Saturday 16 December 2017

Shankill surprise Enniskerry


SHANKILL FC sprung a bit of a shock at Berryfield Lane on Saturday in a heated match that proved to be compulsive viewing.

There were angry exchanges between the two sidelines, an ambulance called and dental damage; not to mention the fascinating on-field action as the Dublin side got the better of their Garden County hosts.

The tie got off to a rather inconspicuous start and the first incident occurred when a completely accidental coming together between Enniskerry's Odhran Cronin and Shankill's Stephen Harris left the Enniskerry centre half missing a tooth and he was subsequently withdrawn.

Perhaps had he still been on the field he could have helped prevent Shankill's opener, which arrived five minutes later. David Neary was in possession on the edge of the box and he combined with Cian Whyte. It looked like the duo was going nowhere but suddenly Whyte carved the home defence open and Neary calmly dispatched the finish.

Enniskerry were shocked to have fallen behind but they didn't take long to right that wrong as James Kehoe's whipped free kick beat Jack Rennix Doyle at his near post.

The hosts pushed for a lead goal and were well on top but it was the visitors who once again showed a clinical edge as they got their noses in front again on 40 minutes. Cian Whyte won his tussle for possession with Luke Dalton and the latter suffered an injury as a result. Whyte however carried on and after receiving a lucky break of the ball, he blocked an attempted clearance and his eyes lit up as it bounced perfectly for him to squeeze the ball between the legs of YC 'keeper PJ Conroy. Dalton remained on the floor throughout this phase and this caused uproar on the sidelines; with the home sideline apoplectic that referee Dominique Lachausse hadn't halted play for what they wrongly believed had been a head injury.

Tempers were still at boiling point seven minutes into injury time when a Shankill defensive clearance wasn't dealt with by the home defence and Sean O'Connor gleefully capitalised; bursting onto the ball before steering it home with what proved to be the last touch of the half.

Dalton recovered from his knock in the build-up to Shankill's second goal and continued on but in the 58th minute the youngster's day took a turn for the worse when he landed heavily on his back. He was sent to hospital via ambulance where it later emerged he had suffered a broken vertebrae.

Then, on the hour mark, it became 1-4 out of nowhere. David Neary clipped in a hopeful cross from the right and the impressive Stephen Harris left everyone open-mouthed as he skilfully hooked the ball over his head and into the far corner in one smooth movement.

A second league defeat of the season seemed inevitable now for Enniskerry but midfielder Conor Delaney hadn't resigned to that fact just yet. Five minutes after falling three goals behind; Delaney charged onto the pass and weaved his way past two defenders before sending a pile-driver whizzing into the top corner.

Delaney wasn't finished there though as nine minutes later he latched onto a throw-in from the left and drove into the penalty area but before he had time to assess his options he was clipped and went crashing to the surface and a penalty kick was awarded. Leon Ryan kept his cool from 12 yards to set up a nail-biting last 15 minutes for all present.

As would be expected, the home side bombarded their visitors for the remaining quarter of an hour but, despite some very nervy moments, they clung on to record a memorable victory that at times appeared to be more of a last man standing competition than a football match.

Top Form: Conor Delaney (Enniskerry YC): Almost dragged his side back into it. Didn't deserve to lose.

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