Glorious sunshine welcomed St Bridgets to cornelscourt for our 2 team football game. Team 1 was David M, Frankie, Luka, Max, Oisin, James D, Harry, Owen T, Eoin D and Jack. By all accounts the team performed to their highest level this season so far. The support play and slick passing that has been evident in recent months continues to improve match by match. The players ability to keep their heads up in possession and spot the right pass shows how far these boys have come on this year. No longer are they shooting from impossible angles and distance instead they are now working the ball in closer and scoring some brilliant team and individual points. At the other end of the pitch the defence is working well as a unit not giving the opposition time on the ball to settle and reading the game well to contest the high balls or to mop up the loose passes and start attacks of our own.
Team 2 was Morris, Eoin G, Tom, Aodhán, Tadhg, Shane, Kevin, Johnnie, Adam, Alex and Colin. What was said about team 1 can be repeated for these lads, they were all magnificent, working hard for each other, hunting the ball in packs and harassing the opposition when they had possession. Alex started off in goals and the accuracy of his kickouts started plenty of attacks, this is only his 2nd time playing since he joined us last month but you would never know he had played so little with the display he gave, even when he came outfield he was executing the toe lift every time. Kevin, Adam, Tom and Aodhán were in defence and showed excellent positioning and reading of the game, Kevin forever finds himself in the right place to tackle or pick up loose ball, Adam’s never give up attitude is contagious in the back line and he offloaded some nice hand passes to team mates after winning possession. Aodhán and Tom rarely left the side of their forwards and put in some hard challenges winning back possession multiple times and breaking forward to start attacks.
Shane and Morris bossed midfield for most of the game, Morris doesn’t know when to give up whether it’s chasing back to help the defence or pushing forward to create an overlap he keeps on going, he has added a lot more to his game too his ball winning and retention skills have progressed at an alarming rate and he has a good knack of finding a team mate with simple passes. Shane’s clever use of the ball in finding team mates or scoring long range points (one in particular from near the sideline way out would have been a highlight of any match any level) shows how much he is playing with his head up. He is making so many right decisions throughout the game and has really started to drift into positions to receive the ball.
The forward line of Johnnie, Colin, Owen and Tadhg all scored great points, Johnnie’s fielding of high balls has come on so much he is quickly becoming our go to man for long balls into the forward line and he lays off the ball to better placed forwards to take a shot. Colin’s marauding runs at pace constantly broke through their defence and his direct style caused havoc creating plenty of chances for himself and his fellow forwards, Tadhg is a little warrior what he lacks in stature he more than makes up for with determination, pace and intelligence, he has plenty of skill to add to these great assets. The amount of time he stripped the ball from his opponent was unbelievable and he was already on the attack before they knew he had tackled them. His accuracy in shooting and passing is getting better all the time as is his decision making. Defending starts from your forward line and Tadhg does this constantly either forcing turnovers or making them rush their passes. Owen like Johnnie is beginning to use his height and strength well in gaining possession and his ability of kicking with either foot accurately is a major plus that all players should aspire to.
With all the progress being made individually it would not be so noticeable if they haven’t progressed as a collective too. They seem to understand that teamwork goes along way to winning games, a perfect illustration of how far the boys have come in understanding this was during the second half we were awarded a free and Shane and Johnnie both wanted to take it. I told Shane to take it and it was well in his range to score but Johnnie moved away about 10 feet totally unmarked and straight away Shane passed to him and Johnnie sent it over the bar for a great point.