Swords end 56-year wait for LSL top tier

by Stephen Findlater
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There was a carnival atmosphere in Balheary last Sunday afternoon as Swords Celtic took on Wayside Celtic, getting the win they needed to earn top tier intermediate football for the first time in their 56-year club history.

They finished second overall, the 5-1 win enough to secure their promotion ahead of Ballymun United and Glenville.

Ex-League of Ireland goalkeeper Brendan Kennedy has been at the helm and he hailed his squad’s efforts from a shaky start this term having only just avoided relegation last term.

“The lads in this club work unbelievably and its really deserved. We really want to win at home and make up for Thursday’s defeat so we’re delighted.

“The first nine games, we took just nine points out of 27 and you are saying ‘can we just finish mid-table?’

“That was our target at the start but we brought in a few young lads who were part of the Under-19 League of Ireland, they strengthened us and we got a few back from injury. To only lose two games in our last 17 is unbelievable and the home form has been outstanding.”

With only five minutes on the clock, Swords took the lead the lively Owen Jones run and cross was tapped home by striker Jack McGlade. Wayside did start to settle into the game and the made it level on the 16th minute, Joe Jackson getting in at the back post to slot home Thomas O’Hanlon’s cross.

But Swords soon got back on top with captain Andrew Timmons rallying his team forward and they took a deserved lead on the 28th minute. It came via wonderful team play with Tom McCarthy and Jones at the heart of it with the finish once again coming from McGlade with the goal at his mercy.

Shortly after, it was 3-1, a great Graham Leahy run and pass was taken on by Calvin Donney to slip it under the keeper.

Wayside were getting frustrated, giving away a number of free kicks as Swords really took control heading into the break and it was just before the break the game was wrapped up as a Jones’ cross was hammered home by McCarthy.

Kennedy made a number of early substitutions as two games in three days – a 5-1 loss to league champions Liffey Wanderers – took its toll on the players.

Long-serving Celtic player Robbie Farrell nearly made it five but his header was tipped away by the keeper Gavin Logan as the Kilternan outfit struggled to contain Swords.

Gavin Smith added further gloss to the scoreline with a few minutes to go, finishing low to beat the stranded keeper.

It laid the platform for wonderful scenes for the Swords club, continuing their stunning rise through the divisions.

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