Skerries Harps 3-10
Templeogue Synge Street 3-08
The Harps U16 boys footballers booked their place in the ‘A’ Shield decider following an exhilarating victory over TSS in Skerries on Saturday afternoon. A fine team goal on the stroke of full-time saw Skerries through to set up a final against Erin’s Isle on Saturday, November 27th. In unseasonably humid conditions, the home side won the toss and elected to play into the school end. The Southsiders from Division 1 started brightly and quickly went 2 points up as Skerries struggled to adapt to the pace early on. A swift passing movement orchestrated by Jonny Dunne up the right, resulted in a Skerries free which Joseph Delaney duly pointed. Further efforts from open play from Matthew Weldon and Dara Twomey put the seasiders in front however TSS punished some handling errors scoring 1-1 in quick succession and left the Harps trailing 1-3 to 0-3 at the water break.
Disaster struck upon the restart as the visitors again struck for a goal to leave them 6 points to the good. A black card for Skerries on 20 mins reduced the home side to 14 and only a superb save from James Courell in addition to a timely last-ditch intervention from Pearse Mooney kept the visitors from further extending their lead. Slowly but surely, the hosts began to find their feet and after a defence-splitting Seán Mooney pass, the ball was clinically dispatched to the roof of the net by Delaney.The goal seemed to galvanise the hosts (and the vociferous home support) as Skerries took control around the middle third with Oisin Quinn and Tim Deering now in familiar full flow. Points from play from Delaney (2) and a goal from Weldon after his initial effort was saved, left the Harps in front by 2 at the break.
Skerries returned to the full complement upon the restart but within a minute were reduced to 14 again after a second yellow card. A sustained period of pressure saw the visitors capitalise and knock over 3 unanswered points. Dogged defending from Luke Ryan and Ryan Lawless saw Oscar McIvor-Lynch set up Delaney for another score to bring Harps back level as the teams swapped points. A well-worked goal by the visitors on 50 minutes looked to have dealt a decisive blow to the home team’s hopes as bodies & minds began to wane with the Harps struggling to find a way through the now packed visitors’ defence. Leo Curtis almost made the breakthrough only to have his goal-bound effort blocked.
As the clock ticked down, Skerries attacked the ‘Texaco’ end with ferocity and a superb Twomey point followed by an equally impressive Cillian Emmet effort cut the deficit to the minimum with time almost up. A close-in free to the visitors dropped short and the Harps mounted one last attack, workingtheir way up to the right corner with their trademark passing game. Patrick Kelly received the ball and as he moved toward goal the crowd held their breath… Kelly pointed the toe & unleashed an unstoppable effort from the tightest of angles to send the net quivering and the home support into raptures. A close-in free for the visitors was defended and the final whistle sounded, much to the joy (and relief) of the home contingent.
Scorers: Joseph Delaney 1-6, Matthew Weldon 1-1, Patrick Kelly 1-0, Dara Twomey 0-2, Cillian Emmet 0-1.
Back row left to right: Seán Mooney, Tim Deering, Leo Curtis, Joseph Delaney, Oisín Quinn, Patrick Kelly, Rossa Gilbride, Oscar McIvor-Lynch.
Front row L-R: Dara Twomey, Pearse Mooney, Ryan Lawless, Jonny Dunne, Luke Ryan, Cillian Emmet, Matthew Weldon, James Courell.