Southend United 1; Bohemians 0
Bohemians were favourites to win the Under-14 Cup final at the RSC on Saturday last, but unfortunately from their point of view the players and management of Southend United forgot to read the script and it was the underdogs who enjoyed the enjoyment of cup glory.
After defeating both the Villa and Carrick United on the way to the decider, Bohemians had every right to go into the game in a confident frame of mind but on the day they came up against a Southend outfit who were absolutely determined to get their hands on the silverware, and no one could begrudge them their success.
Southend, who defeated Hibernians in a penalty shoot-out in the semi-final, almost took the lead after 13 minutes. A long ball out of defence from Kieran Power saw winger Dean Kennedy race forward to meet it but Bohs goalkeeper Gavin Walsh raced from his line to thwart him.
Dean Reidy then tested Gavin Walsh shortly afterwards with a fine shot. Darren Finn went close for Bohs on 24 minutes when he met a pass from Jason Keane but his shot was deflected wide. Jack Doherty took the resultant corner kick only for Conor McArdle to have his header cleared by Kieran Power.
Three minutes later, Southend went close through Dean O’Halloran, who took a fine pass from Robbie Burke but shot went narrowly wide.
Played on a soft surface due to the heavy rain that fell at half-time, the Southend goalkeeper, Sam O’Neill came to the rescue of his side early in the second period, going full length to tip a rasping shot from Jack Doherty around the post.
Bohs had their tails up at this stage and on 42 minutes Jason Keane played a superb ball over the top for Mark O’Keeffe who lobbed the ball forward, but Adam Farrell was in the right place to clear the danger.
The all important goal arrived on 44 minutes and Dean Kennedy was the player who scored the golden goal. His namesake O’Halloran crossed to the back post for Kennedy and after skipping past two defenders, his right-foot shot struck Mark McManus slightly and wrong-footed goalkeeper Gavin Walsh.
Southend almost increased their advantage nine minutes from the finish when Robbie Burke cut in from the left wing and shot at goal. Gavin Walsh saved with his legs and when the ball broke free to Sam Ogami he was a little unlucky to see his effort go inches wide.
Jason O’Neill accepted the cup as captain to round off a great season for him. He was also the skipper of the De La Salle team which won the Munster and All-Ireland FAI Schools titles this season.
Southend United (panel): Sam O’Neill, Andrew Ryan, Ryan Sinnott, Jason O’Neill, Adam Farrell, Kieran Power, Dean Kennedy, Dean Reidy, Rob Healy, Robbie Burke, Dean O’Halloran, Paul O’Toole, Eoin Healy, Shane Mackey, Charlie Chester, Sam Ogami.
Bohemians (panel): Gavin Walsh, Conor Gannon, Tim O’Sullivan, Patrick Fitzgerald, Mark McManus, Conor McArdle, Adam O’Sullivan, Jason Keane, Mark O’Keeffe, Darren Finn, Jack Doherty, Adam Walsh, Jack Hale, Adam Sutton, Eoin Cleary.
Referee: Johnny Matthews; Assistants: Gavin Keys and Tony Lacey.