The team woke on Saturday morning not knowing if the match was going ahead or not given the dreadful weather over the previous couple of days. The sky cleared and the call was eventually made to proceed and both sides arrived a little reluctantly at a heavy pitch in Cornelscourt for a 10:45 throw in. Unfortunately Croi Roi Naofa arrived down a couple of players and, to make the contest even, two of our stronger players joined them in each half to allow both teams to field 10 players. Thanks to Tom and Sam in the first half and Eoin and Mark in the second.
From the throw-in it was obvious that the Geraldine’s boys had come to terms with the conditions, and started at a very high tempo. Initial pressure, some sublime interplay and very impressive fielding from Omar, Robbie and Hugo around the middle saw immediate rewards as most of the early exchanges took place deep in the Croi Roi Naofa half, allowing Padraig (who ignored doctor’s advice to play), Liam and Eoin H to get the scoreboard ticking over. We certainly didn’t have it all our own way, and a resurgence late in the second half by Croi Roi Naofa saw Jack and Dylan come under quite a bit of pressure. Their intensity and expert reading of the game helped the two boys to stifle any momentum from the now relentless opposition, allowing Eoin B (who we were delighted to have back in the team) and Mark (who playing majestically between the defensive and midfield lines) to repeatedly bring the ball out of defence and supply our midfielders with quality early ball.
The second half continued in the same fashion, with resolute defending and strong tackling from the boys at the back (which now included Liam in a bid to add further grit to our defensive efforts) giving us a platform to launch more attacking plays. By this time our midfield was beginning to dominate, giving the guys a little more time to pick out Tom and Sam in our forward line, both of whom were in terrific scoring form. Indeed, the score of the game came mid-way through the half, when another pin-point kick-out from Ben (the ‘Rock’) was initially caught by Hugo in midfield, who passed to Omar, who in turn passed to Eoin B, who played in Padraig, before he passed to Tom, who hand passed beautifully to Sam who tapped over the bar – all to cheers from the side-line.
A bit of lax marking late in the game allowed Croi Roi Naofa in for a couple of (very avoidable) late scores, but Geraldine’s went on to win by a narrow-enough margin after a really enjoyable and well contested game. A very big thanks to Croi Roi Naofa, and to Ted who braved the early morning down-pour to get the pitch ready. The mentors were delighted with the performance in the last game of the season, but will use the break to work on a few areas that could be improved – particularly our marking and shooting accuracy! Well done for a great 2014 season to all the boys.