A stunning hat-trick from Ben Quinn helped the Dublin and District Schoolboy League (DDSL) retain the SFAI New Balance Kennedy Cup with an exciting 4-2 final win over Kildare at the University of Limerick on Friday afternoon.
Kildare had rallied from two goals down to trail 3-2 with eight minutes remaining of a highly entertaining contest before hat-trick hero Quinn collected the ball from Glory Nzinga’s pass and rifled a terrific left foot shot into the bottom right corner of the net.
The goal finally broke Kildare’s resistance as they had fought valiantly to claim the prestigious Under-14 inter-league title for a first time.
The DDSL’s success is their third in successive years and their sixth in the last seven editions.
The free-scoring Kennedy Cup winners managed 22 goals in their six games, conceding just three times.
Kildare made a dream start in the final when Jamie Duggan’s free-kick was headed home by striker Dean Owens inside three minutes.
However, the DDSL drew level two minutes later when Quinn finished a rebound to the net from close range after Evan Ferguson’s goal attempt was parried.
The pre-tournament favourites were in front in the 14th minute when Cherry Orchard’s Craig King’s cross was headed home superbly by Evan Ferguson of St Kevin’s Boys.
The DDSLs 2-1 half-time lead was quickly doubled when Ferguson turned provider for Quinn to grab his second of the game three minutes after the restart.
Battling Kildare, who recovered from losing their opening group game against Limerick County to reach the final, pulled a goal back with 10 minutes remaining when Owens, of Athy Town, scored his second with a superb volley, following excellent work from Matthew McCarrick.
However, the DDSL nerves were settled in the 52nd minute when Quinn completed his hat-trick, bringing his tally to four goals in two days, to help the competition’s most successful side retain the Kennedy Cup.
The side itself was drawn from five clubs with Malahide United (three players), Cherry Orchard (four), St Kevin’s Boys (six), Crumlin United (three) and Belvedere (four) providing large contingents to the squad.
There was further success for Dublin leagues in the Shield final as the NDSL beat home hosts, Limerick Desmond, on penalties after normal and extra time had ended 0-0. They held their nerve to win out 4-2.
The side featured Clonee United’s Darragh Gorman, Jack Supple, Cian Nolan and Abdulquadri Balogun, Tolka Rovers Sean Darling and Josh Dunne, Baldoyle United’s Callum Ralph, Adam Lynch, Aaron Duffy, Aaron Hughes, Daniel Barry and Daragh Mooney, Donnycarney’s Craig Walsh and Swords Manor’s Destin Bismwa and Stephen Finnegan.