Dylan Hand’s last minute goal sealed a historic win for Carlow’s U15 side on Sunday when they beat the DDSL in the SFAI Subway Leinster Championship Final.

Ethan O’Neill’s young side were the first team to claim a Leinster title in the newly formatted competition, and they will now face Cork in the national semi-finals.

DDSL V Carlow collage captains 04022018

The DDSL had taken the lead in the first half through Thomas Lonergan, but Carlow equalised thanks to John Ryan in the second half, before Hand bagged the winner with just seconds remaining.

The final was played in Abbotstown, and both teams had their fair share of the ball in the early stages, with both Jack Byrne and Jack O’Neill impressing for the visitors.

Byrne showed intelligence in his passing from the centre of the pitch, using the ball cleverly to put Carlow on the front-foot.

For the DDSL, Glory Nzinga imposed himself on the tie from the beginning, while Ben Quinn on the left was devastating in attack at times, using his pace to stretch the Carlow defence.

He also delivered several dangerous crosses, with one of them finding Lonergan who rose high to head past Ben Goodwin with just under 20 minutes on the clock.

That goal came somewhat against the run of play, but it spurred the DDSL on, and when Quinn threaded through a ball to Callum Warren, he was only denied by Goodwin who was off his line quickly.

Oscar Brennan tested his range with a speculative effort for the eventual winners after that, while both Brennan and Byrne ensured Carlow finished the half strongly as they battled hard in the centre of the pitch.

The second period was only a couple of minutes old when the visitors had their next chance on goal – this time Jamie Murphy teed up Brandon Kelly, but his strike was brilliantly saved by Reece Byrne.

Ryan then bagged the equaliser which came after a scramble in the box, with the ball being cleared off the line before it was smashed in.

In response, Callum Warren continued to test his marker with some very strong wing-play, and when the DDSL youngster delivered to the back post, Cian Kelly came within inches of scoring.

Having already met once this season in a game that ended 2-1 to the DDSL, there was never going to be much between these two excellent teams in the final, and Carlow always looked as though they may create a chance in the latter stages.

That chance eventually came with just seconds remaining on the clock when Dylan Hand, who had already impressed from the bench, closed down the goalkeeper, forcing an error.

The ball ran loose and Hand kept going, eventually steering it into the net from close-range to seal a memorable day for Carlow.


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