Sport: Heartbreak For Park FC U16 In National Cup Final

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Report by Tommy Naughton

St Brendan’s Park  0

St Kevin’s Boys (Dublin) 2

UNFORTUNATELY the Park’s U16 team’s fantastic run in the SFAI National Cup competition came to an end at the final hurdle.

Despite going down on the day, the boys acquitted themselves very well and were in with a chance right up to the very last kick of the game, with each and every player playing their part in a very committed performance.

The game was played in front of a huge Park FC travelling support who seemed to outnumber the home support by 10 to 1, which made it feel like a home game for the team. It was played at a very fast pace on a excellent surface and with the rain falling the surface became even quicker as they game progressed. (Continued below)

Park FC U16 Cup4

Stefan Okunbor for Park FC U16 in action in the National Cup Final against St Kevin’s Boys

The Park lads started fantastic and really showed they were not overwhelmed by the big occasion. Within the very first minute Jesse Stafford Lacey swung in a free kick that was scrambled away by the St Kevin’s defence . Minutes later Connor Hurley reacted quickly to save high to his left .

Park were breaking quickly on the counter attack and when Fergal Ryan set up Karl Mullins it took a good save from the keeper to keep the game scoreless. The Park came closest to opening the score on the ten minute mark after a Fergal Ryan cross was glanced goalwards by a defender and with the keeper helpless it flashed across the far post for a corner.

Midway through the half Conor Hurley again had to perform heroics after they  had been caught playing the ball out of defence but with Conor in such great form it would take something special to beat him.

St Kevin’s were now getting more in to the game but Segun Duyile and Jamie Clifford at centre backs were marshalling the defence brilliantly. (Continued below)

Some of the travelling Park FC U16 support that made its way up to Dublin for the National Cup Final against St Kevin's Boys

Some of the travelling Park FC U16 support that made its way up to Dublin for the National Cup Final against St Kevin’s Boys

The deadlock was broken however just after the half hour mark when a St Kevin’s player connected with a scissors kick that headed to the top corner. Conor again went full stretch and somehow got a hand to the ball but it clipped the post and dropped over the line.

The final chance of the half fell to Ferdia O’Brien who was set up by a Jesse Stafford Lacey but his shot was drilled low and just missed the target.
The Park lads came out in the second half full of belief and determination to not let this chance pass them by without a fight. Ten  minutes in to the half their was huge shouts for a handball in the Kevin’s penalty area after Jesse Corner was swung in dangerously but the Referee waved away all the appeals.

Gearoid Savage was next to wing in a dangerous ball but the Kevin’s keeper just got to the ball before Stefan Okunbor. Sam Tarrant was brought in for Luke Moynihan and Kieran Carmody replaced Emmanuelle Abubakar as the Park pushed more players forward in search of the vital equaliser.

With ten minutes remaining Andrew Philips replaced the injured Ferdia O’Brien as St Kevin’s could now nearly see the finish line and began to slow the game down. Then in the second minute of injury time they struck for the winning goal.

The final whistle went seconds later to end what has been a truly remarkable cup adventure for a great team and managers Graeme O’Sullivan and David Magee should be very proud of the work they have done with the squad.

The focus will now turn to domestic competitions where this team are still in the running for a Kerry league and cup double.

Team; Conor Hurley, Stefan Okunbor, Jamie Clifford, Segun Duyile, Gearoid Savage, Karl Mullins, Jesse Stafford Lacey, Emmanuel Abubakar, Ferdia o Brien, Luke Moynihan, Fergal Ryan. Subs used; Sam Tarrant, Kieran Carmody, Andrew Philips. Not Used; Tommy Lynch, John Carroll, Sean Collins, Simon Lonergan, Gary Howard, Alan McElligott. Joint managers Graeme O’Sullivan and David Magee .

The Park FC U16 squad for Sunday's National Cup Final against St Kevins Boys (Dublin) in Wayside Dublin.

The Park FC U16 squad for Sunday’s National Cup Final against St Kevins Boys (Dublin) in Wayside Dublin.

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