ONCE again Skerries Harps showed they are well able to mix it at the top table of the Under 21 grade when they pushed Clontarf all the way at St Annes Park on Saturday.
CLONTARF 0-13 SKERRIES HARPS 1-6
Playing their second game in this year's competition, Harps made a slow start but having levelled the game, could not find the vital scores to win. With rugged centre back Rory Newsholme unable to start following his injury in the senior semi final last week, Dylan McNamee switched to infield while Eamon McIllgorm came in at wing half back. Skerries got off to a dreadful start and were five points to no score down inside the opening quarter. In that period Skerries were thwarted by a stiff crossfield wind, with Harry Dawon, Shane Hickey and Paul Cashman all missing from favorable positions. Harps finally opened their account on 18 minutes when Shane Hickey and Denis Forde combined to put Cashman free and he evaded the tackles to find the net. Dawson then pointed a close-in free with Conor Garrett scoring a fine point from near the left sideline to put the sides level. Cashman then had a shot stopped on the line for a '45' but Clontarf tacked on two points to move 0-7 to 1-2 ahead at the break. The home side were first to score on the resumption but Dawson again levelled from a free and midway through the half had the sides level again with two more points - 1-6 to 0-9. Again Clontarf went in front only for Dawson to cancel out their lead once more. At this stage Skerries had it all to play for and were camped in the Clontarf half but crucially did not score again. The home side pulled back their half forward line to crowd Skerries out and Dubs under-21 star Jack McCaffrey showed his class at centre back as Harps attacked in waves. However too many times Skerries played the ball sideways or into the right corner when a cool head and a switch of direction was called for. Clontarf weathered the storm as Skerries tired and in two attacks Harps' defenders fouled needlessly and two points followed for the home side. These scores gave Clontarf great heart and they closed the game out with two late scores. Nothenless with all but two of their side elegible for next season and nine of the starting 15 playing at senior level, Skerries can look forward with confidence to 2013. Best for Harps were Eamon McIllgorm who read the game well, Eoin McGinley, Jack Smith, Mark Boylan, Denis Forde and sub Tony Daly, with Harry Dawson always a threat.
SKERRIES HARPS: Alun Cullinan; Eoin McGinley, Aidan Kehoe, Neil mcconvey; Conor Garrett 0-1, Dylan MC Namee, Eamon McIllgorm; Jack Smith, Mark Boylan; Robbie Ferguson, Denis Forde, Shane Hickey; Harry Dawson 0-5, Paul Cashman 1-0, Conor Mulvihill. Subs used: Tony Daly and Eoin Smith REFEREE: P McCabe. - With adult competitions finished Harps now look for support for their Minor Hurlers in their championship quarter final away to Raheny next Sunday, while hoping that results go their way for the Minor footballers who may yet qualify for the championship knockout stages.