The north Dublin derby between promotion chasers Sporting Fingal and Shelbourne finished a miserably poor 0-0. Shels’ Anto Flood was in on goal in injury time, only to put his scuffed effort well wide to sum up a pretty poor quality match from both sides.
Sporting Fingal made just the one change from their victory over Kildare County, with Brian Gannon replacing Fiachra McArdle. Mark O’Brien partnered David McGill in the centre of midfield at the expense of the suspended Greg O’Halloran, while Mark Rutherford replaced James Keddy on the wing as Dermot Keely made two changes from the side who defeated Longford Town last Friday.
Fingal started the brighter with two good chances to open the scoring in the first ten minutes. First, a high Derek Tyrell cross found Daniel Corcoran who controlled, turned and shot straight at Dean Delaney in the Shels’ goal. Then a neat one-two with Peter Hynes released Corcoran again, only for him to blaze over from eight yards.
Shels’ were content to fire long balls up to Anto Flood against the heavy wind but to no great effect, as the home side dominated the first half. Shels’ only chance of the half was an ambitious volley from Flood on the turn, which sailed wide.
Then, on twenty-five minutes, Alan Murphy’s challenge from behind on Conan Byrne produced a red card to leave an already struggling Shels’ side to battle for over an hour with ten men. Murphy could well feel aggrieved as it was his first foul in a seemingly soft opening half hour, however referee Derek Tomney was immediate in his production of the red card which assured the Fingal fans on the far side of the pitch that he was right to walk.
Corcoran continued to pose the biggest threat to Shels’ goal, as Hynes chested a long ball into his path only for his shot to breeze just over on the half hour as the strong wind into the Shels’ goal acted as an added bonus for the home side.
In the thirty-ninth minute Conan Byrne looked set to open the scoring with a rare show of class. His burst of pace saw him speed past the Shels’ defence, only for his shot to be palmed wide by Delaney. The resulting corner fell at his feet as he passed the ball fractions wide of the goal as the game remained goalless at half time.
Keely replaced Rutherford with Keddy at half time as Shels’ looked to use the wind to balance out their numerical disadvantage. The plan appeared to be working, as Shels’ probed both wings from the outset. Keddy’s corner on fifty-seven minutes, Shels’ sixth in ten minutes, fell to Alan Byrne, whose instinctive shot was blocked on the line by Brian Gannon as Fingal continued to sit deep. In the final half hour chances all but dried up.
Robbie Doyle replaced Corcoran on seventy-two minutes as Buckley looked to reinvigorate his now struggling side. Doyle immediately made a difference as he broke though the Shels’ defence only for Damien Brennan to do just enough to put him off. Doyle’s occasional foray forward was all Fingal had to offer as time drifted passed.
A rare Fingal corner resulted in substitute Philip Byrne’s free header flying over as the game slowly wore on into the closing minutes. Delaney’s resulting goal kick bypassed the Fingal defence leaving Flood in on goal. His first touch was impressive, his second, not so. He shot wide. The game ended a fair 0-0.
Sporting Fingal: Steve Williams; Derek Tyrell, Dave Rogers, Aidan Collins (Philip Byrne 79), Brian Kelly; Brian Gannon (Fiachra McArdle 88), Colm James, Paul Caffery, Conan Byrne; Peter Hynes, Dinny Corcoran (Robbie Doyle 72).
Subs not used: Jim Crawford, David Bracken.
Shelbourne: Dean Delany; Alan Murphy, Alan Byrne, Damien Brennan, Robbie Hedderman; Mark O’Brien, David McGill, James Chambers, Mark Rutherford (James Keddy 46); Anto Flood, David Freeman.
Subs not used: Fred Davis Jnr, Philly Hughes, Alan Mulcahy, Keith Dunne.
Sent Off: A Byrne (25)
Referee: Derek Tomney.
Gordon Hunt is one of extratime's Dublin based reporters. Having worked with the site since it's inception, Gordon's name is carved into the foundations of extratime's tower block.
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