FAI SSE Airtricity League Under 19 Shield Final.
Shamrock Rovers 1:0 Derry City
Silverware for the Under 19s!
Having lost out on a place in the league quarter finals by the skin of their teeth the Hoops had the consolation of knowing they would have another opportunity of lifting silverware this season. It wasn’t an easy route either to the final for them having to overcome a game Waterford side at the RSC in the quarter final and then coming through a very competitive semi-final last weekend against Cabinteely FC.
Their final opponents Derry City have a proven pedigree in bringing talented young players through the ranks. We had an idea of what to expect today and we certainly were not to be disappointed. There was plenty of wonderful football on display; no shortage of excellent individual performances and two defences that were so on top they combined to ensure a single goal would settle the matter.
The golden moment that won it was finished well by Dean Dillon in the 48th minute but how it might have been so different had Harry Cornally’s first minute strike gone in instead of rebounding off the base of the post. Derry had a wonderful early moment too in the 9th minute when Dylan Devine played the ball to Shane McNamee who then fed Cathal Farren with a chance but the latter was thwarted by Darragh Gibbons who neatly headed away for a corner.
Sean McBride might have taken a moment or two in the 14th minute before aiming for the far post; he snatched at his chance and drove a curling shot wide. Dillon had a half chance too for the Hoops three minutes later after Cornally sent him in but a defender managed to deflect the shot out for a corner.
Two wide men were proving to be effective for their respective teams. Rovers had Emmanuel Lawal on the right who was getting in behind the Derry defence and making his presence on the pitch felt. Adrian Delap for the Candy Stripes was proving to be equally effective, if not more so, for his side. By half time we were left in no doubt that in Delap we were witnessing the emergence of an up and coming star. His runs down Rovers’ left time and again were cause for alarm. He had a low shot well saved by Gavin Bazunu but it was his work in time added on at the end of half time that almost produced a lead goal for Derry when the young Hoops’ keeper somehow managed to bring off an unbelievable save to deny McNamee.
The deadlock was broken in the 48th minute when the ever-influential midfielder Richie English slipped the ball to Cornally who turned it back to Darragh Gibbons. The centre half then picked out left full Conor Gleeson who had advanced into the Derry half. Gleeson delivered the ball in very close to the goal line and Dillon came thundering in to meet it with his head and ended up in the net himself along with the ball!
Derry responded fast with Delap having a go in front of goal but to no avail. As stated, defences were outstanding and the Hoops’ faithful were treated to a brilliant piece of defending by centre half Sean Callan on the hour mark when the Kildare man produced a top drawer tackle on McBride to cut out any potential danger.
Four minutes later a great run by Gleeson down the left resulted in a brilliant shot by Cornally which went just wide of the far post. Both sides continued to keep the ball moving throughout and the quality of football they provided warmed the crowd up on a crisp afternoon at Tallaght Stadium.
Derry forced two corners in time added on ensuring that the outcome remained on a knife edge right up to the final whistle. As it turned out, that sole early second half Dillon goal was to ultimately decide the destination of the Shield for 2017. Limerick were the 2016 winners.
Well done to Dean Dillon on being awarded the Man of the Match Award.
Shamrock Rovers: 30. Gavin Bazunu; 16. Cian Collins, 4. Darragh Gibbons, 21. Sean Callan, 3. Conor Gleeson; 8. Harry Cornally, 10. Richie English, 7. Emmanuel Lawal, 17. Adam Doyle, 6. Evan White; 9. Dean Dillon.
Substitutes: 1. Luca Gratzer, 2. Conor Fitzharris, 11. Josh Hogan (for Doyle 62 mins), 18. Kenny Cunningham, 19. Eric Abulu, 15. Evan Smithers.
Derry City: Jason McCallion. 2. Rhys McDermott, 3. Lee McColgan, 4. Sam Todd, 5. Eoin Toal; 7. Adrian Delap, 6. Conor Gormley, 8. Cathal Farren, 10. Sean McBride, 9. Dylan Devine; 11. Shane McNamee.
Substitutes: 15. Paul Doherty (for McNamee 55 mins), 14. Noel Doherty for Devine 80 mins), 19. Matty Doherty for Gormley 67 mins), 16. Luke Campbell.
Referee: Stephen Parnell
Assistants: Robert Dowling & Oliver Moran
4th Official: Gavin Colfer
Photographs click here
Match highlights click here