Jim O'Sullivan

Carrick's Daryl Kavanagh celebrates his equaliser. Photo: Jim O'Sullivan

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St Saviours 1 Carrick United 4 

Tramore have sat alone at the top of the league table since August, but on Sunday morning last Carrick United joined them in pole position and now the scene is set for an incredible finish to the campaign.

The previous Wednesday Carrick defeated the Villa 2-0 (Thomas Fitzgerald and Glen Keane their goalscorers) so they knew a win over the Ballybeg saints would bring them level with the seasiders.

Saviours were playing their first game under the guidance of manager Alfie Hale and they were keen to impress their new boss. They took the lead in brilliant fashion and really put it up to Carrick but a sublime second-half display by the visitors proved to be too much for Alfie and his new charges.

Perhaps the final result did flatter Carrick somewhat but nevertheless they deserved the three points. The Hoops play away to Hibs this evening (Wednesday) and finish their campaign at home to Waterford Crystal. Tramore play away this evening to Villa and bring the curtain down away to Johnville. There will be a lot of twists and turns during the coming days.

11th goal

St Saviours were on top during the opening 10 minutes. John Paul Jacob fed Aaron O’Neill but the latter shot wide from 16 yards. Three minutes later Aaron O’Neill sent in a free from the right but John Paul Jacob directed his header wide of the target.

The pressure applied by the Saints paid off after 14 minutes. Joe Twomey got in a fine cross on the run from the left and the talented Stephen Dalton tucked home his 11th goal of the season from 12 yards.

Carrick got back on level terms in equally impressive fashion on 22 minutes. Alan Ryan played the ball down the right flank to Keith Walsh whose pull-back from the endline was smashed past Brian Arrigan from 14 yards by Daryl Kavanagh.

Arrigan, who was playing in goal instead of the suspended Graham Cleary, came to the rescue of the Saints on 35 minutes, racing from his line to kick clear from Glen Keane who’d run onto a long ball from Keith Walsh.

The last action of the first half saw the Carrick central defender John Walsh try his luck from 25 yards after the St Saviours’ defence had not cleared an Alan Ryan corner kick.

Carrick rule

The visitors took the lead for the first time nine minutes into the second half. Ryan sent over a well-directed free-kick from the left to the back post and Carrick midfield star Wayne Fitzgerald headed home despite being surrounded by a number of defenders.

St Saviours were unlucky not to equalise on 71 minutes. Jamie Swift cracked in a high shot from the right sideline but his effort came back of the angle of crossbar and upright with the Carrick goalkeeper Adrian Walsh beaten.

The Super Hoops wrapped up the points five minutes later. Alan Ryan took control of the ball out on the left before placing it into the path of Daryl Kavanagh who waltzed past two defenders and shot low past Brian Arrigan from 16 yards – a class goal from a class player.

This knocked the heart out of St Saviours and Barry Murphy headed home Carrick’s 4th goal when he met a free-kick taken by Alan Ryan, who was involved in everything positive.

St Saviours: Brian Arrigan, Trevor O’Regan, Philip Penkert, Trevor Elliott, Kenny McLawrence, Brian O’Donoghue,Aaron O’Neill, John Paul Jacob, Stephen Dalton, Anthony Jacob, Joe Twomey. Sub: Jamie Swift for O’Regan (61 mins).

Carrick United: Adrian Walsh, James Walsh, Richard Lawrence, Anthony O’Donnell, John Walsh, Keith Walsh, Daryl Kavanagh, Wayne Fitzgerald, Alan Ryan, Glen Keane, Thomas Fitzgerald. Subs: Adam McSharry for Thomas Fitzgerald (54 mins), Ian Cleary for Keane (68 mins), Barry Murphy for Wayne Fitzgerald (79 mins).

Referee: Jimmy McGrath.