Underage soccer in Cavan received a huge filip last weekend when the local U13 Emerging Talent Squad proved best in the prestigious Enda McGuill Tournament at Oriel Park, home of Dundalk FC.
Pitted against some of the country"s best young talent, the Cavan crew triumphed after impressively emerging as winners of their group before accounting for Dundalk, winners of Group B, in the final.
Cavan competed against Drogheda United and Cliftonville (Belfast) in Group A while a vaunted NDSL headed Group B with NECSL and Dundalk the other competing teams.
In Cavan"s opening game, they recorded a convincing 2-0 win over Drogheda United with Caolan Reilly and Jonathan Leddy hitting the target.
The scoreline doesn`t tell the whole story as the breffni boys were totally on top, creating several chances and with more clinical finishing they could have won more easily.
Cavan`s second game saw them pitted against a very strongly fancied Cliftonville team from Belfast but it was the unfancied team from the provinces that won out by 1-0.
This was a more physical game against a very well organised side but Cavan enjoyed more of the possession overall and with some quality play from Ryan Reilly in defence and Jonathon Leddy controlling things in midfield, Cavan were invariably in the driving seat.
Indeed the Cavan side were full value for their lead when Killian McSherry broke away at the start of the second half and placed a low shot into the back of the Cliftonville net.
As expected Cliftonville threw the proverbial kitchen sink at their opponents but Cavan maintained their composure until the final whistle to run out deserved victors.
With only 15mins to rest until the final against the top team in the other group Dundalk, Cavan had to work quickly to get some players fit after two tiring games with plenty of help from ice packs and calf, and groin rubs Cavan fielded the same team that finished against Cliftonville.
As things panned out, Cavan proved the best of the bunch on the day with a gritty 2-1 win against the hosts.
Both teams took time to feel each other out with Cavan working hard to put some fine moves together.
Somewhat predictably it was the match underdogs who stole into the lead when Caolan Reilly broke through the lilywhites defence and the last defender had no choice but to bring him down for a penalty.
Butlersbridge native Jonathon Leddy duly grabbed the ball and rifled the penalty high into the left hand corner for a terrific finish.
The goal brought the strong Cavan support to life and it looked like there was going to be only one winner.
When the second half got under way Caolan Reilly was again the thorn in the Dundalk side and he finished a neat move to put the Cavan team on the pig"s back.
Dundalk proved worthy finalists and managed to score a late goal which made for lot of nervy minutes but Cavan held on and there were joyous scenes when the final whistle sounded.
At the conclusion of the match, Martin Connolly, Dundalk Schoolboy Co-ordinator, thanked everyone who contributed to what was a very successful tournament.
He then presented the trophy to Cavan captain Jonathon Leddy.
Cavan also took home the player of the tournament, which went to Drung native Caolan Reilly.
Cavan"s superb and accomplished showing fairly reflected the work, which has gone into the Emerging Talent, and the work from the FAI"s Tom Mohan who was delighted with the performance of all the players.
CAVAN UNDER 13 SQUAD: Shane McManus,Leon Smith, Shane McCann, Ryan Reilly,Barry Fortune,Jonathon Leddy, Niall Clerkin,Killian McSherry, Caolan Reilly, Paddy Dunne, Jamie Hughes,Conor McGearty,Liam Connolly,Shane Conaty, Chris McAneal.
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|Date:||Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 3:58:12 AM|