Blarney United 1 St Kevin’s Boys 0
MICHAEL O’Mahony struck a 32nd-minute goal to help nine-man Blarney United create history in the FAI U17 Challenge Cup decider at Dalymount Park on Saturday.
Despite losing to Anthony Butler and Sean Keane to red cards in a heated finale, O’Mahony’s deadlock-breaker was enough to give the Leesiders their first-ever national title.
And set off scenes of wild celebration from the Blarney players, management and supporters at the final whistle as they all celebrated this incredible win against the odds.
Whilst the worst excesses of Storm Hannah had passed in time for kick-off, a powerful wind blew in Blarney’s favour during the opening half.
After a Zack McCarthy free-kick clipped the crossbar on 11 minutes, Scott Forrest (paired up front with Kelvin O’Donoghue) fired past the post off a long punt forward by netminder Sean Quinlivan.
Forrest was a lively presence throughout for Blarney and it was his hard work that earned a corner just beyond the half-hour.
Following McCarthy’s precise delivery on the left, centre-half O’Mahony flicked past the stranded Ross Leonard in the Kevin’s goal.
Having struggled to build momentum prior to the interval, Kevin’s were expected to ramp up the pressure on the O’Shea Park outfit.
Skipper Killian Philips had the ball in the net two minutes after the resumption, but referee Dylan Redmond ruled it out for a foul on Quinlivan.
Though the north Dubliners were largely reduced to speculative strikes from distance, Quinlivan was at full stretch to tip over Craig Braddell’s attempt at an equaliser.
Kevin’s then seemingly received a boost on the stroke of 80 minutes, when Blarney defender Butler was dismissed for a second yellow-card offence.
They looked set to finish with a two-man advantage after Keane was also given his marching orders, only for Kevin’s substitute Sean Larkin to see red for his part in the same incident.
Once the dust settled, Blarney had to negotiate their way through five minutes of stoppage-time.
They breathed a massive sigh of relief as Philips was once again adjudged to have impeded Quinlivan before scrambling home, but a superb defensive effort ultimately sealed a groundbreaking success for Blarney.
BLARNEY UNITED: Sean Quinlivan; Cian Connolly, Anthony Butler, Michael O’Mahony, Liam O’Connor; Corey Murphy (Eddie Murphy 71), Sean Keane, Zack McCarthy, Kevin O’Connor (Donnchadh Morrissey 57); Scott Forrest (Niall Cremin 95), Kelvin O’Donoghue (Michael Murray 77).
ST KEVIN’S BOYS: Ross Leonard; Talor Dolan, Jack Tynan, Cian Woodlock, Jack Halligan; Killian Philips, Craig Braddell (Liam McNamee 89); Dean Paget, Jake McEvoy (Sean Larkin 56), Dylan Brooks (Callum Ridgeway 56); Dylan Kelly.
Referee: Dylan Redmond (Dublin).