When two of the northside's most famous footballing names combine, sparks are always going to fly. So it is for Drumcondra and Stella Maris.
On Saturday evening the amalgamation's under 19 side continued their charge through the LSL underage section as they recorded their seventh win on the bounce against a decent St. Francis side at Richmond Road.
The Drums/Stella combo do not take any hassle. They had scored 29 goals in six games entering this Saturday night gig and they continued that scoring spree by adding another four against the Saints.
Three of the goals came from the clinical boot of Dean Byrne. The striker, diminutive in stature but massive in presence, netted three of the four goals to turn up the volume of those title whispers.
Byrne, though, had to wait to get off the mark. It was Colm McPartlin who got the home side on their way as the centre half stayed forward after a set piece collapsed to power home a header after only seven minutes.
The Saints had a great chance to draw level moments later. Adam Cooke sent Ian Greene through in on goal with a cutting through ball. The striker pierced Stella's high defensive line and charge in on Josh Flood's goal. Greene elected to round the big goalkeeper, but Flood dropped and shoved the ball away from the striker's feet.
The opening exchanges were lightening quick. The default mode for these two was to keep the ball down and spin passes about the place and they didn't disappoint.
For the Saints, though, their problems deepened on 21 minutes. A lightening move down the right flank had the visitors stretched. The ball broke to Byrne, loitering on the edge of the box, and he curled a peach of an effort into the bottom corner.
During the course of Byrne tucking home, Saints keeper Dylan Cleary took a heavy knock and had to be replaced by Aaron McGregor, whose day job is usually along the back four. McGregor could do nothing about Byrne's second of the game, an empathic finish from a tight angle seven minutes before half time.
The home side tested the makeshift 'keeper in the early stages of the second half as both Byrne and McPartlin went close to adding to their totals. It wasn't until the 65th minute that Byrne pierced the Saints rearguard.
The striker got a lucky break of the ball on the edge of the area. Then the magic happened. Byrne ghosted by two defenders then tucked home from a tight angle.
Still, Flood needed to fly through the air to tip over stinging efforts from Ryan Rock and Michael Sweeney late on in the game as the Saints battled on.
DRUMS/STELLA: Josh Flood; Hayden Burke, Conor Dixon, Colm MxPartlin, Gavin O'Reilly, Shane Reeves, Oisin Hogan, Gerard Jameson, Dylan Moloney, Dean Byrne, Adam Birch. Subs: James Carberry (for Jameson h/t), Andrew Threadwell (for Dixon 66mins), Ryan McDermott (for Birch 73mins), Liam Ennis.
ST. FRANCIS : Dylan Cleary; Dylan Brogan, Aaron Brazil, Eoin Ennis, Daniel Condron, Adam Cooke, Ryan Rock, Carl O'Meara, Ian Greene, Gerard Shortt, Darragh Connelly. Subs: Aaron McGregor (for Cleary 23 mins), Eric Keogh (for O'Meara 53mins), Michael Sweeney (for Ennis).
REFEREE: Robbie Costello.