DONEGAL JUNIOR LEAGUE REPORTS SATURDAYOld Orchard Saturday Division OneRamelton Mariners 3 Castlefin Celtic Reserves 2Ramelton took a tenth minute lead when Alan Blaney converted Glen Mc Elhinney’s cross. Castlefin came more into the game after this with both goalkeepers heavily employed. On forty minutes Damien Buchannan extended the Mariners’ lead when he scored from thirty yards. Ricky Fisher then saw his effort strike the post as the home side reached the interval in control of proceedings. Fisher had better fortune as the second half got going. It was only ten minutes old when he was fed by Blaney and he flighted a lovely ball over the visiting keeper to extend the advantage to three. Castlefin rallied after this and pulled a goal back through a fine header from Nelis which gave the Mariners’ keeper no chance. Mariners had a chance to go three ahead again but Duffy fired wide. Nelis then got a second for the visitors as the deficit fell to one. Aided by a strong breeze Castlefin pushed forward in search of an equaliser but it wasn’t to be and Ramelton claimed the spoils.Glencar Celtic 5 St. Catherines Reserves 2Both teams found it hard to get a foothold in this game. Marty Brogan broke the deadlock with a low drive from the edge of the box. Glencar started second half brightly with Baker rattling the Killybegs crossbar. Chris Malseed headed home Pajo Rafferty’s cross to extend the lead to two. Pajo then sold a superb dummy and slotted home to open his account. Five minutes later he got his second after good approach work by Steven Browne to create the opening. Gary Mc Fadden then pulled a goal back for St. Catherines. Pajo completed his second half hat-trick with a solo effort late in the game. Anderson got a second for St. Catherines but Glencar had the hard work done and secured a valuable three points. Referee: Martin Mc CaffertyOrchard F.C. 1 Erne Wanderers 3On a very wet and windy day in the Lakeside Centre Ballyshannon Erne Wanderers played Orchard United. In these rough conditions the game was fairly even for the first 25 minutes but eventually the Erne men broke the deadlock with a great finish from Michael “Sticky” Ward. After a scrappy start to the second half Erne stamped their authority on the game and David Dolan smashed home a great free kick. With 20 minutes to go David Dolan drove a ball across the face of the Orchard keeper and into the far corner to make it 3-0. Carl O’ Brien kept Erne alive with three great saves. With 10 minutes to go Charles Mc Loughlin scored for the visitors leaving the final score 3-1. A team performance from Orchard with strong second half displays from Carl O’ Brien and David Dolan for Erne.Glencar Inn Saturday Division TwoStrand Rovers 0 Arranmore United 1 Strand Rovers welcomed there near neighbours and unbeaten table toppers to Strand Park on Saturday. The game started in lively fashion and in good conditions with Strand having the majority of possession. The game was all square up until the 40th minute when Arran were awarded a free kick just outside Strand’s box. A fantastic delivery was headed into the Strand net by Michael Mc Hugh to divide the teams at half time.Weather deteriorated for the start of the second half with the wind picking up and some heavy rain. With the wind to their backs Arranmore pushed forward and were nearly rewarded with a second goal when Benny Mc Garvey hit the cross-bar. A change of formation after 10 minutes saw Strand once again enjoy good possession and they had numerous chances through Thomas Brennan and Brendan Glackin. But they were unable to equalise and the game ended in a victory for Arranmore. Best for Arran were Benny Mc Garvey and Mark Ward with Brendan Brennan, Thomas Brennan, Brendan Glackin and Stephen Glackin all doing well for Strand.Milford United Reserves 3 Glenree United Reserves 4In the first ten minutes of the game Glenree found themselves two nil down through a Conor Meakin free kick and a tap in for P.J. Hagan after a poor clearance. Glenree started to get a foot hold in the game and tested the Milford keeper and Darren O’ Connor hit the cross-bar from 30yards out from a free kick. Karl Mc Elhinney got Glenree going against his old team in the 25th minute when he stroked home a flick on. Five minutes later the sides were level when Vinny Mc Laughlin unselfishly passed the ball for Damien Nelis to finish coolly. It stayed the same until half time. In the 50th minute Glenree were in front for the first time in the game when Vinny Mc Laughlin did well to finish after some good work in the air by Nelis. Then in the 65th minute Macca Cunningham let fly from 25 yards and the keeper could do nothing but admire it as it flew passed him. Milford pulled a goal back through J.J Brown in the 75th minute. Glenree held on to see the game out and earned three well deserved points. Best for Glenree were John Mc Clafferty, Damien Nelis and Darren O’Connor. Referee: Barry HunterDonegal Town Reserves 2 Curragh Athletic Reserves 1Donegal Town maintained their unbeaten home record with a 2-1 victory over Curragh Athletic at the Hospital Field. Donegal dominated the early stages and deservedly took the lead after just five minutes. Ciaran O’Reilly’s through ball allowed James Feighney to produce the perfect ball for winger Kevin Devaney to power home at the back post. Curragh came well into the game after the early setback and played the better football for the majority of the first half although they failed to carve out any clear cut opportunities. Donegal’s attitude greatly improved in the second half and with a greater emphasis on attack they got their reward on 53 minutes when Gary Ward’s excellently stuck effort found its way into the bottom corner. Curragh rallied immediately and got back into the game thirty seconds later when some slack Donegal defending allowed Gary Heaney flick the ball home for a fine finish. Curragh pressed on looking for an equaliser but Donegal defended well and were always threatening on the counter attack with both Gary Ward and Adam Wilson going close on occasions. Good team displays from both sides.DONEGAL JUNIOR LEAGUEREPORTSSUNDAYBrian Mc Cormick Sports Premier DivisionRathmullan Celtic 1 Glenea United 2Glenea United visited Flag Pole on Sunday and returned to Glasserchoo with all three points. After an eventful first half in which neither team could find an opening goal this match really came to life on the resumption of play. Denis Boyle got the opener when he converted from the penalty spot after Ryan Mc Fadden had been fouled in the box. Oisin Mc Menamin had the home side back on level terms when he scored from close range. Glenea secured the points when Darren Mc Keever scored after receiving a cross field ball from Sean Mc Bride. Oisin Mc Menamin was unlucky not to find a second equaliser as the match wore on but it wasn’t to be and Rathmullan now prepare for another home fixture next weekend against St. Catherines.Gweedore Celtic 3 Cranford United 0On a good day for football Gweedore Celtic had a comfortable win in the end but Cranford were well in the game until the latter stages. The visitors could have gone ahead as early as the third minute when Philip Buchanan got behind the Gweedore defence but Christopher Sweeney spread himself to block the shot. The home team took the lead on twenty five minutes. Chris Porter’s corner went directed to the back of the net via the post. They doubled their lead on forty minutes when Colin Ferry beat the offside trap and rounded the keeper to roll the ball into the net.Cranford started the second half well but didn’t create any clear cut chances. As the half went on Gweedore pressed and were guilty of missing several chances. Fionnan Diver scored the third goal following good work by Brendan Mc Geady on the left. Best for Gweedore were Christopher Sweeney and Chris Porter. For Cranford Kyle Black and Philip Buchanan worked hard. Referee: Marty Mc GarrigleMilford United 3 Curragh Athletic 1Milford United recorded a great home win over a very impressive visiting side. Milford took the lead on 5 minutes when Mark Flood converted a penalty. Brendan Murray broke into the box and was upended for the penalty and subsequently hurt his back and was removed by ambulance to Letterkenny General Hospital. The game was lively with both teams playing good football. Milford created a lot of chances but failed to convert. On 70 minutes Ciaran McGinley fouled Ryan Carlin for a penalty from which Curragh levelled the match. Milford went two one up five minutes later when Gary Merritt broke down the left and picked out Christy Mc Cafferty who showed good movement in the box to drive the ball home. With five minutes to go Lee Burke did well down the left and his cross was directed home by Gary Merritt. Best for Curragh were Garbh Gallagher and Shane Barclay, while the Milford team worked hard as a unit against a very strong Curragh side. Referee: Paddy Martin.St. Catherines 3 Donegal Town 2The Saints started the brighter and on fifteen minutes opened the scoring when Jason Noctor was brought down in the penalty area. Noctor stepped up to convert the penalty. Donegal created a couple of half chances in the first half but none troubled Saints keeper Micheal Mullin. The second half took some time to get going and on sixty five minutes Jason Noctor scored a half volley from twenty yards after a defensive clearance dropped to him. The Saints controlled for large spells of the game and on seventy five minutes Conor Doherty scored after a surging run from defence saw him latch onto a Shane Molly through ball. Docherty shot hard and low under “The Town” keeper. Donegal scored on eighty minutes through Benny Byrne after a mix up in the Saints’ defence. Donegal caught St. Catherines’ defence off guard again on eighty five minutes when David Bustard latched onto a loose ball after a scramble in the box. Team performances both teams. Referee: Ronan Floyd.Watson Hire Division OneKerrykeel ’71 F.C. 3 Gweedore United 2The ‘71 got back to winning ways with victory over a strong Gweedore side. Both teams started well with Ciaran Mc Fadden causing the Kerrykeel defence problems with his lightning pace. Kerrykeel went in front on ten minutes when a Marty Mc Ateer free kick ended up in the net after it took a deflection off Gweedore centre back Frank Mc Gee. Kerrykeel were controlling play and got a brilliant second on twenty eight minutes, this time Fergus Callaghan broke clear down the right wing and crossed for Kevin Loughrey to tap in from six yards. Kerrykeel started the second half looking to kill the game and both Loughrey and Callaghan forced brilliant saves from the Gweedore keeper. Gweedore got a lifeline on sixty seven minutes when Ciaran Mc Fadden broke clear and coolly lifted the ball over Sean Friel. The ‘71 weathered the storm for ten minutes and renewed their two goal cushion on seventy five minutes when Niall Doherty brilliantly flicked the ball home after a great Johnny Friel cross. With time running out Gweedore threw everything at the ‘71 defence and got their second on ninety one minutes when Frank Mc Gee scored after a goal mouth scramble. Kerrykeel held on for an important three points to get their season back on track. Best for Kerrykeel: Martin Mc Ateer and Mark FrielBest for Gweedore: Lee Ferry. Referee: Joe Mc HughCastlefin Celtic 2 Bonagee United 1A lively start in Parkview saw the away team create the first few chances. Castlefin settled into the game when Matthew O’ Rouke found the back off the Bonagee net to give them the lead after 13 minutes, his curling shot from 20 yards giving the Bonagee keeper no chance. Both teams pressed forward in search of a goal before half time but all without reward. Castlefin started the second half the brighter. JP Malley beat the off-side trap and squared the ball across the box for Matthew O’Rourke to get his and Castlefin’s second goal on 47 minutes. Bonagee searched to find a way back into the game putting the Castlefin defence under pressure. In the 86th minute Bonagee pulled one back through Darren Coyle’s header. Referee: Ed Moore. Best for Castlefin: Matthew O’Rourke. Best for Bonagee: Team performanceDrumoghill F.C. 2 Keadue Rovers 1Drumoghill FC bounced back from their derby defeat with this narrow victory over Keadue Rovers thanks to first half strikes from the deadly duo of Liam O’Donnell and Michael Doherty.Drumoghill opened the scoring on 18 minutes when, after enterprising work down the right from Ronan Gibson and Kevin Kelly, it was Liam O’Donnell who rose above James Boyle who nod home Kelly’s cross. Drumoghill extended their lead on 32 minutes with a brilliant strike from Michael Doherty. Doherty took Del Crossan’s pass in his stride, knocked the ball past Adam Neely on the right wing and surged goalwards before finishing neatly leaving Boyle helpless.It was all Drumoghill at this stage and it was only the excellent Ben Boyle with a string of saves that kept Keadue in the contest. The second half saw Keadue become much more of a threat as Adrian Hanlon and Mark Sweeney started to dominate midfield. They halved the deficit on 76minutes with the goal of the game – a superb strike from David Ward from 25 yards that flew past Regan. It set up a frantic finale in which Keadue again had the ball in the net (Luke Neely adjudged to have been in an offside position) and Doherty twice going close from Drumoghill counter attacks. In the end Drumoghill held out for the win. Referee: Paddy Duffy.Eany Celtic 3 Lagan Harps 3A draw was the fair result from this match in which Eany Celtic got their first points of the season. The visitors opened the scoring on ten minutes when a clearance was deflected into the path of Eunan Diver who scored with a shot from distance. Lagan doubled their advantage on twenty minutes when James Cullen crossed for Brian Kelly to score. Eany opened their account ten minutes later when Paul Mc Groarty was put through by John Rose. Good work from Rose again unlocked the Lagan defence and James Shovlin chipped the keeper to equalise. Eany started the second half where they left off the first and a corner from Kevin Meehan was met by the head of Mark Ward and Eany were ahead 3-2 on the hour .Lagan put huge pressure on the home defence and eventually got the equaliser in the 75th minute when Drew Conway scored amid a goalmouth scramble following a corner. Both teams had chances to clinch all three points in the final minutes. Good team performances from both sides. Referee: Liam FarrenCT Ball Division TwoBallybofey United 3 Raphoe Town 2In this game of two halves Raphoe returned home pointless after having the better of the opening exchanges. They took the lead with a well directed header early on. After being clawed back they again went in front, this time courtesy of John Gregg’s own-goal. But their interval lead wouldn’t hold. Ballybofey United came out a different side for the second half and duly secured their first points of the season. Andrew Duncan’s equaliser in the first half had kept them in touch with their East Donegal neighbours. John Gregg then made amends for his earlier mistake when he scored Ballybofey’s second. Alan Catterson got the winner for the home side with fifteen minutes remaining. Two team performances on the day. Referee: James MalseedCopany Rovers 0 Whitestrand United 5(NO REPORT AVAILABLE)Glenree United 2 Letterbarrow Celtic 1On a sunny day in Carrigart it was Glenree United who took the lead when a poor clearance from a Letterbarrow defender fell nicely for Damien Nelis. His shot was well saved by the keeper but the rebound fell to Danny Langan and he drilled the ball into the top corner to make it 1-0 with 11 minutes gone. Letterbarrow came into the game and had a couple of shots which were well saved by John Cunningham in the Glenree goal. The second goal came in the 28th minute when Damien Coyle put the ball through to Damien Nelis who laid it off for Andrew Kelly to finish into the bottom corner. In the second half Glenree had numerous chances to finish off the game but the Letterbarrow keeper kept the score at 2-0. In the 80th minute Glenree gave away a free-kick just outside the box and Paul Murrin curled the ball into the bottom corner to make it 2-1. A few late scares for Glenree towards the end but the game finished 2-1 to the home team. Good team performance from both teams. Referee: Paul DohertyDONEGAL JUNIOR LEAGUERESULTSSATURDAYOld Orchard Saturday Division OneRamelton Mariners 3 v 2 Castlefin Celtic ReservesGlencar Celtic 5 v 2 St. Catherines ReservesOrchard F.C. 1 v 3 Erne WanderersGlencar Inn Saturday Division TwoStrand Rovers 0 v 1 Arranmore UnitedMilford United Reserves 3 v 4 Glenree United ReservesDonegal Town Reserves 2 v 1 Curragh Athletic ReservesTullyvinney Rovers P v P Keadue Rovers ReservesCranford United Reserves P v P Gweedore United ReservesSUNDAYBrian Mc Cormick Sports Premier DivisionRathmullan Celtic 1 v 2 Glenea UnitedGweedore Celtic 3 v 0 Cranford UnitedKilmacrennan Celtic P v P Lifford CelticMilford United 3 v 1 Curragh AthleticSt. Catherines 3 v 2 Donegal TownWatson Hire Division OneKerrykeel ’71 F.C. 3 v 2 Gweedore UnitedCastlefin Celtic 2 v 1 Bonagee UnitedDrumoghill F.C. 2 v 1 Keadue RoversEany Celtic 3 v 3 Lagan HarpsCappry Rovers P v P Dunkineely CelticCT Ball Division TwoDeele Harps P v P Dunlewy CelticBallybofey United 3 v 2 Raphoe TownCopany Rovers 0 v 5 Whitestrand UnitedGlenree United 2 v 1 Letterbarrow CelticDONEGAL JUNIOR LEAGUEFIXTURESSATURDAY 09-11-2013 K.O. 2 p.m. (Unless Stated)Old Orchard Saturday Division OneSt. Catherines Reserves v Erne WanderersCastlefin Celtic Reserves v Glencar CelticGlenea United Reserves v Ramelton MarinersMulroy Celtic v Orchard F.C.Glencar Inn Saturday Division TwoArranmore United v Donegal Town Reserves (K.O. 1 p.m.)Curragh Athletic Reserves v Tullyvinney RoversGlenree United Reserves v Strand RoversGweedore United Reserves v Milford United ReservesKeadue Rovers Reserves v Cranford United ReservesSUNDAY 10-11-2013 K.O. 1.30 p.m.Ulster Junior ShieldWhitestrand United v Buncrana HarpsSUNDAY 10-11-2013 K.O. 2 p.m. (Unless Stated)Brian Mc Cormick Sports Premier DivisionLifford Celtic v Milford UnitedCranford United v Kilmacrennan CelticGlenea United v Gweedore CelticRathmullan Celtic v St. CatherinesCurragh Athletic v Donegal TownWatson Hire Division OneKeadue Rovers v Eany CelticBonagee United v Drumoghill F.C.Gweedore United v Castlefin CelticKerrykeel ’71 F.C. v Cappry RoversLagan Harps v Dunkineely CelticCT Ball Division TwoRaphoe Town v Copany RoversDunlewy Celtic v Ballybofey UnitedConvoy Arsenal v Deele HarpsLetterbarrow Celtic v Drumbar F.C.League table for Brian McCormick Sports Premier LeagueTeam Played Won Lost Drawn Goals For Goals Against Goal Diff PointsMilford United FC 5 3 0 2 17 7 10 11Gweedore Celtic 5 3 0 2 10 4 6 11Rathmullan Celtic 4 3 1 0 8 4 4 9Glenea United 4 2 1 1 8 3 5 7St Catherines FC 5 2 2 1 9 17 -8 7Kilmacrennan Celtic FC 4 2 2 0 9 11 -2 6Lifford Celtic FC 2 1 1 0 1 1 0 3Cranford FC 4 0 2 2 3 7 -4 2Donegal Town FC 5 0 3 2 8 13 -5 2Curragh Athletic FC 4 0 4 0 4 10 -6 0League table for Watson Hire Sunday Division OneTeam Played Won Lost Drawn Goals For Goals Against Goal Diff PointsCastlefin Celtic 5 4 0 1 17 7 10 13Drumoghill FC 4 3 1 0 12 3 9 9Kerrykeel 71 FC 5 3 2 0 20 14 6 9Lagan Harps FC 5 2 1 2 13 12 1 8Cappry Rovers 3 2 0 1 9 4 5 7Gweedore United FC 4 2 1 1 9 5 4 7Bonagee United FC 5 1 3 1 7 9 -2 4Dunkineely Celtic FC 4 1 3 0 12 16 -4 3Keadue Rovers FC 4 0 3 1 2 9 -7 1Eany Celtic FC 5 0 4 1 6 28 -22 1League table for CT Ball Sunday Division TwoTeam Played Won Lost Drawn Goals For Goals Against Goal Diff PointsGlenree United FC 6 4 1 1 10 5 5 13Convoy Arsenal FC 6 4 2 0 10 9 1 12Copany Rovers FC 6 3 1 2 8 7 1 11Whitestrand United FC 4 3 0 1 10 2 8 10Dunlewey Celtic 4 2 1 1 8 4 4 7Deele Harps FC 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 7Raphoe Town 6 1 4 1 11 14 -3 4Ballybofey United FC 4 1 3 0 8 12 -4 3Letterbarrow Celtic FC 5 1 4 0 8 14 -6 3Drumbar FC 6 0 5 1 4 12 -8 1League table for Old Orchard Saturday Division OneTeam Played Won Lost Drawn Goals For Goals Against Goal Diff PointsGlencar Celtic 5 5 0 0 15 3 12 15St Catherines FC 6 4 1 1 12 11 1 13Erne Wanderers FC 6 4 2 0 15 6 9 12Fintown Harps AFC 5 3 1 1 11 5 6 10Castlefin Celtic Res 6 3 2 1 16 13 3 10Glenea United 6 2 4 0 10 15 -5 6Orchard FC 6 1 4 1 9 17 -8 4Ramelton Mariners FC 6 1 5 0 9 15 -6 3Mulroy Celtic 6 1 5 0 6 18 -12 3League table for Glencar Inn Saturday Division TwoTeam Played Won Lost Drawn Goals For Goals Against Goal Diff PointsArranmore United 8 8 0 0 20 3 17 24Gweedore United FC Res 7 5 2 0 23 15 8 15Donegal Town FC Res 8 4 1 3 20 16 4 15Glenree United FC Res 8 3 3 2 23 24 -1 11Curragh Athletic FC 8 2 3 3 15 21 -6 9Tullyvinney Rovers 7 2 3 2 10 14 -4 8Keadue Rovers FC 6 2 3 1 20 17 3 7Cranford FC 7 1 3 3 16 18 -2 6Milford United FC Res 8 1 5 2 10 23 -13 5Strand Rovers FC 7 0 5 2 6 12 -6 2DONEGAL LEAGUE – ALL THE RESULTS, REPORTS AND FIXTURES was last modified: November 3rd, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to 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AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! For More Info BAGHDAD, Iraq – A roadside bomb killed 10 Marines and wounded 11 others on a foot patrol near Fallujah, the U.S. military announced Friday. It was the deadliest attack against American troops in four months. • AP VIDEO: 10 Marines killed in Iraq; 11 others hurt The ambush occurred Thursday against Marines from Regimental Combat Team 8, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C. The Marine unit has suffered some of the highest casualties of the Iraq war.The unit’s latest losses were among 14 new deaths in Iraq announced by the military Friday. With at least 793 American lives lost since January, 2005 appears on track to become the deadliest year for the troops since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. There were 846 deaths in 2004, and 485 the previous year.At least 2,124 have died since the beginning of the war, according to an Associated Press count.The attack in Fallujah came a day after President Bush outlined his strategy for victory in Iraq, and at a time when there are growing calls for an exit plan for U.S. troops.The roadside bomb in Fallujah, the former insurgent headquarters west of the capital, was fashioned from several large artillery shells, the military said.Sen. John Warner, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called the ambush a “very serious attack,” saying “it appears that this group of Marines had collected – which is always a dangerous thing – in one location.”The military statement said seven of the wounded later returned to duty and that the rest of the team was conducting “counterinsurgency operations throughout Fallujah and the surrounding area” to improve security for the Dec. 15 elections.Names of the victims were not released pending notification of their families. The statement also did not give the precise location of the attack – the single deadliest against U.S. troops in Iraq since 14 Marines were killed Aug. 3 when a bomb destroyed their vehicle near Haditha, 140 miles northwest of Baghdad.Maj. Cliff W. Gilmore, a spokesman at Camp Lejeune for the II Marine Expeditionary Force, said the victims of Thursday’s ambush probably came from hometowns across the country rather than from one area.“Here at Camp Lejeune, we pause, we stop, we feel it, and then we carry \ with the mission,” Gilmore said. “Those folks in Iraq, they probably didn’t even have time to pause and think about it. … The folks that are on patrol right now might not have even heard of it.”Also Friday, three U.S. soldiers from the 48th Brigade Combat Team were killed in a traffic accident south of Baghdad, and the military said an Army soldier assigned to the 2nd Marine Division died of wounds suffered the previous day when his vehicle was struck by a rocket in Ramadi, 70 miles west of the capital.U.S. forces have stepped up military operations throughout the Sunni Arab regions west of Baghdad to cut off the flow of weapons, ammunition and foreign fighters entering the country from Syria and to reduce insurgent activity.As part of that campaign, the U.S. military Friday launched a new offensive – Operation Shank – in Ramadi, capital of the insurgent-ridden Anbar province. About 200 Iraqi army soldiers and 300 U.S. Marines were taking part in the offensive, the fifth in Ramadi since Nov. 16.Ramadi has been the scene of repeated insurgent attacks but the U.S. military disputed claims the rebels control a significant area of the city.Fallujah, located about 40 miles west of Baghdad, was an insurgent bastion until U.S. forces overran the city in November 2004 in the most intense urban combat of the Iraq war.Since then, the U.S. military and the Iraqi government have been working to rebuild Fallujah and limit the return of insurgents, many of whom slipped out of the city during the siege and moved into nearby towns and villages outside the security cordon.Regimental Combat Team 8 is a part of the II Marine Expeditionary Force. In the nearly three years since the war began, 147 Marines from II MEF have died in combat, according to 2nd Marine Division spokesman Lt. Barry Edwards. Regimental Combat Team 8 has been in Iraq since the beginning of February.U.S. officials hope the operations will enable Sunni Arabs to vote in the parliamentary elections without fear of insurgent reprisals – which the Americans blame in large part for the Sunni boycott of the January balloting.Washington hopes a big Sunni turnout will produce a government that can win the trust of the Sunnis, the backbone of the insurgency, and convince more of them to lay down their arms. That would hasten the day U.S. troops could go home.However, many Sunni politicians fear that military operations so close to the election will have a negative impact by frightening voters away from the polls and deepening hostility to the Americans and their Iraqi partners.American commanders say they have been making gains in the war. On Thursday, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, a coalition operations officer, said suicide bombings declined to 23 in November because of successful military operations in the Euphrates River valley west of the capital.However, U.S. and Iraqi officials have also predicted an increase in insurgent attacks as the election approaches. As part of security measures for the vote, Iraq’s Interior Ministry has banned all non-Iraqi Arabs from entering the country, officials said Friday.