AS 'workouts' go this one wasn't a bad one for St Sylvester's as they prepare to take on Oliver Plunketts in a massive championship clash at Parnell Park on Saturday.
Syls and Kickhams have built up a healthy enough rivalry, but at times hospitality and hostility went hand in hand in Saturday's St Vincent De Paul Cup decider at Broomfields. Kickhams lost full back Sean George to a straight red shortly after the restart and at times the referee had his hands full keeping an eye on proceedings. Overall it was a very engaging contest with Dublin corner back, Philly McMahon drawing the game level with just seconds to go. Syls will rue a missed chance from Conor Daly in normal time that would have sealed victory but the big positive on the day was Alan Foy. Admittedly his free taking wasn't the best, but his point taking certainly gives manager Gabriel Bannigan a couple of selection headaches ahead of their championship return with Plunketts this weekend.
Operating in a rotating full forward line that also included Aidan Relihan, Russi Cleeere and Darren Clarke, Foy was the standout performer from play and crucially popped up with two key scores in extra time as well. While Ballymun manager Paul Curran opted for a strong line up with both James McCarthy and McMahon included, Bannigan opted to hand several first team panellists the chance to impress before the Plunketts clash. Nonetheless, it was the visitors who controlled the first period with Kevin Leahy impressive at right half forward as Kickhams opened up a double-scores lead, 0-4 to 0-2, with five minutes left in the half.
However a sloppy pass from a Ballymun defender handed Syls easy possession inside the large parallelogram and Foy showed terrific precision to drill a left footed shot beyond the keeper's far post. However Ballymun finished out the half very strongly and some fast running from the back saw them rattle off five unanswered scores with a late Dean Rock 45' putting them up by 0-9 to 1-2 at the interval. However a number of key switches, which saw Padraig Bracken introduced at midfield and Barry Ryan moved on to Leahy, ensured Syls turned things around and they began the second half with points from Foy and Clarke. Sean George was then sent to line for a head butt on Clarke and this was certainly the last thing Kickhams manager Paul Curran would have wanted ahead of their weekend championship clash with Parnells. And while scores from Rock and Ted Furman managed to keep Ballymun ticking along, a terrific score from Daly off a crossfield ball from Bracken saw Syls level by the 53rd minute, 1-8 to 011.
Ballymun hit back before Daly dragged a shot across the face of the goal and wide However, Dave Galvin, who continued his return from injury with an impressive game in defence, levelled proceedings with seconds to go to force the game into extra time, 1-9 to 0-12. The first period was noticeable for two excellent points from Foy before a Rock score saw Ballymun up by 0-15 to 1-11 at the end of the first period. Sylvesters introduced three big players in Brian Sexton, Micheal McCarthy and Mark Brennan for the last period, but a Dean Rock ' 45' shortly after the restart was to hand Kickhams a telling two point advantage. Syls however held their nerve with McCarthy curling a free from the right before Ronan Walsh came up from defence to level proceedings once more. Gavin McArdle then edged Syls back in front after Daly cut in from the right an rattled and effort off the crossbar. And with dusk fast descending, McMahon then sent over the equalising score but not before Daly had another chance to win it for Syls. Overall though a draw was a fair result in the end.