A stunning hat-trick from striker Daniel Tully helped Mervue to a 3 - 1 victory over Salthill Devon in the Connacht Youth Cup final.
Played at Willow Park’s grounds in Athlone on Sunday, Salthill took the lead after 25 minutes when Eamon O’Donnell latched onto a superb Conor Murray through ball before slipping the ball past Conor Gleeson for the opening score.
Mervue, however, fought back well. Ciaran Fahy and Barry McEntee won the battle in the middle of the park, while James Casserely, Andy Higgins, Sergio Nkolovata and Ian Bately were excellent at the back.
It was up front though where Mervue’s hero emerged as Tully produced three great strikes to see the club’s first cup of the season captured. He levelled matters on 33 minutes when Dylan McConville’s shot was deflected into his path and he struck a left foot effort past Gabriel Darcy from 25 yards for 1-1.
Jarlath Connolly and Paul Moynihan’s side hit the front on 69 minutes when Tully picked up a McEntee pass and let fly from 30 yards to see the ball fly straight into the bottom corner past a helpless Darcy. Ciaran Fahy had earlier headed wide of the mark when left unmarked in the box from a Brian Connolly right wing cross.
Mervue completed his hat-trick with a powerful volley at the back post for 3-1.
Salthill were awarded a late penalty, but Conor Gleeson saved smartly from sub Ope Oweru and James Casserly brilliantly denied the striker from the rebound, somehow blocking the striker’s second effort before the ball was cleared to safety.
Mervue captain Barry McEntee was presented with the club’s ninth Connacht Youth Cup title by Connacht FA chairman Michael Rowlands. This title completed a clean sweep of all Connacht Cup titles for Mervue defender James Casserely, having already won u-12, u-14 and u-16 medals with the club. Manager Jaralth Connolly also won the Connacht Youth Cup as a player in 1978 and also managed the Mervue side which captured the title back in 1987. Paul Moynihan
Mervue Utd: Conor Gleeson, Ian Bately, Sergio Nkolovata, Andy Higgins, James Casserly, Ciaran Fahy, Brian Connolly, Barry McEntee, Daniel Tully, Dylan McConville and Sean Moynihan. Subs: Billy Lane for Moynihan, Evan Browne for McConville, Sean Sylver for Connolly, Colm Devery, Rory Lavelle, James Healy.
Salthill Devon: Gabriel darcy, Jason Murphy, Sam Ryan, Connor Murray, Ronan Greaney, Damien Connaughton, Diarmuid Daniels, Ronan Conlon, Timmy Molloy, Eamon O’Donnell and Andrew Dillon. Subs; Ope Oweru for O’Donnell, Matt Heskin, David Saha, DJ Sokundy