Carrigaline United 2
St Kevin’s Boys 1
CARRIGALINE United are through to the final of the U16 National Cup after overcoming the challenge of St Kevin’s Boys following this thrilling semi-final affair at Ballea Park on Saturday afternoon.
Coming from behind to progress into the decider, Carrigaline showcased desire aplenty to ensure their dreams of cup glory remain very much alive.
This cup run has shown many of the traits that are positive about this Carrigaline side and they were in full evidence in this semi-final contest also, It was the Dublin side that settled well in the opening stages and they went into the lead in the 10th minute.
After an initial effort on goal was saved by Carrigaline keeper Robert Barry, Sean O’Keeffe was on hand to finish clinically from a few yards out.
Buoyed by that opener, Kevin’s went in search of more and Evan McGee fired wide from the edge of the box.
Carrigaline grew into the contest the longer the first half progressed. They went close through a Robert Walker curling free-kick that went just wide in the 20th minute.
Aaron Cotter also threatened for the hosts with a low strike which forced a save out of St Kevin’s keeper Tadas Bekeza.
Backed on a strong home support, Carrigaline regrouped and came back out fighting for the second half.
The hosts had the perfect chance to level the game from the penalty spot. Walker stepped up to take it, however, his spot-kick was saved by the alert reactions of Bekeza. Carrigaline though were growing in momentum and the belief they could turn this around was growing.
With 60 minutes played on the clock, Carrigaline’s persistence was rewarded. From a corner kick, Prince Iyalla found the back of the net with a bullet of a header.
From that point, Carrigaline sensed this semi-final tie was there for the taking. Louka Mohan went close for the hosts when his low shot was saved well. At the other end, Kevin’s continued to also pose a threat of their own. Jack McDermott forced another decent save out of Carrigaline shot-stopper Barry.
Carrigaline completed the comeback and went into the lead with just five minutes remaining on the clock.
Breaking free at the back post from a cross into the penalty area, Temidayo Alade produced an instinctive finish with a neat effort, which sparked wild scenes of celebration right around Ballea Park.
Carrigaline almost got a third goal to put the icing on the cake in the dying stages when Dion Davison blasted wide of the mark from a great position in the box.
Despite the best late efforts from St Kevin’s, Carrigaline saw the game out and progressed into the final.
This Carrigaline side based on this showing will have every chance of coming out on top in the U16 National Cup final.