Monday 23 September 2019

Swords' relief after Skerries own goal

Football: Division 1 Sunday - Swords Celtic 1, Skerries Town 0

Paul Byrne

An unfortunate Ken Costello own goal gave Swords Celtic a narrow victory in this fiercely contested Fingal derby played at Balheary last Wednesday evening.

Both sides came into the game looking for their first win of the campaign, with Swords losing their opening two matches and Skerries drawing their only game against Home Farm.

Swords in particular were under a bit of pressure to get a result, having conceded six goals without scoring in their first two matches of the season.

Brendan Kennedy's young side were relegated from Senior Sunday at the end of last season and have been touted as one of the favourites to go straight back up, so victory was important for the home side even at this early stage of the season.

Alan Sweeney's Skerries team had opened up with a decent home draw against Home Farm and they began this game reasonably well, with Brian Snowe going close after 10 minutes to breaking the deadlock.

Swords were on the back foot early on and they were lucky not to fall behind after 15 minutes when Snowe rattled the crossbar with a fierce header from a corner kick.

Swords' first real attack of the match resulted in the game's opening goal - what turned out to be the only one - with just less than 20 minutes on the clock.

Tom McCarthy beat a man before bursting forward and sending in a low cross which deflected off Skerries defender Ken Costello before spinning past Shane Davies.

That goal came slightly against the run of play, but it gave Swords a lift and the home side finished the half on the front foot as they looked to extend their lead.

Swords were much better after the break, with Tom McCarthy excellent in the middle of the park. They controlled the game for the opening 20 minutes of the second period as Skerries struggled to create any chances of note.

Substitute Ross Hopkins finally managed to breach the Swords defence with 20 minutes to go, but having rounded the keeper he failed to hit the target from an acute angle.

The game was becoming a real end-to-end affair now, with Skerries leaving gaps at the back as they searched for an equaliser.

Skerries' Barry Davey thought he had scored the equaliser with 15 minutes remaining, but his downward header was magnificently saved by the Swords keeper Stephen Trimble.

Swords went close to making absolutely sure of the points late on, but Shane Davies kept his side in it with a couple of great saves.

Skerries had one final chance to equalise when a corner kick fell to Barry Davey in Swords Celtic's six-yard box.

Davey buried it into the back of the net, but Skerries celebrations were cut short as the linesman put his flag up for offside.

Karl Young was sent off for Skerries as he protested the decision, and ultimately Swords hung on for their first win of the new campaign.

Swords Celtic: Stephen Trimble, Adam Boulton, Craig D'arcy, Sean Kelly, Ciaran Maguire, Darragh McCormack, Eoin Jones, Jonathan Lyons, Barry Caulfield, Tom McCarthy, Stephen Blake. Subs: Anthony Burke for Barry Caulfield, Andrew Bermingham for Tom McCarthy, Graham Leahy for Darragh McCormack, Stephen Ball for Stephen Blake.

Skerries Town: Shane Davies, Paul O'Carroll, Emmet Mullen, Barry Davey, Ken Costello, Keith O'Callaghan, Karl Young, Darragh Walsh, Eoin Dempsey, Brian Snowe, Bob McKenna. Subs: Ross Hopkins for Darragh Walsh, Alex Doyle for Brian Snowe, Josh Mullen for Emmet Mullen.

Fingal Independent