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'TARF MARCH BY THE SAINTS

OPTIONS: Andy Rafferty looks to turn defence into attack for St Mary's.

Clontarf Athletic moved off the foot of the UCFL Division 2A table after they turned in a fine performance to see off mid-table St Mary's on Saturday afternoon.

And in the end it was Robert Purdy's double that proved the difference between the two sides at a bitterly cold Baskin Lane.

Purdy's first arrived after just 9 minutes. Paul O'Toole - who whipped in some fine crosses from the left all afternoon - sent his first cross of the game into the Saints area and following a mini goal-mouth scramble, Purdy picked up the pieces to fire high past Seamus Rothwell in the Mary's goal.

Down the other end in the opening period, it was Clontarf's high-line and offside trap that was frustrating St Mary's however they did breach the home side's trap after 36 minutes.

Racing through the middle of the Clontarf defence, the impressive Darren Mallon was blocked by the on-rushing Athletic 'keeper William Wylie and with the ball squirting loose, Stephen Healy fired home into the empty net from all of 30-yards. 1-1.

However, just four minutes later the home side restored its lead.

John O'Toole provided a little bit of magic from midfield, beating a couple of players on a fine run forward before picking out O'Toole who finished past Rothwell to ensure the home side were back ahead at the interval.

The second period began with both side's having half chances.

Firstly, the home side's Shane McEntyre crossed well from the right and with Mary's failing to clear their lines properly the ball fell to Ross Toal but he blasted over from the edge of the area.

Up the other end, Brian Murphy found himself in space down the right but he just couldn't pull back his cross to the unmarked Mallon and the chance was lost.

For most of the second half it was Clontarf that carried the extra threat going forward and with Maurice Kirwan looking more than assured at the back, Mary's were struggling to really test Wylie in the home goal.

And the task for the visitors got even more difficult after 56 minutes when Clontarf moved 3-1 ahead when the same combination that unlocked their defence for the first goal struck again.

John O'Toole set the move in motion finding Paul O'Toole down the left and this time his cross was inch perfect for Purdy in the middle who powered a wonderful header home.

The home side were now well on top and should have increased their lead in a dominant twenty minute spell.

Ross Toal and John Traynor headed good chances over while Rothwell saved well from Paul O'Toole and Shane McEntyre's effort was cleared off the line by Chris Dunne.

The visitors to their credit certainly hadn't thrown in the towel though and could have forced a nervy final few minutes for the home side had they taken their chances.

On 78 minutes Stuart Gould's free landed at the feet of Brian Murphy but he fired wide from 12-yards and then three minutes later Mallon's cross found Ron McCann at the back stick but his volley was cleared off the line by Darryl Kinsella.

CLONTARF ATHLETIC: William Wylie, Alan Costello, Michael Grant, Maurice Kirwan, Eoghan McQuillan, John Traynor, Shane McEntyre, John O'Toole, Robert Purdy, Darryl Kinsella, Paul O'Toole, Shane McCormack, Ross Toal.

ST MARY'S FC: Seamus Rothwell, Andy Rafferty, Chris Dunne, Andy Kane, Damien Byrne, Brian Murphy, Stephen Healy, John Ronan, Eoin Barry, Darren Mallon, Ron McCann. Subs: Stuart Gould, Dan Gaffney, Sean Dunne.

REFEREE: Tommy Doherty.


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