SDFL U-18D1: Cabinteely FC 3-3 Kingswood FC
On a warm Sunday lunchtime, the U-18 SDFL Division 1’s top two – Cabinteely and Kingswood FC, met in Kilbogget Park for a possible title decider. Before kick-off Cabo found themselves four points behind their visitors with two games in hand.

The game kicked off with both sides clearly up for it with neither side getting a lot of time on the ball and some good tackles going in during the early exchanges. It was Cabinteely who began to grab a foothold in the game by stringing a few passes together and causing Kingswood some problems down both flanks through Jack Donnelly and David Neary.

That pressure eventually told when Cabo won a corner which was expertly delivered to the far post by Andy Smith, which found Kyle O’Keeffe who headed it home, 1-0. This goal sparked Kingswood into action. They started to play some nice football of their own and got their reward after a one-two down their right-hand side which allowed winger Liam Delaney to dribble into some space and get a powerful shot away, which just evaded Cabo ‘keeper Rory Kane, for 1-1.

The remainder of the first half was fairly even, with both sides creating chances. Kingswood hit the woodwork and Kane was forced into action on occasion. Cabo’s Andy Smith, Dave Barry and Diarmo Sexton all brought saves out of Aaron McDonagh in the Kingswood goal.

But, right on the stroke of half-time, Kingswood were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area. Cabo dealt with the first ball, but couldn’t quite get it clear; a goalmouth scramble ensued and the ball fell to Kingswood’s number 11, ‘Murrayer’, who found the back of the net and, soon, the half-time whistle went on a 1-2 scoreline.

Despite the poor timing of Kingswood’s goal for the home side, Cabinteely started the second period very well, obviously with the wise words of the two Pauls and Jim still ringing in their ears. They comfortably dealt with anything Kingswood threw at them, particularly down the wings, with both full backs, Ben Johnson and Richard McSweeney having stellar performances throughout.

On 55 minutes, a breakthrough came for Cabo when some good link up play between Jack Brennan and the midfield resulted in David Neary’s perfectly weighted ball over the top for Diarmo Sexton, who dispatched his chance with aplomb, 2-2 (see above).

Just moments later, again from some good build up play, Sexton returned the favour, this time brilliantly playing Neary through and he made no mistake with a cool, right-footed finish to put Cabo back in front at 3-2.

Kingswood again reacted well to going behind, creating some good chances, but Kane was equal to them all. Only a couple minutes after his moment of magic, Neary pulled up (FIFA-like)  with a calf injury and had to receive treatment which forced a re-organisation for Cabo as they tried to defend a free kick.

The ball came into the box, again Cabinteely dealt with first ball but couldn’t clear it and the ball fell to a Kingswood attacker who made no mistake to level the scores once more, at 3-3.

For the final fifteen minutes, Cabo were under the cosh; Dane Burke had replaced Neary on the left side, but after a few dazzling bursts down the touch line, he was forced off with a back injury. Andy Smith’s game was unfortunately cut short also, this time with severe cramp. Stephen Carroll and Hugo ‘Dougie’ Faughnan came on in their places and they provided some much needed fresh legs to help weather the final Kingswood storm.

The home side might have won the game when Luke Allen’s quick free kick in the dying minutes sent Donnelly away, but the visitors’ McDonagh was again equal to the task. In spite of a few late scares, Cabo held on for the point they needed to keep the winning of the league in their hands. Well done to all involved!

To see some more photos taken at the match, do enjoy the slideshow below. You may also review the photos on this link if you’re on certain devices.

A veritable wealth of goals in a fair competition, with the hope of further reward on the horizon!