Friday 22 March 2019

Harps make point but still not satisfied

Skerries Hps 1-10 Ballyboughal 1-10

Johnathan Rooney of Ballyboughal clears his lines during last Wednesday’s AF2 clash against Skerries Harps
Johnathan Rooney of Ballyboughal clears his lines during last Wednesday’s AF2 clash against Skerries Harps
Skerries Harps’ Kevin Gilmore looks for options
Ballyboughal’s Greg Rooney turns away from the Skerries defence

Rory Kerr at Townparks

To salvage a draw, having trailed by nine points with 15 minutes to go, would have been seen as a good result, but there was nonetheless a sense of disappointment in the home camp following last Wednesday's dramatic proceedings in Skerries.

Momentum is everything and certainly Skerries were slightly peeved with the amount of stoppage time given in the second half, particularly given that Ballyboughal were a team under siege.

Skerries' short-lived residency in Division 2 was a much down to the unusually high number of draws last season, and while many would say a share of the points was probably the fairest result on the night, it leaves Ciaran Roche's team with a lot to do if they are to make the play-offs.

They travel to Torcaill in their next outing to take on Naomh Mearnog in what will be a crucial four-pointer for both sides, and at this stage Harps cannot afford any more slip-ups.

For Ballyboughal it was their first dropped point since they scored six goals and still lost in a high-scoring game at Na Fianna back in June, and they played like the team pushing for promotion.

They had opened up a 0-8 to 0-3 lead by the interval, with the half forward line of John Rodgers and Cathal Beggs driving things on for the visitors as Skerries - without 10 first-choice players - struggled to make an impact despite decent scoring contributions from Eoin Smith and Robbie Clinton to name but two.

Skerries were certainly left with it all to do shortly after the turnaround when Gerry Seaver was on hand to convert from close in after the hosts had failed to clear their lines.

Greg Rooney would subsequently slot over from the left for Ballyboughal to leave seven between the sides on 40 minutes.

However, that would be the last time Ballyboughal scored and in a bid to curb Skerries' dominance in the latter stages they dropped Gerry Seaver back to midfield, with the influential Ciaran Wynne sent to the line for a black card offence.

By now the Skerries support were getting more confident ,with Harry Dawson turning in a big display on the forty.

And after Stephen Smith had sent over successive frees to leave just four between the sides, Conor O 'Brien then turned the game on its head when, off a close-in free, he snapped up a chance from the edge of the square.

Then, with just a minute to go, O'Brien proved Skerries' saviour when, following a high ball in, the breaking ball fell to the midfielder who showed good composure under pressure to swing over the equalising score with his left foot.

Unfortunately for them, Skerries didn't have time to launch another attack as the referee quickly blew up for full-time.

Skerries Haprs: Liam Woodcock, Johnny Garrett, Eoghan McGinley, Kevin Dalton, Kevin Gilmore 0-1, Ross McGarry, Rob McGee, Conor O Brien 1-1, Conan Doherty, Gerry Daly, Harry Dawson 0-2, Robbie Clinton 0-2, Stephen Smith 0-2, Killian McGinnis, Eoin Smith 0-1. Subs: Donnacha Reilly 0-1, Eddie Reilly 0-1, Oisin O Leary.

Ballyboughal: David Downey, Cormac Flynn, Johnathan Rooney, Keith Lynch, Jack Ryan, John Harney, Ciaran Wynne, Ritchie Downey, Cathal Flynn, Greg Rooney 0-1, John Rodgers 0-3, Cathal Beggs 0-2, Ben Callanan, Gerry Seavers 1-4, Tony Rooney Sub: Padraig Flynn.

Fingal Independent