THE Donegal Schoolboys side bowed out of the prestigious Kennedy Cup soccer tournament at the University of Limerick in heartbreaking fashion on Wednesday evening, losing to the Limerick District Schoolboy League 7-6 on penalties at the quarter-final stages.
Many of the young Donegal players were visibly tired after being asked to play their fourth game in three days and, despite scoring a late equaliser through Shane Blaney, they were unable to come through the penalties.
Goalkepeer Aaron Deeney (Illistrin), an ever present up to that point, was forced out of the action midway through the first half of Wednesday’s quarter-final while another first team regular Sean McBride (Cappry Rovers) also came off injured.
The week had started so well for the Donegal team who, under the guidance of joint team managers Paul Callan and Mark McConnell, topped Group 3 on seven points, winning their opening two matches and drawing with Wexford to secure their place in the last eight of the Cup. They began on Monday evening with a 4-0 success over Wicklow, before seeing off Clare 1-0 and then drawing with Wexford 2-2 in their two fixtures on Tuesday.
They were due to return to action this afternoon in the Plate semi final.
The Kennedy Cup competition, which was established back in 1976, has seen many Irish international players display their talents down through the years.
Roy Keane, captained Cork to success in 1984, Damien Duff and Ian Harte played for the Dublin District Schoolboys League, while John O’ Shea played for Waterford in 1995.
The squad is as follows: Aaron Deeney, Paddy McColgan, Shane Blaney, Adam Byrne, Niall Hannigan, Jordan Ryan (all Illistrin), Conor Gormley, Brad Patterson, Shaun Curran, Jeaic McKelvey, Shane McNamee (all Swilly Rovers), Shane Doherty (Glencar), Patrick Gallagher (Dunkineely Celtic), Sean McBride and Shaun Rodgers (Cappry Rovers), Conor Gavigan, Peader Mogan and Calvin O’Brien (Eany Celtic), Jack Keaney (Donegal Town), Dan O’Gallachoir (Gweedore Celtic)