Kevin’s brilliant in Orange

by Karl Graham
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ST KEVIN’S Boys ended 2016 on a high as they defeated their northern opponents Cliftonville FC 3-0 thanks to a Ryan Cassidy hat-trick in the DB Sports Champions Cup at the Armagh Grounds.
The cup pits the currents winners of the SFAI Cup in four age groups against the winners of its equivalent in Northern Ireland, with St Kevin’s sparing Dublin’s blushes as teams from the capital lost in all three of the other finals.
Kevin’s attacked at pace and power from the get go and forced the Cliftonville keeper to make a good save in the opening few minutes.
They took the lead when Cassidy got his first of the game, giving the keeper no chance as he swept home into the corner.
Cassidy doubled his team’s lead just six minutes later when he reacted quickest to Ross Tierney’s shot rebounding back off the post.
Cliftonville were offered a chance to get back into the game just before half-time but James McDonnell was unable to connect properly with the cross.
Cian Clarke was called into action in the St Kevin’s goal early into the second half but Cliftonville’s hopes of a comeback were dashed soon afterwards when Cassidy completed his hat-trick with a top finish from a Dawson Devoy pass.
Kevin’s could have stretched their lead further as the game drew to a close but Carl Rooney could only watch on as his strike drifted wide of the post but the damage was more than done already.
And manager Elliott Morgan told GazetteSport his side’s victory over very tough opposition was the perfect way to round out the year.
“It was a great achievement for the boys because we were up against really good opposition in Cliftonville. They are very good technically and always give a tough game but the players were fantastic on the day. They are very serious about their football and that is half the battle.”
Cherry Orchard, Belvedere and St Kevin’s Boys Under-14s all came out the wrong side of their games in the earlier age group finals but Morgan made sure his team kept focus on their own performance.
“We went out and played our own game. All the Dublin teams lost before us but you kind of don’t know what is going on in the games beforehand unless you are told or go out and have a look for yourself, because you are too busy preparing for your own game.”
Kevin’s will now prepare for the switch to summer football this year and Morgan hopes his team will remain largely the same.
“Obviously, we are going to lose a couple of lads to England and that will happen midway through the season but that’s all part and parcel of it. We will obviously be looking to add to the squad as well.”

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