Cabo’ start season in style!
There was great anticipation around the south Dublin area as League of Ireland of Ireland newcomers, Cabinteely faced promotion hopefuls, Wexford Youths, in their first ever game on the national league stage. A bumper crowd of 1,420 gathered at Stradbrook, which is better known as the home of Blackrock rugby club, to bear witness to the first chapter in Cabo’s League of Ireland adventure. The game was seen as a massive test for the new boys as Wexford Youths barely missed out on the playoffs in 2014 and are tipped by many, including UCD manager Collie O’Neill, to achieve promotion this season. However, the spark provided by this momentous occasion in the club’s history inspired the Cabinteely players to a performance that was full of heart and determination.
Wexford Youths started the game on top, attempting to put Cabo on the back foot from the whistle. Debutant striker, Conor English created some problems for the home defence and his through ball in the fourth minute could have been very dangerous but the backline dealt with the threat well. Conor English continued to pose questions to Cabinteely and drove into the box in the sixth minute, only to be brought down by defender, Rob Maloney. There were shouts for a penalty from the Wexford Youths camp but they were waved away by the referee, who deemed it a fair challenge. Youths continued their dominance for the opening ten minutes and New Ross native, Phillip Drohan caused lots of problems from the right wing but Cabinteely remained hard to break down.
Shane O’Neill provided the spark for Cabinteely’s first ever goal scoring chance at League of Ireland level in the twelfth minute. O’Neill drove into the box, setting the ball nicely for Kevin Knight but the shot was saved well by the 2014 goalkeeper of the season, Graham Doyle in the Youths goal. The resulting corner was swung into the box by Shane O’Neill and Graham Doyle was forced to make a save once more as Rob Maloney fired a header his way. Ekanem and Maloney were solid at the back from the start, controlling the game and helping the home side to start taking control. However, Phillip Drohan continued to cause problems on the break for Wexford Youths, forcing Aaron Brilly to concede two corners. However, it was a very slow start by Wexford Youths and they didn’t manage a single shot on target in the opening half hour. The dreadful condition of the pitch may have impacted on their performance as Keegan’s men prefer to play a possession based brand of football. Despite the fact that Youths lined out with a very strong midfield, it was Cabinteely who won the majority of the midfield battles in the first half which helped them take control of the game. Approaching the half hour mark, Youths began to cause a few more problems and the discipline in Cabinteely’s defence began to waver slightly. John McKeown was booked for a clumsy challenge around 30 yards out and Youths began to look a lot more threatening. There was controversy in the twenty fifth minute as the home side’s centre half, Robert Maloney handballed in the box and Youths were adamant that they should be awarded a penalty. The referee, however, did not see the incident and waved play to continue.
In the last fifteen minutes of the half, the away side managed to a put a few nice moves together with Conor English pulling all the strings. However, Cabinteely pushed to take the lead with vigour and determination, causing a series of headaches for the Youths back four. Ger Pender cut inside to make a fantastic run, beating two Wexford Youths defenders but unfortunately for the home to support, it came to nothing and went out for a goal kick. Shane O’Neill showed a lot of flair, beating Wexford Youths left back Ryan Delaney a number of times and winning two corners in the dying minutes of the half. After a scramble in the box in the 44th minute, John McKeown tapped the ball home from close range to score a historic goal, Cabinteely’s first ever in the League of Ireland.
Cabinteely carried momentum into the second half and pressed the away side high up the pitch from the whistle. They continued to control the game with the likes of Ger Pender, John McKeown, Jamie McGlynn and Shane O’Neill particularly impressing. Wexford Youths were very quiet in the opening proceedings of the second half with Phillip Drohan and Conor English the only players causing any problems for Cabinteely. The second half didn’t live up to the same intensity as the first, particularly in the early stages. The only real talking points in the opening stages were brought up by some decent runs by Shane O’Neill, who constantly drove at the Youths defence, winning two free kicks and a corner. As the half progressed, however, Cabinteely began to press for a second goal to secure the points. John McKeown came very close to netting his second of the game as he fired the ball marginally over the bar from around 20 yards out. Wexford Youths struggled to retain possession in the early stages of the half and Cabinteely’s Jordan Buckley continuously used his flair and pace to pose big problems for the away defence. With twenty minutes remaining, Cabinteely’s Shane O’Neill had a penalty shout turned down by the referee, who felt there was a lack of contact.
Wexford Youths finally managed to get their first shot of the game away after winning a corner on the break. Phillip Drohan swung in a decent ball from the corner but Comerford headed well over the bar. Unfortunately for the visitors, that was to be their last chance of the night and Cabinteely controlled the last few minutes, holding on to a historic result in their first ever game on the League of Ireland stage.
Cabinteely : Evan Whelan Aaron Brilly(RB) Jamie McGlynn(LB) Vicktor Ekanem Robert Maloney(CB’S) Evan Finnegan (MC) Shane O Neill (RM) Kevin Knight (LM) Jordan Buckely (CM) John McKeown(CM) Ger Pender (CF) Subs that played Lloyd Cairns
Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle (GK) C Whittle, G Comerford, L Grace, R Delaney, Peter Higgins, Eric Molloy, Craig Wall, Conor English, J Bonner, Philip Drohan Subs Used Danny Furlong Craig Mccabe Jimmy Dermody
Man of the match: Jamie McGlynn, who was constantly a threat down the left and formed a good partnership with Kevin Knight.
Moment of the match: It simply has to be John McKeown’s goal. It may not have been the prettiest of goals, but it sealed a famous win for Cabinteely and a place in the history books