Wednesday 18 September 2019

Skerries' fitting tribute to Gypsies fan Oran

Oran's Charity Match: Skerries Town 6 Bohemians XI 0

Dan Bannon

'I'm not here for a long time, I'm here for a good time' read the banner at the side of the Park Lane pitch as the sun appropriately shone for the Oran Tully charity match on Saturday afternoon.

A Bohemians XI made the short trip north of Phibsborough to take on Skerries Town in his honour and, unlike UCD who lost 10-1 at Bohs the night before, Skerries Town more than held their own.

Oran would have dearly enjoyed the setting, being a huge Bohs supporter, and to see them take on his home-town club on the pitches he himself once played and coached on would have been something he truly would have revelled in, and without a doubt posted up on his YouTube channel before the day was out.

It was an emotional time for parents Martin and Claire and his brothers Dáire and Conall beforehand when Park Lane erupted into rapturous applause for the well-loved youngster who passed away in August of last year from a rare bowel condition.

Fresh from that League of Ireland record-breaking win in Dalymount the night previously, four-goal hero and new signing Andre Wright and hat-trick man Danny Mandriou were present along with a host of first-team regulars in the pre-match line-up to shake hands and greet the opposing Skerries players.

Keith Long, the Bohs manager, got a chance to see his extended squad and youth players in action and one of these prospects - Alex Maher Lalor, son of comedian Eric - captained the side on this special occasion.

The two sides bizzarely boasted some previous history as Portmarnock native Stephen Ward scored his first goal for the Gypsies way back in 2003 in an FAI Cup tie against Skerries, a strike that spark a fine career across the water and of course at international level.

The game itself was a one-sided affair, with Alan Sweeney's men physically much stronger than the opposition line-up which was made up of players from the Bohs Under-17/19 youth sides.

Ross Hopkins grabbed an early brace for Skerries and Bob McKenna rounded up the first half by scoring before the customary wholesale changes that came from both sides at half-time.

Two of these replacements - Darragh Walsh and Emmet O'Neill - found the target along with the impressive Eoghan Dempsey in the second half.

Skerries, newly promoted into the Senior 1 Sunday division of the Leinster Senior League, will begin their season proper against Home Farm this coming Sunday and consolidation is their primary aim for the campaign, particularly after the raft of injuries picked up in pre-season.

However much like Oran, the win against Bohemians will live long in the memory for years to come for all those among the healthy crowd on the day.

Between them they raised in the region of €7,000, with all the proceeds split between two charities - the Skerries Youth Support Service (SYSS) and the Bohemian Foundation.

Skerries Town: Shane Davies, Paul O'Carroll, Emmet Mullen, Barry Davey, Ken Costello, Karl Young, Keith O'Callaghan, Eoghan Dempsey, Ross Hopkins, Brian Snow, Bob Mc Kenna. Subs: Josh Mullen, Darragh Walsh, Emmet O'Neill, Andy Kavanagh, Neil Gallagher, Vincent Hewitt.

Fingal Independent