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Damien Brennan won his side a valuable point against local rivals Sporting Fingal this evening at Tolka Park. Brennan scrambled a goal in after sixty seven minutes, two minutes after Conan Byrne had given Sporting a well earned opener against a poor Shels’ side. The goals came after Sporting’s Brian Kelly was given a straight red for an elbow on James Chambers.
Sporting had four clear chances in the first half to take the lead and indeed win the game but took none of them as Shels’ put a dismal first half performance behind them, and matched the visitors in the second half.
Shels’ should have taken the lead after ten minutes but for Rutherford’s lack of a right foot. After Freeman found space well on the edge of the area Keddy rolled the ball to Rutherford, sadly on his weaker right foot and his effort rolled into Williams hands.
Then Sporting hit the bar twice in the next four minutes. First, Peter Hynes met Paul Caffrey’s corner with a powerful header, only to see his shot cannon back off the bar, Barely two minutes later Aidan Collins twenty-yard effort struck the foot of the post, cannoned off Dean Delaney and bounced out as the hosts looked more fragile than Eamon Dunphy in the morning time.
On twenty five minutes the visitors again should have scored but Peter Hynes curling shot was palmed away by the outstretched Delaney straight to McArdle. He bent his shot wide of the far post as again Shels’ got away with it.
Two minutes from the break saw another great chance for Sporting as McArdle and Caffrey exchanged passes that cut open Shels’ deep in their own half. McArdle was let in on goal and after cutting onto his favoured right foot, should have beaten Delaney from six yards but the Keeper did well to block the shot.
At the other end Keddy lobbed a header over, a Chambers shot from thirty yards flew over and Philip Hughes blasted miles wide. Thats about it. Halftime came and went with Dermot Keely attempting to stem the tide by replacing Rutherford and Hughes Keith Dunne and David McGill.
The second half started with a bang, and a blow, as James Chambers felt the force of Brian Kelly’s arm as they went to head a nothing ball. Straight red, everyone went mad, there seemed to be no intent so it was a harsh and surprising call.
And with that brought Shels’ first convincing shot of the evening as Keith Dunne was found with time six yards from goal however Williams did well closing down the tight angle and blocked the shot. Shels’ were beginning to impress as Chambers and the fresh legs of Dunne added a bit of zip that was so sorely missing in the previous forty-five.
Sporting’s opener was bizarre. Caffrey’s sixty fifth minute corner was met with a free header by Conan Byrne, the ball looped to the far post, bounced across the goal and into the net, as everyone wondered how such a scenario could exist for a side down to ten men. Shels’ equaliser came from a Chambers free two minutes later. Rather than shoot he crossed deep to the far post and Brennan’s strength saw him ride the challenge from Brian Gannon and force the ball into the net.
Keith Dunne was excellent when he came on and should have given Shels’ the lead with ten minutes to go after a move started from him in Shels’ half lead to great one touch football from David Freeman and Alan Byrne allowing Dunne to take a shot in his stride at the edge of the area but Chris Deans got over just in time.
With five minutes to go both sides had chances to win the game but neither Peter Hynes nor David McGill could find the target. A tense closing few minutes saw Shels’ again give their opponents plenty of time on the ball in dangerous areas but they saw out the draw to stay top of the Eircom First Division.
Shelbourne: Dean Delany; Alan Murphy, Alan Keely, Damien Brennan, Robbie Hedderman; James Keddy (Alan Byrne 80), Greg O’Halloran, James Chambers, Mark Rutherford (Keith Dunne 46); Philly Hughes (David McGill 46), David Freeman,
Subs not used: John McGuinness, Dean Lawrence.
Sporting Fingal: Steve Williams, Derek Tyrell, Philip Byrne, Chris Deans, Brian Kelly; Conan Byrne, Aidan Collins (Jim Crawford 30), Paul Caffrey, Fiachra McArdle; Peter Hynes (Willie Doyle 90), Dinny Corcoran (Brian Gannon 49).
Subs not used: Joey O’Neill, David Bracken.
Sent Off: B Kelly (48).
Referee: Rob Rogers.
Extratime Man of the Match: Peter Hynes (Sporting Fingal) - He managed to win almost every ball on a night that often saw him largely on his own up against Damien Brennan and Alan Keely.
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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