Joey’s magnificent seven

by Karl Graham

ST JOSEPH’S provided an incredible seven players as the DDSL lifted the SFAI Kennedy Cup after winning 4-3 in a tense penalty shoot-out at the University of Limerick.
It added to the Joeys’ Under-14s incredible season as goalkeeper Harry Halwax, Precious Omochere, Roland Idowu, Alex Rafferty, James Furlong, Cian Kelly and Destiny Okonkwo all played their part in the annual competition, played out over five days and 96 matches.
The Sallnoggin club had already won four titles during the 2015/16 season and this huge representation added an extra cherry on top.
Cabinteely’s Sean Schutte was also part of their victory over the Galway League, which came after the game finished 0-0 after extra-time, and it is the 30th time the side has won the trophy in its 40-year history.
Both teams had experienced joy from the spot in their respective semi-finals, but this time only one of them could succeed.
The DDSL created the better of the chances during normal time, with Karl O’Callaghan’s fine header on 17 minutes crashing against an upright, while Troy Parrott headed just over shortly before half-time.
Galway grew more into the game in the second period and Colm Cunningham was only prevented from giving the Connacht side the lead by an excellent save from the DDSL goalkeeper with four minutes remaining.
As the stalemate prevailed through extra-time, the decider went to a shoot-out and it was the DDSL and Parrott who held their nerve to regain the title from the Galway League.
Speaking afterwards to the Belvedere website, Parrott said it was a moment he had long envisaged: “Before I went down to the Kennedy Cup, I pictured that moment in my head of scoring the winning peno in the final but I imagined that I was going to chip it down the middle! I decided to go low in the end. I felt comfortable going up to take it because I knew I was going to score.”
It was tough luck on a brave Galway side, but on the evidence of the five days of keen competition, the DDSL were deserving winners, scoring 10 goals and conceding just one in their six games.
The Dublin side had made it to the final after coming from behind in their semi-final against local rivals the NDSL. Parrott was again one of the heroes of the tie after he scored the winner from the spot after he was fouled in the box.
There was some consolation for the NDSL after they won their shoot-out 4-2 against Cork League in the third-place play-off clash.
The game had finished 1-1 after normal time after Ope Abiru put the Dubliners in front in the first half, only for Robert Geaney-O’Brien to equalise for Cork late on.

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