Fingallians came out victors tonight in a scintillating game of high scoring under the lights. This game was a show case of voracious hunger and competitive spirit with Fingallians just making it over the line as St Margarets relentlessly pushed in the final half without reward.
The cob webs had to be discarded quick as this game started at a frantic pace with both teams getting to grips with a long break away from competitive football.
The first quarter saw both teams huff and puff to match the enthusiasm of the other with Fingallians coming out the better with a series of well taken first time scores from distance. St Margarets seemed to want to walk the ball into the Fingallians net with some fine interplay but little reward. If it wasn’t for some excellent defending from backs James Fitzgerald, Ollie Bean, Jamie Nugent and Robert Lumley and some super saves from goal keeper Robert Byrne, Fingallians would have went in a lot more than the 1-5 to 1-2 score line.
The water break seemed to settle St Margarets who got to grips with the Fingallian forwards familiarity with this excellent outdoor pitch with once again some excellent defending from backs Fitzgerald, Bean, Nugent & Lumley.
The Margarets forwards started to move a lot fluidly with Joe Block, Ivan Smith, Richie Cantwell and Aidan Conaty working well contributing 6 points between them. Huge contributions from Nigel Kennedy, Bean and Stephen Rielly pushed a rampant Fingallians back with their first half downhill advantage. The sides went in at half time within 5 – Fingallians leading 3-10 to 2-08.
After a stern half time talk from team captains Robert Byrne and Declan Cowley and some clever tactical manoeuvring from Tom Flood – St Margarets stormed out at half time under the lights and pressed Fingallians for long periods in their own half with clever neat interplay and plenty of strong running from the engines Greg Doyle, Declan Cowley and Dermot O’Grady as well as superb leadership from the back by Kennedy. Somehow St Margarets went into the 3rd quarter 1 point down after dominating proceedings without fruition – the sides going in to the penultimate quarter 4-13 to 4-12.
What can a commentator say about the 4th and final quarter where there was only one side in it but a blanket Fingallians defence stopped every foray by the St Margaret’s runners with some wayward long range shooting and some bizarre goal mouth rebounds and cross bar rattling. Michael Kennedy in particular seemed to have a personal vendetta with the Fingallians sticks whilst the Fingallians keeper pulled off some tremendous saves. Byrne, Block, Conaty and O’Grady all had one on one chances which came to nothing to the gasps from the watching – socially distanced – spectators and their dogs.
Cowley & Doyle were superb in their relentless running whilst forward Ivan Smith was one of the only sharp shooters on the St Margarets side with clever running and magnetic off loading.
As the excellent St Margarets defence pushed up to support their forwards, Fingallians took their limited opportunities to keep the score board ticking and eventually ran out 5-15 to 4-14 victors.
What a great game this evening with both teams showing cavalier spirit and surprising fitness considering. I think this St Margarets side is getting better every time they come together and even if this was their first defeat under the guidance of tactical masters Cowley and Byrne, it was possibly their best performance to date.
This team are well worth a watch!