River Valley Rangers marked the end of their first season in the Leinster Senior League by lifting the Polikoff Cup following a 2-1 victory over CYM Beechwood on Sunday.
The Swords club signed out of the AUL last year by lifting the RPD Cup and they continued their good form in knockout competitions by coming from behind to win.
Beechwood, who are a league above Rangers in Sunday Major, took the lead early on through Jack O’Connor but goals from Darren Doyle and Paul Currivan turned the tie.
O’Connor opened the scoring after ten minutes with a well-taken curling finish from the edge of the box, though Rivervalley players protested there was a foul in the build-up.
Within five minutes, Declan Eivers’ side were level as Ruairi Deasy released Doyle on the left with a crossfield ball and he beat the full back before shooting back across the keeper.
The winner arrived shortly afterwards as Doyle surged upfield and dug out a looping cross that came back off the crossbar, where Currivan was on hand to slot home the loose ball.
Currivan has been a revelation since swapping his regular position of centre-half for striker in March and finishes as the club’s top scorer for the season.
Beechwood are the third team in succession Rivervalley have had to beat in this competition, having seen off St Kevin’s in the quarters and Castleknock Celtic in the semis.
Both Castleknock and Kevin’s have been promoted to intermediate level which, for Eivers, begs the question of why their promotion challenge never got going.
Goalkeeper Yohann Bedos was the unanimous choice of both the coaches and the squad for player of the year, which sums up their troubles this year.
“Three teams from the league above we had to beat back-to-back, so it shows we can compete but our league form has been pretty poor,” he tells the Dublin Gazette.
“We’ve not been able to get any consistency going in the league, but when we play better teams and we get that underdog mentality, there’s something in us.
“Same as last year, we won the RPD Cup in the AUL – same thing, poor league form but we won the cup. It’s something about this set of lads and cup games.
“I wouldn’t fear any team – we could even go up another league – but maybe we just play better against better teams.
“There’s more football, whereas if you play teams that are below you and it’s more of a scrap, maybe we don’t have the players for that.
“But when we played Kevin’s in the quarter-finals, it was the best we’ve played this season and Kevin’s are renowned as a good footballing side.”
Eivers – who replaced Patsy O’Neill as manager early in the season – will sit down with the club next week and discuss what, if any, plans they have for next season.
“I’d hope to stay on. I haven’t had a discussion with the club yet or the coaches and assistant managers I’ve had. We’ll have a chat and see what to do.
“If we did stay on, we’d have to bring in four or five players I’d say if we want to get some consistency and challenge for promotion.”