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St Kevin’s need a Jack in the box to finally see off Leixlip’s mighty effort

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U14 SFAI SKECHERS GOODSON CUP:

LEIXLIP UNITED………..0 ST KEVIN’S BOYS…….1

Last Saturday, U2 were playing in Leixlip. On the radio. There was a big gig up at The Amenities Centre.

The quarter-final of the Under-14 All-Ireland Cup. And it was a game that did the memory of George Goodson proud.

By NIALL SCULLY

It was a marvellous match. With a throbbing tempo. And so much endeavour.

There were crunching tackles. And many pockets of craft. The electric rhythm of the contest left the players with no time to count the corn flakes.

The swirling wind didn’t make things easy. But both teams did their best to keep it on the dance floor.

A decent crowd looked on. The fixture was played on the all-weather. A mini Kop had assembled outside the shop behind the goal. A shop that was selling coffee, tea, snacks and soup. And which also offered TV and wifi. Leixlip United have a wonderful home.

One of the best referees in the city arrived to take charge, Gerry McClinton. In the Leixlip dugout was Paul Martin, a brilliant striker in his League of Ireland days.

As the hosts and the visitors walked off the pitch at the end, applause rang around the ground.

“It was a really good match,” remarked Robbie Martin, Paul’s son. “We are proud of the lads and what they have achieved. And we have a lot of time for St. Kevin’s. They are a super team.”

Leixlip defended so well. And they came so close to scoring three times in the second half.

With the score still 0-0, Jamie Byrne’s left-footed free from the left was deflected onto the Kevin’s post at the shop end. It was still scoreless when the Kevin’s ‘keeper, Ryan Maher, advanced swiftly from his line to foil Conor Kavanagh.

And then, as United chased the equaliser late on, Kavanagh’s header tumbled against the bar.

The golden goal came 25 minutes into the second period. From a neat slice of skill inside the box from Jack Allen who found a yard to guide a left-footed strike low to the right-hand corner.

“The lads did well,” said Rob Doran of Kevin’s at the final whistle. “Cup matches are all about winning. Conditions weren’t easy today. But the players worked very hard against the holders, who are a very good side.”       

In attack, the Kevin’s duo, Mark Tarzan and Nickson Okasun, took watching. The Kevin’s left full-back, Aaron Coyle, has a left foot that can bend them like Beckham.

Leixlip’s spirit was summed up by the conviction of their captain, Josh Fagan. And the courage of their goalkeeper, Alex Kearney.

LEIXLIP UNITED: Alex Kearney; Jack O’Rahilly, Alex Elworthy, Kane O’Brien, Jamie Byrne, Thomas Devlin, Kaream Elsharkwy, Ryan Bujingo, Conor Kavanagh, Joshua Flood, Sam Kelly, Albert Edet, Alex Akindrndoyo, Luke O’Flaherty, Josh Fagan, Vlad Helbet. Managers: Robbie Martin, Paul Martin, Louise Fitzpatrick.

ST KEVIN’S FC: Ryan Maher; Joshua Okagbue, Aaron Coyle, Joshua Lyons, Sean McCarthy, Ryan Kelly, Sam Fagan, Daniel McGrath, Jack Allen, Mark Tarzan, Nickson Okasun, Aaron Moloney, Shawn Ighadaro, Joao Lopes Viera, Ryan Markey, Mark Nutley. Managers: Rob Doran, Willie Burke, Frank Loftus.

Referee: Gerry McClinton

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