AFTER their Irish Senior Cup heroics the previous week, Fingal reverted to type and suffered back-to-back home defeats on Saturday and Sunday that leave them facing a relegation battle.
Their tale of woe began with a 4-3 defeat at the hands of Three Rock Rovers, despite the match being moved to ALSAA because of interprovincial games taking place at Three Rock the same afternoon. In a topsy-turvy battle Fingal drew first blood with a goal credited to Paddy Gahan, but by half-time they were trailing 3-1 despite creating a hatful of chances.
Early in the second half the hosts regained parity through Glen Shekleton and then Shane Dempsey, but within 60 seconds of the latter strike in the 52nd minute Three Rock edged ahead once more following a mistake by joint coach David Bane. It was a similar story of missed opportunities at home to Corinthians on Sunday, despite Fingal making another good start.
Two corners in the first 10 minutes were converted by deflections from David Bane and then Marcus O'Brien, but some sloppy defending gifted Corinthians a lifeline and they then drew level at 2-2. In the second half Fingal gifted their opponents a ball in the circle which led to Corinthians' third goal, only for Simon McKeever to round their keeper and make it level once more at 3-3. However, with seven minutes left Fingal conceded a free hit and the resulting shot was deflected past Nigel Grothier past one of his own players.
A fifth Corinthians goal from a corner routine confirmed Fingal's sixth defeat from eight games and with only three of their remaining 10 matches at home it's already looking like a rearguard action by Fingal to maintain their top-flight status. 'If we get it right we can match anybody,' reflected joint coach John McInerney, 'but we've left at least eight points behind us in the games so far and it's annoying.' Next Saturday Fingal will look to get their season back on track when they travel to Glennane in a tough assignment in the league.
FINGAL: Nigel Grothier, David Bane, Eamonn Bane, Conor Connolly, Andy Marshall, Glen Shekleton, Simon McKeever, Luke Hayden, Marcus O'Brien, Paddy Gahan, Andrew Shekleton. Rotation subs: Chris Neville, Ben Chillingworth, Adrian Sweeney, Alan Davis, Shane Dempsey.