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Cherries reel in Saints to claim Skechers SFAI Evans Cup in five goal thriller at Porterstown

U-15 SFAI SKECHERS CUP FINAL

CHERRY ORCHARD……3 ST KEVIN’S BOYS………2

There was optimism in the air. Football came home. At the pretty home of St Mochtas, the perfect hosts for this absorbing Under-15 SFAI Skechers Evans Cup final.

Only 100 spectators were allowed. And they indeed were the lucky ones. They saw plenty of skills and spills. There was crunch in the tackles and weight on the passing. The fine surface contributed to the splendid spectacle.

By NIALL SCULLY

The Sunday afternoon sun was shining. The Mochtas shop was open. Their PA system kept everybody informed. Goal-scorers, subs. The whole nine yards. And there was a team-sheet. Which was full of worthy footballers.

One of the best of them was the Orchard midfielder, Callum Wynne. He didn’t put a foot wrong.

Harry O’Connor also had a productive game for the Orchard. Never far from the action. And so often involved in the thick of it.

Late on, when cool heads were needed, the Cherries’ central defender, David Monahan, showed an exceptional slice of defending. He was composure itself.

Kevin’s were most unfortunate to lose their polished defender, Jamie Thompson, after just a minute. He’s highly regarded on the Shanowen Road.

There was some explosive shooting. One of the best strikes of the contest came from St Kevin’s Daniel Chukwu who hit an absolute screamer in the first half that had the daisies, and everybody else, ducking at the clubhouse end.

Daniel’s drive sparked applause from the terraces. “He struck that so well. He has a great left foot on him.”

In the Kevin’s goal, David Leonard showed he’s as comfortable with the feet as the hands. Qualities that are now required on goalkeeping CV’s.

“Five goals. And so much excitement. It was a good, competitive game. With two good sides,” remarked Kevin’s manager, Donal Crawford.

Brendan Wynne of the Orchard agreed: “It was a terrific match. I’m sure the neutrals enjoyed it. We had a lot of possession. We kept the ball well. We asked them at half-time to be patient and to have belief. We created plenty of chances. I think we hit the bar or post three times.”

It was Chukwu, showing sharp reactions, who put Kevin’s ahead on seven minutes. The equalizer was a bit special.

38 minutes on the watch. Matthew Alonge’s clever back-heel released Bobby Pakenham on the left. When Bobby’s cross arrived, it was met by a first-class strike from Seán Connolly.

Seán met it on the laces. Such a beautiful goal would have made his late father, Graham, so proud. Seán’s thundering shot nearly took the net off its hinges.

A minute into the second period, Daniel Bergin’s pass let in Alex Connolly for the second goal for the Saints, but seconds later, the Ballyfermot boys were level when Joshua Kerr firmly placed the ball inside the right-hand post.

Orchard pushed on. Mark Flood, Alonge, with a sizzler, and Monahan all went close. They were rewarded 27 minutes into the half.

Wynne’s stunning free-kick crashed back off the bar. It made its way to Flood, whose right-footed, curling shot from 25 yards was good enough to win the Euro final.

And, right on cue, a passing train hooted its horn.

CHERRY ORCHARD: Alex Power, Luke O’Regan Charles Ekhuemelo, Bobby Pakenham, David Monahan, Mark Flood, Sean Connolly, Harry O’Connor, Joshua Kerr, Max Mason, Matthew Alonge. Callum Wynne, Jack Cronin, Regan Umvh, Bartek Stada, Ronan Keogh. Management: Brendan Wynne, Ger Pakenhan, Aaron O’Callaghan, Ben Durham, Ben Doyle.

ST KEVIN’S Boys: David Leonard; Lee McQuillan, Oisin Ryan, Jamie Thompson, Cillian Mooney, Ben Parker, Daniel Chukwu, Joseph Hannigan, Dan Bergin, James McElliott, Alex Connolly. Shaun Doyle, Joel Chad, Nathan O’Kelly, Reece Rodriquez. Management: Donal Crawford, Damien O’Kelly, Dave Thompson, Mick Fox, Scott Kavanagh.

Referee: Stephen Butler. Assistants: Aaron O’Dowd, Ben McEvoy.

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