Tuesday 23 January 2018

Buckley rues missed chances as Fingal off the mark


Sporting Fingal claimed their first Premier Division point at the Morton Stadium last night, but Liam Buckley will feel his side could have taken all three on offer.

Gary O'Neill's 56th-minute goal gave the hosts a deserved lead over the team they beat in November's FAI Cup final, but Padraig Amond's fine finish cancelled that lead out five minutes later.

A bright first half ended scoreless, but the game finally got the goals it deserved early in the second half and despite Rovers opening the brighter, it was Fingal who struck first.

The man who broke the westerners' hearts in last season's FAI Cup final had it all to do when he received Conan Byrne's pass on the edge of the box, but he turned Alan Keane inside out and gave Richard Brush no chance with a curled shot that nestled in the corner of the net.

However, the lead didn't last long as Amond beat Stephen Paisley to a 50-50 ball on the edge of the area and kept his composure to beat Brendan Clarke with a neat finish from 10 yards.

The chances dried up thereafter, with Matthew Blinkhorn having the best opening for Sligo, the big striker failed to connect properly with Eoin Doyle's cross before Brush denied Fingal's Keith Quinn at the death.

A bright start saw both teams have chances to go ahead early on, with Amond flashing a low shot wide from Gary McCabe's pinpoint pass and Paisley striking the post with a header from Byrne's free-kick that left Brush helplessly watching the ball come off the upright.

Byrne had a chance himself a minute later, but his daisy-cutter went wide before Brush had to be sharp to turn Alan Kirby's dipping half-volley over the bar on 14 minutes.

The goals finally came after the break, with Sligo's Paul Cook probably the happier of the two managers.

SPORTING FINGAL -- Clarke; Browne, Maher, Paisley, Quinn; Finn, McFaul, Williams; Byrne, O'Neill, Kirby (Crowe 77).

SLIGO ROVERS -- Brush; Whelan, Peers, Keane, Davoren; McCabe (Dillon 70), Ventre, Ryan, Doyle; Blinkhorn, Amond (Donninger 90).

REF -- N Doyle (Dublin).

Irish Independent

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