Shamrock FC kicked off the new season last Saturday at Ormeau Park against a physical St Matthew’s side. St Matthews started the game brightly although their attacks were easily dealt with by the Shamrock defence.
Only ten minutes in, the game had to be stopped for a serious injury to a St Matthews player after he fell awkwardly.
When the game resumed Shamrock finally found their stride and played some outstanding football, with Alan Murphy and Kevin McClenaghan playing vital roles in the centre of the park.
It wasn't long until shamrock took the lead, with some good build up play on the left side, Gerard Ewing found the net from a tight angle to open his account for the season.
The goal gave Shamrock more confidence and they soon added a second goal, some excellent passing between, McKenna, Carson and a superb dummy by the influential McClenaghan lead to a wonderful through ball which Ewing got on the end of to fire past the St Matthews keeper low into the corner of the net.
St Matthew’s rarely threatened the Shamrock goal and were restricted to long range efforts.
Both sides started the second half brightly and Shamrock were unlucky not to add a third when Mulvenna cut in from the right hand side only to play a square ball, which Ewing couldn't get on the end off.
St Matthew’s pulled a goal back with a thunderous free kick into the roof of the net, which Stewart could do nothing about.
Shamrock went in search of a score to restore their two goal advantage but couldn't convert any of their chances with, Ewing, McClenaghan, Mulvenna and Kane all going close.
Declan Carson also tried his luck when he spotted the St Matthew’s ‘keeper off his line but his effort sailed narrowly over the bar.
Shamrock looked comfortable and looked set to open their league campaign with all three points, but for a strange decision to award St Matthew’s a throw in after Anto McBride was hauled to the ground, which lead to St Matthews breaking up the left hand side and finding a player at the back post to head home an equaliser with virtually the last touch of the game.
SHAMROCK FC: G Stewart, S McKenna, P Lavery, A McBride,
B Brown, D Carson, A Murphy, K McClenaghan, J Mulvenna, A (surname), G Ewing. Subs: M Markey, B Kane, G Paterson, T McKinney,
M McCann Man of the match: Kevin McClenaghan.