EVEN THE DUCKS would have been miserable at the Woodlands on Sunday afternoon as Greystones United and Shamrock Celtic served up a stinker that saw the visitors emerge 0-3 winners.
The rain teemed down continuously throughout the arduous 90 minutes of action; the word action being used very generously there. Sean Knowd did his best to liven up the gloomy affair as he rattled home a hat-trick, but even that couldn't prevent this Division 3 affair from being a bonafide borefest.
Knowd netted his first in the third minute and it looked like perhaps we were perhaps about to be treated to a goalfest. But there was no rainbow at the end of the storm, literally and metaphorically, as a dour game of football ensured.
Knowd's second came thanks to some questionable goalkeeping on 50 minutes and by the 57th minute the youngster had secured the matchball thanks to a fine solo effort.
Greystones' impressive all-weather pitch meant that, unlike the vast majority of soccer in the county this weekend, this game was never in doubt. United went into it with a degree of new found confidence, having picked up their first win of the season the previous week. A brace from striker Niwel Tzumba and singles from Mark Songhurst and goalkeeper Eoghan Smullen handed them a 4-1 victory over Carnew United. Their opponents on Sunday, Shamrock Celtic, were also brimming with confidence having only lost one league fixture all season. So, something had to give and in the end it was the hosts' defence who did so to hand Celtic the lead inside three minutes.
Goalkeeper Stephen Doyle, who possesses a foot as powerful as a traction engine, hoofed upfield and none of the United defence took control, instead allowing it to bounce straight into the path of Sean Knowd and he coolly curled home past Smullen to give his side an early lead.
Another 17 minutes passed before the next sniff at goal arrived. This time it was the home side that threatened. Tzumba turned on the edge of the area and played Songhurst in but the winger smashed his effort high and wide of Doyle's goal.
Greystones were enjoying a prolonged period of sustained pressure but without causing their visitors too much hassle. They were nearly caught on the break on 23 minutes when Niall Knowd broke forward and spotted Smullen off his line but goldilocks' lob was well off target.
Songhurst's willingness to play on the shoulder of the last man almost bore fruition again in the 34th minute but he was clipped by Anto Byrne before he could enter the box. Referee Andy Kavanagh awarded a free kick but opted to keep his cards in his pocket. Paul Nolan curled the free kick wide.
United rang the changes at half time; making all three substitutes as they looked to salvage something from the match. But, within five minutes of the restart, their deficit was doubled. Aaron Corrigan, shipped out to right back following an injury to Paddy Costello, whipped in a cross from the right and Sean Knowd took advantage of Smullen's hesitancy as he bundled it over the line.
Seven minutes later, his treble was completed. He collected the ball 30 yards from goal and shimmied his way past two defenders at lightning quick speed before slotting past Smullen.
It was a frustrating afternoon for United and Kevin Cook let his frustrations get the better of him when he squared up to Celtic substitute Liam Clarke.
Both men were booked for their short fuses and Clarke almost got himself sent off, but thankfully for him Kavanagh was in a forgiving mood.
Greystones could have pulled a goal back on 61 minutes when Tamas Boros was clean through on goal but Stephen Doyle was very brace and put his body on the line to prevent the attacker from scoring.
Sunday's victory has lifted Shamrock Celtic to within striking distance of league leaders Arklow United B and they would overtake the Ferndale Park club if they won their game in hand but Fairwood Celtic remain still hold the strongest position in the division.
Top Form: Sean Knowd (Shamrock Celtic): Bagged a hattrick inside an hour.