DDSL U-17M2: Cabinteely FC 5-5 Templeogue United FC
Determination, discipline and raw flair saw Cabo claw back a four goal half-time deficit with a stirring second-half performance in this ten goal thriller against Templeogue United FC at Kilbogget on Sunday.

The visitors’ lead was undeserved, as there was little between the teams except the cruel swirl of the wind and the wrong end of a couple of decisions.

Templeogue’s lead came from a speculative long-range effort that looped in the gale, dipped an inch at the very last second and bounced the wrong way off the underside of the bar. Their second came from a corner that caught in the wind like a kite and squeezed into the top corner.

Cabo responded well, with Ollie Noonan leading the line strongly. When Porter’s shot was parried the ball fell to Noonan twelve yards out and he powered home a low, angled drive to put Cabo right back in the game. Templeogue’s two goal advantage was restored though only minutes later when they were inexplicably awarded a penalty that nobody had even claimed!

The next goal was clearly offside and things looked done and dusted when the visitors bagged their fifth with another wind-assisted shot from distance before the break. Despite the scoreline, there was a sense that this game was far from over.

Having fed off limited possession for the first half, Cabo’s talented attacking force was anxious to get at their opponents and utilise the wind advantage. If they could score first, who knew what might happen?

Score first is what they did when James Stuart fed Charlie Banks down the right and Banks found Paddy Dunne with an angled, lofted pass that left the defence for dead. Dunne, who well-deserved a goal, took the ball in neatly on the edge of the penalty area and popped it home coolly past the advancing ‘keeper. This was slick stuff from Cabo.

The visitors were annoyed with themselves, but things were about to get a lot worse. Porter made a typically strong run and held off some robust challenges to get the ball across the area. Alex Flynn was first to it, controlled well, steadied himself and buried the ball to make it 3-5. The momentum was all with Cabo now and the visitors were looking a lot less sure of themselves, but they renewed their efforts to finish off the home side.

Cabo’s defensive line was holding well and any time Templeogue had a sniff of a chance, goalie Dylan Ryan was there to frustrate them. Ryan’s contribution to the game was immense, with a number of saves and effective clearances throughout.

The midfield battle was tough and Cabo bested their opponents in the second half, allowing their front men to threaten frequently. Another strong run from Porter ended when he was felled on the edge of the box – on the line, according to the ref, and Cabo had to settle for a free kick in the D instead of a penalty.

Charlie Banks stepped up, saw an angle that no one else saw, and hit a sublime shot with the outside of his right boot that left Templeogue scratching their heads as they watched the ball hit the back of the net. 4-5, and the visitors were praying for the final whistle, but there was plenty of time on the clock for Cabo.

Filled with belief and hunger, Cabo pressed on, while Templeogue struggled to find the composure they needed to see the game out. Cabo were on top in all departments but weren’t quite getting the breaks until a free kick was awarded about thirty yards out from goal towards the left-hand-side: Flynn territory! Flynn’s bullet strike was a thing of beauty and rattled the top corner of the net before anyone could blink.

Cabo might have nicked it in the end, but the draw felt like a win anyway. There were some season’s best performances by individual players, but above all else this was a great determined team effort, and just reward for a squad that, despite some tough defeats this season, has never given up on itself.

What a game! What a team! Never-say-die or what?