A short trip into Wicklow for a hurling clash against Bray Emmets, the weather was perfect for hurling apart from a 5 minute shower in the second half which only added zip to the sliotar as it ran over it.
Team 1 played the first half with Luka K, David M, Owen T, Kevin K, Shane C, Mark G and Frankie R. For the second half, Johnny D swapped in for Frankie.
It was especially great to see Mark Gil back in action after a ‘sabbatical’.
The terrific progress by our hurlers was again in evidence and each one of our players can hold their heads high. Some general observations were as follows:
A number of the puck outs were deliberately passed to players in space, which led to attacks and scores. A couple of notable ones were from Kevin, Shane and Owen.
Bravery levels were high – it takes great courage to block and hook an opponent’s attempt on goal. This happened with regularity, for example with Mark and David.
Competing for loose balls – even when out-numbered. A particular incident springs to mind, when Kevin – isolated in defence and outnumbered 3 to 1 – prevented the opposition players lifting the ball, holding them off for long enough for our defensive reinforcements to arrive.
Players are getting the ball into their hand quicker and easier and are controlling it on the stick when running full tilt. Luka mastery of the one-handed lift on the run. Johnny’s ability to flick the oncoming ball into his hand first time to leave his marker chasing shadows. Frankie’s trade mark move: a lift, soloing on his right and striking it over the bar.
Your reporter didn’t keep a close eye on scorers, but has a clear memory of excellent points from Luka, David, Owen and Frankie, all of which were the result of team mates working hard for each other. Neither did your reporter get the final score, but overall it felt like a ‘genuine’ draw.
Team2 was John, Aodhán, Adam, Johnnie (swapped with Frankie for the 2nd half), Conor and Frankie’s brother Leo who stepped up again to play for us. The First half was tough work as Bray had a couple of big hitters who put us under a lot of pressure but we battled hard to keep them at bay, we only created a couple of chances ourselves because we were on the back foot so much. Positives from the first half was the commitment from the players to get in the blocks and tackle, they tried and sometimes succeeded in getting the ball into their hand, More movement from the puck outs was good and whoever was in goals did better at trying to find a free man, this has been a problem previously so its good to see that they are putting into practice things worked on in training. At half time we swapped Frankie for Johnnie and told them that they needed to run more to support each other it was a big difference between bray and ourselves first half (leo saying that they had more players that us but they didn’t it just looked like they did with the running they were doing off the ball). Having Frankie made a big difference enabling us to play on the counter attack as well as sticking over a few points. The rest of the lads upped their running and intensity especially John who is really progressing as a player. Conor who loves to defend had a spell up front and scored a goal which was great for him, We keep on telling our forwards to chase the ball into the goal and to put pressure on their keeper so when it pays off with scores it is easier for us to reinforce this point.Adam and Aodhán put in great shifts stopping plenty of potential bray scores, the bravery that they show is incredible. special mention to Leo its frightening to think of what he will do playing games with his own age group. Our super display in the 2nd half enabled us to come out victorious by a single point 3.04 – 8.02
This was a good marker for the boys. Some of you may remember our very first hurling match was against Bray Emmets back in the autumn of 2014 – that day, Gers were taken apart. Not in 2017…..despite missing a couple of our good players (Harry, Morris, David H….come back soon!).