LSL Sunday Major
Rush Athletic 3
Sheriff YC 2
Rush Athletic chairman Adrian Kelly declared their Major Sunday win over Sheriff YC as “probably the biggest result in the club’s history” as they extended their lead at the top of the table.
The Fingal club suffered a 4-0 reverse when the sides met in Clontarf in September in what remains Declan Whyte’s side’s sole league defeat of the season.
There was no shortage of goals nor drama when the sides met again at St Catherine’s Park with all five coming in the second half.
A Barry McAllister penalty and one each for Cian Savage and Liam Mulcahy saw the home side to victory, though Shay Rooney and an injury-time strike from Stephen Maher set up a nervy finish.
Fears the game would be called off were eased as the rain that battered Dublin city centre eased off in the north of the county, though it was a soft, heavy pitch that greeted the players.
A tight first half, with few chances, gave little indication of what was to follow but the game burst to life ten minutes after the break when Rush were awarded a penalty and McAllister made no mistake.
Sheriff were stunned into action and bombarded the Rush goal, and got the equaliser they merited within five minutes as Rooney got on the end of a free kick to poke home.
The game turned on a key 30-second spell as keeper Stephen ‘Kiwi’ Kirwan made a big save and Rush broke, McAllister setting up Savage to shoot first-time with his weaker left foot into the top corner.
Mulcahy looked to have made the points safe late on but Sheriff continued to press and, while Maher did manage to pull one back in a penalty-box scramble, Rush held out for victory.
“It was a massive result. It was probably the biggest result in the club’s history,” Kelly tells the Dublin Gazette.
“To [beat] a team like Sheriff who have been in six of the last FAI Junior Cup finals, it’s massive for the club. In fairness to Sheriff, they were very gracious in defeat and very complimentary to us. That result, and Usher losing, really keeps us in the mix.
“We’re top of the league but we’ve played more games than a lot of teams. But we’ve points on the board.”
Rush have now played both Sheriff and Drogheda Town twice, though have yet to play Usher, but their immediate attention is on Sunday’s FAI Junior Cup fifth-round tie with Limerick’s Rathkeale.
A cup run would be a bonus (a spot in the last four would book them a first-ever FAI Senior Cup spot) but the aim is promotion to intermediate, whether or not it comes with a fifth successive title.
“We always felt we were good enough. We’re after winning four [leagues] in a row because we wanted to make the jump up to Sunday football.
“The players themselves wanted to test themselves and they’ve been magnificent. The aim of the club is to get promotion, but we said that last year and ended up winning the league.”