Naomh Barróg 0-10
Naomh Barróg continued their pursuit of Naomh Fionnbarra at the top of the AFL Division 3 table thanks to a hard-fought win over neighbours Clontarf at Páirc Barróg on Saturday evening.
The visitors, on the other hand, look set to be playing in the same division in 2011, as they are now heavily reliant on favours from other sides in their quest for promotion.
Despite the almost perfect conditions for football, both teams struggled to get any flow into their play as the defences were dominant. However, the difference between the sides, and the game's shining light, was Barróg corner-forward Ritchie Timmons, who was outstanding. Timmons shot nine of his team's 10-point total, five from play, in what was an amazing individual performance.
In truth, the hosts were well-deserved winners. The best player on the 'Tarf side was without doubt their number one, Rossa O'Brien. The net-minder made a string of excellent saves and only for him the game could have been over long before the full-time whistle.
He was called into action within the opening 30 seconds as he got down low to keep out an effort from full-forward Peter Doyle who was put through by Neil O'Connor.
The winners missed a couple of early chances before Timmons opened his account to give his side the lead. But Clontarf hit back immediately with two quick-fire points, courtesy of Ciarán Johnson and Ian O'Dwyer. Midfielder Eamon Duggan split the posts from long range before Timmons' two converted placed balls sandwiched a fine individual effort to give the Kilbarrack men a three-point lead. Barróg were becoming more and more dominant but poor shooting was letting them down and they were unable to shake off the dogged Clontarf challenge.
O'Dwyer's ability from dead balls meant that any indiscretion on the part of the Barróg defence would be punished, and he ensured his side remained in striking distance.
Timmons put his side two ahead approaching the break only for O'Dwyer to respond with yet another free to leave them on an interval score of 0-6 to 0-5.
The second half began in familiar fashion as Timmons slotted over a free off that cultured left boot. Once again Clontarf responded instantly, this time through Ciarán Johnson, with a fine free from the right touchline.
This marked the beginning of the most profitable period of the game for 'Tarf as a superb point from the hard-working Damien Mullins was quickly followed by an O'Dwyer white flag as they took the lead entering the final quarter of the game.
Fittingly, though, that man Timmons was to have the final say as he scored three wonderful points from play in the final eight minutes.
It was textbook forward play from the number 15. The first of his final three points came off his right foot.
He then bulldozed his way through the opposition defence to fist the ball over the black spot, while his final effort was with that deadly left peg.
It ensured his side the two points and they will be in confident mood for the play-offs and the intermediate championship that narrowly eluded them last season.