Deadly Dan's the man
Soccer, Andy McEvoy Premier Division: St Anthony's 6 Arklow Town3
Midfielder Dan Lacey delivered a stunning hat-trick as St Anthony's emphatically put Arklow Town to the sword in their Andy McEvoy Premier Division One clash on Sunday morning.
On their home pitch, the Kilcoole outfit, who were without six players because of GAA commitments, could hardly have got off to a more unfavourable start, Arklow midfielder Andy Farrell managing the rare feat of scoring direct from a corner with just 16 minutes on the clock.
But within three minutes, Lacey stablilised matters for St Anthony's when he found the net from 25 yards, and the No 7 subsequently added to his tally in the second half, the latter contribution leaving the scoreline reading 6-2.
In addition to the hat-trick hero, his teammates Patrick Woods, Kyle O'Reilly and Darren Collopy got on the scoresheet for the victorious side, while Richard Neary and second half sub Philip Erasmus scored the other two goals for the visitors who had won their first two matches against Arklow United and Arklow Celtic.
The initial stages of the contest saw Arklow fluff two scoring chances, defender Aaron Healy firing over the bar from distance on three minutes, and midfielder Peter Walker driving the ball wide of the right post nine minutes later.
But then in bizarre circumstances, the south county side took the lead, the first corner of the game resulting from home goalkeeper Robbie McNamee failing to control a back pass from Collopy with his foot and allowing the ball to drift over the end line.
And from the dead ball on the left wing, and with the aid of a slight wind, Farrell put the perfect curve on his delivery, and referee David Jameson ruled that the ball had crossed the goal line before left midfielder Kyle O'Reilly desperately lashed it outfield.
But just three minutes later, Lacey levelled matters for St Anthony's, his 25 yards shot proving too good for Arklow goalkeeper Gary Fennell to even get his hand on the ball.
Almost immediately, the visitors spurned an opportunity to regain the lead when Farrell blazed over the bar from a free 30 yards out.
However, this was quickly followed by his fellow No 6 Lorcan Kenna shooting narrowly wide in the wake of a promising St Anthony's attack.
On 27 minutes, Woods had a shot saved by the Arklow 'keeper, with Collopy closing dangerously in, but two minutes later the St Anthony's No 9 made no mistake from a considerably less favourable opportunity.
After the ball broke loose about 35 yards out, Woods elected to shoot rather than try to find a teammate, and he was tellingly rewarded when his splendidly struck delivery sailed over the head of goalkeeper Fennell and into the roof of the net.
Despite this setback, Arklow quickly hauled themselves back into contention, Neary beating goalkeeper McNamee after he had been set up by a pass from Farrell, on 37 minutes.
But within two minutes, the visiting bench were left frustrated when striker Shane Roche latched on to the ball after Farrell had set up a scoring chance for himself and seemed to be in a better position to test the home goalkeeper who saved comfortably from Roche.
Just before half-time, Lacey and O'Reilly drove wide with decent efforts for St Anthony's, leaving the sides tied 2-2 at the break, but with the homesters having the advantage of the slight slope in the second half.
On the resumption, following a cross from Roche, Walker was narrowly wide with a glancing header for Arklow on 48 minutes.
But five minutes later, O'Reilly demonstrated outstanding finishing ability for St Anthony's when following a long crossfield ball which left the opposing defence exposed, the No 11 gave goalkeeper Fennell no chance with a strong left-footed delivery, from approximately 25 yards.
Within three minutes, a fruitless corner followed for the home side in the wake of a cross from Mark Petracy and a headed effort from Collopy being deflected wide of the Arklow goal.
Almost immediately, the visiting side were reduced to 10 men when right-back Niall Garvey was red-carded for pulling an opponent's jersey inside the box.
However, from the resultant penalty, and with an opportunity to level the scores at 3-3, corner-scorer Farrell saw his well-struck his right-footed effort brilliantly saved by McNamee who additionally pushed the ball away from the danger zone.
Midway through the second half, St Anthony's extended their advantage when Collopy rose brilliantly to head home at the near post a cross from Kenna, putting his side 4-2 up.
Subsequently, Lacey went on to add to his scoring haul on 74 minutes, after a mazy individual dribble, and on 81 minutes, before Arklow had the final say with Erasmus finding the net on 85 minutes.
Afterwards, St Anthony's manager Wes Dempsey said: "We were slow to get into the game, but we settled down well after they scored from the corner.
"Still, at 2-2, I was a bit nervy at half-time, but thankfully we improved in the second half and we put the game to bed by taking most of our chances. And indeed we had enough of the play to have scored another three or four goals.
"Of course, Dan Lacey did brilliant with his hat-trick and Darren Collopy held up the ball well and cause a lot of problems in their box. As well, our team-work and general link-up play was very good today."
Arklow Town boss Niall Byrne said: "Not scoring from the penalty was a big blow for us, as that deprived us of levelling at 3-3.
"But we don't have any complaints about the result, as on the day St Anthony's were the better team and they fully deserved their victory."
ST ANTHONY'S: Robbie McNamee; Stephen Hunt, Emmet Kenna, Jake Mooney, Stafford Quaid, Lorcan Kenna, Dan Lacey, Mark Petracy, Patrick Woods, Darren Collopy, Kyle O'Reilly.Subs: Corey Latchford for Kenna (48), Sam Stafford for Collopy (82).
ARKLOW TOWN: Gary Fennell; Niall Garvey, Jake Byrne, Aaron Healy, Sean Crowley, Andy Farrell, Richard Neary, Peter Walker, Liam Moore, Shane Roche. Quintin O'Reilly. Subs: Jordan Viera for Byrne (52), Philip Erasmus for Walker (56), Jack Kavanagh for Neary (64).
REFEREE: David Jameson.