Tarf storm back to reign over Syls
Clontarf come good with four second-half goals to impressively overturn Sylvester's nine-point lead
CLASSY Clontarf produced a stirring second-half performance in accounting for a talented St Sylvester's in their Dublin under-14 Football League Division 1 encounter at Bridgefield last Saturday afternoon.
With the visitors trailing by seven points at the interval, they mustered a superb 30 minutes after the interval to overwhelm their opponents and get their season up and running with a crucial away win.
St Sylvester's can take solace in contributing handsomely to what was an entertaining contest, but their failure to build on a nine-point lead by the end of the first quarter proved their downfall.
Rather than blame the hosts, Clontarf must take full credit for the manner in which they wrestled the initiative away from a previously rampant Syls team and midfielder Kevin Lillis was massively influential in that regard.
In addition to kicking two fine frees, Lillis battled throughout, covering both ends of the energy-sapping pitch with equal diligence and all 15 players contributed at various stages to what was an excellent all-round display.
There were little to suggest that Clontarf would escape down the Dublin coast with both league points in the early stages and despite a third-minute score from Jack Polion, Syls began to dominate through their strong midfield pairing of David Moloney and Eoin Cooney.
It was one-way traffic towards the village end for the ensuing 10 minutes with Luke Troy restoring parity in the sixth minute and the wing-forward goaled within a minute, his powerful shot taking the slightest of deflection en route to the roof of the net.
Points followed from the lively Bryn Redmond, Seán Meehan and wing-back Mark McCormack as Clontarf struggled to escape the stranglehold placed on them by a vibrant Sylvester's forward line.
Moloney kicked a cracking score to extend his side's lead and although Conor Doran offered brief respite with a score of his own, the hosts kicked on with three further points from Daniel Murphy, Troy and the increasingly influential Redmond.
However, Syls became progressively ill-disciplined, conceding a large amount of frees which allowed Clontarf to stem the flow towards their goal and pointed frees from Lillis and Polion left them trailing by 1-8 to 0-4 at the interval.
That deficit was reduced to just two points within seven minutes of the restart with Cian Walsh's goal augmenting points from Clinton and Patrick Smyth.
Clontarf then edged in front in the 41st minute when full-forward Cathal Ryan followed up well to palm home from Seán O'Flaherty's clever delivery.
Mikey Meany ended a scoreless period of 26 minutes for the hosts with a sublime point but after Smyth was dragged back by full-back Christian Doyle, Polion sent the resultant penalty coolly to the net to push 'Tarf three points to the good.
The response from Syls was immediate with Meany and Redmond landing classy scores but Clontarf looked dangerous with every attack and plundered their fourth goal of the half when Smyth crashed home in the 54th minute after Ryan's shot had cannoned off the crossbar.
Seán Drumm and Moloney replied with points for the hosts but the goal they needed to reignite their challenge never came and Clontarf confirmed their victory through late points from Tom O'Flaherty and Polion.