U13 Cup final
One of the most entertaining and sporting games of the year was held in KDL Headquarters in Tralee, when Killarney Athletic and Killorglin went head to head in the finalof the Under 13 cup. Both teams went full on with no quarters given and none asked and it was truly a game no one deserved to lose. Killarney Athletic started the brighter and had a few good chances in the first 20 minutes, with only for some fine defending by Killorglin (in particular Eoin O’Connell & Seanie Diggin) and a couple of excellent saves by Killorglin keeper Conor Buckley keeping Athletic at bay. Killorglin came more into the game towards the end of the half but when the half time whistle went, it was still 0-0.
Athletic got a dream start in the second half after 20 seconds when a goal of the season contender was scored by Aidan Cronin, when he beat three players and hit a rocket to the top right corner, giving Buckley no chance. Killorglin drove on from there and they were causing panic in the Athletic box, particularly from the feet of Ryan Carey, who was hitting dead balls like he was David Beckham. It was from one of these dead balls, a corner from Carey, that Killorglin’s equaliser came, when Jack McGrath met the corner to finish coolly to the net.
Killorglin scored again from a corner less than five minutes later but to their horror, the ref saw some pushing in the box and the goal was disallowed. Full time score 1-1
Killorglin were well on top in extra time and saw chance after chance go begging, with the post being hit on no less than two occasions, but they could not breach Fionn O’Neill in the Athletic goals, who was having an outstanding game and was a deserving man of the match. 1-1 at the end of extra time and on to the dreaded penalties.
Killarney must have thought the game was gone when they missed their first two penalties, while Killorglin scored their first three, but this reversed and Killorglin missed their last two, while Athletic scored theirs. Sudden death!
Fionn O’Neill proved to be the Athletic hero when he saved the 7th penalty to give Athletic the win but it should be said that soccer and sport in general was the real winner here, and both teams are to be commended for the fantastic spirit in which the game was played.