Two goals each from Conor and Ryan Greene gave Strand Rovers this vital top of the table victory over their title rivals Glencar Celtic. The visitors just needed a draw to clinch another championship but the home side had all the answers when it came to producing the important moments in this keenly contested game played in ideal conditions at picturesque Strand Park in Maghery. This result leaves the team’s level on 39 points each with a game to play , Glencar host Donegal Town while Strand make the short trip out to play Arranmore , a win for both will mean a play-off would be required to decide the destination of the title. STRAND ROVERS 4 V 2 GLENCAR CELTIC Both sides, not surprisingly, show some early signs of nerves and defensively looked vulnerable. Glencar’s Kevin Rafferty caused some problems in the air for the home defence with a couple of headers but it was Strand Rvs who struck the first vital moment in the 11th minute. Ryan Greene chased down a long clearance and just got there before keeper Ray Mc Feely who in trying to retrieve the situation could only pulled down the striker in the box , Conor Greene hammered the penalty high into the roof of the net. A minute later Ryan Greene’s low cross almost found the in-rushing Paddy Glackin. In the 28th minute we had a repeat of the Greene / Mc Feely chase for a through ball , again Ryan Greene won the race and after a quick turn his delightful lob hit the crossbar with the keeper beaten. Glencar almost drew level in the 39th minute when Garvan Grieve’s cross found the head of Mick Martin but his flashing header flew just wide. Charlie Collins was in Strand Park. Glencar needed a good start to the second-half and they got it. Rory Gallagher’s corner caused problems and with Rafferty and Martin contesting in the air the ball fell to sub Eddie Mc Laughlin who scored from close range to make it 1-1. That parity didn’t last long as ninety seconds later from a James Mc Cole corner Conor Greene headed home at the far post despite been under a lot of pressure from two defenders. Play continued to flow from end to end and in the 55th minute it was 3-1 to Strand as Glencar lost possession in midfield and Conor Greene put Ryan Greene in the clear , Ray Mc Feely made a super save to deny his first effort but the Strand man persisted a step round a defender and drilled the ball low past Mc Feely. Glencar responded well and pulled one back three minutes later when Mark Graham and Patrick Collins combined well on the right side and the latter’s cross was brillantly flicked past keeper Kevin Mc Govern into the far corner and it was game on again. Rafferty headed over in the 64th minute and Glencar pressed forward but that left gaps which meant Ryan Greene was always a danger. In the 87th minute Glencar full-back Rory Gallagher made a super solo run forward into the box but with the angle a little tight keeper Mc Govern was able to save at his near post. The home side finally wrapped it up a minute later when Ryan Greene again made a nuisance of himself and was pulled down by Mick Martin but got up to convert the penalty and ensure the race for the league title will last at least another week or perhaps a bit longer than that. STRAND ROVERS ; Kevin McGovern , Steven Glackin ,Doalty Boyle, James Mc Cole , Shaun Sharkey , Steven Glackin , Shane o Donnell , Jack Doherty, Matthew O Donnell , Conor Greene ,Paddy Glackin ( Brendan Glackin h/t ), Ryan Greene , , GLENCAR CELTIC ; Ray Mc Feely , Mark Graham , Rory Gallagher , Charles McLaughlin , Mick Martin , Martin Brogan ( Michael Molloy 67mins ), Kevin Rafferty , Garvan Grieve , Shane Hilley ( Eddie Mc Laughlin 40mins ) , Lee Mc Monagle ( Kieran Doherty 80mins ) , Patrick Collins ( Joe Baker 75mins ). REFEREE; Andrew Mullen.
Greene brothers steer Strand Rovers to vital victory.
Author of 'Boxing In Donegal: A History (2021)' - the definitive history of the sport in County Donegal - and 'Relentless: A Race Through Time', the 2019 memoir of former Irish Athletics Team Manager Patsy McGonagle. From St Johnston and now based in Letterkenny, Chris was a nominee for NUJ Sports Journalist of the Year in 2010. Honoured by the Donegal Boxing Board in 2016 for his coverage on the sport.