Last-day win confirmation that Skerries are on the up
SKERRIES Town secured sixth place - just ahead of neighbours Portmarnock - when wrapping up their Division 1B league campaign with a hard-earned victory against Tallaght visitors Kilnamanagh last Wednesday evening.
For Kils, the incentive was to secure the single point that would ensure safety from relegation, while for the home side it was the target of three points to leapfrog Ports.
Consequently, this was never going to be a classic, with the tension of the occasion clearly evident in the play of the visitors. Their physical approach and determined tackling meant that the first half dragged by, with the only goal chance falling to James McIlwaine whose close range volley from a Ross Hopkins pull-back was well saved at the near post by the Kils keeper.
At the other end, Ian Tolan in the Skerries goal was a virtual spectator, only troubled by the occasional back-pass from his teammates.
On the resumption, the first five minutes promised a real game of football as Skerries broke the deadlock on 47 when Kevin Farrell broke the offside trap and calmly slotted the ball home.
Two minutes later a high ball into the box deceived centre-back Colm Lee and the Kils striker made no mistake to level matters.
Unfortunately for the spectators, the pattern of the first half then resumed, with Kilnamanagh now doing their utmost to protect their point, and as the game slowly entered the last 10 minutes it looked as if they might be successful.
However, the introduction of Seamus Farrell had added a more physical present to the Skerries attack and with eight minutes remaining they were awarded a free kick after another over-zealous tackle on McIlwaine on the left wing.
The set piece was entrusted to Richie Glynn whose craftily flighted ball into the box was sufficiently tempting for the Kils keeper to leave his line, only for Farrell to get there first with a glancing header which looped into the empty net.
This caused a spirited reaction from Kilnamanagh who then threw everything at Skerries, without any effect. As their play became more ragged, the home side worked the ball back into the opposing area and from a wild clearance the ball broke again to Farrell who shot through a group of players to put the result beyond doubt.
Overall it's been a season where Skerries have made substantial improvement compared to the 'squeaky bum' campaigns of previous years. The planning for the next campaign has already started and there is every reason for an optimistic outlook.
•Skerries Town would like to express their sympathy to the family of the late Johnny Burke, who died recently. Johnny was a stalwart supporter in Park Lane for many years until he was stricken with his illness some years ago.
His son Martin managed some of Skerries Town's most successful schoolboy teams, while his grandson Shane was an important member of the senior squad for many years. May he rest in peace.