LSL Major Sunday
Skerries Town FC – 3 (O’Carroll x2, Walsh)
Knocklyon United FC – 0
Skerries Town continued their title charge this afternoon with a well-deserved win, their fifth on the spin, over a rugged Knocklyon outfit.
In what was an even match, two first half goals from left winger Paul ‘Steaky’ O’Carroll set the home-side up for an important victory over their fellow promotion-chasers.
Knocklyon, angling for revenge following a 2-0 loss in the reverse fixture last week, began the tie quickly and almost caught Skerries napping in the opening exchanges when Martin Ryan raced through one-on-one, but goalkeeper Colm McGearty got a foot on the striker’s low effort.
The scare kicked Skerries into action and the Goats took an early lead after 12 minutes. A searching Sean Lynch ball found Shane Langan out wide on the right, the tricky winger beat his man and ran along the end-line before pulling the ball back to O’Carrolll to smash home from six yards and give the hosts the advantage.
The Dublin 16 side responded well and almost levelled matters just minutes later when captain Fionn Prendergast rose highest to powerfully head a Luke Synnot corner goalwards. However McGearty was equal to the task and pulled off a brilliant reaction save.
Midway through the half Skerries doubled their lead with O’Carroll grabbing a second. The midfielder drove a dipping corner towards the back post which evaded the Knocklyon defence and crept in, despite the best efforts of the man on the post.
For the remainder of the half chances were at a premium, although the home side had to be alert to cut out some impressive pinpoint balls from young Knocklyon stopper Adam Carney. Towards the end of the opening period Carney himself had to be alert to tip over a curling Lagan freekick from out wide.
Knocklyon came out rejuvenated in the second half but had trouble penetrating the well-marshalled Skerries defence led by Niall Bolger and shielded by midfield enforcer Keith O’Callaghan. The ever-dangerous Synnott did break through into the box after fifty-five minutes but couldn’t get his low hot on target.
With so much at stake, tempers did begin to flare somewhat, but Skerries grabbed a third goal on the hour mark to end the match as a contest. Some delicate footwork in the box by Darren Lynch eventually saw the ball come to O’Carroll who sent a delicate ball over to Darragh Walsh to power a header home.
The game became something of a midfield battle afterwards, with both sides being reduced to off-target long range efforts, first from returning Skerries midfielder Stephen Barrett and then from the fiery Alan McQuaid for Knocklyon. Walsh then kept Carney on his toes with a powerful low shot from the edge of the box.
With fifteen minutes to go Knocklyon had a good opportunity to reduce the arrears when Paul Malone powerfully met a Synott free-kick, but the defender could not divert his header goalwards.
Skerries finished the game on top, constantly threatening, and the tireless Sean Lynch almost had a fourth when he curled a left-foot shot just wide after collecting from O’Carroll.
The victory at Park Lane sees Skerries rise to second in the table, three points behind front-runners Mullingar Athletic, with the benefit of a game in hand (although with an inferior goal difference). Next up for the seasiders is a local derby with Balbriggan outfit Hyde Park – who themselves claimed a credible 2-2 draw with Hartstown-Huntstown today – on Tuesday night, while Knocklyon will host third-placed Hartstown-Huntstown.
Skerries Town FC: Colm McGearty, Ben Gahan, Aidan Bolger, Niall Bolger, Darren Lynch, Keith O’Callaghan, Stephen Barrett, Shane Langan, Paul O’Carroll, Sean Lynch, Darragh Walsh. Subs: Andrew Moynihan, Barry Davey, Karl Healy.
Knocklyon United FC: Adam Carney, Shaun Gillen, Paul Malone, Fionn Prendergast, Kevin Field, Frankie Brooks, Cian Bates, Alan McQuaid, Martin Ryan, Luke Synnott, Liam Martin. Subs: Shane Young, Ian McNamee.