St Pat’s young guns continue strong form

by Dave Donnelly

ST. PATRICK’S ATHLETIC’S biggest signing of the League of Ireland off-season might be a bigger trophy cabinet as their dominant underage sides added the Leinster Senior Cup to the collection, with a 4-0 win over Athlone Town.

The Saints are league and cup champions at Under-13s and league winners at Under-15 and Under-17 level and now have a senior trophy on top of that.

A Pat’s side comprising mostly Under-19 players, but also stretching to some as young as 15, defeated an experienced Athlone Town side with an emphatic 4-0 scoreline.

Goals from Kyle Robinson, Brandon Holt, Jake Walker and Daniel Dobbin saw the young Saints to an emphatic win to round off their season in style.

That was despite the absence of key players in Ben McCormack and Darragh Burns, on international duty with the Ireland Under-17s and Northern Ireland under-19s respectively.

The Saints endured an early storm from Athlone, whose season finished almost two months earlier, but their superior match-sharpness began to tell as the first half wore on.

The visitors should have led just past the half-hour when Kealan Dillon met John Morgan’s cross, but his tame header was straight at captain Brian Maher in the Saints’ goal.

They paid the price within seconds as the Athletic broke up the other end, Cian Hughes breaking through before setting up Kyle Robinson.

The winger, who scored in extra time of the semi-final defeat of Sheriff YC, had plenty still to do but he opened his body up before curling the ball past Aaron Myles.

Pat’s doubled their lead ten minutes after the break when, after Myles saved well from Walker, Kevin O’Reilly picked out Holt to finish from close range.

The third arrived 15 minutes from time when a loose backpass from Gavin Kearney was seized upon by Walker, who was never going to miss one-on-one.

Dobbin, who opened the scoring in the semis, crowned off a fine win three minutes from time as he picked out the bottom corner from inside the box

“The high of the Sheriff match was massive for the players, so for them to take it on and play even better in the final is a huge testament to them,” Saints under-19s boss Jamie Moore told Dublin Gazette.

“For them to have come here, against a good senior team, and won with such style, we’re delighted.

“They’ve trained really, really well and even when the game on Wednesday was called off, we trained on Thursday.

“It was probably one of the better sessions of the season in terms of tempo and attitude. We have a couple of weeks off now and we’ll be back in pre-season on the 7th of January.

“A few of them are finished Under 19’s so we’ll talk with them about their future at this club and the rest are still all eligible for the Under 17’s and Under19’s.

“It’s great for a young group to have won a first-team trophy, the first one for the club since 2016. We spoke to them before about the history they can make in the club’s 90th year.”

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