NELL’S ON SONG
Star attacker Davis shoots lights out as Coolock side’s promotion bid gather pace with win over O’Toole’s
THOMAS Davis was the stand-out performer at Chanel as Parnell’s maintained the heat on league-leaders Naomh Olaf with a comprehensive victory over O’Toole’s in an Under-16 Football League Division Three encounter last Tuesday evening.
Davis, who is a member of the Dublin Under-16 Development Squad, was a constant thorn in the side of the Blunden Drive outfit, and finished with an impressive personal tally of 1-6.
However, the dynamic Davis was ably assisted by half-forward partner Glen Power and inspirational midfielder Eric Donoghue, who amassed a combined total of 1-7 between them.
A black card issued to midfielder Mark Heron 26 minutes in was a cause of concern for the hosts, but with O’Toole’s losing Daniel Murphy and Ross Coyle to similar offences, they nevertheless held an upper hand during the second period of play.
Heading into this tie, which was played on the Coolock club’s all-weather pitch, O’Toole’s were just one place below their opponents in the third-tier table.
Nell’s were in a determined mood from the word go, however, and inside the opening minute of the contest, both Eric Donoghue and Davis registered white-flag efforts.
When inside forward David Condellon shot agonisingly wide from a tight angle, things were already looking for ominous for O’Toole’s, but centre-fielder Coyle’s superb long-range free finally helped them to settle into the proceedings.
Indeed, wayward shooting by Parnell’s ensured that the visiting team remained in contention, and despite conceding a brace of Davis points, the pacey Karl Fox was denied a potentially game-changing goal by the quick reactions of Nell’s netminder Lee Croghan.
Contributions via full-forward Daniel Smith and Ross Coyle (free) reduced the deficit to the minimum, but after Power added a fifth score for Parnell’s, O’Toole’s wing-back Murphy was the first man to receive a black card from referee Damien Burnett for a trip on the rampaging Davis.
Heron’s subsequent dismissal did briefly even matters up, but with another foul on Davis forcing the O’Toole’s management to replace Coyle before the half’s end, Parnell’s regained momentum at just the right time.
The hard-working Liam Togher almost immediately added a well-taken score, before a magnificent 1-1 salvo from the exceptional Davis left seven points (1-7 to 0-3) between the teams at the mid-way stage.
This left O’Toole’s in a difficult position upon the resumption, and though Conor Keane added height to their forward line, two quick-fire points courtesy of the dangerous Power reinforced Parnell’s’ superiority.
The transfer of half-back Cian Lumsden to centre-forward added an extra dimension to their play, and with Donoghue splitting the posts in the 34th and 35th minutes respectively, the Nell’s advantage had increased to all of 10 points.
Adam Handbridge did add a fourth point for O’Toole’s during this juncture, and from his opening touch after being introduced, the lively Sean Brennan found the target.
A Fox assist also led to an Eoin Kinsella point, but just when it looked like O’Toole’s might spark a mini-revival, the Parnell’s challenge kicked into the gear once more.
Davis raced on to a loose ball to record his first score of the half, and this was followed by a deflected three-pointer for centre-back Matthew Scullion moving into the closing 20 minutes of action.
A sublime cross-field pass by Power enabled the powerful Eric Donoghue to supply a third major off his trusty left-peg, as the latter moments of this outing were becoming a damage limitation exercise for O’Toole’s.
There was to be no let-up from Parnell’s, however, and they added further points from Lumsden (two), Davis and Power.
The always-willing Fox grabbed the consolation goal that his performance deserved four minutes from time, but the outstretched hands of Nell’s custodian Croghan thwarted their attempts at securing a second from a stoppage-time Walsh penalty after the aforementioned Fox had been upended.
Scorers – Parnell’s: T Davis 1-6 (0-1f); E Donoghue 1-3; G Power 0-4; M Scullion 1-0; C Lumsden 0-2; L Togher 0-1. O’Toole’s: K Fox 1-1; S Brennan 0-2; C Walsh (f), R Coyle (f), C Stafford, A Handbridge, E Kinsella, D Smith 0-1 each.
PARNELL’S: L Croghan; C Donoghue, A O’Neill, A Darby; C Nolan, M Scullion, C Lumsden; M Heron, E Donoghue; G Power, T Davis, S Mangan; D Condellon, L Togher, D Moore. Subs: D Griffin for Darby (13), Darby for Heron (28, BC).
O’TOOLE’S: A Kinnear; K Lyons, J Murphy, R O’Connor; D Green, A McDonald, D Murphy; C Walsh, R Coyle; K Fox, C Stafford, A Handbridge; E Kinsella, D Smith, C Wilson. Subs: C Brabazon for Murphy (24, BC), A McGovern for Green (26), R Wilson for Coyle (30+1, BC), C Keane for Smith (h-t), S Brennan for Lyons (35).
MENTORS – Parnell’s: K Heron, C Kelly. O’Toole’s: Mick Cunningham, G Corry, Michael Cunningham.
REFEREE: Damien Burnett (Craobh Chiarain).
WIDES – Parnell’s: 16 (9+7); O’Toole’s: 8 (7+1)
CONDITIONS: A bright and breezy evening in dry conditions.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Thomas Davis (Parnell’s).