Square United are back on the road this week as they bid to put more daylight between themselves and the bottom positions in the NEFL O’Neill’s Sportswear Division One. Against mid-table Athboy, they will fancy their chances on Sunday and why wouldn’t they?
This season, Square have taken 10 of their 11 point tally away from Ardee. Their solitary point at home came in the season’s opening game when Kentstown Rovers visited the Boys School Field and the teams played out a 2-2 draw. That was in mid-August. Since then, nothing.
Currently, they sit outside the bottom three in the 12 team division and were the season to end now, they’d be safe. You’d be hard pressed to find a team – throughout decades of MDL and NEFL football – that has survived the threat of relegation having taken such a measly number of points on home soil.
But, Square are doing it their way. Athboy won’t enjoy their visit on Sunday morning – based on the Ardee men’s away form in 2016/17. Here, we look back at Square’s away day successes this term.
August 28th – Torro United 1-2 Square United
After an opening day point at home to Kentstown Rovers, Square went onto lose in a seven-goal thriller against Johnstown but picked up a victory in their third outing of the campaign, away to Torro United in Kilberry.
Despite Peadar Farrelly’s goal, Kian Moran’s goal was added to by Jonny Sheridan’s second of the campaign for the win. This result meant Square had scored seven goals in their opening three games of the season. That strike rate has slowed as the campaign has worn on – but it’s kept the Ardee men in the mix towards the bottom.
September 25th – Ardee Celtic 3-3 Square United
In one of the best showings of the season, Square went toe-to-toe with local rivals Ardee Celtic in the Ardee derby at Townparks. In fact, a brace of goals from Andrew Egan and one from Brian Corcoran put Square in control at 3-1. Coming off the back of two heavy defeats, the draw earned a good point for United – but no doubt they’ll have rued the concession of the late goals that saw them denied a win.
As Ardee Celtic have gone on to challenge for the title and promotion, the point looks a very good one. They’ll have a chance to go one better when Celtic come to the Boys School Field for the return fixture later this season. What a time that would be to earn a first home win of the season.
November 13th – Woodview Celtic 1-3 Square United
The playing surface at the Boys School Field is continually lamented and often doesn’t help some of Square’s players in their attempts to build attacks or get their foot on the ball. It’s not so much of a leveller, but a real hindrance at times. On the plastic surface at Oriel Park in Dundalk, Square comfortably saw off Woodview’s challenge.
Sheridan, Andrew Egan and Moran all found the net – all with their head – to secure what was just the club’s second win of a difficult season. Then, in mid-November, that result lifted Square closer to the mid-table pack than the relegation battlers. It would be two-and-a-half-months before their next win.
January 29th – Trim Town 1-4 Square United
And by the time that arrived, Square say second from bottom and just one point above basement boys Trim Town. In what was an extraordinarily, important game in the context of the relegation scrap, Square came good, very good. They put the home side to the sword with thanks to a hat-trick from Chris Kelly and one from Jamie McKenny.
If that appeared to condemn Trim to the drop, they bounced back a week later with a 6-1 demolition of Woodview. Avoiding the bottom three, or at the very least, the bottom two automatic relegation spots will be incredibly difficult given the tight nature of the league table. If Square continue their fine away form, it’ll help. But some points at home are surely a must.