Carrigaline United 3 Avondale United 0
CARRIGALINE United started their Beamish Stout Munster Senior League Senior Premier Division season in style as they impressively defeated Avondale United 3-0 on a tropical night at Ballea Park on Friday.
Richard Duggan’s close-range finish in the first half followed by goals from substitute Danny Akinrinbola and Killian Murphy in the second was enough to see Carrigaline open their campaign with a huge three points.
Perhaps it was down to the heat or the lack of significant competitive action in recent weeks and months but it took both sides time to settle into the game and find their rhythm.
The home side were the first to string a few passes together and they then created the first sight at goal with eleven minutes on the clock.
Good build-up play allowed Richard Duggan to release Darragh Corcoran inside the penalty area but the left back’s powerful drive from close range was brilliantly turned over his crossbar by Avondale goalkeeper Edward Finn.
Carrigaline now had the momentum and they would deservedly take the lead just six minutes later thanks to Duggan.
Some poor defending from the opposition allowed striker Dylan O’Flaherty to race clear on goal and after his low shot was saved excellently by the feet of Finn, the ball broke kindly to Duggan and the midfielder calmly stroked the rebound home from a few yards.
Avondale’s final ball and delivery from the flanks let them down all night but not long after the much-needed water break and just shy of the half an hour mark, they went close to snatching an equaliser.
Stephen Kenny initially dwelled on the ball too long and relinquished possession on the right-wing but he did well to keep battling and win it back for his side.
On this occasion, he clipped a great cross to the back post towards the on-rushing Eoghan Lougheed but the left-back could only plant his diving header into the side netting.
The visitors took encouragement from that near-miss and they finished the first 45 the better side as they twice went close to grabbing that all-important leveller.
Midfielder David Stack tried his luck with a free-kick from distance and his curler was tipped past his top left corner by Ian Giltinan moments before Stephen Kenny flashed a thunderous strike across the face of goal from a tight angle.
The Dales again threatened from a set-piece at the beginning of the second period but this time it was Kenny who went for goal with his free from 25 yards and he was unfortunate to see it just deflect wide of the bottom left corner.
But Carrigaline soon regrouped and they doubled their lead on the hour mark to put them well in control of this opening fixture of the eagerly anticipated 2021/22 Munster Senior League season.
Danny Akrininbola was on the pitch for less than five minutes but he wasted absolutely no time in making his mark from the substitutes bench as he rose highest, albeit there wasn’t anyone really marking him, to expertly head Darragh Corcoran’s superb inswinging cross into the far bottom left corner.
Frank Kelleher’s men almost got themselves back into the contest minutes later but after a goalmouth scramble, David McCarthy’s goal-bound effort was blocked by the defence before finally being cleared to safety.
But their failure to convert that opportunity proved to be decisive as their next and final chance to get on the scoresheet came with a quarter of an hour remaining but Declan Cahill could only send his header from a corner over the bar.
Carrigaline were content with their advantage as they looked to see out the game in the closing stages.
But their night got even better with five minutes to go as they were gifted a third goal when a lack of communication between Edward Finn and Jamie O’Sullivan saw the latter slice his clearance over his keeper, allowing Killian Murphy to graciously head into an empty net.