Manor hold firm as hard-working St Ita's come up short
CONOR Hogan's quality strike 16 minutes into the second half earned Swords Manor all three points in this keenly contested NDSL Under 16 Premier Division encounter in Swords.
Hard-working St Ita's could easily have claimed a draw, though, missing a couple of good chances near the end to take a share of the spoils.
Conor Shanahan put Swords Manor ahead after 12 minutes when he finished well following good work by Aaron Gibson, and Killian Whelan went close to a second for the home side when he cut in from the left wing and flashed a short just past the post.
St Ita's rarely threatened Swords Manor keeper Andy Mullally in the opening exchanges, but found a way past him in the 32nd minute. Following a sustained period of attacking play, the home defence couldn't clear their lines and when the ball fell to Adam O'Rourke, he duly found the bottom corner with a low shot from just inside the box.
Swords Manor went straight up the other end and almost regained the lead, however. St Ita's keeper Eric Martin was alert to the danger as Shanahan just failed to connect with a Darragh Kenny cross.
Three minutes before the break the visitors spurned a great opportunity to take the lead. O'Rourke got to the byeline and pulled the ball back for Dylan Curley who shot over from close range.
St Ita's also started the second half brightly and Eoin Doyle almost connected with a cross in the 55th minute, but keeper Mullally again snuffed out the danger.
And from Swords Manor's next attack they scored what proved to be the decisive goal. Hogan abandoned his defensive duties momentarily, broke a couple of challenges when the ball came to him and from outside the box fired past Martin.
St Ita's almost restored parity again soon after. Andy Carelli played a fine diagonal pass to Rhys Daly, but he shot wide of the target. St Ita's threw everything into attack and striker Mahamoud Diadi was denied by Mullally after he fastened onto a pass from Doyle.
As the game opened up there were chances at both ends and Matthew Lenehan, who had a good game for the hosts, saw a shot cleared off the line by Adam Dunne with six minutes to go.
Diadi should have levelled in the last few minutes, though, when he shrugged off two challenges but shot wide with just the keeper to beat.
Swords Manor: Andy Mullally, Conor Hogan, Jack Ryan, Killian Whelan, Aaron Gibson, Darren Kenny, Stefan Russell, Conor McKeown, Conor Shanahan, Matthew Lenehan, Sean Herbert. Subs: Carl McKee, Cian Mulligan.
St Ita's Portrane: Eric Martin, Adam Colgan, Peter Whelan, Zach Hales, Louis Murphy, Adam Dunne, Andy Carelli, Adam O'Rourke, Paddy Meighan, Rhys Daly, Mahamoud Diadi, Jack Grant, Eoin Doyle, Dylan Curley, Daniel Achimugu.