League Play-Off Report: Longford Town 1 - 1 Cabinteely (Cabinteely win 3-1 on penalties)Fri, Oct 11 2019
Andrew Dempsey reports from City Calling Stadium
Cabinteely have continued their fairy-tale promotion hunt with a dramatic penalty shootout win over Longford Town – with Stephen McGuinness' heroics sealing their passage to face Drogheda next week.
Longford fell a goal behind in the first half thanks to a Paul Fox strike, before Aaron Dobbs levelled proceedings before the half-time whistle.
The sides were unable to separated, with a penalty shootout the only way either side could be split – Rob Manley’s spot-kick sent Cabo through to face Drogheda, with McGuiness’ three saves proving crucial.
With a place in the next round of the playoffs on the line, both Longford and Cabinteely opted for two changes each.
Shane Elworthy and Dean Byrne both made their returns for the host, with Karl Manahan and Jack Hudson coming in for Pat Devlin’s young guns, replacing the suspended Kevin Knight and Vilius Labutis.
Similarly, to last week’s encounter, the Red and Black started well, and they really should have taken a 6th minute lead through Dylan Grimes.
With Stephen McGuinness caught off his line, Aaron Dobbs crossed to the ex-Shels midfielder, who saw his superb touch and finish cleared off the line by a heroic goal-saving block by Eoin Massey.
Despite dominating the early stages of the game, Longford fell a goal behind thanks to some slack defending on their part.
Keith Dalton ghosted in on the right flank, defeating Dean Zambra for pace. The former Dundalk youngster crossed into the box, where Lee Steacy fumbled the ball.
The ball then fell to Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters who saw his rebound saved by the impressive Steacy, but the ball squirmed loose to Paul Fox who mad eno mistake from close range.
Grimes continued to impress, but his end pordcut was often lacking – with the former Sherrif YC youngster opting to take the extra touch rather than shooting on goal.
However, the hosts soon drew level just before the break through Aaron Dobbs who turned home a superb Jack Doherty corner kick into the box.
Dobbs,scoring his fifth of the season saw his glancing header sail into the back of the net to give Daire Doyle’s side a deserved equaliser that their play merited.
Buoyed by their opener before the break, Town ought to have taken the lead through Dean Byrne in the 52nd minute.
Byrne linked up well with Dobbs, who slipped the ball back into the path of Byrne who saw his one-on-one saved by McGuinness in the Cabinteely goal.
The game soon descended into a spell of inacitivity, with the visitors slowly taking hiold of the game as nervous energy began to take a firm grasp of the healthy home attendance.
‘Marty’ Waters went mightily close from the breaking ball on a Keith Dalton free-kick – with only a last ditch block on the line from Conor Kenna saving the day for the hosts.
Substitute Sam Verdon then saw his curling long-range effort clawed out of the top corner by the agile McGuinness.
Cabinteely then had two great opportunities to seal it at the death through Rob Manley who was denied at the last ditch twice.
The First Divsion’s top scorer looked set to roll the ball into an empty net, but McDonnell was on hand to mop up the danger with a superbly-timed challenge.
The 22 year old then saw his glancing header go wide from a Paul Fox corner kick, with Daire Doyle’s side just about securing an added thirty minutes of action.
Cabinteely continued to threaten, and almsot took the lead through a goal-line scramble in the Longford six-yard box, but the hosts hacked the ball away in the end.
Very few chances fell the way of either side in extra-time, with Dobbs’ header the closes either came to a goal in the second period of extra-time.
A penalty shootout was the only wa either side coud be seprated in the end, with the heroics of McGuinness sealing Cabo’s passage into the net round, where Drogheda United await.
For Longford, their season is over despite a gallant effort, with its ending coming in the most cruel way possible via a penalty shootout.
Longford Town: Lee Steacy; Shane Elworthy (Joe Manley, 104), Conor Kenna, Michael McDonnell; Jack Doherty, Dylan Grimes (Peter Hopkins, 75), Paul O'Conor; Dean Byrne (Sam Verdon, 72), Aaron Dobbs, Adam Evans (Aodh Dervin, 95).
Subs not used: Sean Boyd, Karl Chambers, Luke Dennison.
Booked: Conor Kenna (49), Adam Evans (87).
Sent off: None.
Cabinteely: Stephen McGuinness; Jack Tuite, Eoin Massey, Conor Keeley, Keith Dalton (Yuta Sasaki, 87); Jack Hudson, Paul Fox, Kieran 'Marty' Waters (Luke Clucas, 112); Zak O'Neill (Shane Barnes, 110), Rob Manley, Karl Manahan (Daniel Blackbyrne, 62).
Subs not used: Peter Quinlan, Dean Casey, Jonny Carlin.
Booked: Rob Manley (31), Zak O’Neill (90), Yuta Sasaki (120+2).
Sent off: None.
Referee: Alan Patchell.
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Stephen McGuinness (Cabinteely).