Our third game was at home to Trinity Gaels in Meadowvale, we had a squad of 18 players but unfortunately they only had 12 so it was a 12 aside game. Luka was our captain for the day.
James K started in goals, Owen G and Tadhg full backs, James D, Owen T and Oisin half backs, Hugo and Max in Midfield, Frankie and John Half forwards, with Luka and Christian our full forwards. Our subs were Johnnie, Kevin , Alex, Harry, Colin and Sean.
There was a strong wind which we played with for the first half, Both teams started brightly and looked to attack at every opportunity and it was a surprise that it took 5 minutes before the first score as Frankie slots over a point from a free. Trinity responded immediately by sticking the ball into the back of the net. By the 15 minute mark we had got ourselves back in front with Frankie getting 2 points from play and Luka scoring a goal after a good ball from out wide by John. This forced Trinity Gaels to up their game and they responded in emphatic style scoring a goal and point to retake the lead by the 18th minute. We made some changes with James K and Frankie swapping positions, Johnnie came on for Christian and Kevin for Owen G. A great equalising point from James K in the 20th minute was our last score in the half, unfortunately it wasn’t the last score for our opponents as they put us under serious pressure until the end of the half scoring an impressive 2 goals 2 points in the remaining 5 minutes to lead at half time by 4.03 to 1.04.
Half time we had to pick the lads up a bit as they were disappointed with the end of the half, a lesser team would have been way further behind. We told them that even though they were working hard and playing well the would need to improve especially their work rate as the wind with be against us this half, Defenders would have to mark tighter, forwards and midfield needed to track all the runners from deep. Harry came on for Max and Sean for James K.
The second half started with Trinity Gaels straight away using the wind to launch attacks from deep and scored a point in the first attack. we respond well with a goal from Sean and then hugo unlucky when shooting wide on the 5 minute. Colin and Alex came on into the forward line for Johnnie and Luka. The next 15 minutes were tough as we found it hard to both create chances and to keep them at bay, they score 3.04 in the 15 minutes and while we didn’t score it wasn’t down to us defending all the time we did get forward but we were quickly surrounded by their players and forced to shoot or pass in less than ideal conditions. And yes we conceded more scores but our defence was still excellent esp James D who was brilliant both defending and starting attacks and Tadhg who always defends as if his life depends on it. They were ably assisted by the 2 Owens , Kevin and Oisin. With 5 minutes left and seeing the game going out of our reach it would be easy to give up but the most pleasing thing from a coaches perspective is that they never gave up, they still tried to attack and we still made it as hard as possible for them to score so when you see this spirit and drive from your players you know that they have the right ingredients to step up when the game is in the balance. Their determination was rewarded when Christian played a great ball into Frankie who rattled the net and soon after Christian was unlucky to see his shot go wide after some good build up play. Trinity Gaels got the last score of the game with a well worked point to finish on 7.09 to our 3.04
A tough game was expected for this game as Trinity Gaels had swept aside both of their opponents in the group but we performed well and when you perform and get beaten by a better team you can’t be disappointed. The pressure that we were under for parts of the game, we hadn’t come across a team that gave us so little time and space on the ball and that had come at us in such waves of attacks. We dealt with them well but they punished any little mistake that we made and they were switched on 100% of the time. We had to work hard for every scoring chance that we made and even harder to stop them scoring more. A few weaknesses were learnt and have given us somethings to work on in training but effort levels can’t be questioned.
Thanks to all the support that the lads received from the sideline and even though things didn’t always work out for them there was a lot of positive reinforcement to be heard. Cheers for the help setting up and taking down the pitch. Next game is in 2 weeks again in Meadowvale vs Fingallians on the 16th