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Home Farm bolt out of lock-down with friendly Whitehall success over Killester


LSL Senior Division 1 promotion hopefuls Home Farm gave themselves an excellent confidence booster at Whitehall on Sunday morning with a deserved success over Senior Division Killester Donnycarney.

On a perfect morning for a game of ball, John Hand’s Whitehall crew were making their first ‘competitive’ return to football after a couple of in-house games while Gary Howlett’s Killester were lining out for the second time this weekend after a seven-nil drubbing of Swords Celtic on Saturday.


But take nothing from Home Farm’s success. This was a polished display with more than solid performances all-round the pitch with balance, shape and desire in equal measures and all executed as a more than decent post Covid-19 lock down pace.

Said John Hand post match: “Our discipline and our shape stood to us today. Killester is always a great friendly because you learn something everytime. I’m very happy. They always show something different, so I’m very pleased with how things went. The result was not important, but we’ve got a lot of out the game and that’s what’s important.”

Added the ex-junior international: “I’ve huge respect for the players of Home Farm and during the lockdown they applied themselves very well and they had a few Zoom meetings and a few 10K runs were organised, but I think the individual efforts of maintaining their fitness levels have helped us today.”

“Luckily enough we went a goal up and after that it was about managing the game. We had a good understanding of each other and that was reflected in our shape and our ability to find each other with our passing and movement.”

“We got a second and created several goal chances and we defended well, so I’ve got to be happy and it will do the players’ confidence no harm at all.”

For Killester Donnycarney’s Gary Howlett getting extramiles into their legs is important and you have to cut them slack as several of the players were involved against Swords on Saturday.

“We played well on Saturday and I think they (Swords) might have been missing a few players but we knew coming down to Home Farm this morning that it was going to be tougher. They’re up the top of the table and they are an excellent side. I’ve seen them a few times up here and they really put it up to us.”

Added the former Brighton and Hove Albion FA Cup finalist: “In a way they have several players in the mould of Ringmahon players and they got players behind the ball and this was a great test for us. We conceded two goals off set pieces and we know we have a bit of work in that area to address. I wasn’t happy about that but second half was better and we got ourselves organised a lot better.”

“Home Farm sat deep today and their three centre-halves were well protected by their midfield, so we know that we have to be a bit more patient and get it out wide and get our fullbacks joining in,” suggested Howlett.

Continued the Haddon Park boss: “The Leinster Senior League have done a great job in getting us back playing so there’s no use complaining, I’ve told the players, let’s get ourselves sorted, get up to training on Tuesday. We have a nice friendly away to Sacred Heart and we have Crumlin visiting on Sunday and we look forward to Martin and his side visiting, so we’ll get ourselves right and then focus in on the Ringmahon game. There’s a lot left in the season, St Mochta’s and Malahide might be favourites for the league but we also have the Charlie Cahill and the FAI Intermediate Cup, so lots to look forward to”

For John Hand’s Home Farm they are still very much in the promotion mix along with Sacred Heart and Lucan United and a place at the top table of the LSL would be a fantastic reward for the disrupted season’s workload. .

“Off the pitch their is a great management crew here and things are right there,” explained John Hand who is assisted by Dave Thompson. “You’ve seen our fitness today,” added Hand, “but we need to be mentally fit for the run-in, but things are happening down here. We have a good bunch and they’ve learned a lot and we’ve got something big to play for an we’re looking forward to all the matches coming down the tracks.”

Home Farm took the lead just four minutes in, Killester failing to clear their lines properly after a corner and Niall Hoban, a handful for the Killester defence, was quickest to react and get a touch past Robbie Fay in the visitors goal.

Home Farm were showing plenty of industry with Doran and Murray highly mobile in the middle of the park while Manley, McMullan and O’Sullivan in the heart of the Home Farm rearguard while excellent and FAI Amateur international Dave McGrath was superb with his distribution.

Hoban doubled the lead on 16 minutes with Fay parrying a hearer but only into the path of the inrushing Home Farm striker and from an acute angle found the back of the net.

Remarkably, the industrious Christy Doran had a glorious chance to make it three-nil on 34 minutes but Killester cleared their lines with Fay out of position.

Killester were more solid in the second half but Home Farm gave as good as they got and while Eoin Fowler was denied by Mark Osborne in the home goal in the first half, substitute keeper Liam Woodcock got down low to thwart Killester’s Cian McMullen midway through the second period, it was Home Farm who created the better of the chances without ever troubling Robbie Fay significantly as the clock wound down.

The best of those chances fell to substitute Ronan Murtagh with his first meaningful involvement managed to chip Fay but the Killester cover got back to avert the danger while James Duff had a couple of half-chances which came to nothing.

An entertaining game with plenty of positives for both managers and excellently handled by Lee Duffy.

HOME FARM: Mark Osborne; Sean Manley, Dave McGrth, Christy Doran, Jack McMullan, Stephen O’Sullivan, Dean McNevin, Eoin Murray, Sean Goulding, Niall Hoban, Matt McEntee. Subs: Ronan Murtagh, Padraig Gilsenan, Mark O’Brien, Dave Pepper, Fintan Kerins, James Duff, Liam Woodcock.

KILLESTER DONNYCARNEY: Robbie Fay; Brendan Lee, Gary Kenna, Jamie Smith, Reece McEnteer, Stephen Chambers, Mark Ryan, Stephen Nolan, Sam Burgess, Eoin Fowler, Sean Rogers. Subs: Matthew Taaffe, Cian McMullen, Darran Kavanagh, Mick Kelly.

Referee: Lee Duffy.

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