With flood warnings in place and games all over the country being cancelled, parents (and coaches) waited patiently for the call from the opposition to say the game was off. It didn’t come and so – a little reluctantly – off to Balbriggan we went. We were welcomed by a full squad from O’Dwyers looking keen to do the double over us following their straightforward win last time out. We got our 11 players ready just before the whistle, the rain had stopped and the pitch was in good shape, but – in truth – expectations were pretty low.
However from the throw-in, the lads seemed determined not to have made the long trip in vein. The game ebbed and flowed in the first half and we showed good quick short passing (I guess they were listening in training), excellent closing-down in defence, clever movement off the ball and good interchanges in the forwards.
The boys came in at half time with red cheeks and short of breath, but a clear sense that the game was there for the winning: and win it they did. In one of our team’s finest ever performances, the guys showed clearly in the second half what they are capable of. At times it was last-ditch, at times it was tough, but at times it was sheer magic. Each boy set their own bar at a new height – heights we want them to reach at every game.
Ben started the moves with a very Cluxton-like performance; shot stopping and clinical in his distribution. Ned – only new to the team – was majestic; great hands and reading of the game: he made it look easy. JD was imperious… end of! Zeb had his best game – tough in the tackle and always a step ahead. Jack,.. well,.. how happy are we that he is back. He was a ferocious, and with the back-line playing as they did, the opposition forwards had no chance – ever!
In midfield Omar was ridiculously good – Jim Gavin, were you watching? Matthew- again new to the team – scored 1-1 from midfield and literally covered every blade of grass on the pitch (there was only one word for the two boys’ performance: Gegenpressing!…. Klopp style).
Not to be out-done, our forwards were on fire. Padraig played a bit deep, linking the midfield and the forwards with speed and precision, while Liam and Sam in the corners never stopped. They worked equally hard with and without the ball, and Sam’s cheeky point was a highlight. Hugo tucked away a hatful of goals, and was a constant threat.
It was a performance to savour. Thanks to the parents who travelled – it was well worth it in the end. Thanks to the additional work Dom and Leo have been putting in over the last few weeks; thanks to O’Dwyers for a really enjoyable and high quality game, and thanks to the ref. But, with what we saw on the pitch, the final word goes to the boys – well done!