St Kevin's Boys win SFAI Goodson Cup Final
St Kevin's Boys 2 -1 Salthill Devon
St Kevin's Boys followed up their SFAI National Cup successes of the past two years at U12 and U13 level, with a hard earned U14 Goodson Cup victory over Galway representatives, Salthill Devon, at Home Farm FC on 20 May 2007.
The Whitehall Ground was packed, for what proved to be a keenly contested and competitive encounter. Salthill Devon may have travelled as underdogs but they showed a determination and resilience, coupled with no little ability, to grace the occasion.
The starting line-up of St Kevin's, contained four players who had represented Ireland in an international tournament in Switzerland during the week leading up to the final. The fifth international representative, Jeff Hendrick, was sadly unable to start because on an injury sustained in Switzerland.
The match kicked off under sunny blue sky conditions, interspersed with the occasional gust of blustery wind. St Kevin's were quickly into their stride and midfielder, Conor Murphy, one of the international quintet, had the first strike at goal within sixty seconds.
St Kevin's dominated the opening exchanges with Club and Ireland captain, Robbie Brady, a constant threat down the left-flank. Brady was ably assisted by the excellent support running of left-back Conor Carberry, and the intelligent movement of strike pair Anthony Bolger and Ethan Mannion.
Despite their ascendancy, St Kevin's were unable to put the finishing touch to a number of crosses provided by the dynamic Brady. The central midfield pairing of Murphy and fellow international Eoin Wearen, lent balance and power to the area and the pacy runs of Sean Stewart down the right flank suggested an inevitable breakthrough.
Credit must however be given to Salthill, who provided stout resistance and as the half progressed came more and more into the game. As the boys from Galway began to mount some threatening attacks of their own, they too, met a solid St Kevin's defensive wall in Gary Smith, Matt Holland and Jeffrey Hopkins. With both sides defending well, it was no surprise that the match was scoreless at half-time.
The second-half start replicated that of the first with an immediate assault from St Kevin's, but Stewart's shot went wide of the post. The greater experience and physical strength of the St Kevin's boys began to tell and they began to create some good openings. Robbie Brady was the catalyst for most of the attacks and Galway native Ethan Mannion was also causing his home county rivals defensive problems.
The anticipated breakthrough arrived mid-way through the half when Brady overcame a succession of desperate challenges to find Conor Murphy. The midfielder delivered an excellent ball and Anthony Bolger was on hand to drive the ball to the net. From the kick-off, Salthill, catching the St Kevin's defence slightly off guard, drove swiftly forward and a fierce goalbound shot was magnificently turned over the bar by the very alert Ryan Kinsella, who had also represented Ireland in Switzerland.
St Kevin's continued to control matters and another piece of mesmeric footwork from Brady, culminated in an inch perfect cross which Eoin Wearen headed emphatically to the net. The Galway boys did not let their heads drop and remained competitive throughout the remainder of the half. They received some consolation for their endeavours with a well worked goal in the dying seconds of the game.
Kevin's Boys Team
Gary Smith, Matt Holland, Jeffrey Hopkins, Conor Carberry
Sean Stewart, Eoin Wearen, Conor Murphy, Robbie Brady
Anthony Bolger, Ethan Mannion
Gavin Abbott, Eamon Fakih, Jeff Hendrick, Alex McCann, Paul O'Brien