ryan to rescue
Thomas Davis0-13 St Vincent’s0-13
Daithí Ryan kicked a superb levelling score deep into injury-time to rescue a deserved share of the spoils for Thomas Davis as they drew with league leaders St Vincent's in their intriguing Dublin Adult Football League Division 5 encounter at Kiltipper Road on Sunday morning.
Ryan's wonderful strike from 40 metres was just reward for a battling display by the hosts, who had to play the final ten minutes with 14 men following the dismissal of towering midfielder Ruairí Gleeson on a second booking.
The visitors looked to have secured the win through late points from Barry Cole and the lively Greg Murphy, but their inability to take their chances in the closing stages ultimately cost them the victory as they chose the wrong option in front of goal on a number of occasions.
The hosts opened up brightly and they kicked the first score of the game in the second minute as a powerful run from Ryan culminated in Jimmy Owens splitting the posts from 30 metres.
Vinnies, who arrived unbeaten after a superb start to the year, soon began to exert themselves on proceedings and they restored parity three minutes later as centre-back Matthew Garland joined the attack to telling effect with a fine score from distance.
The momentum remained with the visitors for the next five minutes and after Damien Russell had added an excellent point in the seventh minute, Ollie Cahill doubled his side's advantage with a telling score off his trusty left boot.
To their credit, Thomas Davis regrouped well with wing-backs Robert Sharkey and Ciarán Omann especially prominent and they trimmed their arrears in the 11th minute as Mark Leigh turned sharply to point from 25 yards.
The wing-forward repeated the trick two minutes later with another well-taken score before the first controversial incident of the morning arrived at the end of the first quarter.
There appeared little danger as Leigh's speculative delivery landed in the St Vincent's square but Ian Byrne eluded his man to seemingly punch home to the goal from close range.
However, referee Lee Moroney adjudged keeper Paul O'Donnell to have stoppedd Byrne's attempt going over the line and despite vehement protests from the hosts, play was waved on with the visitors seemingly fortunate on this occasion. Suitably undeterred by their misfortune, the hosts continued to drive at their opponents and an excellent team move involving Gavin Carruth, Owens, Ryan and Sharkey saw the latter fire a sublime point in the 18th minute to regain the lead for the Tallaght men.
At the opposite end of the field, Russell was enjoying a great personal battle with Ryan, with the dual player levelling matters in the 21st minute before Murphy got in on the act with a classy effort two minutes later.
Dean Nolan and Murphy traded frees as the game evolved and an entertaining half ended with Peter O'Flynn from St Vincent's and Nolan kicking fantastic points to leave Vinnies enjoying a narrow 0-7 to 0-6 interval advantage.
The second half was similarly tight with Murphy increasing his side's lead within two minutes of the restart but the ebb and flow was maintained as Ian Byrne and Leigh replied for Thomas Davis to keep matters on a knife edge.
The Marino lads inched clear again with Russell and Niall Brennan taking their chances when presented but the fluency evident in their first-half play was lacking as the hosts began to pick up plenty of breaks in midfield, with substitute Cian Murphy playing superbly upon his introduction.
His influence allowed the hosts to kick three points in succession through Davy Byrne, Owens and Ryan but Murphy found the target at the opposite end as Vinnies' unbeaten run looked in danger of being ended.
Gleeson's sending-off was another twist to add to the mix with St Vincent's taking advantage as they pulled clear through Cole and Murphy. However, another free from Byrne ensured a fittingly dramatic conclusion and Ryan's sublime strike with the outside of the boot ensured an equitable finale between two teams that will undoubtedly be involved in the promotion shake-up at the end of the year, given their current form.
Scorers - Thomas Davis: D Byrne (3f), M Leigh 0-3, J Owens, D Nolan (1f), D Ryan 0-2, R Sharkey 0-1. St Vincent's: G Murphy 0-5 (1f), D Russell 0-3, M Garland, O Cahill, B Cole, N Brennan, P O'Flynn 0-1 each.
Thomas Davis: E Farrell; D Cahill, G Carruth, C Fox; R Sharkey, D Ryan, C Omann; R Gleeson, D Donavon; M Leigh, J Owens, S O'Brien; D Byrne, I Byrne, D Nolan. Subs: C Murphy for Donovan (33), N Ryan for Carruth (42), E O'Toole for O'Brien (49), A Kelly for Owens (61), N Condren for Leigh (62).
St Vincent's: P O'Donnell; K O'Neill, M Harney, D Smith; D Garland, M Garland, J Carroll; B Cole, C Brennan; O Cahill, D Russell, N Brennan; J Cooke, P O'Flynn, G Murphy. Subs: S Ruane for Carroll (half-time), C Flaherty for Ruane (38, Black Card), P English for D Garland (44), S McGarry for C Brennan (64, Black Card).
Mentors - Thomas Davis: John Higgins, Arthur McArdle, Dominic Finnegan, Liam McGuigan. St Vincent's: John Lambe, Tony Lambe Snr.
REF: Lee Moroney (St Anne's).
Wides - Thomas Davis: 6 (2+4). St Vincent's: 7 (3+4)
Conditions: A dry, still morning.
Player of the Game: Mark Harney (St Vincent's)