Forde crashes in late goal to rescue Skerries
IF history has taught us anything, it is that Skerries Harps teams are loathed to concede defeat.
With just moments to go in Sunday's Fingal derby, they were facing the prospect of a second reversal on the trot when Denis Forde struck for a dramatic equalising goal.
And while both teams looked rather deflated after the game, the result was probably the fairest one on the day.
For Skerries Harps, the point was, if anything, something they wouldn't have expected after Fingallians had raced into a three-point lead approaching full-time, with minors Cormac and Ross O'Neill both coming off the bench to inject spice to the visitors' attack after the break.
Fingallians had at times over-carried the ball in the first half, but with Ciaran McLoughlin foraging well down the right, they certainly had the bit between their teeth before Forde struck the fateful blow.
The game also was noticeable for two black cards shown, one on each side. Fingallians were somewhat aggrieved to see David Killeen sent to the line for remonstrating with the match official five minutes before half-time.
Back chat is something match officials have been quick to clamp down on, but there were still instances of players 'checking' the runner which many managers have highlighted as a pet hate.
That said, there was good industry shown by both sides in a game which saw Skerries in the ascendancy early on.
Paul Cashman and Harry Dawson were particularly busy early on and both were on target, as was midfielder Conor O'Brien as he sent over an angled point from the right to open up a two-point lead for the home side.
Slowly, though, Fingallians began to turn the screw, and Mark Gibson landed a free and then scored off the subsequent kickout to level proceedings on 21 minutes.
The corner forward then made it three from three to edge the Swords men in front for the first time, only for Skerries to reply with successive scores from Barry Davey and Dawson.
It was a poor enough return for the home side after registering a series of wides in quick succession, but they could consider themselves unlucky not to have built up a greater lead before the break.
Eoin McGinley linked up with Davey who, having seen an earlier goal attempt tipped over for a point, was again denied by Rossa Kelleher in what was the final action of an engaging first half.
After the break Fingallians employed David Markey up front following an injury to Donal Farrell and they then levelled through Gibson.
Skerries replied through Shane Hickey and then the action really picked up. Fingallians, having just had claims for a penalty turned down, breathed a collective sigh of relief when Graham Cullen somehow managed to blaze wide for Skerries mid-way through the half.
And although Dawson was to cancel out a well taken effort from Eamon Creaner, Fingallians were now starting to hit the ground running. A point on the run from Ross O Neill (Gibson had pointed a few minutes beforehand) was to edge Fins back in front in front with 10 minutes to go.
Cashman levelled proceedings once more, but Fins were to regain the lead when, off an intercepted kickout, Creaner slotted over from the left-hand side.
After Dawson had uncharacteristically sent a free waywardly to the right of the Fingallians posts, Gibson then doubled the visitors' advantage before David O'Brien put three between the sides following a patient build-up.
But just as it seemed that Fingallians were about to maintain their 100% record, up popped Skerries for the equalising score. Mark Boylan saw an effort come crashing back off the crossbar, but Forde was on hand to convert the rebound from close range.
Skerries Harps: Shane Davis, Dylan McNamee, Mark Oliver, Mark Kirwan, Eoin Smith, Eoin McGinley, Damien Ward, Conor O'Brien 0-1. Mark Boylan, Paul Cashman 0-1, Harry Dawson, 0-4, Shane Hickey 0-1, Barry Davey 0-2, Graham Cullen, Eoin Ellis. Subs: Tomas Ryan for Ryan (black card), Niall McConvey for Cullen, Denis Forde 1-0 for Davey.
Fingallians: Rossa Kelleher, Liam Dawson, Donal Clarke, John Reddington, David Markey, Ciaran Costello Ryan Quinlan, Eddie Sweeney, Danny Campion, Darragh Deasy, David Killeen, Ciaran McLoughlin, Eamon Creaner 0-2, Donal Farrell 0-1 (f), Mark Gibson. 0-7 (0-6f). Subs: Cormac O'Neill 0-1 for Killeen (BC), Niall Fagan for Farrell, Ross O'Neill for Deasy 0-1, David O Brien 0-1 for Fagan.