This game was a dress rehearseal for the Division 2A League final between two sides that will be sick of seeing each other before the season is over. Arctic conditions prevailed at Mounthawk Park on Friday evening and it was a good lively contest that provided some entertaining football especiially in the second half. Both sides done their best to keep the ball on the deck but the first half was incident striken with a lot of frees being conceded by both sides.
The first chance of the game came to Skelliga when Stevie Boyle created an opening for Rory Keating but his effort was just wide. Then Shanakill forced two consecative corners and from the second by Brendan Coffey Lorcan Seymour headed over the top. In the 20th minute Shanakill forced another corner which was floated in by Graham O'Leary and it took a superb block by Skelliga goalie Cormac O'Shea to deny Brendan Coffey.
Skelliga had the ball in the net in the 32nd minute but Jimmy Stapleton had strayed offside.
The tempo of the game increased in the second half and so did the yellow card count. Skeliga almost broke the deadlock six minutes into the second half when Sean Cournane got at the end of a Niall O'Driscoll corner kick and as his shot looked destined for the net Shanakill goalie Gordan Carey managed to stick out a foot and made a crucial save.
Five minutes later Shanakill were badly caught on the break with Stevie Boyle running on to a long delivery into the box and he was cool calm and collected planting it well wide of the advancing keeper.
Then Shanakill squandered two chances when Graham O'Leary missed from a corner kick and Brendan Coffey volleyed wide from 10 yards. The Tralee side were on level terms just past the hour mark in a lightening attack the ball fell invitingly for Brendan Coffey and he didn't chicken out when the opportunity presented itself and he volleyed low to the bottom corner from 8 yards.
Three minutes later Shanakill went ahead with a bizzare goal. They got a free kick out on the right wing which was floated in the direction of the goalmouth by Graham O'Leary and everyone expected the Skelliga goalie to deal with the situation. Unfortunately for him he took his eye off the ball and it went all the way to the net.
Skelliga did not lie down after this setback and continued in search of an equaliser. It came in the 78th minute and it was real copybook stuff. They got a free kick right out on the sideline and it was despatched into the danger zone by the thrusty left foot of Sean Cournane. Goal predator Stevie Boyle stole a march on the Shanakill defence and he headed home unchallenged from 10 yards.
Both sides went out in search of a winner but despite a few half chances they had to settle to meet on another day. On the balance of play a draw was a fair outcome but the sides could do without it as they also have to meet in the league final a game that will be top of the agenda for both sides.
Shanakill Athletic: Gordon Carey, Eamie Quirke, Lorcan Seymour, Kieran McCaughly, James O'Sullivan, Robert Lynch, Scott Hennessy, Brendan Coffey, Ethan Burns, Graham O'Leary, Kevin Quirke. Sub: Tony O'Brien.
Skelliga FC: Cormac O'Shea, Sean Cournane, Kenneth Casey, Barry O'Sullivan, Noel Cournane, Jimmy Stapleton, Darragh O'Sullivan, John Clifford, Niall O' Driscoll, Rory Keating, Stevie Boyle. Sub: Pa Cournane for Jimmy Stapleton.
Referee: John Hegarty