Joy for Carrigaline United as U16s battle back to reach National Cup final

Joy for Carrigaline United as U16s battle back to reach National Cup final
Ryan McCann, Carrigaline United, holding off Cian Murphy, Leeds during their U16 National Cup match at Ballea Park. Picture: Dan Linehan

CARRIGALINE United's U16s are just one win away from lifting the SFAI Skechers National Cup.

Having come so close to losing their opportunity of completing their National Cup journey as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, United, like three other Cork teams, were handed a lifeline by the SFAI who ultimately reversed their decision to cancel the prestigious competitions. 

With the SFAI committed to finishing them, Carrigaline United, along with 19 other clubs across the country, set about preparing for their remaining National Cup ties.

And in the semi-final on Saturday, Carrigaline United were losing 1-0 to Shannon Town, but a first-rate team performance saw the youngsters run out 2-1 winners which was enough for a place in the final of the SFAI Skechers U16 National Cup.

On Saturday, Carrigaline started strongly and could have gone ahead early in the game but the visitors were undone by a counter attack on the quarter of the hour mark and Shannon Town were still leading at the half time interval. 

Playing against the strong wind suited Carrigaline in the second half and they were evidently playing the better football. The equaliser came when Derry Howard last his marker on the wing and crossed accurately to Jamie Moore who powerfully headed past the Shannon Town keeper. 

The introduction of Ryan McCann, Callum Power and Dylan Twohig added energy to the Carrigaline team and it seemed as if a second goal was inevitable. Indeed, it came when Jamie Moore struck home on the rebound following good work on the wing from Ciaran Crotty. 

A stubborn Carrigaline defence made sure the Cork side held on to their lead until the final whistle.

Manager Jack Kent recounted the exciting clash.

“The pitch was soft and the conditions were bad and after watching our opponents just a week previous, we wanted to exploit the space in behind their back three. 

"We were probably a bit unlucky not to be one or two goals ahead early on but even when we conceded, myself and Ray Linehan (assistant manager) were confident the players could turn things around and they produced a fantastic team performance to do exactly that.” 

“The players were fantastic in the semi-final as they have been throughout the entire competition. We have beaten some talented teams en route to the final so the players are confident and the team is ready to compete in the final against Cherry Orchard in Dublin.” 

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