Thursday 17 October 2019

Defeat is 'Tarf for improving Dublin North as they lose quality contest

Hockey, Leinster League Division 1: Dublin North 1 Clontarf 2

Paul Byrne

Dublin North dominated the second half but fell just short as Clontarf edged them out in a quality contest at Mount Sackville in Chapelizod last Saturday.

The Fingal club have had to relocate to Dublin 15 following a €600,000 overhaul of the pitches at their previous base in Abbotstown.

It's a move which was forced on Dublin North mid-season and it has not been ideal, but the team have shrugged off that problem with some decent displays recently.

The previous week Shane Dempsey's side were edged out at the death by Dublin University and they faced another tough challenge in the shape of Clontarf who have been in good form recently.

Confidence must have been high in the Clontarf camp following an excellent 3-2 victory against league leaders UCD a week earlier.

Clontarf carried that confidence into the beginning of this match as they took the game to Dublin North in the early stages of the first half.

The home side looked untypically lethargic and slow in those early stages as the visitors began to dominate.

The first goal arrived after 15 minutes and it came as little surprise that it went to the visitors who deserved it after their excellent start.

Clontarf earned a short corner following an excellent move down the left and the visitors made no mistake from the set piece as they took the lead with a fine strike.

Dublin North were really struggling to make any inroads into the game and just before half-time they fell 2-0 behind as an excellent counter-attack from the visitors ensured Clontarf doubled their lead.

Whatever was said at half-time by player coach Shane Dempsey seemed to work, with the home side looking much more threatening at the start of the second half.

Despite Dublin North's lowly position in the table, Dempsey has been enjoying a fine season and went into this game as the second highest scorer in the league. He added to that tally midway through the second half as he scored his 15th goal of the season via a penalty stroke following a foul by a Clontarf defender.

That goal set up a grandstand finish as Dublin North went hunting for an equaliser. The hosts really poured it on in the closing stages and at the death they created one final chance which looked for all the world would yield an equaliser.

Eamon Bane beat his man down the left before squaring the ball to Shane Dempsey who hit a fine shot which was brilliantly saved by the Clontarf keeper to secure victory for his side.

It was unlucky for the hosts who face another tough challenge during mid-week against second placed Railway Union.

Fingal Independent