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Harps play beautifully to lead Davis a merry dance

Skerries Harps made the most of home advantage as they accounted for Thomas Davis by 2-12 to 0-11 in their Dublin Under 21 'B' Football Championship semi-final in Skerries last Saturday afternoon.

The hosts, despite falling three points behind in the early stages, regrouped brightly and maintained their supremacy throughout an entertaining encounter in which both teams produced some bright passages of play.

A Stephen Smith goal midway through the first half proved a vital score for Harps and after leading by 1-5 to 0-6 at the break, they pulled away after the break, to the pleasure of team manager Terry McGinnis.

"It's great to be in the final and although we struggled in the early stages, I was very happy with the display after that.

"You can be playing a long time and not make a final so we're delighted to have advanced this far and I thought that we played some very intelligent football in the second-half," he added.

The switch of Dennis Forde to centre-back proved a master-stroke as he had a huge bearing on the outcome while James McIlwaine accentuated a superb display when kicking two critical scores in the second-half.

Three points from placed balls by goalkeeper Shane Davis also contributed to Skerries' success with Oisin O'Leary matching that tally for the hosts.

A goal from Dublin minor panellist Donal McIlgorm added momentum to the Harps challenge after the break with Paul Cashman adding an insurance score late on.

The Thomas Davis full-back line of Daire Kerr, Jack McDonald and David Newell coped well in their primary duties despite being under constant pressure and when they were breached, goalkeeper Darren Brennan kept the tie alive with a series of exceptional saves.

The attack lived off scraps for the large part but both Chris Sallier and Alan Hudson looked threatening when in possession.

Despite the nature of the defeat, Thomas Davis manager was not too downbeat as he assessed his side's exit from the championship.

"We were beaten by the better team today and we can have absolutely no complaints about the result.

"Skerries were much stronger than us and they play a nice brand of football in which they all play for each other.

"We have 26 players from our panel of 27 eligible for next year's championship so hopefully they can build on these experiences and come back stronger next year," added McGuigan.