Rivervalley Rangers put a shine on a difficult season on and off the pitch with cup success as they beat St Michael’s 3-1 in the RPD Cup final on Sunday afternoon.
In what was Gerry Coughlan’s final game in charge before he leaves to take over LSL Sunday Senior side Malahide United, the Swords side came from behind to claim the trophy.
A Mark O’Brien free kick and a brace from James Rock saw Rivervalley to victory after Jamie Dolan had put Michael’s in front early in the second half.
Following an opening 45 in which Rivervalley dominated without creating much in the way of clear-cut chances, the southside outfit hit the front against the run of play from Dolan’s header.
That spurred the local side into life, and they levelled through O’Brien who curled a left-footed free kick past a flat-footed goalkeeper.
There could be no doubts about the goalkeeping for the second goal, however, as Rock cut in off the right wing, stood up a defender and smashed the ball into the top corner.
And Rock grabbed his second from the penalty spot after drawing a foul in the box himself and sending the keeper the wrong way.
“It was a hot and humid and both teams hadn’t played in the five weeks,” Rivervalley assistant boss Declan Eivers told the Dublin Gazette.
“Our season pretty much finished five weeks ago and it was a cup final as well so it was a bit edgy.
“When Michael’s scored it kind of woke us up, and we took control. It shook us into life.
“We tend to play to the level of the opposition.
“Michael’s finished bottom in our league so we would have been favourites but we kind of played to their level. When we play Sheriff, we rise our level.”
It was a satisfying finish to a challenging season that saw the club placed in Premier A before being relegated before the season started due to their failure to fulfil a Tommy Clements Cup fixture.
“It’s been a long, hard season. We didn’t have a whole lot of players in pre-season.
“We lost a whole management team and about 25 players from the club. We had to do a rebuild in pre-season.
“The league campaign hasn’t gone great. We finished mid-table, but we did enough to stay up.
“The cup win gives us a bit of a feelgood factor going into next season.
“We didn’t start with many players, so to finish up 12 months later with a cup is a great achievement for everyone who stuck at it through the hard times.”