Andrew Dempsey reports from Stradbrook Road
Cabinteely secured another valuable three points at Stradbrook with a two-goal defeat of Longford Town.
A brace from First Division top scorer Rob Manley secured the win for the Green and Whites as Longford slumped to third in the First Division table, falling eight points behind league leaders Shelbourne.
Searching for their first win away from home since May 3rd, which was over Drogheda United, Longford Town made one change from their most recent win over the Boynesiders with Sam Verdon returning to the fold.
Cabinteely came into the game confident with a six-game unbeaten run of form which has seen Pat Devlin’s side roar back into playoff contention.
Devlin opted to make one change following his sides most recent clash against Shelbourne at Tolka Park with goalscorer Shane Barnes returning to the starting XI.
It was Longford who ought to have taken an early lead through Aaron Dobbs.
Anto Breslin’s long ball from the left found the head of Sam Verdon who flicked the ball on to Dobbs but he could only volley straight at Stephen McGuinness in the Cabo goal.
Town had a glorious chance to take the lead after the 20th minute through defender Conor Kenna. He got his head on a Dean Zambra delivery on the left but was unable to steer his effort on target in the end.
As the half wore on, the hosts grew into the game and could have broken the deadlock after Jack Watson’s cross was left unattended in the penalty area as Shane Elworthy cleared at the back post.
Conor Keeley then saw his rasping long-range drive parried clear by Lee Steacy as the Green and Whites showed signs of life as the half hour ticked by.
However, Devlin’s young guns were not to be denied as Rob Manley turned home his 13thof the season after the first effort by Shane Barnes was pushed into his path.
Manley poked an effort at Steacy who could not retain the ball as the ex-Bohemians man rounded the Longford ‘keeper to break the deadlock.
The visitors rallied after going behind and went close through Dobbs and Dylan Grimes but were unable to get level before the half-time whistle.
In the opening stages of the second period, Cabinteely almost doubled their advantage through defender Kevin Knight.
Knight, returning to Cabo from Longford Town, was found at the near post by Dalton’s in swinging delivery but the Midlander’s survived a very real scare.
With the game slipping away from Longford, new loan signing Sean Boyd had a gilt-edged opportunity to level the game.
Boyd was found free in the area with a pull-back from Verdon, but his effort hit the post, much to the agony of the strong Longford travelling contingent as Eoin Massey scrambled the ball off the line just after.
Manley then went close minutes later, but his header just glanced wide of goal after Paul Fox found the in-form striker.
Town, running out of ideas, went close with under ten to play as Dervin’s diagonal ball was met by Verdon who could only head straight at McGuinness.
Cabo made sure of the three points though with seconds to play as Manley fired home his 14thof the season to ensure it was another night to remember for Pat Devlin’s young guns at Stradbrook.
Cabinteely: Stephen McGuinness; Conor Keeley, Kevin Knight, Eoin Massey (Daniel Blackbyrne, 66), Jack Tuite; Keith Dalton, Paul Fox, Zak O'Neill (Alex Aspil, 70), Jack Watson; Shane Barnes (Yuta Sasaki, 87), Rob Manley.
Subs not used: Luke Clucas, Jack Hudson, Karl Manahan, Peter Quinlan.
Booked: Conor Keeley (67), Kevin Knight (84).
Longford Town: Lee Steacy; Michael McDonnell, Conor Kenna, Shane Elworthy, Anto Breslin; Sam Verdon, Dylan Grimes (Peter Hopkins, 78), Aodh Dervin, Karl Chambers (Dean Byrne, 57), Dean Zambra; Aaron Dobbs (Sean Boyd, 57).
Subs not used: Carlton Ubaezuonu, Jack Menton, Joseph Manley, Adam Evans.
Booked: Mick McDonnell (34), Dean Zambra (69).
Referee: Robert Harvey.
Attendance: 300 (Estimate).
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Rob Manley (Cabinteely).