SANDS MacSwineys kicked off their efforts in what has been a stop-start campaign with a home tie against Tír Conaill Harps, with a strong contingent of homegrown players representing both clubs.
The hosts started well in a fast-paced encounter and made the most of home advantage in the opening phases of play. Hopes were high among the young Sands side that with youth on their side they may have the energy to disrupt Harps.
Missed opportunities in front of the posts, however, saw they squander their early chances and with both a goal and a point passed up in the opening minutes Tír Conaill took stock and gathered themselves and began to control the match.
The powerful midfield of the visitors saw they dominate the crucial areas and the scores soon began to follow as Tír Conaill found their range, but Sands maintained a threat throughout and launched constant forays into the forward areas as their dogged backs snapped around the visiting forwards to steal the ball.
Despite cutting the deficit and hinting at a comeback several times in the second period, the early work done by the visitors and their determined battling to keep control of the match meant that consolation was all the hosts could take from their good work with a nine-point margin separating the two sides at the last whistle.
Following that disappointing defeat, Sands travelled to Clydebank to take on Glasgow Gaels with a depleted squad. With players injured or unavailable it was a young Sands side who took on the well-drilled hosts who made the most of their organisation and familiarity with their home ground to rack up some early scores.
Sands dug very deep however, refining their approach as the game progressed and showing a maturity to react to a strong side who could easily have run rampant against less determined opposition.
Steadily bridging the gap, Sands began to haul back their opponents and then enjoyed some strong passages of play themselves, ultimately scoring 1-08 against strong side, who will be relived that Sands didn’t make any more of the opportunities they were beginning to craft as the match went on.
With disruption to fixtures and training due to the national restrictions imposed this month Sands will be hoping that they can re-enter the fray by picking up from the strides forward they had made and begin to turn their flickers of winning performances into match-winning efforts which deliver on the potential they are showing.
PIC COURTESY OF TÍR CONAILL HARPS