Clonee United…………… 0 Skerries Town…………..3
By Ger Brady
SKERRIES TOWN laid down a marker in Damastown on Saturday morning with a 3-0 victory at league leaders Clonee United in this Northern League Elite Under-13 encounter.
Nathan Burns was the hero of the day for Town with the midfield maestro bagging himself a hat-trick.And in the end it could have been more for the visitors as they carved open the home defence numerous times late on but that was only after they saw off an early second half siege by Clonee who in truth were unfortunate not to get back on level terms at that stage.
But the opening goal was always going to be important in a game where so many of the players were at a high level and familiar with each thr from the NDSL Academy.
And it was Skerries who were presented with the early gift when they were awarded a penalty for a Clonee handball in the area after three minutes.
Nathan Burns stepped up and fired home low in the bottom corner past the out-stretched arm of Ivan Scheffer.
Town were very much in the ascendency at this stage with Clonee were pushed back on to the back-foot.
Despite the tireless running up front from their main striker Gavin Sutton the visitors were struggling to really test United at the back although on 17 minutes Nathan Burns and then Stephen Finn saw efforts blocked from close range.
The home side’s best moments were inspired by Thalaga Segoapa in the middle of the park and their first shot in anger was from distance on 19 minutes with Town number one Michael Smith easily saving Jason Rooney McEvoy effort.
Ben Walsh came on for the away side shortly before the interval and was in exceptional form down the right wing and he swung into great crosses from the deadline but both were just inches too high for Sutton and then for Burns.
The second half began with more good work by Ben Walsh – this time showing some superb skills on the left wing.His cross this time led to Stephen Finn firing just over the crossbar.
Clonee’s own substitute was to have a major impact on the game also as Dearie Kareem was impressive for the hosts after coming on from the bench. His pace and power was something new for the away side to deal with and while most of the time they dealt with it well, on 38 minutes they could do nothing about Kareem’s excellent turn and shot which unfortunately for Clonee smashed off the crossbar and when the rebound fell back to tall striker, Skerries Aaron Downes cleared the danger.Almost immediately up the other end Skerries doubled their advantage when Nathan Burns long range effort took a wicked deflection that went up and over Scheffer in the home goal.
That was a major blow to Clonee just as they building up a head of steam and from that moment on it only looked like Skerries would go on and take the three points.
They could have added more to their total and they might need some heading practice this coming week after they failed to get a head on some superb crosses from the left by the excellent Walsh and left-back Sean Keogh.
Clonee almost got a goal back in injury time but after another powerful run from Thalaga Segoapa, he set up Kareem but Michael Smith got down low in the away goal to save.And two minutes into injury time the icing was put on the Town cake when Burns found himself in space just outside the Clonee area and he curled home superbly in the top corner to complete his hat-trick and leave Skerries sitting on top of the league on Saturday evening.
Clonee Utd: Ivan Scheffer, Dearie Kareem, James McAvinue, Sean Tyford, Celim Ryan, Thalaga Segoapa, Patrick Gilfor, Alex Alino, Ross Woods, Nathanial Gyamfi, Tadgh Murphy, Idris Olafimihan, Jason Rooney McEvoy, Jonathan Kaya, John McAvinue.
Skerries Town: Michael Smith, Aaron Downes, Dara Payne, Sean Keogh, Ben Miller, James Lawless, Callum McAllister, Sean Burke, Nathan Burns, Reece Price, Gavin Sutton, Harvey Lowe, Stephen Finn, Ben Walsh, Aidan Russell, Callum Doyle.
Referee: Dave Kitson.