By Daire Walsh
Ballinteer St John’s continued their whirlwind start to Division One of the Adult Football League with a convincing 2-16 to 2-8 victory over Fingallians at Marlay Park on Sunday morning.
The southsiders already had four consecutive wins under their belt prior to the visit of the Swords men to Marlay. Since they got the better of Templeogue Synge Street on the opening weekend of the campaign, Fingallians’ form has drifted in an opposite direction to that of Ballinteer.
Following a narrow reversal to Naomh Maur in Lawless Park on March 3, they subsequently lost out to Lucan Sarsfields and defending champions St Vincent’s. They struggled to build attacking momentum against the in-form Ballinteer - who created daylight courtesy of points from Aodhan Clabby, Donncha Carey and Robbie Gaughan.
A Fingallians goal turned up the heat on John’s, before the hosts re-established their superiority on the restart. Luke Naughton and Aaron Bradshaw both shook the Fingallians net to keep the Ballinteer challenge on the right track.
Although Fingallians maintained a strong threat in attack, Bradshaw, Carey and Micheal O Croinin raised a succession of white flags to preserve Ballinteer’s 100% opening to the top-tier season.
The only points Ballyboden St Enda’s and Kilmacud Crokes had dropped heading into round five was in their own meeting at the beginning of March. At the end of an enthralling clash in Pairc Ui Murchu, they shared the spoils on a final score of 1-10 apiece.
Despite being on the road on Sunday, they both maintained their early pressure on Ballinteer. At Rush, ‘Boden were comprehensive 4-14 to 1-13 winners at the expense of Naomh Maur.
Having recently defeated them in the Senior Championship at Parnell Park, Crokes once again came out on top of their encounter with Na Fianna (1-17 to 1-15).
After their winning start to the league was halted by St Jude’s at Tymon Park on Wednesday, Lucan Sarsfields got past the challenge of St Brigid’s at 12th Lock (2-15 to 1-11).
They are two points clear of Vincent’s, who face Jude’s at Pairc Naomh Uinsionn in a rescheduled affair on Tuesday evening. Meanwhile, Cuala recorded their second win of the term at home to Thomas Davis (2-13 to 0-13).
It was a similar case for Skerries Harps in their home tie with St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh. Thanks to Stephen Smith’s four-point haul, Skerries entered the interval 0-9 to 0-3 in front.
The reliable Ciaran Murphy registered a brace of frees to edge them further into the ascendancy on the resumption. Plunkett’s dramatically reduced their deficit as the action wore on but with Colin Daly in outstanding form at midfield, Skerries remained on top.
A Murphy goal opened up an unassailable lead, though Plunkett’s fired over three unanswered points to add a fairer reflection to the final outcome. Smith increased his tally with a second period score - supplementing Murphy’s impressive 1-5 contribution.
Like Thomas Davis and Plunkett’s, Templeogue Synge Street are still searching for their maiden win of the campaign. They produced some positive football at home to Ballymun Kickhams on Sunday, but were ultimately on the receiving end of a 1-13 to 1-18 reversal.
In the absence of brother Eoghan, Killian O’Gara was selected on the edge of the square. After seeing his opening point swiftly cancelled out, he released raiding wing-back Kevin Hughes for a superb goal.
Three successive points from the excellent Jason Whelan got ‘Mun back into the groove, only for O’Gara and Vickery to fired back at the opposite end. Yet, propelled by the influential Whelan, ‘Mun controlled the tempo inside the second-quarter.
Vickery’s 0-2 salvo ensured Templeogue stayed in the reckoning at the midway mark and he helped them to restore parity in the early stages of the second half. They proceeded to trade scores on a number of occasions, until ‘Mun developed purple patches either side of a Killian O’Gara point.
In addition to Whelan’s continued prominence, Ted Furman made a big impact off the bench for ‘Mun. He kicked three points during an impressive cameo as the northsiders earned their first league win since a round two success over Thomas Davis.
While Templeogue are yet to gain maximum points in the 2019 league, their March 31 draw with St Brigid’s keeps them ahead of Davis’ and Plunkett’s moving towards their away assignment against county champions Crokes on Wednesday week (May 22).