GLASNEVIN FC……1 GARDA FC……1
GARDA AFC dropped their first points of their league campaign in LSL Premier Saturday and perhaps can count themselves lucky that it was just two points and not three after being given a serious examination at Albert College by Glasnevin FC.
The Diggers were undaunted by their opponents’ unblemished league record of eight wins from eight and tore into the visitors from the off. Garda AFC were thankful that goalkeeper Paul Fay was on his game and truth was that on four occasions in the opening 10 minutes he came to his side’s rescue with top class saves as the home side carved them open time after time.
By EAMON SCOTT
Glasnevin you felt would rue those spurned opportunities as Garda had simply not turned up in the first 15 minutes and you knew that sooner or later the divisional pacesetters they would awaken from their slumber.
There seemed to be more activity from the Glasnevin Nippers academy on the sideline who were being put through their paces by coach Matt Nugent as Garda struggled to shake off the cobwebs of a slow start.
There was a bit of a backstory to the game in that Glasnevin FC had looked to postpone the fixture as a result of two positive Covid cases along with three close contacts within their camp. Garda AFC however wanted the game to go ahead and reluctantly Glasnevin fulfilled the fixture.
Fay continued to defy Glasnevin who pumped ball after ball into the Garda box but gradually the blue shirts were beginning to get a foothold in the game.
Noel Doyle and Paul Quinn were showing up and there were a couple of decent battles going on with Mark Thorp and Adam Power catching the eye for the Tony Howard and Leo McCarthy managed home side.
Glasnevin finally made the breakthrough their impressive play deserved. Twice they forced corners in quick succession and on both occasions Jason Byrne delivered two excellent kicks.
The first was beaten out after a goalmouth scramble but from the second one Adam Power got his head to the ball to find the back of the Garda net from six yards out. Garda however were beginning to see more of the ball and Chris Drumm in the home goal needed to show his own netminding prowess as Dylan Sweeny, Maurcie Coll and David King began to find sight of goal.
Still Garda were grateful for the halftime whistle and an opportunity to organise themselves and shake off their first half lethargy with some strong words from the team management. That came out fired up for the second period but play was blunted with fractured stoppages and several yellow cards were issued as tempers became frayed and the energy of the match began to take its toll on players.
But there was time for Garda to level matters through Dan O’Connor ghosted in at the back post to volley high to the back of the net in the 53rd minute. It was just reward for a much improved display but Glasnevin complained vehemently that fullback Craig Murray had been fouled in the build-up to the goal. Those protests were waved away but Murray needed a little while to catch his breath.
Garda sensed that Glasnevin were beginning to tire and they forced the home side to dig deep and defend for all they were worth. In fairness the game was competitive but not dirty and there were lots of full blooded challenges.
While both might argue that they did enough to win the encounter, a division of the spoils was from a neutral observer’s viewpoint, a fair result.
The game, it must be said, was high in entertainment and a great advertisement for the Leinster Senior League. This was a full blooded 90 minutes of end to end action with no quarter asked or given played on a decent surface on a mild autumn afternoon – grassroots at its’ best in many ways.
GLASNEVIN FC: Christopher Drumm; Conor Gerrard, Craig Murray, Conor Parkins, Mark Thorp, Adam Power, Jason Byrne, Brian Conway, cian Robinson, Robert Howard, Aaron Conner. Subs: Brian Clancy, Shane Elliott, Sean Perkins.
GARDA AFC: Paul Fay; Kian Keating, Conor Pearse, Dan O’Connor, Richard McGrath, Noel Doyle, Paul Quinn, Lee Keenan, Dylan Sweeney, Maurice Coll, David King. Subs; Steve O’Connor, Jake Breen, Shane Flood, Paul Redican, Darren Coogan, Patrick McElroy.
Referee: Patrick Kavanagh