LSL Sunday Senior 1A
Lucan United 3
Inchicore Athletic 1
All Lucan United manager John Doyle wants for Christmas is to keep his squad together as their blistering start to the LSL Sunday Senior 1A season attracts interest from higher up.
Clubs from the top two divisions and even the League of Ireland are looking at players from the west Dublin club, who have lost just once all season and are into the last 16 of the FAI Intermediate Cup.
Sunday’s 3-1 win over Inchicore Athletic leaves Lucan a point behind leaders Kilnamanagh but, crucially, with three games in hand going into the Christmas break.
Bar a slip-up against fellow challengers Dublin University in September, Lucan have been virtually flawless in the league and look virtually certain to take pole position in the new year.
The value of a good squad was made clear as a much-changed Lucan side quickly established control and gave Doyle the right sort of selection headache going into the second half of the season.
Goals from Andrew Bracken, Bobby Mazono and Mick McLoughlin saw the home side to victory at Celbridge Park, with Daniel Geraghty managing one in response for Inchicore.
The visitors started strongly but Lucan took the lead midway through the half when midfielder Bracken latched onto a through ball and curled the ball into the net with the outside of his boot.
Former Cabinteely striker Mazono doubled the advantage shortly afterwards when he seized on a miskick from keeper Patrick Reilly and finished calmly into the corner.
The hosts should have gone into the break three to the good after Mizono was tripped in the box, but Tayem Mercer ballooned the resulting penalty kick over the bar.
And Lucan could have been made pay for their wastefulness in front of goal when Geraghty halved the deficit after the break for Inchicore but they pushed on and made the game safe late on.
Mazono was again bowled over in the box and McLoughlin, a summer recruit from Firhouse Clover, buried it from 12 yards.
“It was a tough game for us,” Doyle told the Dublin Gazette.
“We had a few lads who came in that in the team in a few weeks, so there were five or six on the pitch who hadn’t played much.
“They tired a little bit in the second half but overall they did really well. It just goes to show having a good squad is important.
“There are players sitting on the bench knowing they could walk into other teams. We convinced them they’re in the right place and they’re committed.
“They proved that when they came in and played really well.
“When the other lads come back they’re going to have to sit on the bench to get their places back.”
Doyle admits he is looking at potential new recruits in January, but only if his star performers are picked off by clubs in higher leagues.
“Whether one goes or two go, I don’t know. I’m hoping they won’t and I don’t think they will, but you never know.
“So I’m talking to one or two lads.
“We’ve a good squad and a good dressing room, so anybody coming into the squad has to fit into that. It’s not enough being a good player – you have to fit into the group.
“We’ve got a squad of 18 now, which is about what you need. If you go higher, it’s hard to keep them all happy.
“If you go lower, you get a few injuries and you’re struggling.”