The Wayside Celtic Under-13A side celebrate their DDSL playoff victory

WAYSIDE Celtic’s Under-13A side finally got their hands on the league title after beating Ballyoulster United 4-1 in a play-off decider.
The two teams were deadlocked after both finished the 16-game league on 37 points – winning 11 games apiece.
John Hyland Park, home of former League of Ireland side St Francis FC, was the venue for the showdown and the visiting spectators were treated to a thrilling decider.
Wayside sprang out of the traps quicker than their Kildare based opponents, and two goals in two minutes by Josh Keegan and Bradley Akinlade saw them 2-0 up after just 12 minutes.
The team from Kilternan didn’t have to wait too long to stretch their lead – Tommy Connors scoring to make it 3-0 nine with nine minutes left in the first half.
However, Ballyoulster’s first half misery wasn’t over just yet and Akinlade scored his second goal of the game just before the whistle to all but end the game as a spectacle.
Whether it was Wayside taking their foot of the pedal or the result of a rousing half-time team talk by Ballyoulster’s manager, the second half saw a bit of a revival from the latter.
The Celbridge youngsters started to peg back their dominant opponents and forced Wayside goalkeeper Oisin Spain to pull off an amazing save from a one-on-one encounter with the opposition’s striker.
They eventually found the net against a tiring Wayside defence – a result of having spent most of the second half on the back foot.
To their credit, Ballyoulster didn’t’ give up but the all the damage had been done in the first half and with the game finishing 4-1, Wayside became the new U13A division champions.
Wayside manager Eddie Whitehead was delighted with the effort his players put in and gave them all the credit for saving what was probably their best performance of the season, to the time when it mattered most.
“After the first seven minutes, we began to dominate and in my opinion we controlled the game through our passing, closing down and absolute commitment in the game.
“The team won a lot of their games 1-0 over the season but they seemed to have left their very best to the last game,” said Whitehead.
The two clubs had ended the regular season locked on 37 points after 16 rounds of matches with identical records of 11 wins, four draws and a loss each. The sides drew 2-2 and 0-0 during the regular season.