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The chances of a repeat of the 2016 final were great enough but few would have gambled on the actual result and outcome being the same following a dramatic last fifteen minutes of this years Academy Cup final when once again St Kevin's Boys pulled back a 2 goal defecit to bring the match to a penalty shoot out which was uncannily reminiscent of the 2016 final.
Barcelona proved what a brilliant side they are as they displayed all their talents as they dominated the first half and but for some fine goalkeeping by Fiachra Pagel and the woodwork they might have been out of sight by half time. They did eventually take the lead early in the second half through their centre forward Xavier Planas Cruz and Cruz was involved in the second fifteen minutes later when following good work by Pol Munoz Mela he laid the ball off for Aleix Garrido Canizares to score what most people thought would be final nail in the SKB coffin but when Evan Ferguson rounded the keeper and scored a replica of the goal he scored earlier in the tournament against KRC Genk with three minutes to go it set up a frenzied and exciting final two minutes and when a further four minutes additional time was added to that there was always the possibility that the home side could score another which they did in the final minute of injury time when a Jamie Mullins free kick was flicked on by Ben Curtis and Evan Ferguson was on hand to force the ball home off a post.
In the penalty shoot out which followed Barcelona were unerring scoring their first four penalties with Adam Coyle and Ben Curtis replying for the home side.
The Club is greatly indebted to our Academy Cup group of players and management who along with Club Coach Alan Caffrey prepared thoroughly for the task which faced them and this preparation resulted in the excellent performances that did themselves and the Club proud on the pitch.
And so Barcelona join Arsenal as the only teams to have won the Academy Cup on two occasions but they are the first team to win the trophy back to back.