ILLISTRIN FC 2
KEADUE ROVERS 2
(AET Illistrin won 4-2 on penalties)
By Harry Walsh at Finn Park
THERE was heartache and ecstasy in equal measure on a dramatic Champions League final night at Finn Park on Tuesday as Seamus Devine’s Illistrin FC team lifted this year’s U16 trophy.
Trailing 2-0 at the break, Illistrin hauled themselves back on level terms within ten minutes of the restart but they were unable to edge ahead.
Extra time failed to separate the teams and it took a dreaded penalty shoot-out in which goalkeeper Aaron Deeney and Niall Hannigan – both introduced as late, late substitutes – who proved to be the heroes.
It was tough luck on Danny Doogan’s team who also lost out in last year’s U16 decider at the hands of Letterkenny Rovers.
Illistrin, meanwhile, were also beaten finalists twelve months ago – losing to Donegal Town at U14 level – and the Letterkenny team went into Tuesday’s final as clear favourites.
Having finished seven places and 17 points ahead of the men from the Rosses in the Letterkenny and District League table and winning the corresponding league encounter 3-2, they arrived in Ballybofey with a pep in their step.
Keadue were also quietly confident, given that they had edged the most recent meeting of the clubs 1-0 in the Champions League group stages and it proved to be a close, close game
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