BOB McKenna scored yet another hat-trick as Dundalk Youths secured the DDSL Under-18 Super League title with a 3-2 win over St Kevin’s Boys in Santry on Sunday morning.
Alan Browne’s side showed great desire to recover from falling a goal behind early on to take a 2-1 lead going into the half-time break. St Kevin’s pulled level on the hour mark but the prolific McKenna sealed a memorable season for the Youths when he fired home the winner in the 72nd minute.
After a good start which saw Daniel Hand threaten the St Kevin’s goal, the home side won a corner with their first attack after just 12 minutes and a powerful header from their centre-back made it 1-0.
Dundalk hit back just five minutes later when a lovely weighted pass by Hand set McKenna free and he fired his shot in off the post to restore parity.
Browne’s side upped the tempo after that and Aidan Sheehy saw a free-kick from 20-yards curl narrowly wide before McKenna helped himself to a second in the 23rd minute when he latched on to another Hand pass to make no mistake.
Captain Kurt Murphy almost doubled Dundalk’s advantage with two opportunities before the break, firing over with a powerful drive on the half hour before seeing a shot tipped round the post by the Kevin’s goalkeeper in stoppage time.
The young Lilywhites opened the second-half with intent and McKenna almost made it 3-1 when he raced on to a Seanie Crosbie ball over the top only to be denied by a last ditch block.
The game was turned on its head on the hour mark when the home side pulled level from the spot after Sheehy was adjudged to have taken a player down just inside the penalty area.
The game ebbed and flowed after that and Murphy flashed an effort just off target before Dundalk goalkeeper Johnny Connolly made a good stop to deny a St Kevin’s player as the game approached the final 20 minutes.
Knowing that a win would secure them the title, Dundalk went in search of a winner and it duly arrived from goalscoring ace McKenna.
Kevin Loughran did well to flick Roy Kierans’ pass into the path of Hand and for the third time in the game the Dundalk strikers combined to deadly effect as McKenna smashed home to complete his hat-trick.
The Skerries teenager almost made it 4-2 shortly after and although St Kevin’s had a couple of half chances, including a header that just cleared the Dundalk bar in stoppage time, the Lilywhites held on to secure the title.
DUNDALK YOUTHS: Johnny Connolly, Ryan Duffy, Roy Kierans, Aidan Sheehy, Brian Bird, Scott Craven (Michael Gray 60), Kevin Loughran, Kurt Murphy, Seanie Crosbie, Daniel Hand (Jude Carroll 75), Bob McKenna.