CABINTEELY bowed out of the FAI Cup at the last 16 stage following a 1-0 defeat to Leinster Senior League side Bluebell United on last weekend.
It was the club’s first time competing at this stage having been knocked out at the first hurdle in the last two years, but Pat Devlin’s side were outplayed by their amateur opponents on their own patch.
Shane Stritch’s goal midway through the first half proved the difference for the Bell, who ran out comfortable winners despite losing former international Keith Fahey to a second yellow card late on.
The game was played in Cabinteely’s home ground of Stradbrook Park as the Red Cow was deemed to be unsuitable by the powers that be, but that proved no obstacle to Andy Noonan’s men as they marched into the last eight.
An exciting opening period saw Cabo engineer the game’s first chance as Dean Casey beat his man before clipping a cross from the left wing over goalkeeper Andy McNulty and onto the bar.
The rebound fell for Ryan Swan – who was on the scoresheet in the first round victory over UCD – but he could only shoot over the top from a tight angle.
Bluebell responded through Stritch, who engineered an opportunity for himself in the box before firing a shot across goal from near the endline.
Cabo’s Marty Waters was the architect of the game’s next moment of quality as he found space 25-yards out before unleashing a dipping shot that arced just wide of the post.
It was a mistake in the Cabinteely defence that presented Stritch with the opportunity to break the deadlock as defender Sean Fitzpatrick and goalkeeper Mick Kelly dithered over a long ball.
With neither taking responsibility for the loose ball, Stritch pounced and kept his cool to slip the ball calmly into the empty net.
Bluebell could have doubled their lead going into the break had Tony Griffith’s long-range strike stayed the right side of the post, while Kelly did well to save low from former Inverness forward Dean Ebbe.
Cabo had chances of their own to level it before half-time, with Conor Keeley going the closest when he brought to a close a series of five corners with a header that Bluebell managed to hack off the line.
Bohemians loanee Casey had another excellent chance to score for Cabo after the break following good work from Swan, but he again saw his effort from outside the box miss the target as the home fans started to get frustrated.
Swan did manage to find the back of the net ten minutes from the end but was called back for offside and, despite Bluebell losing Fahey to a late red card, Cabo couldn’t find a way back.