Football League – Weekend Round-up Division 1-4
On a rain sodden weekend the club football leagues returned with the majority of Dublin footballers available for their clubs. Here’s a run-down on the action from the top four leagues.
With one notable exception, after the first round of games, the Division 1 table has taken a somewhat familiar shape, with five of the statistically top eight in Dublin in the top six after the opening round of games.
Ballyboden, St. Jude’s, St. Vincent’s, St. Oliver Plunkett’s and Castleknock all find themselves out in front, joined by Lucan Sarsfield’s who beat Cuala away from home by five.
St Sylvester’s came up short against championship holders, Vincent’s, who fielded a side filled with household names, including Diarmuid Connolly and Shane Carthy. Éamonn Fennell, Mossy Quinn and Jarlath Curely grabbed a goal each to help the Marino men to a five point victory.
Impressive wins for Ballyboden and Jude’s see them sitting on top, leaving an unusual look at the far end of the table.
If you like your folklore, take a screen shot now. It could be a long time before you’ll see Ballymun and Na Fianna sit bottom and second bottom, again. However, with a full complement of Dublin players available, a twelve point loss for Mun at the hands of Boden and a six point loss for Na Fianna at the hands of Jude’s sees the northside neighbours sit at the far end of the table from the southside neighbours.
With Niall McGovern trying to keep tabs on Judes’ talisman, Kevin McManamon, Conor McHugh and Tomás Brady goals for Na Fianna couldn’t stem the tide against Jude’s who put up a 0-17 to 2-5 score-line.
In Páirc Uí Mhurchú it was a ruthless introduction to the Dublin club scene for new Ballymun manager, Brendan Hackett, who formerly managed Westmeath’s seniors, and manged Kildare’s minors to back to back Leinster championships. For Boden’s new high profile manager, former Kildare footballers, Anthony Rainbow, it will be a satisfying opening, putting three goals past a back nine with four Dublin seniors!
An injury time penalty for newly promoted Balinteer St. John’s saw them gain a share of the spoils in Tallaght against Thomas Davis, while Naomh Olaf’s rise and rise from Division 3 in two seasons was halted when they went down by a goal to Castleknock.
A draw between Kilmacud Croke’s and Brigid’s in Russel Park, sees a three tier table after the opening round of fixtures, with the aforementioned six out in front with wins, Brigid’s, Croke’s, Davis and Balinteer sitting in the middle after drawing, and Olaf’s, St. Maur’s, Syl’s, Cuala and the Ballymun/Glasnevin rivals in the bottom six.
We can obviously expect some changes to that order in the weeks ahead.
In Division 2 there was a theme of local derbies and big wins.
St Mary’s marked their territory on top of the league from the off with a sixteen point winning margin against local rivals St. Anne’s with Blaine Kelly to the fore with 1-7.
Meanwhile in the Dublin 3 derby, Clontarf got back to winning ways after a torrid 2017 Division 1 campaign, with a six point victory over neighbours, Scoil Uí Chonail. The seaside derby was a cagey affair with ‘Tarf holding a slender two point lead at the break. However, former Dublin under 21 footballer, Andrew Foley, shone throughout and drove his team to victory to grab bragging rights for the away team.
In the Fingal derby, after blazing a trail in Division Two last year, Fingallians couldn’t hit the ground running as their short journey to Portmarnock saw Mearnóg come out on top with by a goal. Despite playing with fourteen for most of the second half, Mearnóg hung on, with Shane Carthy pulling the strings up front.
It was a baptism of fire for Ballyboughal playing their first “senior league” game in over forty years. Missing seven of their Leinster Intermediate final starters from December, they had the misfortune of meeting a Brian Fenton and Brian Howard strong Raheny in their first game. With Fenton and Conor Talty giving superb performances at midfield, they looked every bit the Division 1 side you’d have to assume they’d be with Fenton and Howard playing week in week out. Raheny ran out comfortable twelve point winners.
A big win for Templeogue/Synge Street over St. Pat’s Palmerston sees them sit just behind Mary’s, while the presence of Darren Daly for Fingal Ravens wasn’t enough to prevent Whitehall Colmcille’s, without Cormac Costello, from out-pointing them.
Meanwhile Na Fianna’s second team drew eight a piece with Round towers Clondalkin while Skerries Harps beat O’Toole’s comprehensively.
With the traffic jam of teams, who’ve proven more than capable of competing at Division 2, trying to get out of Division 3, finally appearing to be alleviated, it’s a division that’s wide open this year.
Naomh Fionbarra, having come second last year, a position which would see them promoted in the new system, will possibly see themselves as the front runners. Bagging three goals to beat Erin’s Isle, who’ve come down from Division 2, has put them on the front foot from the off.
Parnell’s who lost out in the play-offs last year hit the ground running too with an impressive win over Sylvesters’ second team in Malahide, bagging four goals in the process.
Round Towers Lusk, who fell short at the death in the race for the play-offs last year, overcame a tricky away opener with Peregrine’s while Naomh Barróg’s twelve point home win against St Brigids’ second team ensured that all four of last year’s top six, who weren’t promoted, started in winning form, occupying four of the top five spots.
Only the goal-fest in Ballymun interrupted the aforementioned four’s continuation in the poll positions since last year. Ensuring Ballyboden didn’t make it a weekend double over Mun, an eleven goal thriller saw Mun take the spoils at home, netting six times to Boden’s five, to put them third on a score difference of plus five.
Wins for Crokes’ second team over Trinity Gaels, St. Mark’s over Good Counsel and St. Pat’s Donabate over Garda see them occupy the other top eight spots, with Pats’ comprehensive victory putting them third on score difference for the time being.
In a division top heavy with second teams, it was a good opening round for three of the four of Fingal’s contingent of first teams. Each of St Margaret’s, Man o’ War and St. Finian’s Swords recorded victories. Of the four, only Clann Mhuire failed to pick up the points against what could be a very strong Plunkett’s/ER side who have inherited some of last years’ senior panel.
St. Finians’ Newcastle will be delighted to have come away with an away victory against St. Vincents’ second team, while Castleknock’s, Raheny’s and Cuala’s second teams all recorded victories too.
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