Unlike our u8’s previous bitter cold outing in Clanna Gael, reminiscent of winter battle on the eastern front, this in contrast, was a mercifully bright and mild Spring Saturday as we convoyed across the southern arc of the M50 to face Templeogue Synge Street for football.
With our forces corralled, we were approx 23 strong as we stood at the rallying point shoulder to shoulder. We were in fine form, looking bright and sharp, not withstanding the occasional spot of jam around the chops and the “just out of bed head” a couple of players sported. Some lads were full of chat, some had a nervous giddiness, and some were stoney silent, staring coldly into the middle distance as if plotting a world altering assassination attempt on a ridiculously tupe’d despot … indeed, parenting an under 8 GAA superstar is a demanding station no doubt. What would unfold? Had we prepared enough, had coach Stephen brought enough throat lozenges to sustain his booming commands across a full hour, had everyone eaten their Readybrek? What transpired would have rattled even the most seasoned of TSS’ senior players, Denis Bastick and Eoghan O’Gara, to their very core.
Across the 3 pitches/6 matches we witnessed high intensity competitive games, no quarter asked or given, this was epic, full blooded, warrior like stuff, the gates of Valhalla would glisten with the entrails of the fallen on this day 😱The pace was high, the physicality impressive, we’ll never know for sure, but it’s fair to speculate that Mícheál ó Muircheartaigh himself would have wept openly such was the commitment on display.
Points a plenty, crunching challenges (Jonathan, Finn), last gasp blocks (Patrick, Thomas,Oscar), silky field length passes (Charlie Delaney, Paddy), blistering solo runs (Joe, Donnacha) and controversial refereeing decisions 😏 , these games had it all. As much as a physical encounter as this was, it was also a tactical game of cat and mouse, despite the notable height advantage our hosts enjoyed across some of the teams, our boys adapted and shrewdly deployed a short game, utilising hand passes to great effect mitigating the aerial prowess of our opposition, Jim Gavin himself would have been impressed. It must be said that it was hugely rewarding to see pin point accurate passing from hand and foot after the couple of years dutiful mastering their skills in training on Parish Field Cornelscourt. Of particular note was a precision assault from Charley Delaney pinging a long range ball like an intercontinental ballistic missile from defence forward to the nimble and skilful Beoan who rewarded the vision by relaunching over the bar for 3 points … it was sublime, its was poetry, it was grown men in crumpled heaps on the sideline weeping, such was the majesty of it all. Make no mistake, this wasn’t all Swan Lake at the Bolshoi Theatre and things did spill over at times … unlaced boots rocketed skyward, mucus flowed in almost biologically defying quantities at times, random meltdowns mushroomed without warning and the occasional power sulk was deployed as defences came under pressure,nonetheless lads mustered their all and persevered to see things through to the end. After an hour of heavy engagement the dust settled, coaches emerged in a daze, hands were shaken, wounds were tended, noses were re-wiped and the Gers departed with 3 wins and 3 losses … , its too soon to say exactly how historians will reflect on this epic encounter but what is certain is that the landscape of Under 8 South County Dublin football has been changed forever. Progress is evident, vital experience gained, skills are being honed and warriors are being moulded. Onwards to round 2.