Syls keep play-off hopes alive with Lucan victory
THE introduction of Aidan Relihan 10 minutes into the second half proved to be the game-changer at Broomfield on Saturday as St Sylvester's maintained their push for the Division one semi-finals.
The win leaves them in a good position as they take on Ballyboden St Endas away in a game which will be vital for both teams' play-off prospects.
Sunday's morning throw-in saw Sylvester's up against a Lucan team who are fighting to stay up, and they certainly put it up to the Malahide men in the first half.
An Alan Foy score, coupled with three from Nigel Dunne, saw Sylvester's up by 0-4 to 0-3 at the break and 10 minutes into the second half it was all square at five points each.
However, shortly after coming on, Relihan kicked a fine score off his left foot and then added a fisted point and Sylvester's then delivered the decisive score of the game on 43 minutes when Eugene Keating delivered a terrific pass into John Coughlan. And Coughlan, having out-fielded his marker, then offloaded to Gary Sweeney who, having come off the shoulder, out-paced his marker to shoot past the Lucan keeper.
Sylvester's closed the game out despite losing goalkeeper Stephen Finnegan to a second yellow a few moments later, with Stephen Cunnigham having a good game at full forward.
Cunningham got in a full 60 minutes for the Dublin Under-21s on Saturday and undoubtedly he will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Sweeney who won two under-21 titles under Jim Gavin.
Sweeney's 1-2 tally, along with some moments of class in the quarter-final against Vincents, underlined his value to the Sylvester's team and manager Gabriel Bannigan believes that when on his game, he can be a handful for any opposition.
'Gary's second-half performance was what we expect from Gary and what we need to get from him all the time.'
Bannigan, along with a number of the Sylvester's contingent, were in Parnell Park on Sunday afternoon to witness a thrilling Dublin SFC Final drawn contest between reigning champions Ballymun Kickhams and St Vincents, and the Monaghan native confirmed it was a difficult day for the Syls lads overall.
'Obviously the lads would have been elsewhere than in the Broomfields and would have preferred to be playing in Parnell Park.
'The lads are still kicking themselves, having lost by just a point to Vincent's, and you saw on Sunday how close things are at the highest level.'
St Sylvester's: Stephen Finnegan, Brian Sexton, Fionn Carney, Ronan Walsh, Glen Hazley, Gavan McArdle, Eoin Boyne, Ross Hazley, Shane O Connor 0-1, Stephen Cunnigham, Gary Sweeney 1-3, Eugene Keating, Alan Foy 0-1, Nigel Dunne 0-4. Subs: Conor Daly 0-1 for Cunnigham, Aidan Relihan 0-2 for Foy, David Bannigan (GK) for Coughlan, Niall Coughlan for Keating, Mark Hazely for Dunne.