Spoils are shared in local clash

St Paul’s 1-9 St Peter’s 1-9

LOCAL Division Two derby rivals St Peters and St Paul’s served up a nail biting draw at Taghnevan last Friday night but it was the North Street side which left the venue the more relieved outfit.

The teams were also all square at the break and former Clann Éireann player Michael Shanks, who had been in superb form from set pieces during the game, had a chance to win it for the home side deep into injury time but his 45 yard shot dropped to the left of the St. Peter’s posts.

The hosts, however, in retrospect had another gilt-edged opportunity to grab both league points near the end of normal time when Daniel McDonald burst through the visitors’ defence but he parted to a colleague inside the Whites’ 21 and, in a flash, the chance had gone.

McConville’s first point, and his sides opener, was the highlight of the game. He kept the ball in play along the touchline with a deft flick to David Wilson and took the return before splitting the posts.

His side, however, were forced to chase the game for most of the opening period. Dara Toal put Charlie Harte in the clear on four minutes and the rangy midfielder gave Darren Kelly no chance from close range before Darren Fox put the Teghnevan men 1-1 to 0-1 in front a minute later.

As the visitors attempted to adapt the pace of their opponents, two more goal chances followed before the quarter mark, McAlinden for the Whites and Murnin for St Paul’s both went close.

Michael Shanks, McDonald and Toal all shot scores for St Paul’s with Niall McConville and Darren Moore putting the Whites on level terms at the break.

The second period saw the teams level on three occasions as Michael Shanks from his centre half forward position knocked over five second half points for the home side who, in fairness, could have wrapped things up before the end.

As for St Peter’s, their forwards may not be marked as tight for the rest of the season but the North Street men seemed to have weathered the early St Paul’s storm when Danny McNally pounced for a goal on 40 minutes to put the visitors two in front.

Shanks struck twice from set-pieces to level matters with nine minutes remaining.

Another Shanks free put St Paul’s in front by the narrowest of margins and had Daniel McDonald have gone for broke when put in the clear, Shane McConville’s team could have snatched both league points.

Right at the death, however, Niall McConville levelled for St Peter’s but it was asking a lot from Michael Shanks to consolidate his 100 per cent record on the stroke of full time with what was a pressure kick. The teams had to settle for a draw.

Neither side for the moment would appear are ready for the huge step up to the top flight but both are as good as any of the participants at the top of Division Two.

Praise must go to both goalkeepers, namely Kieran Toman and Darren Kelly who did well under pressure on several occasions.

Up front, the contributions from Niall McConville (0-7) for the whites and Michael Shanks (0-6) for St Paul’s are tallies which speak for themselves.

All said, it was a decent match even considering the minor quibbles from both sets of supporters.