Another season opening game at Stradbrook, another memorable win for Cabinteely.
Cabinteely welcomed Athlone Town to Stradbrook, a repeat of our final game of the 2015 season, with six Cabo players making their competitive debut for the club.
The spine of the Cabinteely team was made up of new faces making their debut; Michael Kelly in nets, Andrew Wall at centre back, the midfield pairing of Oscar Brennan and Shane Boyle, and Ben Hanrahan up front. As well as new faces, there was also five players from last years squad, Kevin Knight, Ed McDonagh, Michael Brown, Karl Byrne and Stephen Hanley.
With lots of rain in the days leading up to the game, and even some snow, we must give great praise to our groundstaff and volunteers for working tirelessly on the pitch to get it in the best condition possible, considering the circumstances, for last nights game.
It was a slow start to the game with no chances from either side in the first quarter of an hour with both teams still finding their feet. The 902 people packed into Stradbrook soon had great reason to cheer.
In what was an almost identical goal to John McKeown’s in our season opener against Wexford Youths in 2015, Ben Hanrahan put Cabinteely 1-0 up. Michael Brown’s corner was flicked on by McDonagh at the front post, Ben Hanrahan was the first to react to the bouncing ball and he turned the ball home from six yards out.
This goal was just what the game needed and Cabo were now playing with real confidence. It wasn’t long before their lead was doubled and it came through a goal of real quality. Shane Boyle played a cross field ball into the path of Joe Doyle who took on the Athlone defender, cutting inside and bending his shot into the far corner leaving Evan Moran with no chance. While Athlone appealed for an offside flag, when the ball was kicked Doyle was onside.
Cabo continued to press and looked to extend their lead but the next goal was to come at the other end just before half time. Chindea picked up the ball 30 yards from goal and unleashed a brilliant strike that looped over Michael Kelly and into the Cabo goal. While the result did not go Athlone’s way, this is a goal that Chindea will no doubt remember for a long time. A strike of real quality.
Cabo came out for the second half knowing that Athlone would be going all out for an equaliser but Cabinteely’s defence was more than up to the task. Despite having good spells of pressure in the second half, Athlone struggled to create any real chances of note.
Cabinteely almost extended their lead on two separate occasions. First the ball dropped to Oscar Brennan at the back post from a corner, his half volley was well saved by former Cabo man Evan Moran in the Athlone net. Later on in the game, with Athlone committing men forward in search of an equaliser, Cabo counter attacked and Darren Clarke was put through one-on-one but the ball just got away from him and the chance came to nothing.
Cabinteely saw out the remaining few minutes and ensured they started their 2016 campaign with three points. The Stradbrook crowd could be nothing but impressed with Eddie Gormley’s new look side and know that there are exciting times ahead.
Next up for Cabo is a short trip down the N11 to take on UCD away next Friday night at The UCD Bowl.
Our next home is in the Leinster Senior Cup against Leinster Senior League side Bluebell United on Monday the 14th of March.
Our next home league game is against Waterford United on the 26th of March. Please note this game is on Saturday rather than our usual Friday night.
Man of the match:
Edward McDonagh. McDonagh impressed at the heart of the Cabo defence and dealt with everything that Athlone Town threw at him.