Dobbs inspires Star's success
Rovers star switches codes
Aided by a virtuoso display by 'player of the match' Aaron Dobbs, Starlights powered past Volunteers to claim the O'Loughlin Cup in St. Patrick's Park on Wednesday.
Starlights 1-9 Volunteers 1-1
The Shamrock Rovers soccer star registered 1-5 of his side's tally, including a blistering second-half goal, to propel the Bellefield boys to the title in the second tier 13-a-side competition.
It's always a little trickier for defences with the space available in the reduced-numbers game, but both sides restricted attacking opportunities well, particularly the Starlights rearguard who held their opponents scoreless in the second-half.
The Enniscorthy town side started brightly and had a succession of frees that they missed, but they did add points from J.P. Farrell and Craig Foley. Dylan McVeigh chose to take the easy point when breaking through in the seventh minute as his side opened up a 0-3 to nil lead.
Volunteers sprung up the field with speed and drew themselves level in the 15th minute. Ciarán Sheil initially made a fantastic save from the imposing Brian Deeny but there was nothing the Starlights stopper could do to prevent Finnian Coughlan scoring from the rebound.
A booming Dobbs free gave Starlights a 0-4 to 1-0 lead but Aaron McGuire hit back with a nice point after a clever Coughlan pass back to the free man. Dobbs added his second before the interval, meaning his side went in a point ahead at the break (0-5 to 1-1).
Intent on a bright start to the second period, Starlights kicked on right from the off. Dobbs landed his third free and moments later hauled in a skied clearance and smashed an unstoppable shot past Aaron Kinsella in the Volunteers goal.
The John Street boys looked a little disheartened after the goal but continued fighting. Foley added his second point while Dobbs registered two more as Starlights tacked on a few scores as the game suffered amidst a raft of substitutions.
While Dobbs nabbed the 'player of the match' trophy, it was his captain, Ronan Kirwan, who accepted the O'Loughlin Cup from organiser Shay Keevans on behalf of his side.
Starlights: Ciarán Sheil; Nathan O'Connor, Robbie O'Neill; Cian Larkin, Ronan Kirwan (capt.), Darren Fortune; J.P. Farrell (0-1), Aaron Dobbs (1-5, 0-3 frees); Jack Doyle, Martin Ryan, Craig Foley (0-2); Dylan McVeigh (0-1), Mick Dempsey. Subs. - Adam Kirwan for Ryan (31), Oisín Cullen for Foley (41), Willie Doyle for R. Kirwan (46), Ryan Doran for Dempsey (50), also Anto Larkin, Mick Cullen, Aaron Browne, Kevin Kehoe, Gavin Murphy, Daithí Medcalf, Colm O'Brien, Jack Mythen, Niall Vonno, Michael Wall, Peter O'Connor, Kevin O'Connor, Lukasz Wiacek.
Volunteers: Aaron Kinsella; Aaron Smyth, Ben McMahon; Chris Glover, Aaron McGuire (capt., 0-1), Brandon O'Brien; Owen Reck, Brian Deeny; Alan Browne, Jason Nolan, Luke Dowdall; Ryan Lynch, Finnian Coughlan (1-0). Subs. - Lee Busher for Lynch, inj. (17), Ryan Doyle for Coughlan (39), Ryan Busher for O'Brien (39), Eoin Allen for Dowdall (49), Callum Cleary for Glover (49), also Dion Murphy, Jack O'Leary, Patrick Glover, Aaron Roche, Cian Rossiter.
Referee: Seamus Whelan (Oylegate-Glenbrien).