Skerries Harps minor footballers completed the group stages of the championship
last Sunday morning with an excellent win over Na Fianna in Collinstown Lane.
With both teams having won their first two matches in the group this was effectively
a game to decide which team would top the group and gain home advantage in the quarter finals.
Harps started the match with great determination and Sean Rocks and Kian Coleman
dominated midfield which gave the Harps forwards opportunities to take on the Na Fianna defence with some sharp and decisive play. This early onslaught resulted with Skerries taking a five point lead without reply after just ten minutes.
Na Fianna settled into the game as the half progressed and started to put severe pressure on the Harps defence which held out well to just concede three points with ten minutes left in the first half however the breach was made shortly afterwards when an attack down the right wing resulted in the home side blasting the ball to the Skerries net from an acute angle despite Shane Rice’s valiant efforts in the Harps goal. A couple of late points from Ross Gordon and Luke Timmons kept the momentum with Skerries and they led by 0-11 to 1-4 at the break.
As expected Na Fianna came out with all guns blazing in the second half but were constantly thwarted by some excellent Harps defending particularly from full back Iian Furlong who had a tremendous game throughout. In fact it was the Skerries boys who got the first couple of scores to extend their lead early in the half.
Surely the most defining moment of the match was when Na Fianna launched a spirited attack on the Harps defence which seemed sure to result in a goal only for a brilliant block by wing back Kevin Gilmore who somehow managed to retrieve the ball and was fouled to give Skerries a free out and relieve the pressure. This took the wind out of the home sides sails and when Harps very effective full forward Jack Boyd latched onto a loose ball in the Na Fianna goalmouth and hit the roof of the net the game was effectively over.
An inspired second half performance from U16 star Stephen Smith was one of the highlights of the day along with solid games from centre back Eoin Smith and Dublin U16 player Donal Mc Ilgorm. So far this has been a tremendous effort from every player on the Harps panel with the hardest decisions to be made regarding the starting fifteen which has changed regularly throughout the season which shows the quality there is right throughout the panel.
Harps mentors and panel will keep their feet firmly on the ground after this great performance but there is no doubt that there is the talent and spirit in this young team to go a long way in this championship.
Harps Team : Shane Rice, Jack Carroll, Iian Furlong, Liam Smart, Tommy Ryan, Eoin Smith, Kevin Gilmore, Kian Coleman, Sean Rocks, Ross Gordon, Donal Mc Ilgorm, Eoin Murray ,Luke Timmons, Jack Boyd, Robbie O Connor.
Subs : Stephen Smith, Daragh Grimes, Cathal Azzapardi, Cian Archbold, Louie Bollard, Ciaran Smith, Niall Joyce, Daniel Graham.