DDSL U-15P2 Shield Final: Athlone Town FC 0-1 Cabinteely FC
Our DDSL U-15 Premier 2 team, having won 5-3 v St. Kevins Boys FC in an end-to-end, exciting league play-off travelled to Athlone on Saturday to play their well deserved Shield final against Athlone Town FC.

With the winter sun setting and the floodlights turned on over Athlone’s excellent Ballymahon Road stadium facility, the scene was set for what would be a Battle of the Best between Cabo and Athlone Town in the U-15 P2 Shield Final.

The boys had worked hard from the start of the season and had well earned their position in the final. No matter what the outcome they had done themselves and the club proud. However, for the team there was one more game to be played before the Christmas celebrations could begin.

The excitement was building in the stadium with both sets of supporters; the officials were ready, the referee blew his whistle and it was kick-off!

Cabo started on the front foot and played some eye-catching football. Jack, Luke and Eoin were battling for everything in the middle of the park with support from George and Davy who were ready to pounce at any time.

On numerous occasions good team play, from defence out through the thirds, created one v one chances of which three fell to forward David Baker. However, through very good goalkeeping by the Athlone goalkeeper and bad luck (if you’re Cabo, good luck in Athlone’s case)  the ball never nestled in the back of the net.

Athlone, having weathered the Cabo onslaught for the first twenty minutes, now got a foothold in the game and won some corners. These were dangerous and Cabo found it difficult to deal with their well-rehearsed short corners. One such corner caused mayhem in the Cabo defence with the ball ricocheting around the six yard box before eventually being saved and cleared off the line in a joint effort by Cabo ‘keeper Darragh Kenny, assisted by defenders Daniel Murphy, Adam Moore and Adam Corcoran.

Darragh also had to deal with one or two Athlone long range efforts, which he did comfortably.

Then, a good wide attack from Athlone and a through ball to their striker finished with the ball in the Cabo net. Cabo supporters were in dismay while Athlone supporters celebrated but the referee ruled out the goal as it was clearly offside – the correct decision.

Cabo weren’t long getting back into their stride with a lovely ball played from the midfield through to Luke who was in an attacking position and whose shot the home ‘keeper saved and, unfortunately, his rebound shot just inched over the bar. Cabo were playing some lovely stuff and were putting on a wonderful footballing display.

Sam went on one of his marauding slalom runs, got behind the Athlone defence and shot well only for the Athlone ‘keeper to save well once again.

Towards the end of the half excellent link up play from Eoin, Ben, Luke and Jack allowed Ben to overlap the Athlone defence on a number of occasions and put over some dangerous crosses. In the final action of the half, Ben was fouled and Adam delivered a dangerous free kick into the heart of the Athlone box. One touch was all that was needed but the ball drifted just past the far post. At half-time the teams were level, at 0-0.

The second half started as the first had finished – at a blistering pace. Darragh was called to action early with a super save from an Athlone attack.

Athlone went on the attack again and, following a high ball into the Cabo box, both Daniel and Adam working together cleared. However, Adam, who had received a knock, could not go on any further and was replaced by Jack T.

Aidan, Cory, Ultan and Mark were all brought on to help relieve some of their battle worn team mates and the super performance from the boys continued.

With time ticking on and with some majestic football being played by both teams, Cabo finally got the breakthrough their play deserved. A beautifully timed pass by Jack L saw Davy dance around two defenders and slot the ball into the back of Athlone’s net. Cabo go ahead!

Athlone fought back bravely and threw everything at Cabo but the Cabo defence stayed strong. Two minutes to go, nail-biting time and hearts were pumping; could Cabo hold back the increasing barrage of assaults from Athlone?

Then a through ball to their attacker who slotted the ball in the Cabo net. Once again, the ref had a tough call to make as the striker had come from an offside position. No goal! The defence had worked again. Under immense pressure from the Athlone team and supporters, the ref’s decision stood. Fair play was alive and well!

With that the final whistle sounded and Cabo had won the final 1-0!

There was great celebration amongst players, managers and supporters with condolences to Athlone for their brave performance.

What a night, what a performance and what a team !

To celebrate, the team were treated to a meal and the Player of the Year ceremony before they left for home.

The very deserving awards were: Managers’ Player of the Year: Adam Corcoran; Most Improved Player of the Year: Sam O’Catháin and Players’ Player of the Year: Adam Moore.

A big thank you from all the players and supporters to Dave and Keith for all their hard work!

Do enjoy a few photos taken during the evening.

An excellent performance and result for the lads as 2016 comes to a close!