Doddervale/Orwell United finished a frustrating LSL Sunday Major 1 season on a high with a 2-1 win over champions Ayrfield United at Dartry Park on Sunday.
The win meant Shane Gutkin’s side finished with six wins from their last seven and unbeaten at home – with just the one draw in February sullying a near-perfect record.
Goals in either half from brothers Eamonn and Karl Murphy were enough to see Doddervale to victory after Ayrfield had levelled from the spot just before the break.
“There wasn’t much between the sides – it was a tight game,” Gutkin told the Dublin Gazette.
“We were glad to get the win against the champions. Very good game, very competitive game – two good sides.
“[Ayrfield] certainly gave it a go – they threw bodies forward to try get the equaliser. They certainly didn’t want to lose the game. It was a tough, physical game with some good football by both sides.
“We were delighted to get the win because it made us unbeaten all season at home. It’s been known in the league as it’s gone on that going to Dartry Park to play against us is a tough fixture.”
It brought to a close a season of change for the club as former Postal United, Sacred Heart and Knocklyon manager Gutkin took over during the off-season.
Despite the club playing in Darty Park in Milltown, the squad themselves are mostly drawn from Firhouse and the wider Tallaght area, including captain Eamonn Murphy.
Last year saw the club narrowly avoid relegation in a ten-team league, but the introduction of four AUL defectors this season presented an even tougher challenge.
So, having gotten themselves to the top of the table over the Christmas break, it’s a source of frustration for Gutkin that they couldn’t at least hang onto a promotion spot.
“At Christmas we were actually top of the table, so we’ve mixed emotions. The lads did really well, but I feel we had a chance to finish in the top three, but maybe lacked experience.
“The league was was tough this year.
“I’m around the Leinster Senior League a long time, and, for Major 1 Sunday, it was very strong because of the likes of Ayrfield and Trinity Donaghmede.
“If they hadn’t come over, I think we’d have had a good chance of winning it, but the league table never lies.
“We’ve made progressions, but there were some very good football sides in the league.
“We’ve proven to ourselves and everybody else we can compete with the top sides in this league, so we’re optimistic.”