Saturday 19 October 2019

Rivals put to the Sword

Soccer: Leinster Senior League

Brian Baneham

High-flying Portmarnock remain unbeaten since August in the LSL Division 1 following an impressive 3-1 win over Swords Celtic in an absorbing derby clash at Balheary last Wednesday evening.

Division 1 Sunday Swords Celtic 1 Portmarnock 3

As expected, there was no quarter asked or given in a frantic opening 20 minutes, with robust but fair tackles flying in thick and fast. And when the game settled, it was Porto who got on top and created several chances before eventually making the breakthrough courtesy of a Chris Burgess strike after some great work down the right wing by Darragh Coates on 25 minutes.

The visitors managed to put clear daylight between the sides mid-way through the second half when Graham Rusk, latching onto substitute Ross Moran's defence-splitting pass, coolly slotted home to put his side 2-0 up.

But just as it looked as if Porto would cruise in comfort to the finish line, Swords pulled one back in controversial circumstances.

Following an injury to Portmarnock midfielder Coates, the ball was kicked out of play to allow the player to be treated. However, on the restart, Swords opted to launch an attack from the throw-in, rather than sportingly return the ball back to the visitors, which allowed centre forward Jordan Nolan to tee up Sam McGowan who proceeded to score for the hosts.

But the perceived injustice seemed to spur on the visitors who rallied to restore their two-goal advantage with 11 minutes to play. Philip Rusk intercepted a ball in midfield and played a one-two with his brother Graham before firing a low shot to the bottom corner of the net to make 3-1.

Porto could have had many more goals, but chances for Burgess, the Rusk brothers and Alan O'Shaughnessy went abegging thanks in the main to an outstanding display between the sticks from Swords keeper Stephen Trimble.

Porto boss Willie O'Leary was very pleased with his side's performance and felt they were good value for their win. However, what he believed was an act of unsporting behaviour by their hosts left a sour taste.

He said: 'We were expecting their full-back to throw the ball back to us as it was us who kicked it out, but he didn't and I felt it was really unsportsmanlike and I was really disappointed in that. In fairness to Niall Hudson [Swords Celtic manager] he was talking to me at the time of the incident and didn't see it, but he was disappointed with what happened too.'

Portmarnock continued their impressive run of results on Sunday by inflicting a first defeat of the season on Home Farm. A brace from Chris Burgess and a goal apiece from Graham Rusk and Ross Moran secured a 4-3 win at Paddy's Hill.

Swords Celtic returned to winning ways themselves on Sunday, 2-1 the scoreline away to TEK.

Swords Celtic: Stephen Trimble, Owen Jones, Adam Hanley, Graham Duff, David Cox, Dominic Mahon (Evan Kelly), Sam McGowan, Barry Caulfield (Shane Carter), Jordan Nolan, Keith McCracken, Philip Nolan.

Portmarnock: Brian Kane, David Reddin, Danny Butler Darragh Coates (Cormac O'Leary), Niall Kenny, Mark Cassidy (Sean Kennedy), Philip Rusk, David Sheppard (Ross Moran), Alan O'Shaughnessy, Graham Rusk, Chris Burgess.

Fingal Independent