BLUEBELL United move four points clear at the top of LSL Sunday Senior with a thrilling 5-2 win over second-place Killester United at Hadden Park on Sunday morning.
Goals from Gary Seary, Shane Stritch, Sean Byrne, Gareth Cooney and a first for the club for Ireland international Jason Byrne saw the Red Cow side to victory.
John Brophy and Josh Mullen scored for the home side, who battled throughout but were exposed on the counter-attack time and again by the ruthless visitors.
It was Killester – who would have gone top with a win on their home patch – who took the lead after 20 minutes when Brophy nodded home from a set-piece delivery.
Bluebell could have equalised within two minutes when Sean Byrne – who recently returned from Newbridge Town following Dean Ebbe’s departure for Wales – missed from close range.
The Bell did level on the half-hour when interplay between the front three saw the ball sit up for Gary Seary, who slotted past the keeper from ten yards.
Five minutes before the break, the visitors took the lead as Stritch showed strength to hold up the ball centrally and worked himself a shooting opportunity.
Killester started the second half strongly and put the Bell goal under siege, but another break saw Stritch square for Sean Byrne to tap in his second since returning in January.
Referee Daniel Murphy – who was excellent – awarded the home side a penalty but keeper Andy McNulty got down brilliantly to his left to deny Stephen Chambers.
The hosts did bring it back to 3-2 with ten minutes remaining when Mullen converted following a goalmouth scramble.
The Bell remained lethal on the counter, however, and Cooney stuck home a fourth after his initial volley was saved before Jason Byrne added the gloss from three yards in injury time.
“The scoreline definitely flattered us,” Bluebell manager Andy Noonan told the Dublin Gazette.
“It was a 50/50 game but, on chances created, it could have finished 8-3. Killester went for it and we shut up shop as best we could.
“When we broke, we had pace and a bit of guile as well. We looked like we were going to score every time we went into the Killester half.”
The result leaves Bluebell four points clear of Killester and eight clear of champions St Mochta’s with 12 games left.
“Nobody wins anything in February. It’s looking well but I’ve been there the last three years where we’ve won two in a row and lost the last on goal difference.
“Killester, Mochta’s, Crumlin, Pats CY – a lot of teams are capable of catching us. You have to just stay focused.”