Skerries Town – 1
Dublin Hospitals FC – 7
Park Lane, Skerries, Leinster Senior League (LSL) Major 1B,
Thursday 31 August 2023
Dublin Hospitals FC (DHFC) opened their Leinster Senior League (LSL) Major 1B campaign with an emphatic 1-7 victory away to Skerries Town on Thursday 31 August.
This victory was all the more impressive given that medics had to travel all the way out to Skerries for a 7.45pm kick-off.
Unsurprisingly, DHFC made a slow start after the long drive with Skerries having more of the ball in the opening exchanges. However, Skerries were limited to speculative chances.
Having weathered the early storm on the North Dublin coast, DHFC began to gain a foothold in the game and managed to strike first.
A very strong collective pressing effort resulted in the Skerries goalkeeper making a poor clearance. Last season’s player of the year Ger Cheevers controlled this clearance well before chipping the keeper with a delightful effort to make it 0-1.
A second goal soon followed after excellent play from Fionn Nally on the left-wing. Nally played a delicate through ball to Brian Gaffney who calmly slotted the ball past the keeper. Both players were involved in the medical World Cup victory over the summer and have carried that form into the start of the DHFC season.
DHFC’s third goal stemmed from initial good build-up play on the right-hand side between Luke Sheehan-Purcell and new recruit, Nephrology Registrar Dave Synnott. Gaffney laid the ball back to the oncoming Ger Cheevers who left the keeper with no chance with a ferocious first-time strike.
Gaffney was again the creator for the fourth goal. A cross from Synnott flashed across the face of the goal without any obliging beneficiary. Gaffney rescued the ball from going out of play and sent it back into the box. Fionn Nally rose highest in the box and scored with a fine header into the top corner. In a first-half where Skerries had more possession, DHFC were thrilled to be four goals to the good with some ruthless counter attacking play.
Skerries again started the brighter team from kick-off and were doing their utmost to get back into the game, but the centre-back pairing of newly appointed Consultant Rheumatologist Colm Kirby and Matty Berkley stood firm and gave little away in the form of meaningful chances.
It was fantastic to see Kirby back doing what he does best following his year away in London with marauding runs up the pitch from centre-back.
As ever, any time the back four was breached, Paul Schutze was there with his magical hands to pull off some stunning saves.
Unfortunately for him and the team, the clean sheet was lost after some sloppy defending at a corner and Skerries managed to strike back making it 1-4.
Energy levels did begin to wane, which was understandable given it was the first league game of the season, but the substitutes that were brought on gave the team the boost that was needed.
Jake Gilchrist and Niall O’Gorman came on and had an almost immediate impact. Oncology intern Gilchrist played a lovely pass out to GP trainee O’Gorman who controlled the ball well and finished past the keeper with his first few touches of the game.
Following this, Skerries’ discipline dropped, leading to a few yellow cards and a red card. The remainder of the game was very comfortable for DHFC.
Cheevers completed his hat-trick of goals and Gaffney his hat-trick of assists when they combined for the sixth goal with a fine counter-attacking move.
Cheevers then turned creator for the seventh goal by gifting Gilchrist with an unmissable chance.
DHFC were of course delighted to start their league season off with such a commanding away win.
There was plenty of quality on show in the final third, but the intensity levels and commitment in the tackle was particularly satisfying for the management team of Cardiology Registrar Rory Durand and John Cosgrove.
There were a few contenders for man of the match, but it went to Cheevers with his second hat-trick for the club and superb work rate throughout the match.
Synnott, O’Gorman, and Darren Roche all made impressive contributions in their respective debuts.
Team: Paul Schutze; Luke Sheehan-Purcell; Eoghan Daly; Colm Kirby; Matthew Berkley; Darren Roche; Rory Durand; Ger Cheevers; Dave Synnott; Brian Gaffney; Fionn Nally.
Subs: Jake Gilchrist; Niall O’Gorman; James Davies; Robert Kelly.
DHFC would like to thank our wonderful sponsors MPS and Dr Steve Karagiannis of skincheck.ie who kindly provided match-day sponsorship for this game.
Go online to www.dublinhospitalsfc.com for all the latest DHFC news, records, results, and other features.