A powerful second half display sealed a third successive league win for Cabinteely at Stradbrook on Saturday night, allowing them to leapfrog Cobh Ramblers in the First Division table in the process.
Despite a bright start by the visitors Cabinteely took the lead after 26 minutes when Joe Doyle bagged his third goal of the season. Kieran Marty Waters delivered a wicked, inswinging corner from the left which was glanced on to the back post where Doyle was waiting. He took one touch and then powered the ball into the net from six yards out.
Cobh should have been ahead by that point. Chris McCarthy had seen his snap shot athletically turned away by Michael Kelly on 17 minutes, although the whistle had sounded for an infringement, and six minutes later McCarthy turned provider when his cross was headed straight at Kelly by full back Anthony O’Donnell when he really should have scored.
The game was developing a fluid pace as the half progressed and Waters nearly added a second for the home side after great work on the right by Karl Byrne after 37 minutes. But his shot across the Cobh goal was superbly saved by Paul Hunt.
Just one goal down at the interval, Cobh were still in the game, but an energetic start to the second period was undone nine minutes in after O’Donnell missed an attempted clearance and Karl Byrne capitalised to guide a cracking shot into the far corner of the goal.
But just four minutes later the Rams were offered a way back into a game that had been rapidly slipping away from them. Striker Ross Mann was bundled over inside the box and Chris McCarthy tucked away his fourth penalty in three games to put the result back in the balance.
The tackles started to come thick and fast and on 65 minutes a particularly intense melee formed around a late tackle in front of the two benches. From here on in no quarter would be asked or given with several delays as players recovered from exuberant challenges.
O’Donnell prevented a third Cabinteely goal after 73 minutes with a heroic clearance as Jack Watson was poised to finish off a pass from Doyle. But the home side were on a mission and Conor Keeley’s powerful near post header from a corner gave them the third goal their play deserved three minutes later.
Cabinteely could have shut up shop at this point but their momentum had built to such a pitch that this would have been beyond them even if they had wanted to. Veteran striker Jason Byrne entered the fray from the bench and the scent of a fourth was in the air.
The inevitable happened with just four minutes remaining. Anthony Dolan created the opening, skirting the edge of the box before clipping the ball into the goalmouth where Waters pounced to poke the ball past Hunt and ensure a night of high celebration for Pat Devlin’s charges.
Cobh set off on the long road back south knowing that they were well beaten by one of the League’s most consistent strugglers but Cabinteely are perhaps no longer the whipping boys of this division. They impressed sufficiently to suggest they may upset a few more applecarts before this season is done.
Cabinteely: Michael Kelly; Karl Byrne, Victor Ekanem (Daire Doyle 20), Conor Keeley, Kevin Knight; Jack Watson, Christian Lotefa, Anthony Dolan (Robert Duggan 90), Evan Galvin; Kieran Marty Waters; Joe Doyle (Jason Byrne 83).
Subs Not Used: Jack Menton (gk), Adam Harney, Aaron Robinson, Steven Ball.
Booked: Ekanem (3), E Galvin (78).
Cobh Ramblers: Paul Hunt; Shane Lowth (Charlei Fleming 76), Ben O’Riordan, James McSweeney, Anthony O’Donnell; Stephen Christopher, Craig Donnellan, Chris McCarthy, Scott McCarthy (Dean Swords 63); Karl Caulfield (Cian Coleman 63); Ross Mann.
Subs Not Used: Adam Mylod (gk), Darren Murphy, Kyle McNamara, Matthew Whelan.
Booked: Swords (70).