The Bobby Smith Cup heads to Waterford
REPORT: Waterford ETB 1-1 Limerick ETB (Waterford ETB win 3-0 on penalties AET)
The Bobby Smith Cup is the annual competition played out between the nationwide FAI ETB programmes, which have been operating for over 25 years in Ireland. The courses in Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Limerick, Dundalk, and Castlebar provide full-time training and education to over 250 young people each year and include SSE Airtricity League of Ireland players and international footballers among their alumni.
Under the watchful eye of the FAI / LOI Academy Development Manager Will Clarke, the game featured no fewer than 18 current and ex-LOI underage national league players.
Both finalists had overcome strong Dublin-based opposition in their respective semi-finals, with both sides also coming into the game with fully-fit squads which were needed as the temperatures soared.
As the crowd filtered in, Limerick started brightly, putting early pressure on the Waterford back four but Paddy Carey’s team reacted well and became the first of the two teams to seriously threaten with Butler and Kervick drawing two top-class saves from Waterford’s Adam Gallagher.
Owen Oseni broke the deadlock after some clever play from Homoki with Oseni producing some quick feet in the box before slotting Waterford into the lead.
As half-time approached, Limerick dragged themselves back into the game when, following good work from Sean Oyibo and Jeffrey Dore, Leon Kirrane found a yard of space and let off a low 20-yard strike which despite the Waterford goalkeepers’ best efforts, nestled into the bottom right corner.
The Shannonsiders started the brighter in the second half with Kuda Sheehan replacing Dore up-front. But it was Waterford who managed to grow into the game as the clock neared 90 minutes with missed chances from Oseni and Butler.
Extra-time proved a tense affair and the Cup was to be decided with penalties. Waterford shot-stopper Cummins proved the hero in the penalty shoot-out with Limerick failing to convert any of their attempts. The men from Waterford ran out 3-0 winners thanks to superbly taken strikes from Larkin, Butler and Kervick.
Helen Synott of Litton Lane Training, a key partner of the FAI ETB Programmes, was on hand to present Dylan Butler with the Player of the Match award before Harry McCue of the FAI ETB Cabra handed over the Bobby Smith Trophy to Waterford captain Dean Larkin.
Waterford ETB: Conor Cummins, Mark Imiren, Daire O’Keefe, Daniel Purcell, Dean Larkin, Alex Walsh, Liam Kervick, Kian Kelly-Carey, Owen Oseni, Ivan Homoki, Dylan Butler, Maldrit Bahrami, Ben Meagher, Emmannuel Yartey, Lee Sheridan, Sam Daly, Craig Crowley, Jamie Brazil, Colm O’Hanlon.
Limerick ETB: Adam Gallagher, Jonathan Moran, Craig Prendergast, Jake Prendergast, Scott Kirkland, Ethan Fitzgerald, Leon Kirrane, Sean Oyibo, Josh Shinners, Jack Ryan, Jeffrey Dore, Kuda Sheehan, Paddy Bermingham, John Culhane, Aaron Quinlivan, Luke Woodrow, Vincent Kennedy.