Our Under 19 Boys Senior soccer team played Cabinteely CS in the final of the South Metropolitan League final in Kilboggit Park on Friday 27th January. The Cabinteely team entered the game as warm favourites, with six of their players playing at Airtricity National League level and another player looking destined to join a Premiership club during the summer.
In the opening minutes, the game was a tightly contested affair, with neither team creating chances. The first chance fell to St Kilian’s, when Jonas Carew delivered a pinpoint corner which the opposing defence struggled to deal with and, in the ensuing scramble, David Noone just failed to score. This was an impressive start by the St Kilian’s boys but their good work was undone after ten minutes when one of the opposing midfielders struck a terrific volley that sailed into the roof of the St Kilian’s net.
St Kilian’s responded immediately and forced a succession of corners. Carew’s deliveries were causing mayhem in the opposing 6-yard box, with two chances going narrowly wide – Nick Carswell’s header and Kieran Spellman-Molphy’s shot. Disaster struck for St Kilian’s, and a sizeable stroke of good fortune fell Cabinteely’s way, when a firmly struck clearance by a St Kilian’s defender cannoned into the net, past a helpless Adrian Jesoniek in goal.
To St Kilian’s credit, they dusted themselves off and continued to create chances, though they were liable to being caught on the counter. On one occasion, a Cabinteely player breached the offside line but blazed over from close range. A few minutes later, in a similar incident, Jesoniek came to the rescue as he dived athletically to his left to smother the shot. From that move, proving that it was a pulsating end-to-end game, David Noone was played through by a crossfield ball from Dillon Fox but the alert keeper was quick off his line and just got there in time to deny our striker.
Halftime arrived and the two-goal deficit gave some food for thought! St Kilian’s opened the second half at an even higher tempo and forced a number of corners. They continued to be a major source of stress for the Cabinteely defence but failed to deliver the elusive goal to give St Kilian’s a foothold back into the game. However, in the 12th minute of the second half, a tangible return was finally forthcoming as St Kilian’s were awarded a freekick 25 metres from goal. Jonas Carew, scorer of a hat-trick of freekicks in a single game last season, crashed a venomous shot onto the crossbar and Kieran Spellman-Molphy followed up to head the ball to the net.
St Kilian’s saw light at the end of the tunnel and pressed for an equaliser. Dillon Fox shot narrowly wide after good work by Adam Cantwell and Ferdia Geary down the left, soon to be followed by a dynamic run by Geary into the six yard box, managing to get a shot away despite the close attentions of two defenders only to be denied by a great save by the keeper at his nearpost. At other end, Cabinteely were continuing to be a threat and Adrian Jesoniek made the save of the game when he somehow managed to tip a goalbound header over the crossbar from just underneath it.
As St Kilian’s pressed and pressed for their 2nd goal, it was using up a lot of energy and, with some of our players having just recovered from illness, fatigue became a factor. Cabinteely pounced to make it 3-1 with 15 minutes to go but St Kilians were further motivated by this setback to make one final push. Michael Dzidic came into defence as Matthew Barker made way, allowing Adam Cantwell to move to a midfield role, giving this area of our play a timely boost. Unforunately, Cabinteely added a fourth goal from a freekick which wasn’t cleared and in the scramble that followed, one of their players put the chance away.
St Kilian’s continued to keep going at the same rate as they had up to that point of the game and the introduction of Seoirse Joyce and Harris Arimin gave their cause some ‘fresh legs’. However, they were denied the chance of a consolation goal towards the end by the Cabinteely keeper and, in the end, had to accept second best, though content in the knowledge that they didn’t get the ‘breaks’ that their display deserved.
Report by Al Sugg, soccer coach