Andrew Dempsey reports from Stradbrook Road
Cabinteely's dreams of a first Leinster Senior Cup success were extinguished by last year's runners up St Patrick's Athletic at a rain-sodden Stradbrook on Sunday afternoon.
Gary Shaw’s goal, just on the stroke of half-time, was enough to see the visitors through – despite a late Cabinteely fightback that almost yielded an equaliser.
With both sides much changed from their respective league outings on Friday, it was the visitors who started quickest – with James Doona looking threatening early on.
The former Shamrock Rovers player was lively, forcing two good saves from Cabinteely’s stand-in shot-stopper Peter Quinlan – with the Athletic’s movement causing all sorts of danger for the Green and White’s defence.
Despite looking assured in the opening stages of the game, Quinlan was forced to frantically latch onto the ball from a Kevin O’Reilly cross after he fumbled it under pressure with the Saints attack lurking with intent.
The Cabo netminder made amends for his earlier moment of hesitancy minutes later when he tipped over a fierce Doona drive from long range.
Stephen O’Donnell’s experimental side were dominant in the first half, and they were once again denied by a superb save from Quinlan.
Cabo’s under-19 star pushed away a fine Jake Walker effort on goal after some good play from Shaw on the edge of the area that created the opening for the visitors.
Mikey Drennan then went close just before the half-hour mark but he also denied by the in-form ‘keeper who palmed the ball away from danger.
While they were forced to camp on the edge of their box for much of the opening half, the hosts first real shot in anger came through Karl Manahan but they were to soon fall behind thanks to a goal from striker Shaw.
He got on the end of a sweeping move that saw full-back Paul Cleary cross into the area – where the former Longford Town forward was on hand to turn home with a deft finish as the visitors went in ahead at the break.
After a difficult opening half for Pat Devlin’s side – they began the second in a much brighter fashion with Yuta Sasaki driving forward with some dynamic runs.
Cian Lynch, shortly after being booked, then forced a routine stop from Pats ‘keeper Brian Maher who was called into action after having precious little to do beforehand.
While looking in relative control, the Saints were provided with a real scare when Sasaki once again forced a strong save from the Republic of Ireland under-19 international form inside the box.
The hosts soon grew into the ascendancy and pressed forward with plenty of intent as the clock ticked down, but they were unable to find that killer through ball that would level the game.
Captain for the day Jack Hudson was then called upon to make a telling last-ditch challenge to prevent Stephen O’Donnell’s side from ending the game as a contest.
Doona then shot on target minutes afterwards but the busy Quinlan was able to save with relative ease – with the ball going straight down his throat.
The Athletic held firm however, despite the best attempts of Cabinteely trio Ronan O’Kelly, Robert McGee and Clucas to level proceedings late on with a frantic spell of pressure.
The result leaves new Saints boss O’Donnell at least 90 minutes away from a 17thcup final appearance for the Inchicore side – with Cabo going down fighting against their Premier Division opponents.
Cabinteely: Peter Quinlan, Jack Hudson, Jonny Carlin, Kieran Butler; Christian Lotefa (Conor Crowley, 33), Luke Clucas, Shane Barnes (Ronan O’Kelly, 67), Alex Aspil; Yuta Sasaki , Karl Manahan, Cian Lynch (Robert McGee, 86).
Subs not used: Rob Manley, Conor Keeley, Ben Clarke, Kieran 'Marty' Waters.
Booked: Cian Lynch (47), Kieran Butler (69)
St. Patrick's Athletic: Brian Maher; Kevin O'Reilly, Ciaran Kelly, Padraig Finnerty, Paul Cleary; Chris Forrester (Darragh Burns, 62), James Doona, Cian Coleman; Michael Drennan (Cian Hughes, 75), Gary Shaw (Kyle Robinson, 85), Jake Walker.
Subs not used: Lee McEntee, Simon Madden, Brendan Clarke, Keith Carter.
Booked: Cian Coleman (69), James Doona (71).
Referee: Alan Patchell
Attendance: 350 (estimate).
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: James Doona (St Patrick’s Athletic).