Another great show this morning in Stepaside, with our u12 boys really showing how strong they are getting with a good win over local rivals Cuala, scoring 7 points in windy conditions, and keeping our unlucky Cuala neighbours scoreless.
Once again we met before 12 and were pleased with the weather and the turnout by the squad. Even though we were missing Byron, Seamus, Cian D, Vincent and Brian H, we still had 18 boys eager to play so competition for places was intense. Luke L started in goals and had a blinder – keeping a clean sheet with some sure handling under the posts, but as importantly, demonstrating a great football brain with some excellent kick outs with that sweet left leg of his. Our full back line were in fine form, led by Daniel C and Cian C. Daniel really showed how fine a footballer he is becoming with a great burst of pace, sure handling under pressure and fantastic reading of the game playing out in front of him. Cian C also had a great game, playing against many of his class mates and with a score to settle from last Summer – and did he settle that score! Tenacity and hard tacking was the order of the day – but it was his driving forward that showed what he was really made of. Conor B started right full back, and settled in well with some good catches and tackling. He also finished the game up in the full forward line, getting on the end of a few moves and unlucky not to get a score. One superb shoulder out on the side-line towards the end of the first half stood out for this reporter.
As the game developed a number of other players slotted in well into the backline. Most notably was the return of Naoise S, showing remarkable poise for a man just back into the panel – strong under the high ball , shoulder to shoulder with his man, and bravely making one great block-down to prevent a certain goal. Great to see you back Naoise. In addition, Conor R (who had to go back home for his gum shield – compulsory!) slotted into the centre back position half way into the first half – and really made it difficult for Cuala… great handling and clearances meant we had quick ball out to midfield and the half forwards, and resulted in a couple of our scores.
Our half backs started out with Eoin H and Paul O’C. Both had super games today. Paul set the pace by staying right on his man and nailing a great block down in the first minute. His running up and down the wing all day really kept our attack wide and showed off his great pace. Eoin once again demonstrated great positioning sense and mopped up a lot of loose ball around the middle as well as playing his part in a number of attacks. Hubbie played most of the second half of the match wing back and had a blinder – tacking and dispossessing his man on numerous occasions as well as attacking up the wing time and time again.
Our midfield dynamos were in fine form today with Ruari for the second week in a row having a blinder. Catches, hard tackles and straight runs through the Cuala defence set him apart, with 2 great points to boot. Conor K was his partner, again demonstrating the art of high fielding and hard tackling, winning a lot of loose ball around the middle (Tomas O’Shea-esque!) His engine set the pace for the Gers all afternoon.
The accack was led by Mark O’L and Mathew F, both having great games. Mark carried all day, time and time again winning hard ball and breaking through multiple tackles. Some great kick passes were lovely to watch and unlocked the Cuala defence on a number of occasions. 2 fine free kicks helped open up the gap on the scoreboard. Matthew opened the score line for us with a classy point. He is developing into a fine footballer, getting stronger every week and now making a name for himself. Cian M started top of the right and had a super start to the game, getting on the end of 3 or 4 kick passes early on, that really spread our attack wide and put Cuala scrambling to recover. Cian rounded off a fine performance with a nice point. Max C, Adam, Matthew B and James completed our full forward line today, with Max working hard to get on a number of early attacks, showing nice balance and class on the ball. Max played a key part in a number of attacks before also taking up his duties between the posts for the last 15 minutes. Again, he demonstrated the art of long kick-outs while trying to pick out a Gers man – vital to keep on top of the opposition.
Adam, just back from a serious ankle injury (still in heavy strapping) showed his usual strength under the high ball and was very unlucky not to get on the end of a couple of scores. Great to have you back Adam. Mathew B, also just back from a layoff played both up front and in the half back line. Working hard to close down his man was vital for us to smother out some Cuala attacks. James played his part today up front, keeping the Cuala defence well spread out and ensuring we kept our shape up front. Some good chasing down making it difficult for the opposition was the name of the game.
All in all another worthwhile outing with great (and proud) support on the side line. This is a great start to the year and really made possible by Stepaside – we are aiming to have matches every Saturday form now right through to at least March up there (unless we have an away game). Darren Magee’s words to the boys at the end of the match were very encouraging… make no mistake, we are playing a very good standard of football. Lets keep pushing it on!
Much better man marking and pickups today. Also the practice last Monday night hand passing with both hands – all paid dividend.
Attacking the ball and catching it first time at pace. Need to practice more and more.
We need to get better and better on the attack – we are getting caught up in some cull de sacs and not working the ball back – we’re sometimes clogging up the goalmouth as well making it difficult to score a goal.
Keep up the press ups! Left and right solos are also worthwhile.
Need all registration forms back please. We will have details of the kit in the next couple of weeks…
Never forget the gum shields, gloves and water… for matches and for training. No child can play now without a gum shield.
Thanks once again to all the support.
Bryan, David, Ed and Shea.