Wednesday 21 August 2019

Dempsey propels Fingal to fifth spot

PJ Murray

Shane Dempsey set a club record on Tuesday last when he bagged his hat-trick of hat-tricks in Fingal's 4-1 win away to Rathgar.

Rathgar 1 Fingal 4

The forward added two further goals to his tally on Saturday as Fingal went down 8-3 away to Bandon in the Irish Hockey Trophy.

For Dempsey, though, it's 11 goals in four games and three back-to-back hat-tricks and it's his hot streak which has propelled Fingal into fifth place in Division 1 of the Leinster League.

There are four teams in the league on six points, but Fingal occupy the highly coveted fifth place by virtue of a better goal difference than their rivals.

Manager Gerry Wheeler envisaged a tough game with Rathgar on Tuesday as their opponents had conceded the fewest goals in the league up to that point.

There was little to choose between the sides in the opening period. Indeed, the first goal didn't come until just before the break when some solo work from Adrian Sweeney saw him cut inside the circle and power a shot past the Rathgar keeper.

Fingal's counter-attacking was paying dividends as they defended well and then broke with pace through Sweeney and Dempsey. Five minutes into the second half Dempsey scored from a short corner drag flick to make it 2-0.

Rathgar pulled one back soon after from a short corner and they pressurised for a leveller, but Tom Fee was having one of his best games in goal for Fingal and pulled off several great stops.

Then Dempsey scored what may be considered the goal of the season to make it 3-1. It was a move literally from back to front as Fingal won it in defence and swept downfield through Ben Chillingworth. He in turn played through Dempsey on the half-way line and the forward did the rest, speeding down the left wing before cutting inside and firing home from the top of the circle.

Fingal did seem to relax a bit more with a two-goal lead, but Rathgar just couldn't get past Fee and with time almost up Dempsey secured his hat-trick to seal a memorable and valuable win for the Northsiders.

Fingal travelled to Cork with the bare minimum of 11 players. Upon arrival they found their opponents had a squad of 18 and knew that it was going to be a tough game as a result.

To their credit they won the first half 3-2, but it was the fact Bandon were able to introduce fresh legs constantly that eventually wore the Dubliners down and the Cork team scored six unanswered goals in the second half.

Goals from Adrian Sweeney and two from Shane Dempsey saw them take the lead into the break, but once Bandon restored parity in the second half there was only going to be one winner.

Fingal have three games remaining before the division breaks into the two groups. They host Clontarf on December 12th before a re-fixture with Avoca, and then they finish the first part of the season with a short trip to Dublin University.

Fingal Independent