Wednesday 13 December 2017

Generous Ports gift Skerries cup win

Skerries Town and Portmarnock go head to head in the FAI Intermediate Cup tie at Town Park.
Skerries Town and Portmarnock go head to head in the FAI Intermediate Cup tie at Town Park.

PJ Murray

SKERRIES Town advanced to the third round of the FAI Intermediate Cup with this welcome derby win at a blustery Park Lane on Sunday last.

The scoreline would suggest an easy victory for the home side, but this game was in the balance up to the last 10 minutes until a couple of bizarre goalkeeping errors undid Portmarnock.

The form of both teams coming into this encounter was at variance with the result, the visitors previous outing yielding three points against leaders St James Gate while Skerries were still reflecting on a heavy loss to Templeogue United.

The return of Barry Martin and Ben Hunter, plus the inclusion of Colm Lee, injected the necessary energy into the home side to eventually sway the game in Skerries' favour.

The game opened brightly and the first half saw chances fall to both sides and indeed Shane Davis in the home goal had to be at his best to keep it scoreless at the interval.

Ports were left to reflect on a bad miss by John Gibbons as he lifted the ball over an open goal from just a few yards out, while Alan Shaughnessy cracked a shot off the crossbar and then had another effort hit the inside of the post and roll across the goal-line.

The breakthrough for Skerries came in the 65th minute when a ball down the right wing was pounced on by Seamus Farrell, and with Ports appealing for offside Farrell's pace took him to the endline and a pull-back to his brother Kevin gave him the space and time to score from 10 yards.

As expected, this provoked a response from Portmarnock and for the next 15 minutes they laid siege to the town goal where a succession of corners put much pressure on the home defence, but with centre-back Killian McMahon in outstanding form no concessions were easily given and headers from Gibbons and Barry Kennedy were both cleared off the line.

Skerries were now relying on breakaways and it was from a clearance and good work on the right that Hunter chased down a ball in the opposing area and, under pressure from him and also Kevin Farrell, the Ports keeper was forced into a rushed clearance that fell at the feet of Khalil Essien some 25 yards from goal. He happily returned it to the net off the upright to put Skerries two up.

Any chance the visitors had of retrieving the game was dashed five minutes later when the unfortunate keeper sliced another clearance across the goal right to the feet of Kevin Farrell who had the simplest tasks of tapping the ball into an empty net to put the issue beyond any doubt.

Now, Skerries can look forward to the open draw in the next round and will be hoping for another home fixture and the chance to advance still further in this season's competition.

Next up, however, is another cup game - this time the Metropolitan Cup - when Senior Division side Sacred Heart visit Skerries next Sunday at the earlier time of 11am due to the FAI Senior Cup Final taking place in the Aviva Stadium later that day.

Portmarnock face Dublin Bus, also in the Metropolitan, and the week after they will face Skerries again as they begin the defence of the Moore Cup.

Fingal Independent

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