DDSL made to sweat but retain Kennedy crown
The Dublin District Schoolboy League (DDSL) came from behind against Kildare to retain the SFAI Kennedy Cup after a thrilling final at the University of Limerick yesterday.
Cherry Orchard ace Ben Quinn notched a hat-trick and St Kevin's Boys' Evan Ferguson was also on target for the Dubs who were 1-0 down to an early strike from Dean Owens in the Treaty City.
Owens opened the scoring five minutes into the game, the Athy Town FC striker, who would also net later in the game, taking advantage of confusion in the box to finish a deflected cross from close range.
But the DDSL's Quinn, who had netted in the last-four, restored parity moments later in a lively start to the 96th and final game of the five-day tournament.
The DDSL edged in front 14 minutes in, Craig King delivering a deep cross from the right for Ferguson to nod back across the goal and into the far corner of the net.
The Dubs, with Belguy Manzambi and Tom Longeran influencing in midfield, continued to press following Ferguson's looping header.
Cain Ward saved brilliantly from Callum Warren and Ferguson almost added his second from another King delivery on the stroke of half time.
Quinn doubled the Dubs' advantage two minutes after the restart with a close-range finish from a low Ferguson cross and Ward denied the same player a hat-trick moments later.
Ward also held a Ferguson volley after good build-up from the DDSL.
At the other end, Alex Conlan's free-kick was off target before Matt McCarrick fired over from close range 18 minutes from time.
The Thoroughbreds were beginning to press at this point, and Jamie Duggan's effort was well saved by Lee Morris before Owens set up a grandstand finish with a neat finish from inside the area nine minutes from time.
However, Quinn laid claim to the match ball just three minutes later after outpacing the Kildare defence and planting a low strike into the corner.
Kildare poured forward, but it was the DDSL that came closest to adding a seventh goal to an entertaining final, with Ferguson trying his luck from 30 yards and Ward tipping his drive onto the post.
Edwin Adbaje headed over the crossbar deep into injury time with Kildare going for broke.
Even a goal at that stage probably wouldn't have sufficed, however, with the ref blowing time less than a minute later.
The DDSL once again impressed emerging victorious, with Kildare and Cork, who won the Kennedy Plate after a 3-1 victory over Wexford yesterday, the only sides to score against the SFAI Kennedy Cup kingpins at the 2018 edition of the tournament.