St Patrick’s Athletic are SSE Airtricity National Under-15 Cup champions as their 10-men ran out 4-0 winners against Cork City in the final at Richmond Park.
With previous encounters against each other this season being tight affairs, drawing on both occasions, a cagey affair might have been on the cards with such high stakes. This was anything but.
In the opening few minutes, both teams had chances to snatch the lead in rip-roaring affair of the highest quality. Cork’s number nine, Chris O’Connor, showed lightning pace to break the offside trap only to shoot at the near post.
Moments later, Cork nearly shot themselves in the foot after a terrible mix up at the back allowed Ben McCormack and Ross Fay to have efforts scrambled away at the last second.
The opening goal came with just ten minutes on the clock after some excellent play from man of the match Ben McCormack, beating a couple of men from midfield only to be hauled down on the edge of the box.
He confidently stepped up to the resulting free kick, only to draw a fantastic save from Darragh Burke. But Cian Kavanagh reacted quickest to nod home, taking a knock to the head for his troubles.
The Saints came flying out of the traps in the second half and doubled their lead three minutes in.
McCormack was once again the architect with an audacious defence-splitting flick with the outside of his boot to winger Ross Fay, who smashed home past the helpless Darragh Burke.
Almost immediately after going two up, disaster struck for Denis Hyland’s troops who found themselves down to 10 men.
A long ball over the top caused all sorts of confusion between defence and keeper that allowed winger Rob Walsh in on goal, but keeper Joshua Keeley took one for the team, hauling him down just outside the box, deservedly receiving his marching orders.
Despite being a man down, Pats went three up in spectacular fashion and killed the contest in the process.
Cian O’Malley’s incredible over-head kick found the top corner after another excellent McCormack delivery wasn’t dealt with by the Cork backline.
The icing on the cake came right before the final whistle. Big number nine Cian Kavanagh, who worked tirelessly throughout, got his second of the game.
As Cork pushed numbers forward, a long clearance found its way to the unmarked Kavanagh who, from about 30 yards spotted the keeper off his line, and cleverly floated a brilliant strike over his head to make it 4-0.