For our final grading game 14 travelled to Cabra looking to return to winning ways after our loss to Trinity Gaels 4 weeks ago. A number of players weren’t available so it provided a good opportunity for other lads to stand up and be counted.

James K started in goals, our FBs we Aodhan and Owen G, HBs were Morris, Owen T and Kevin. James D and John provided the midfield partnership, Mathew, Frankie and Mark were the HFs with Sean and Colin in the FF line. Adam was our only sub and we had decided before kickoff to make a change every 10 mins. John was our captain for the day.

We made a bright start to the game on a lovely Sunny day with Frankie slotting over a free in the first minute, another free shortly after was put narrowly wide and from the resulting kick out Fionnbarra entered our half for their first foray only to have 2 wides in quick succession before taking the lead with a well taken goal. We were struggling to get our passing game going with our hand passing letting us down at times and were lucky when Fionnbarra put a good goal chance wide. This seemed to ignite something in Owen T who started to run with the ball and cut through their tackles before passing to Frankie who put it over the bar. Adam came on for Sean and our forwards marked tight on their kickout and forced 2 turnovers with the 2nd of these the equalizer from Frankie. Unfortunately for us from the kickout Mathew landed badly when contesting the kick out and had to come off injured. That was the end of his playing for the game but luckily for Mathew it turned out not to be too serious.

Fionnbarra broke into our half but Owen G and Aodhán forced their forward into rushing the shot and it sailed wide. Owen T wins the kickout and after linking up with John bursts forward again this time going all the way and rattling the net. We look like we are taking control of the game when Frankie repeats the net rattling to put us 6 up but Fionnbarra come down our end and score a point. For the last 5 minutes of the half it was end to end stuff firstly Sean sees his shot saved by the keeper and it rebounds to Adam who we all thought had scored until one of their defenders sticks out a leg and clears it off the line. We keep up the pressure and force a turn over and Mark passes to Frankie who scores another point. Fionnbarra score the last 2 points of the half on either side of John’s goal effort saved by their keeper. Ht score Gers 2.04 fionnbarra 1.03

Halftime we told the lads to execute their handpasses better as it had been below their usual standard and to remember to take their 4 steps and break through the tackle before bouncing/solo as it had cost them a few possessions during the half. Their workrate was excellent but we still asked them to give a little more. Colin went into goals for the second half with James K going into the forwards.

We started the 2nd half like the first by attacking and were rewarded when Morris passed to James D who played a 1-2 with his namesake and scored a great goal. The game resumed its end to end football from the first half when Fionnbarra go down the other end and get a goal of their own. We traded a couple of wides before Fionnbarra stun us with 2 goals in 2 minutes to take a 2 point lead. Not ones to lie down we had our best spell of the game with 2 points from Frankie both from frees drew us level with 10 minutes gone in the half. Owen T wins the ball in our half and repeats his first half heroics by driving down the other end and scoring another great goal. Both teams defence started to control the game and coupled with a couple of good saves from Colin we looked comfortable with the lead and entering the last 10 minutes we start to break down their defence again with John, Morris and James D running at them. Frankie scores a point from another free before john scores a point and with 7 minutes left Frankie scores another goal for us to lead by 8. Fionnbarra come back at us strongly and score 2 goals in a minute to close the gap. Frankie takes his tally to 2.08 with another point which was quickly answered with a point for Fionnbarra. with time running out they threw everything at us and it looked like Kevin had made a game winning block when he got in the way of a goalbound shot but unfortunately for us they win the loose ball and score a goal. Try as we did we couldn’t get the chance to equalise or win and the only other action was a wide from Fionnbarra to win the game Gers 5.09 Naomh Fionnbarra 7.04.

The Lads were bitterly disappointed at the end which shows how much it means to them but they left nothing behind and should be proud of how they played. On another day a couple of our goal chances would go in and the result would be different.

After the grading league we have been placed in division 5. The advanced fixtures will be out tomorrow but our first game will be on April 13th. Thanks to all the parents who made the trip out to Cabra and supported the team.