Burns keeps nerve as St Pat’s land U-19 title right at the death

by Stephen Findlater

** St Patrick’s Athletic celebrate after their side’s second goal, scored by Darragh Burns. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

SSE Airtricity National Under 19 League final

St Patrick’s Athletic 2 Bohemians 1

Darragh Burns kept his nerve from the penalty spot to land the SSE Airtricity National Under 19 League title via a highly controversial penalty in the closing minutes of extra time, seeing off Dublin rivals Bohemians 2-1.

With just over three of the 30 minutes extra time to play at the UCD Bowl, Bohs skipper Gavin Molloy tangled with Ben McCormack at the corner of the area and referee Kevin O’Sullivan immediately pointed to the penalty spot.

It looked more likely McCormack had slipped as Molloy miscued a clearance but the decision stood. Burns stepped up to beat Kian Moore with an emphatic finish and send the title back to Inchicore for the first time since 2014.

That St Pat’s side, who beat Derry City in the decider, was managed by long time stalwart Cyril Walsh and contained many players who went on to have decent careers in the senior ranks including current St Mirren star Jamie McGrath and Darragh Markey.

Kyle Robinson had put the young Saints in front on 33 minutes when he met a McCormack cross from the right to crack the ball past Moore with the help of a deflection off a Bohs defender.

Darragh Burns shoots to score he vital penalty. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

St Pats had been the dominant side in the opening half but that changed quickly five minutes after resumption with Colin Kelly grabbing an equaliser for Bohs.

The Galway native won the race with the Pats keeper Josh Keeley who had come off his line to deal with a long ball into his area and from a tight angle Kelly turned the ball into the unguarded net.

Bohs had their tails up at this stage and Kelly was close to getting a second with a neat turn and shot that came off the post and was cleared.

While at the other end Andy Spain failed narrowly to make proper contact with a McCormack free and his glancing header went wide.

Bohs were then hit by a double blow when defenders Denis Smith and Mayowa Animashahun were replaced after a serious clash of heads but they regrouped for the extra time that followed.

Two tired sides then faced a gruelling further 30 minutes and Kelly could have sewing it up for Bohs in the first period only to be denied by a marvellous save from Keeley after he was given a clear run on goal.

Thomas Considine of Bohemians reacts after his side’s defeat. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Later Molloy skimmed the St Pat’s crossbar and at the other end a couple of efforts from Success Edogun were gratefully gathered by Moore.

With the game now likely to be decided in a penalty shoot out fate took a hand and that controversial penalty decision finally decided the destination of the title.

A disappointing night for Bohs who had hoped to emulate the feat of their under 17 side who had claimed their league crown the previous night.

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