Sunday 21 July 2019

Syls hit high notes to continue fine run

GAA: Adult Football League: St Sylvester’s 1-18 St Pats (P) 0-13

Rory Kerr at Broomfield

Festival season is upon us and in the distance you could hear the warm-up acts for Eighties cult band The Cure at nearby Malahide Castle as St Sylvester's aimed to protect their unbeaten record against St Pat's Palmerstown.

St Pat's Palmerstown had done a number on them a few seasons back in the Senior Championship and for a while Sylvester's struggled to find the right note on their home turf.

It was a worrying enough evening for Paul Clarke's men who by the 40th minute trailed by four points after John Kelly had scored off his left foot to ask serious questions of the home side.

Sylvester's, though, dug in deep, with Micheàl Carthy turning a very impressive second half to help his team to an eighth win on the trot. Although receiving treatment from the physio before the game, Sylvester's marquee forward produced the goods as they held their opponents to just two points in the remaining 20 minutes, with his penalty five minutes from time putting an end to Pats' brave resistance.

However, in the early stages, St Pat's hardly looked like a team that was propping up the second division table and Graham Dunne was a handful up front in the opening period.

Sylvester's, through their impressive half forward Alex Wright, twice cancelled out one-point leads for the visitors before a strong run down the middle by Mark Finnerty won Sylvester's a free which McCarthy converted.

However, it was then that Dunne began to wield his influence and his pass into Ethan Walsh should have produced the first goal of the game, but the corner forward could only blaze over.

Dunne, however, would move Pats two points clear mid-way through the half. At the other end Jack Hazley was winning a lot of ball at the edge of the square, but overall it was a frustrating afternoon for the O'Byrne Cup forward who was marked tightly by the Pats defence.

After points at each end, Sylvester's would eventually draw level when, following an effort from McCarthy, Wright sent over a terrific effort from the right.

However, Pats were not letting their foot off the gas, with a free off the ground from Kelly followed by Dunne's third point of the half to re-open a two-point lead for the visitors.

And while Pearce Gibney would make it a one-point game once more, an injury-time score from Pats would leave it 0-9 to 0-7 to the south Dublin outfit.

Pats began the second half with another Kelly free, but then off a long ball played in from Ross Hazley, Jack fielded a ball from the edge of the square and turned his marker before producing a save out of Ciaran McHugh.

Sylvester's kicked a number of wides after that, but Kelly's point was their wake-up call.

And with Paudi White having a very impressive game at midfield, Sylvester's, having introduced a number of substitutes, slowly began to turn the screw.

Now their pivotal player in attack, McCarthy, sent over two quick scores before Karl Archibald came up from defence to leave just once between the sides.

A McCarthy strike off the left then drew Sylvester's level with thirteen minutes to go, with points from Jamie Kennedy and McCarthy - Sylvester's sixth unanswered point of the half - leaving the Malahide men two ahead with eight minutes to go.

And while a Kelly free reminded Sylvester's that game was far from over, the home side moved further clear through points from McCarthy and Mark Hazley beore Kelly replied at the other end.

Then, with five minutes to go, Sylvester's were awarded a penalty which McCarthy duly converted to move his team five points clear and from there it was plain sailing as Sylvester's closed out the game with efforts from Mark Hazley and Dave Sexton.

St Sylvester's: Kevin Morris, Andrew Cunningham, Fionn Carney, Conor Quinn, Karl Archibald 0-1, Gary Greenan, Ronan Palmer, Ross Hazley, Paudi White, Pearce Gibney 0-1, Mark Finnerty, Alex Wright 0-3, Dan Denneher, Jack Hazley, Micheal McCarthy 1-8(0-1f, 1-0 pen). Subs: Jamie Kennedy 0-1, Mark Hazley 0-2, Sean Daly, David Sexton 0-2, Harry Barnes, Andrew Hartnett.

Fingal Independent