Friday 23 August 2019

Harps flirting with drop zone after defeat

Kilmacud Crokes 2-10 Skerries Harps 0-12

Rory Kerr in Skerries

At 15 games (and that's before you you throw in the promotion game and additional championship fixtures), the Dublin leagues are perhaps a bit too long.

The summer months are particularly taxing ones for clubs. Players get the travelling bug, while others are under pressure to juggle work and playing commitments.

A case in point came a few weeks ago during the Man O War v St Margarets Division 3 clash when an injury to a Man O War player delayed the game by over an hour, with a number of players due to start work after the game.

These are some of the pressures clubs are finding themselves under - and Skerries Harps are no different.

They might have thought that following his retirement from intercounty football, they might see a bit more of former Dublin captain Bryan Cullen.

An integral part of Jim Gavin's backroom staff, Cullen was otherwise engaged as five-in-a-row All-Ireland-chasing Dublin continue their preparations for the beginning of their Super 8s series this coming weekend.

Harps really needed all hands on deck for last Thursday night's fixture.

Cullen was one of a number of key players missing along with Harry Dawson, Stephen Smith and Kevin Gilmore, to name but three.

Their inter-county Harps could ill afford to be without their inter-county contingent as they attempt to stay up.

Their latest reversal sees them hover perilously above the relegation zone and with neighbours St Maur's to come next month there are no easy fixtures to come as the season winds down.

Crokes, for their part, move to second in the table behind Ballyboden St Endas, but they needed goals in each half to secure victory.

The goals were well executed, the second coming 13 minutes into the second half when Harps were turned over in attack.

And off a pass from Craig Dias, Fionn O Ceallagh would dispatch the ball past Shane Davis to move Crokes three points clear.

It was a cruel blow for Harps who had endeavoured hard to stay in contention, but once O'Ceallaigh had raised the green flag, Skerries always had their hands full getting back into the game.

Kilmacud Crokes put men behind the ball and Skerries were left badly exposed as the visitors hurt them hard on the counter.

They had begun well enough with early points from Conor O'Brien, Donal McIlgorm and Collie Daly, who continues to impress at wing back.

And while Crokes would come back to edge a point in front at the mid-way point of the half, Skerries replied with scores from KIllian McGinnis each side of a Tommy Ryan point before Stephen WIlliams found the back of the net for Crokes with five minutes to go in the half.

Ciaran Murphy would draw Skerries level, only for Crokes to close out the half with successive points to lead 1-6 to 0-7 at the break.

But with roving centre back Donnacha Reilly giving Harps an extra attacking edge after the break, Harps were back on level terms by the 42nd minute after McGinnis had swung over a score from a shortened free.

However, the exertions of their efforts began to take a toll on what was a warm night in Skerries, with two scores off turned over possession moving Crokes four points clear with fifteen minutes to go.

And while scores from Murphy and Reilly would keep Harps within touching distance of Crokes with five minutes to go, a well executed score from the impressive Daniel O'Brien would see Crokes put the game to bed.

Skerries Harps: Shane Davis, Eoin Smith, Sean Rocks, Ross McGarry, Collie Daly 0-1, Donnaca Reilly 0-2, Jack Smith, Eoghan McGinley, Mark Boylan, Conor O'Brien 0-1 , Donal McIlorm 0-1, Tommy Ryan 0-1, Robbie Clinton, Killian McGuinness 0-4(1f) , Ciaran Murphy 0-2.

Fingal Independent