Macdara Ferris reports from Tallaght Stadium
Two late goals earned Cabinteely the win in their first competitive outing at Tallaght Stadium. Kevin Knight slotted home a penalty in the 77th minute and the three points were wrapped up a minute from time thanks to a bullet header from Conor Keeley.
It was a different sort of occasion at Tallaght Stadium compared with 24 hours earlier and the visit of AC Milan. All eyes then were on 39-year-old Zlatan Ibrahmovic in that Europa League game but Friday's First Division game it was 15-year-old Kevin Zefi that was the centre of attention.
The young Hoops tyro again was very impressive with his close control and tricky footwork causing difficulties for the visitors. In the first half alone he had one shot straight at Cory Chambers, one over the bar and on at least three occasions slalomed through the Cabo defence although he failed to test the 'keeper or find a teammate who could trouble Chambers on those occasions.
Kevin Knight, who played with Rovers B team in the 2014 First Division, had the first chance of the game on his return to Tallaght and he played well throughout the night. His curling effort didn't trouble Leon Pohls and indeed neither goalkeeper were forced into a save in the first half.
Pat Devlin's men, seeking their first win in five, probably felt hard done by with not having a half time lead. Stephen Kinsella swung a fine corner kick in to the onrushing Knight who rattled the crossbar and Marty Waters had a low shot that just went wide of the woodwork.
The visitors started the second half strongly with Waters going close - Pohls doing well to stand up and save the effort. The lack of goals in the game didn’t mean it wasn’t an entertaining game but the quality of defending getting a timely tackle or block in was enough to keep the game scoreless until the late goals.
For Rovers Max Murphy did blaze one over the bar when he should have found the target and twice slight deflections took the ball wide of Pohls’ despairing dive but also by the Rovers post to safety from a Hoops perspective.
However the deadlock was broken thanks to Knight as he scored from the penalty spot sending Leon Pohls the wrong way after the awarding of a very controversial penalty kick. It looked like Alex Dunne had his hands behind his back but the referee pointed to the spot.
With a minute to go Conor Keeley timed his run well to head home Stephen Kinsella’s corner kick from the left to make it 2-0. It was a tough one to take for Rovers II who have now lost four on the bounce but it was a badly needed win for Cabo to get their promotion efforts back on track after their recent derailment – next up for Devlin’s men is Monday’s match at home to Galway United.
Shamrock Rovers II: Leon Pohls; Cole Omorehiomwan, Sean Callan (c), Alex Dunne; Max Murphy, Sean Brennan, Aaron Bolger, John Ryan; Brandon Kavanagh (Michael Leddy 80), Thomas Oluwa, Kevin Zefi (Aidomo Emakhu 75).
Subs not used: Kian Clarke (gk), Jordan Tallon, Darragh Nugent, Dean McMenamy, Peter Adigun.
Booked: Alex Dunne (76).
Cabinteely: Corey Chambers; Mitchell Byrne, Conor Keeley (c), Jonny Carlin, Kevin Knight; Keith Dalton, Eoin Massey (Dylan Thornton 67), Jack Connelly, Paul Fox (Shane Barnes 67); Kieran Marty Waters (Luke Clucas 83), Steven Kinsella (Cian Kelly 90+3).
Subs not used: Peter Quinlan (gk), Eoin McPhillips, Mark Soper.
Booked: Kevin Connelly (64), Shane Barnes (85).
Referee: Gavin Colfer.
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Kevin Knight (Cabinteely).