Western Shamrocks were looking to get their league campaign back on track, as they took on a Greenwood side who were searching for their first win of the year, on a damp Sunday morning at the Tom Bateman Reserve.
The Shamrocks management team of Ray Reilly, Ciaran Duffy and Ciaran Gallagher, probably wished they never got out of the scratcher when they took a look at a depleted Shamrock’s team sheet.
Ironically, both regular ’keeper’s Pat White and Anthony ‘Rashers’ Russell we’re back in Ireland on holidays. The in-form corner back Jason Gavy missed out with an infected finger, Suspended duo of Danny O Keefe and Seamus Kane got two games each whilst Darren Drummond’s troublesome hamstring-meant he had to be content with a place on an unfamiliar looking Shamrocks bench.
The above omissions meant debut’s for no less than five players. Down man Diarmuid Flanigan started in goal, with Dromid Pearse’s player Paidi Sheehan coming in at corner back. Stalwart Paddy McCabe slotted into that formidable half back line, with Ratoath’s Kevin Boyle at Number Five. Another of the Ratoath contingent, Jonny Brady came in at wing forward and Laois corner forward Adrian Byrne, made his return to the full-forward line.
The heavy rainfall witnessed in the twenty-four hours before throw in had cleared, but meant for damp underfoot conditions on a greasy Tom Bateman surface. As a result, both teams struggled to settle in a mistake-ridden opening ten minutes.
Brian Dempsey opened Shamrock’s account with a free, after Kevin Boyle was hauled down inside the twenty metre line, following a suberb Philly Doyle pass to pick his half-back colleague out.
In the space of two minutes, Dempsey had helped himself to two more points, before the St.Joseph’s Ballyadam’s man was unlucky to see a fisted effort rebound off the bar, after an initial Alan Douglas shot was well kept out by the Greenwood goalkeeper in the ninth minute.
A brilliant Eoin Horan interception at the back created a chance for centre-forward Mark Finnegan, who curled over beautifully whilst on the run, to leave it 0-05 0-02 after quarter of an hour played.
Former Kildare minor and under-21 Philly Doyle, continued his recent good form from dead ball situations, with a well struck ‘45 stretching the lead, despite Darren Drummond expressing his belief that Doyle "doesn’t have the look of a ’45 taker!"
Adrian Byrne got his first point five minutes later, but the score of the half went to Dempsey. Paidi Sheehan found the full-forward momentarily away from his marker with a lovely 40 yard pass, the tricky full-forward then turned his man and guided the ball over, to leave the score at half time 0-07 to 0-03.
HT WESTERN SHAMROCKS 0-07
Shamrocks looked in control at this point of the game. Having played with the wind advantage in the opening half however, there was a common feeling that there was a lot of work left to do to get over the line.
Greenwood signaled their intention that this was a long way from over with the first point of the half, to leave just three between them.
A nice move started by Paddy McCabe in defense, found its way to debutant Byrne who cleverly offloaded to the on-rushing Alan Douglas, and the midfielder drove over the bar from close range, to restore the gap for the Shams.
In a half that only showed glimpses of any real quality, twelve minutes elapsed before the scoreboard man was troubled again.
This time ‘Dougie’ turned provider for Crettyard’s Byrne to point and two minutes later, Mark Finnegan got his second, with a speculative effort from way out on the right hand side.
For the remaining ten minutes, the tempo of the game dropped significantly. Two goal chances, first for Byrne and then Darren Drummond, were both saved by a Greenwood keeper who was certainly on his game. But in the end it was of little significance, as Brian Dempsey capped off a fine personal performance, with two clinching scores to bring his tally for the day to six points.
Diarmuid Flanagan did his case for a starting berth the next day no harm with a flawless display in goal. Whilst the back six comprising of three new comers were on top for the duration. Danny Mckavanagh continued his rapid improvement with a very productive hour at centre field. Whilst the “Spice County” duo of Adrian Byrne and the aforementioned Dempsey, complimented each other well in attack.
A comfortable, if somewhat non spectacular win for the boys in green, who know they will need much improving, if there to gain elusive back-to-back wins next weekend.
FT WESTERN SHAMROCKS 0-12