CHERRY Orchard star William Chelaru picked up the player of the day award as he helped the DDSL side walk away from the University of Limerick as Kennedy Cup champions for the 31st time.
Chelaru was joined by Orchard teammates Kian Moore, Nathan Anyanwu and Cian Kavanagh in the squad who defeated Sligo/Leitrim 2-0 in the final.
Roland Banya gave DDSL the lead after just four minutes when he picked up the ball on the right hand side of the pitch before cutting onto his left foot and giving the keeper no chance with a curling finish that looped over the despairing dive of Kayle Wasjszczuk in the Sligo/Leitrim goal.
They went 2-0 up before the break thanks to an own goal after Ben McCormack’s attempted cross was deflected past the keeper.
“I was a little bit nervous at the start but as soon as the game got going I just had to focus on the team. The boys went out with the right attitude and got the win,” defender Chelaru said after the game.
His manager Garreth Dodrill was also delighted with the effort his players put in throughout the week.
“It’s quite tough because you are expected to win it and when you win it, everyone thinks you should be winning it anyway so you’re in a bit of a no win situation,” said Dodrill.
“I was down here five years ago so I knew what it was about and the boys were told what to expect from other teams and to be fair to them they took everything onboard. They behaved themselves around the place and put the effort in.”
Sligo/Leitrim were impressive throughout the tournament but couldn’t handle the efficient DDSL.
“We were expecting what the game was. They have a couple of nippy players up front and their number eight in midfield was outstanding – one of the players of the tournament – and the three players at the back were solid enough.
“We spoke to the boys and told them they would get some joy down the wings. We needed a nice early goal just to settle the nerves and prevent them from getting their tails up. Thankfully we scored after a few minutes and got the second one then to calm the nerves,” Dodrill continued.
The manager also praised his coaching staff for the work and commitment they have put in over the last few years.
“It’s a huge commitment from everyone. It’s every Sunday morning for the last three years, some midweeks, games, and friendlies so it’s a lot for all the coaches to put in and for our families to put up with us being out of the house all the time.”