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Vincent’s unbeaten run ended by Inchicore’s set-piece prowess

St Vincent’s Hospital FC 2-4 Inchicore Athletic Fri 8 Feb 201;LSL Major 1B

St Vincent’s impressive run of form around the turn of the year came to a halt at the hands of Inchicore Athletic, who came back from 2-1 down to snatch a late win.

Victory for the visitors was something of a revenge mission; earlier in the season, Vincent’s travelled to Inchicore to record a resounding 4-0 victory, before following it up with a 3-1 cup win a couple of weeks later. In all three encounters between these sides this term, the balance of play has been more even than the scorelines have suggested.

Played in the challenging conditions of the Kilmacud microclimate, this was a topsy-turvy affair — Inchicore, playing into a strong breeze, took the lead from the penalty spot, before conceding two quick-fire goals to the hosts just after half-time once the teams had swapped ends. Vincent’s then had numerous chances to put the game out of reach, only for a late comeback that saw Inchicore move from a goal down to two goals ahead in the space of 10 minutes.

Weather conditions have played a major role in most Benildus fixtures this season. The luxury of a modern astroturf surface ensures games are played regularly without the fear of pitches waterlogging. However, the combination of strong gales with the flat, artificial surface is a potent mix — even placing the ball in a stationary position for a goal kick can become a challenge when the wind whips up.

Throughout the season, Friday night breezes have proved to be both a help and hindrance to Vincent’s fortunes. Despite winning the toss and opting to play with the wind at their backs in the first half here, the home side struggled to get going initially and found themselves a goal down early on. Inchicore broke down the left flank and as the ball was cut back, a sliding Kieran Keane was adjudged to have handled the ball on the ground. The referee pointed to the spot, and the penalty was calmly slotted past Ronan McDermott in the Vincent’s net.

After the early setback, the home team gradually grew into the game. The front three, led by Aidan McGrath, looked menacing throughout, particularly when Inchicore were caught in possession in defence. Eddy Wrynn made several trademark forays down the right flank and created the best chance of the half, flashing a dangerous cross to the back post, where Fionn Lynch was unable to convert. Vincent’s continued to create their best openings when pressing their guests into errors in possession — McGrath almost sent the sides in level at the break, pinching the ball in the final third to bear down on goal, only for his clever effort to rebound off the crossbar.

Despite the absence of talismanic playmaker John Cosgrove, Vincent’s began to wrestle back control of the middle third. Peter Kelly was superb in the holding role, breaking-up play to establish dominance. Aided by Rory Durand and skipper Andy Delany, the home team started strongly after the interval. Within seconds, Vincent’s had forced a dangerous position of the left flank, allowing Wrynn to drift in at the back post unmarked to fire home the equaliser. Within minutes, the game had turned on its head, when Dan Hales won the ball at left back, found McGrath who in turn played Lynch through on goal to atone for his first-half miss and put his side 2-1 up.

It was one-way traffic from then on. Meeting the wind face-on, Vincent’s continued to create chances, particularly on the counter-attack. Substitute Barra Neary was a threat on the left, but promising moves often broke with a misplaced final pass. Wastefulness and an absent ruthless streak allowed Inchicore back into proceedings. They equalised with 15 minutes to play, when a long pass was carried by the wind past the back four to an onrushing attacker, who rounded McDermott and slotted home.

Inchicore completed their comeback soon after, taking the lead from a superb left-wing direct free kick, before converting from an in-swinging corner to add gloss to the scoreline. The fourth goal capped a frustrating evening for Vincent’s, who had created enough to take all three points, let alone taking a point. However, it proved to be something of a microcosm of the season to date — fluid attacking play and a plethora of chances juxtaposed against a lack of ruthlessness in both penalty areas. It sets up an intriguing end to the season in the relegation mire, but there are plenty of positives to take from recent displays.

Matchday squad: Ronan McDermott, Gavin Kane, Kieran Keane, Colm Cosgrove, Dan Hales,  Peter Kelly, Andy Delany,  Rory Durand, Eddy Wrynn, Aidan McGrath, Fionn Lynch, Barra Neary, Mark Dwyer, Peter McAnena,  James Clarke, and  David Kennedy.

In addition…

The annual table quiz will take place on Thursday 21 March at the Dropping Well pub. It’s a great evening’s entertainment and the club would like to invite all quiz enthusiasts to come along and support the club. Non-enthusiasts are also welcome!

Training continues every Wednesday evening from 20:15 to 21:45 at St Kilians’s German School until late March, and we are always looking for new faces to get involved.

Follow the St Vincent’s Hospital FC Facebook page, or get in contact via email, svuhfc@gmail.com.

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