Playoff’s target again for Cabo’s Keeley

by Dave Donnelly

Cabinteely F.C. have named defender Conor Keeley captain for the 2020 season after unveiling a 33-man squad for the coming campaign.

Local boy Kieran Marty Waters and Luke Clucas are among the familiar names on the squad list, while goalkeeper Michael Kelly has returned following a stint with Longford Town.

The squad was announced alongside the unveiling a new three-year sponsorship deal with Edufit, which will help the club plan for the future.

Cabo broke all club records in 2019, leading the league for the first time before securing a fourth-place finish and a spot in the promotion play-offs.

A penalty shoot-out victory away to Longford Town set up a semi-final clash with Drogheda United, which Cabo lost having drawn the first leg at Stradbrook Park.

With both Longford and Drogheda having strengthened over the winter, and UCD an unknown quantity following their relegation, the 2020 season is set to be ruthlessly competitive.

Keeley has played in a variety of positions for Pat Devlin’s side – including starting up front in the play-off defeat to Drogheda United – during an ever-present campaign in 2019.

His performances didn’t go unnoticed by Cabo’s First Division rivals and Devlin was pleased to get the skipper’s signature for another year.

With top scorer Rob Manley going to Longford and captain Stephen McGuinness joining Jack Tuite in making the move to Drogheda, Cabo will once again have to re-build but confidence is high.

Keeley said: “I’m really looking forward to it. We’re a few weeks into pre-season now and everybody’s looking forward to it.

“It’s a great honour. I’m really looking forward to leading the team and I’m absolutely delighted to be captain.

“We got players in the positions where we’ve lost them and we’ve kept 15 or 16 players and we’re just going to start again where we left off.

“The play-offs is going to be the push for us but, again, it’s going to be a tough, tough league and it depends because we don’t know what teams are in the league at the moment.

“No matter what, it’s going to be a tough league and we’re just going to have to put in performances like we did last year.

“There were some good performances [last season] and some good crowds and it’s important we perform well because then people will come down and watch us.”

Devlin added: “We lost Stephen McGuinness, we lost Jack Tuite and we lost Jack Watson, but we’ve recruited well, we’ve brought in a couple from the under-19, so the football side of it is very good.

“Can we compete as well as last year?

“Only time will tell. We’ve got to work hard and we’ve got to be organised.

“We’ve got a fantastic management team around and a fantastic atmosphere and spirit. We’ll be well-organised and professional as possible again.”

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