WHILE one Leicester spearheaded by a Jamie is making a dash for a league title, there’s another threatening to do likewise.
As Jamie Vardy and co. are making waves on the soccer field it’s Naomh Padraig and goal scorer Jamie Doherty who are racking up the wins in Warwickshire’s Division One, bagging an away win over John Mitchels at Pairc na hÉireann on Sunday.
Missing their talisman Paul Garvey, Mitchels looked like they had done enough to record a second win on the spin when they nudged two in front going into the final ten minutes but a spirited closing display from the visitors proved decisive as they landed four scores in a row to ultimately squeeze out a Mitchels side who finished the game with ten wides.
Leicester started brightly with a couple of early scores from Shane Lundy (one free), sandwiching two points in between by Brendan and Paddy Hickey (free). There was a constant threat all afternoon, on both sides, from turnovers in dangerous areas and when Chris Bownes received a breaking ball to release Niall McNamee through on goal the half-forward made no mistake to lash it past Andrew Doyle into the roof of the net.
A couple of frees apiece kept the margin at three before half-time, but not before Leicester fired another warning when Kevin Murphy raced through only to be denied by a point-blank block from Doyle, Michael Melvin’s rebound veering wide of the near upright.
Mitchels needed a response to give them fresh impetus and it duly arrives at the restart when a calm Cormac Glynn claimed possession in the goal mouth and squared to the incoming Brendan Hickey who made no mistake with a low finish to the far corner of the net.
— Irish Post Sport (@IrishPostSport) April 18, 2016
Still, Leicester continued to probe away and almost retaliated with a second goal as McNamee’s free was palmed towards goal by Anthony Gallagher only to be blocked and cleared away. However, another turnover in the midst of that clearing phase allowed Jamie Doherty to head back towards the Mitchels goal and fire home past Doyle.
Had Doherty been able to control the ball in an enticing position from Leicester’s next attack it could easily have resulted in a third for Leicester but a fine block from Barry Sharkey and a sliced reply by Chris Bownes kept the margin at three.
Mitchels surged once again, enjoying their most dominant phase of the game midway through the second-half, while Leicester lost midfielder Brian Rushe to a black card. Two frees from Paddy Hickey and a hooked point over the shoulder from Brendan Hickey brought the teams level and Leicester needed a fine save by substitute keeper Neil O’Hara as Mitchels threatened from close range once more.
However, the pressure continued to build as the action remained down at one end, another turnover provided Liam Hayes with the space to drill a fine score over the bar before Paddy Hickey followed that up with another superb drive from long range.
Two points down going into the closing minutes, Leicester sought territory to turn the tide. They hit back with a third Lundy score (free) and equalised through McNamee’s deflected shot that looped over the bar. Penning Mitchels back in, they struck again twice in quick succession as their main marksman Doherty came to the fore with two sweetly struck points from out on the left.
It set up a frantic final few moments, Brendan Hickey almost snatched a win with a close range parry that just fell over the crossbar, yet Leicester held on to seal their third win of the campaign.
Naomh Padraig: S Brennan; J Doran, M Gilbert, C Boyd; J Ridley, J McGillycuddy, A Bownes; C Bownes, B Rushe; S Lundy, N McNamee, K Murphy; J Doherty, M Melvin, A Gallagher. Subs: N O’Hara (for Doran 31); R O’Donovan (for Rushe 47).
John Mitchels: A Doyle; D Bell, J Hester, C Clifford; Shaun Smith, B Sharkey, S Hegarty; L Hayes, P Donnelly; Sean Smith, E Sheridan, G Boyle; B Hickey, C Glynn, P Hickey.
Referee: D Heffernan