The U12s had their first game of the year as part of a 5-game series to determine what division they would go into this year. They were scheduled to play Thomas Davis’ second team on their astro pitch in Kiltipper Road and travelled with only 12 players available on the day. The weather on the morning was dreadful and the boys warmed up during a flurry of snow in temperatures that touched zero.
Not for the first time, the team we lined out against was much bigger than our team and, as on previous occasions, our boys were a bit intimidated before the ball was even thrown in. Déjà vu, all over again?!?!
Against the wind in the first half, we found it tough. While looking lively, we were largely out muscled and we failed to convert a number of hard fought chances that came our way. Our opposition seemed to be camped in our half for the majority of the half and found scoring a lot easier than we did. That said, we defended reasonably well and could have been much further behind than the 0-6 to 0-1 score line we went in on at half time.
The boys were reminded at the break that they would have the wind in the second half and that the match was there for them if they gave their all…. and gave it their all they did.
Every boy – without exception – was a credit to the club. Without the ball, they battled, harried and jostled their opponents into giving away frees and possession, and with the ball they were quick, accurate and decisive, setting up camp in the opposition half. The relentless pressure started to pay off on the scoreboard and the deficit was initially narrowed and then the lead changed hands a couple of times. In the end, and literally without an ounce of energy left, our boys got a single point in front at the final whistle for a terrific win (3-2 to 1-7). No doubt the other team will feel hard done by, but we will certainly take the points.
On behalf of the mentors, we wanted to say that we are incredibly proud of the boys’ performance. The twelve we had out (Jack P, Dylan, Robbie, Ned, Liam, Zenon, Omar, Matthew, Ben, Padraig, Eoin and Hugo) were superb: they worked very hard for each other and showed a team spirit that was great to see. Thanks to the opposition for a really close and hard fought match, to the ref and the parents who braved the conditions to cheer on the lads. We hope to see the same effort and spirit at next weekend’s game.