FAI Senior Cup
Bluebell United proved Cabinteely manager Pat Devlin right by dumping his side out of the FAI Cup on Friday night.
Devlin claimed the LSL Senior Sunday side were more than capable of competing in Division 1 of the League of Ireland and they showed that certainly is the case as they took a LOI scalp to progress to round three of Irish football’s blue ribbon cup contest.
Shane Stritch was the goal scoring hero as his first half strike separated the sides at full time, but the victory was borne out of a team performance.
Andy Noonan’s men had to sustain large periods of pressure, but thanks to a solid defensive display and a good performance from Andy McNulty one of the best amateur teams at seeing out a game held out and progressed to the next round.
The game started at a good pace and the sides looked relatively evenly matched, but the home side did hit the bar when Early’s cross took a deflection and Robinson fired the rebound over the bar.
Not long after Tony Griffith’s had a 25 yard volley deflect away for a corner Cabo were calling for a peno, but the referee ignored the shouts that followed Doyle’s set piece delivery into the area.
The lively Shane Stritch then pulled an effort wide after buying himself space in the area as Bluebell flirted with breaking the deadlock with the best chance in of the opening exchanges.
Marty Waters just curled one over the apex soon after and it looked like Cabinteely might go through the gears. However, it wasn’t long before the League of Ireland side found themselves trailing to the amateurs.
Having fashioned a chance for himself earlier Stritch was gifted an opportunity he was never going to miss. The striker pounced on an error in the box to tap home into an empty net registering his second goal in two games in the process.
The home side attempted response and forced Andy McNulty into a couple of routine saves, but for the most part ‘Bell looked comfortable at the back in front of a keeper with a good command of his area.
McNulty did have to produce a clever save from Swan and the visitors did have to clear off the line as they maintain their advantage.
Five consecutive corners followed but Andy Noonan’s men defended well and managed to bring a lead into the break.
McNulty had to save again early in the second half, but up and until the hour Bluebell continued to look relatively solid.
Cabinteely did have a peno shout waved away and a goal ruled out for offside as they continued to push, but ‘Bell seemed capable of managing the game out and made it to 90 minutes still ahead.
However, during the five minutes of extra time former Irish International Keith Fahey got sent off to give the hosts some hope of avoiding a shock.
Cabo did have two late chances, but Swan and Walters both fired wide and it’s Bluebell who reach round three.
Picture courtesy of Anto O’Brien