A tremendous second-half performance from Eany Celtic U16’s saw them lift the South Donegal Schoolboy’s U16 Cup at Eany Park.
Eany Celtic 2-1 St. Catherines
While the first half belonged to St. Catherine’s it was Eany who nearly drew first blood when Nathan Maxwell’s free kick from distance came back to Jared Harvey on the edge of the six-yard box but Harvey was adjudged to have handballed and the chance was gone.
St. Catherines replied swiftly when in the 20th minute Christopher Mulligan shot from distance only to see his effort go inches wide of Eany keeper Oisin Burke’s far post.
Two quick corners in succession for St. Catherines failed to produce anything but on the half an hour mark Cole Quigley gave the visitors a well-deserved lead after a great strike from the edge of the box found the back of the net.
St. Catherines turned the screw and were unlucky not to extend their lead after two further long-range efforts narrowly missed their target.
The loss of Eany centre-half Rhys Boyle through injury further exacerbated the home side’s difficulties and they will consider themselves fortunate to have finished the half only 1-0 down.
If ever there was a game of two halves then this was it. Eany began the second half brightly and continued throughout.
Jack Boyle ploughing a lonely furrow up front began to cause problems for the St. Catherines back four and wide men Jack Byrne and Josh Maxwell were finding space in behind the full backs.
Eany’s equaliser came in the 55th minute after Nathan Maxwell’s free-kick from inside his own box was flicked on by Kyle Breslin for Jack Boyle. Boyle slipped the back four, rounded keeper Jamie Kelly and duly finished from an acute angle.
Eany came close again after Jack Byrne’s cross from the left found Jared Harvey at the far post but Harvey’s header went just wide.
St Catherines responded with a slick move down the right and just as it looked as though frontman Pauric Love was about to fire the Killybegs men back into the lead along came Halim Egberongbe with a superb sliding tackle to spoil the party.
Eany’s second and the decisive goal of the game came after Jared Harvey found Jack Byrne on the right with a pass from the midfield.
Byrne rounded two defenders and produced an unstoppable finish from the edge of the box to secure the win. St Catherines pressed hard for an equaliser, but it was Eany with a succession of counter-attacking football who looked the more likely to score.
Referee Seamus McGrory’s whistle concluded what was a very entertaining and keenly contested final.
South Donegal Schoolboy’s chairman Denis McDaid presented Eany’s Oisin Meehan with the trophy and thanked the players from both teams and officials Seamus McGrory, David Keeney and Francis Cassidy for their contribution to what had been a great spectacle.