Round Towers, Clondalkin: 0 -8; Skerries Harps: 1 – 15.
Skerries Harps qualified for the playoff final of Division 2 with a stunning performance in Clondalkin on Sunday morning. Just nine weeks ago, Harps travelled to the same venue and were totally outplayed in the regular league encounter. That day the game was over after 10 min as Towers scored 1 -4 without reply. This time Harps turned the tables on the home side who were favourites to advance. Without regulars Graham Cullen, Jack Smith and Paul Cashman, Skerries manager Terry McGinniss re-jigged his side and put fire in their belly’s after a 5 week layoff.
A frantic start saw Harps go close when a Gerry Daly shot was turned out for a '45' – Shane Davis going close with his kick. Skerries opened the scoring after 10 minutes when Mark Boylan pointed and Daly got a second to make it 2 apiece after 15mins. With the Skerries half back line of McGarry, O'Brien and McNamee completely on top and team captain Colin Daly on fire, Harps pushed on and but for a bit more composure could have been well in front. Bryan Cullen was quietly effective, picking up breaking ball, making space and picking the right pass – never wasting a ball. In 20th min, his pinpoint free to Barry Davey and transfer to Colin Daly saw the net shake. Harps led 1-2 to 0-3 and never looked back. Cullen and the 2 Daly brothers pointed to leave Skerries in front at the break 1 -5 to 0 -3.
Three quick points at the start of the second half from Colin Daly, Cullen and Harry Dawson, left Skerries comfortable and when Dawson kicked a second outrageous long range free they pushed the score out to 1 -9 to 0 -6. Harps then lost Dawson to a recurrence of a hamstring pull and Dublin Minor Stephen Smith came on – another pocket rocket to join Jack and Eoin. Towers got another one back but Skerries introduced another Dublin Minor, Donal McIlgorm and kicked on with 4 more points and completed the job when sub Oisin O'Leary and goalkeeper Davis (45) pointed to give Skerries a ten point winning margin. This display which both stunned Towers and amazed the large travelling Skerries support was a total team effort with not one weak link on the side. It was based on a solid defence. If Daly was the engine of the side and Man of the Match, Cullen was the brains -he still has that touch of class!!. They were not alone as everyone stepped up a notch to outplay a bigger, more physical Towers side. One of the youngest, Sean Rocks, ran himself to a standstill while full back Eoghan McGinley and his corner men Eoin Smith and Rory Newsholme were tigerish in their blocking and defending.
Skerries now go on to play the final against Lucan-Sarsfields in Lucan, next Sunday at 11 am.
Lucan finished league runners up to Castleknock and reached the quarter final of the Dublin Senior championship. With a home draw they will be favourites for promotion to Division 1.
The final will clash with the final of the Minor Football C Championship where Skerries are due to play St Patricks, Donabate at the same time.
Scores : c daly 1 -3; b cullen 0 -3, d reilly 0 -2; g daly 0 -2; h dawson 0 -2; m boylan 0 -1 o o'leary 0 -1; s davis 0 -1.
Team: Shane Davis; Eoin Smith, Eoghan McGinley, Rory Newsholme; Ross McGarry, David O'Brien, Dylan McNamee; Mark Boylan, Donnacha Reilly; Colin Daly, Bryan Cullen, Sean Rocks; Gerry Daly, Harry Dawson, Barry Davey.
Subs used: donal mcilgorm, stephen smith, oisin o'leary.
Referee: James King