The talented young players of Southend United have booked a place in the semi-final of the FAI Under-17 Cup following an incredible victory in Adare on St Patrick’s Day.
Rathkeale took the lead on the border between Limerick and Tralee and they held that advantage right up to half-time. This Southend team ran Cork City very close in a recent MFA Youth Cup game (U18) and playing in the slightly younger grade they more than held their own against a very strong Rathkeale outfit, and it came as no surprise when Craig Keane equalised early in the second half.
Paddy Barrett put Southend in front with an incredible free kick from 45 yards to shock the home side. Despite that setback the hosts did manage to score a second goal and take the contest into extra time.
Barrett, the gifted youngster who spent an ill-fated period of time with Aberdeen, scored the winner from the penalty spot in the extra period and now United will play Carragline in the semi-final at a neutral venue here in Waterford, possibly Ozier Park or the RSC.
Southend United could be only 180 minutes away from securing their first ever national title, which is not surprising considering that this current crop of players are something really special.