09 Nov DB Sports Tours Champions Cup Showcases Ireland’s Best
THE island’s top schoolboy sides took Oriel Park by storm as the Dublin District Schoolboy League made it a clean sweep of cross-border scalps at the newly-expanded DB Sports Tours Champions Cup.
All five DDSL sides took the trophy at their respective age group on Saturday with impressive victories in their one-off contests on front of a large crowd.
The exciting newly-expanded tournament – which began with a two-legged victory for St Oliver Plunketts over Shelbourne at Under-15 level last year – pitted the five Schoolboy Football Association of Ireland Cup champions against their Northern Ireland Boys Football Association cup winning counterparts
SFAI Cup holders Templeogue United and Malahide United won the Under-15 and U-16 titles respectively thanks to penalty-shootout victories over Crusaders and Plunketts.
The three younger age groups saw guest sides fill in for the unavailable SFAI champions and Crumlin United, St Francis FC and Cherry Orchard all seized their chance to impress.
Crumlin kicked off the day with a 1-0 victory over Glentoran in the U-12 decider, before Francis (1-0) and the Orchard (3-0) saw off sides from Plunketts back-to-back to claim the U-13 and U14 crowns.
Organizer and DB Sports Tours Managing Director David Berber was delighted with the day of action and was not surprised by the enthusiastic reviews he received from his Premier League guests.
“The whole point of this tournament is to pit the best schoolboy sides from either side of the border against each other and see just how high the standards in Ireland is,” said Berber.
“I was confident the result would impress everybody who came out for the day and the reaction and feedback I got from interested professional clubs was incredible.
“There are some great players in Ireland – on both sides of the border – and while the accolades went to an impressive selection of DDSL sides on this occasion, the real winner was Irish schoolboy football for me.”
CRUMLIN UNITED 1
GLENTORAN FC 0
DB SPORTS TOURS U12 CHAMPIONS CUP
CRUMLIN UNITED got the DDSL charge off the perfect start at Oriel Park with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Glentoran in the Under-12 Champions Cup decider.
An opportunistic close-range finish from Anthony Purdy on five minutes was enough to ensure the south Dubliners took the title – despite a strong showing from Glentoran.
Jack Lawlor’s corner did the damage as the Belfast side were unable to clear properly and Adam O’Brien strike towards goal looked to have deflected in but Purdy made sure on the line.
The Under-11 A Cup winners last season almost doubled their advantage soon after when Josh Dunne forced Paul McLaughlin into a smart save with a left-footed shot.
However, it was the northern outfit who grew in confidence the longer the game went on and eventual Man of the Match Martins Olakanye had to be at the his best to deny them
Goalkeeper Jamie Cleary was called into action on numerous occasions in the second half, in particular saving well from Alfie May’s low drive.
The goalkeeper got the bit of luck he and his side needed minutes later when Sean Gallagher’s shot had him beaten but cannoned back off the crossbar.
Despite the tension, Crumlin hung on for the victory and will now bring the confidence gained from a trophy win back to their debut season in the DDSL Premier.
CRUMLIN UNITED: Jamie Cleary; Evan O’Callaghan, Adam O’Brien, Rian Ashe, Liam Kane, Martins Olakanye, Nathan Dunne, Jack Colgan, Anthony Purdy, Josh Dunne, Jordan O’Neill, Lee Monaghan, Kealan Sherett, Jason Henderson, Jack Lawlor.
GLENTORAN: Paul McLaughlin, David Sloan, Ethan Warnock, Myles Murray, Lewis McGarvey, Sean Gallagher, Malachy Smith, Keelan Quigley, Mathew Strain, Alfie May, Matthew Swann, Ben Cushnie, Eoin Brown, Matthew Irvine, Dylan Bell.
ST FRANICS FC 1
ST OLIVER PLUNKETTS 0
DB SPORTS TOURS U13 CHAMPIONS CUP
DDSL Under-13 Premier leaders St Francis FC made their mark with the most dominating display of the day to beat St Oliver Plunketts 1-0 and claim an impressive treble.
The West Dubliners arrived at Oriel Park having already won two other DB Sports Tours-run tournaments in the last 12 months – the Manchester Easter Cup and the Irish Cup in the summer.
Unbeaten this season, Francis never really looked in any real danger in this game and should have won by far more than Man of the Match Mark Kelly’s wonderful second-half goal.
The impressive midfielder picked the ball up on the left side of the box five minutes into the second period from Jack Connolly and jinked by three players before firing beyond the helpless Harry Monaghan.
Monaghan in the Oliver Plunketts goal was kept busy from the very start as Francis signaled their intentions on two minutes with a low drive from Jake Walker across the face of goal.
Millenic Alli hit the target soon after with a drive of his own from inside the area but Monaghan saved well with his legs, before a Jack Connolly header was cleared off the line by Rory Courtney just before half-time.
The second-half didn’t get any easier for Plunketts and a long-range free-kick from Connolly that had to be tipped around the post by the goalkeeper was the best of a host of good chances for Francis to double their lead.
ST FRANCIS FC: Sean Prentner; Connor Fitzharris, Ryan Murphy, Mitchell Byrne, Josh O’Toole, Mark Kelly, Thomas Caffrey, Jack Connolly, Jake Walker, Dylan Connolly, Millenic Alli, Brandon Kavanagh, Sean Breen, Cian Kelly, Lee Ennis.
ST OLIVER PLUNKETTS: Harry Monaghan; Conal McDonald, Conor Maxwell, Rory Courtney, Caoimbhin McGuinees, Sean Wallace, Ronan Hamill, Jarad Meighan, Marc McKenna, Donal Rocks, Niall Ferris, Caolan Teer, Eugene Reid, Owen Crilly, Stephen Marley.
CHERRY ORCHARD 3
ST OLIVER PLUNKETTS 1
DB SPORTS TOURS U14 CHAMPIONS CUP
CHERRY ORCHARD eventually sealed a 3-1 win over St Oliver Plunketts, despite making hard work of their U-14 Champions Cup clash.
Despite cruising into a 2-0 first-half lead, the Ballyfermot side came under pressure from a Plunketts team determined not to concede a second victory in a row for their club on the day.
However, a cool finish from Luke Boore in the final minutes saw off the Plunketts charge and secured a deserved victory in the end.
The Orchard really never should have had to wait until than to be comfortable after their early dominance was rewarded on 18 minutes when Aaron O’Driscoll’s glancing from a Richard English corner gave Declan Smyth in the Plunketts goal no chance.
Three minutes later it should have been two as the lively Callum Brummell’s snapshot in the box struck a defender’s hand, but the attacker was denied by Smyth’s finger-tip save onto the post from the resulting penalty.
The goalkeeper was left rooted to the spot, however, 60 seconds later as Dean Dillon struck a low drive from outside the area that flew into the bottom corner before he could even move.
Despite the Dublin side’s dominance, a superb driving run from midfield and unstoppable long-range finish into the roof of the net from Liam McKenna gave Plunketts hope.
Adam Wallace was inches wide with a shot at the back post from an Eamon O’Connor cross minutes later, before Eoin Smyth’s half volley on the turn caused controversy as it cannoned back off the underside of the crossbar and out.
Adamant it was over the line, Plunketts were incensed not to be level and as they continued to press they were denied by Jack Hudson’s goalline clearance from Smyth’s cross come lob near the end, before Boore sealed the result with only minutes remaining.
CHERRY ORCHARD: Paddy Pender; Evan Farrell, Tyreke Wilson, Aaron O’Driscoll, Jack Hudson, Matthew McMenimen, Jack Strickland, Cian Collins, Sean Quinn, Richard English, Dean Dillon, Daniel Grant, Jamie Rice, Joshua Ukek, Callum Brummell, Luke Boore, Corrie Ndaba.
ST OLIVER PLUNKETTS: Declan Smyth; Daniel Dargan, Noel Healy, Niall McPartland, Liam McKenna, Alex Lalor, Stephen Mallon, Reece McInerney, Paddy Doyle, Matty Lynch, Sean-Paul Wray, Adam Wallace, Caelan McGarry, Eamon O’Connor, Eoin Smyth.
TEMPLEOGUE UNITED 1
CRUSADERS FC 1
(Templeogue win 4-3 after penalty shootout)
DB SPORTS TOURS U15 CHAMPIONS CUP
ALL-IRELAND and Premier double winners last year Templeogue United were pushed all the way by
Crusaders but eventually won the U15 Champions Cup thanks to a penalty shootout victory.
At the end of a closely-fought battle that couldn’t separate the sides from play or the shootout, it was Curtis Crawford who crucially missed the target from the spot to hand Templeogue the victory.
It didn’t look like the South Dubliners would need that kind of luck in the first half as Stephen Hanley produced a superb solo run and finish to give them the lead 10 minutes before the beak.
It was an advantage that would only last seven minutes as Crusaders ensured they shared the spoils from a half which they began brighter thanks to a clinical Cameron Andrews finish into the bottom corner from outside the area.
Like the first period, the second half never really kicked into life either as the game was played in second gear by Templeogue in particular.
Leuan Hopkins felt he should have had a penalty after being played through in the box by Avis Ganiyu, but he never looked like getting the ball out of his feet for a shot anyway, before Ganiyu brought the crowd to life with a run and shot.
The full-back converted to winger after the break showed tremendous speed and energy to go past his marker but his near-post shot was saved by Declan Smyth in the goal.
Ireland U-15 international Steven Kinsella showed moments of individual magic in the second period but his long jinking run from the halfway line was crowded out before his trademark low curling free went inches wide near the end.
There appeared to be no sign of the shootout separating the sides either as Kyle McClean’s miss for Crusaders was followed up immediately by Simon King’s failure from the spot.
In the end it was Crawford’s miss that tipped the balance in Templeogue’s favour and they accepted the gift.
TEMPLEOGUE UNITED: Conor Kearns; Steven Kinsella, Simon King, Jake Reddy, Leuan Hopkins, Sam Morrison, Shane Hanney, Stephen Hanley, Eoin Stokes, Avis Ganiyu, Darragh Corcoran, Adam Maher, Conor Davis, Darragh Gibbons.
CRUSADERS: Ben McCauley; Michael Kerr, Dale McCreery, Aaron Swann, Cameron Andrews, Josh Corry, Graham Ervine, Dylan O’Kane, Kyle McClean, Conal Delaney, Scott Craig, Salou Jallow, Denver Brown, Curtis Crawford, Ryan Caulfield.
MALAHIDE UNITED 1
ST OLIVER PLUNKETTS 0
(Malahide won 3-2 after a penalty shootout)
DB SPORTS TOURS CHAMPIONS CUP
MALAHIDE UNITED and St Oliver Plunketts saved the best for last at Oriel Park but it was last year’s SFAI winners that completed a clean sweep for the southern sides with a penalty-shootout victory.
Goalkeeper Ben Kelly played the biggest role of any player on the pitch in separating this excellent contest in favour of Malahide with three saves in the shootout.
Kelly’s heroics meant the impressive nerves shown by captain Josh Lynch in stroking home the last spotkick for Plunketts after they had only scored one from four were futile as Alex Barry made sure of the win with his penalty.
Malahide were in danger of dropping the southern baton on the final lap as Ben Kennedy’s first-half goal saw a determined Plunketts side lead until late on.
The Belfast side looked determined from the start to avoid a 5-0 whitewash for the northern teams – and more importantly three-successive defeats for their own club on the day – and put it up to Malahide from the start.
They took a deserved lead on 15 minutes when Lynch’s inswinging free-kick from the left brushed through the fingertips of Malahide keeper Kelly and Kennedy finished from close range at the back post.
Robert Duggan’s blocked shot from a short corner was the only real threat of note from Malahide before the break as chances were few and far between in this cagey encounter.
The second-half began at a higher pace than the opening period immediately and Alan McQuillan brought Malahide to life with a driving run from deep that resulted in Ruairi Murray in the Plunketts goal making a good save from his shot.
Winger Steven Ball was unable to direct his rushed effort on target after Murray was forced into a poor clearance directly into his path but Malahide were clearly in the ascendency by now and pushing hard for an equalizer.
It came 19 minutes in as Duggan’s excellent inswinging delivery from the left caused panic in the Plunketts box and Steven Ball seized the chance to fire home through a crowd of bodies from eight yards.
Minutes later James Casey forced Murray to his long-range low drive around the post and from the resulting corner Michael McKenna had to clear off the line as Plunketts again struggled with the delivery.
Despite their impressive second-half showing, Malahide were almost caught out right at the death as Lynch’s long-range shot forced goalkeeper Kelly into a save and he had to get down quick at the feet of Kennedy from the rebound to help his close-range drive onto the post.
The stopper enhanced his own reputation even further in the shootout by giving his side a 2-1 lead going into the final spot kicks by denying Stephen Fall, Kennedy and Lee Doherty – Duggan and Ball missed Malahide’s third and fourth kicks respectively – and Barry sealed the win.
MALAHIDE UNITED: Ben Kelly; Tom Callaghan, Alan McQuillan, Paul Rooney, Colm Deasy, Mikey Hannigan, Garreth Craven, Robert Duggan, James Casey, Andrew Brown, Steven Ball, Sean Doyle, Ryan Ennis, Alex Barry, Gavin Kearney.
ST OLIVER PLUNKETTS: Ruairi Murray; Seanna Foster, Levi Ives, Cormac Deery, Conor Morgan, Ben Kennedy, Stephen Fallon, Josh Lynch, Lee Doherty, Tiernan Rushe, Gary Donnelly, Michael McKenna, Ciaran Reid, Joseph McManus, Brad Lyons.
*REPORTS COURTESY OR IRELAND’S TOP JUNIOR SOCCER SUPPLEMENT TARGET (IN EVERY TUESDAY’S IRISH DAILY STAR)*