Devlin laments missed chances in playoff first leg

by Dave Donnelly

LOI promotion playoff
Cabinteely FC 0
Longford Town 0
 dave donnelly
sport@dublingazette.com

Cabinteely manager Pat Devlin admits his side were frustrated at being held to a scoreless draw by Longford Town in their promotion play-off first leg but it’s all to play for in Longford on Friday night.

Both sides had chances to win the game on a tense night in Stradbrook Park. But Devlin feels his side have more reason to feel they should be taking a lead to City Calling Stadium.

Keith Dalton and Yuta Sasaki went close for the home side while Paul Fox had a second-half goal controversially ruled out for offside.

Cabo defender Kevin Knight was dismissed late on for a mistimed challenge on Mick McDonnell – a harsh decision according to Devlin – and will miss the return leg this week.

And Devlin feels his side have all the tools necessary to win away from home and prolong their season for at least two more games.

“I don’t think anyone is happy,” Devlin told the Dublin Gazette.

“We had chances, particularly early in the game. We had three very good chances and they missed a couple. I think it was going to be nip-and-tuck anyway. I don’t think the game was allowed to flow.”

After finishing eighth, seventh and sixth in their first three seasons in the league, before finishing sixth last year, Cabo achieved their best-ever position of fourth this season.

That earned them a shot at the play-offs for the first time, with a two-legged tie with Drogheda United their reward if they see off Longford.

The winners of that game will then face the second-from-bottom side in the Premier Division, which is likely to be Finn Harps, though UCD or Cork City could also end up there.

“Here’s hoping we can continue the season for another two or three games,” said Devlin.

“It’s all to play for, it’s one game and it could lead to another two games and then another two games.

“It’s very tough for everybody and it’s tougher for Drogheda, who are waiting in the wings and haven’t played for a month. You have to take your chances and the other night was a fair result.

“Was I disappointed? Not really. I thought the game was always going to pan out that way one way or another.

“If there had been a goal, we probably would have got it. This is the real McCoy now and we’re looking forward to it.”

The carrot of promotion is a significant one for a young Cabo side, several of whom are attracting the interest of Premier sides, not least the league’s top scorer Rob Manley.

“We’ve a lot of young players, and it’s a great experience and a great opportunity for them to make a career for themselves.

“At Cabinteely, we’re not going to hold on to players all the time, so this is an opportunity for them to put themselves right up there and do really well.”

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