over the bar in what was the last action of a tense first half.

The home side began the second half with a real purpose and Judge came in off the right-flank before driving through the middle and shooting just wide. Moments later, Jason Purcell’s men should have been in front when Neville palmed Coughlan’s shot straight into the path of Mark Slattery but the centre-back lacked composure and blasted the ball over the bar from close range.

As we approached the hour mark, Fairview spurned another glorious chance as Pike were struggling to clear their own box and Mike O’Gorman’s weak effort found Duggan in the area but the midfielder’s low shot was saved by Neville.

Steven Bradley will feature for Irish Junior International squad on Wednesday night following selection by Gerry Davis. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

The Fairgreen outfit needed a goal from that period and struggled to keep the attacking momentum going as Pike began to rally. Conor Layng headed a dangerous Eoin Hanrahan corner over the bar and Hanrahan’s set-piece delivery almost brought an unlikely winner for the visitors when Savage was extremely lucky to see his dropped ball cleared off the line by Slattery which was the correct decision from lineman Andy Hall.

In the dying moments, Pike had another chance from a set-piece as youngster Adam Lipper rose highest but headed Hanrahan’s cross over the bar as referee Power brought an end to an entertaining second half. Fairview will now face Ballynanty Rovers in a big Munster Junior Cup clash on Saturday night while Pike Rovers go into the Christmas break three points clear at the top of the league.

Fairview Rangers: Aaron Savage, Jamie Enright, Mark Slattery, AJ O’Connor, Martin Deady, Shane Duggan, Stephen Bradley, Mike O’Gorman, Jeffrey Judge (AJ Moloney), Conor Coughlan, Ross Mann

Pike Rovers: Gary Neville, Danny O’Neill, Wayne O’Donovan, Adam Lipper, Eoin Hanrahan, Colin Daly, Shane Walsh (Brendan O’Dwyer), Steven McGann, Colm Walsh-O’Loughlen, Aaron Murphy (Evan Patterson), Conor Layng

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