Hibernians 0; St Saviour’s 4
Last season’s Premier League leading scorer Stephen Dalton continued where he left off by scoring a hat-trick for a very impressive St Saviour’s outfit in Mitchell Kennedy Park on Sunday morning last.
Despite the fact that the Ballybeg Saints had to line out without a number of players who were carrying over suspensions from last season they were far too powerful for a Hibernians team who were outclassed in every department.
Hibs’ new management team of Ray Anderson and Lee Douglas have got plenty of work ahead, but no doubt they will have learnt a lot from this outing. St Saviour’s have been there or thereabouts during the past two years and going on this performance they will enjoy another fine season.
St Saviour’s set their stall out from the opening whistle and laid siege on the Hibs goal. Aaron O’Neill played in Stephen Dalton after 12 minutes but just when he was about to shoot from 10 yards, defender Michael Dunne got in a brilliant tackle.
It may have been the first game of the new campaign but nevertheless Dalton scored what could be considered goal of the season on 19 minutes. Goalkeeper Graham Cleary kicked the ball downfield to Billy Barron who headed the ball into the path of Dalton and without breaking stride he unleashed a thunderbolt from 16 yards past Hibs goalkeeper Darragh Power.
The Saints doubled their advantage on 35 minutes. Dalton drifted out to the left before passing to new signing from Grannagh Timmy Ryan, who was tripped inside the penalty area by Brian Prendergast. Dalton made no mistake from the spot.
St Saviour’s dominated the remainder of the first half without adding to their total. It was more of the same in the second period and only good defending by David Gaffney, Michael Gaffney and Eamon Doyle kept them at bay.
However, the home defence had no chance of preventing the visitors making it 3-0 after 71 minutes. Dalton began the move out on the right, releasing Aaron O’Neill. He in turn crossed low to Joe Twomey who passed quickly to Brian O’Donoghue who had no difficulty sweeping the ball to the net from close range.
Dalton had a great chance to complete his hat-trick on 85 minutes but he shot straight at Power with the goal at his mercy. He was not to be denied however four minutes later. O’Donoghue split the Hibs defence from all of 60 yards with a delicious pass and this time Dalton drew the goalkeeper and tucked the ball into the corner of the net from eight yards.
Saviour’s goalkeeper Graham Cleary will not have an easier game all season because he did not have a single on-target effort to deal with.
Hibernians: Darragh Power, David Gaffney, Ian Barry, Michael Dunne, Michael Gaffney, Eamon Doyle, Matthew Barden, Joey Phelan, David McGrath, Sean Ryan, J.J. Hutchinson. Subs. Brian Prendergast for Dunne (22 mins) David O’Mahony for Barry (57), David Murphy for O’Mahony (67).
St Saviour’s: Graham Cleary, Trevor O’Regan, Trevor Elliott, Pat Farrell, Philip Penkert, Brian O’Donoghue, Aaron O’Neill, Joe Twomey, Billy Barron, Stephen Dalton, Timmy Ryan. Sub: Kevin McCarthy for Barron (73 mins).
Referee: Adam Tzampel.