Munster Soccer Trials
Congratulations and well done to the four players from the school who were selected to take part in the recent Munster trials.
The four were: Michael McHugh, Adam McSharry, Ian McCollum and Andy Ryan. All four played well, and did the school proud with their application and behaviour on the day.
Adam McSharry was selected to go forward for the final trial in Limerick . We wish him the best and hopefully he can go on and make the full Munster squad and follow the example set by Ian Barnes last year, who went on to play for Ireland.
The Year in Soccer Against All Odds… And there were a few!!!
’04 What was the score?
That time of year once again, a review of school soccer teams and their continuous quest for glory. After last year’s exploits it was always going to be difficult to gather the same momentum. Both of last year’s squads were seriously hit in terms of students being overage for the U-16’s, and the fact that only two players from last year’s Senior team were available to us.
However, with Mr. Morrissey having a years experience in management under his belt and assuming the ‘No.1’ role, I moved ‘upstairs’ to the ‘admin’ side of football and ‘occasionally’ helped out as some of you noted….
Anyway the first task facing us was to ensure that we had two good squads, and once initial training began, we were satisfied with what we had. The return or that famous superstar, ‘Mr. Consistency’, was a great help we believe he’s underage next year. (some suspect a false passport), here’s hoping he might come back, again….
The Under 16 panel gave us the greatest hope or silver ware at the beginning of the year, with a number of last year’s Munster Finalists still under age. An early season 3 – 1 victory against the local VE.C. confirmed our optimism. The ‘boy’ Christy Aylward was captain for the year, and revelled in his role, as well as playing in central midfield. Alongside him (on occasion) was Adam McSherry.
The first game was away to Lismore in the group stages, which we won comfortably 2 – 0. Our strikers on the day got plenty of practice (target practice that is) by continuously and inexplicably aiming for the uprights, successfully hitting them. However, three points in the bag, a clean sheet, and all against a Waterford side, not bad!!!
Next up was Mt. Sion at home, and once again, our finishing wasn’t too hot, but in the end we emerged 3 – 1 victors. Next up, another Waterford side, and another away game, this time in Dungarvan. We knew that a draw would suffice to qualify for the last 16. In what turned out to be a one-sided affair we managed a 4-0 victory to top our group. The game was memorable for the lads when some of them spied an ‘old’ P.E. teacher speaking to one of the managers during the first half. It amazed the manager, as when she left we scored three goals. . .
Into the last 16 now and what followed was: not a game Mr. Morrissey or I will ever. forget. Drawn away to De La Salle, Waterford who had the current Irish under 15 and 16 captains in their team. The Gods seemed to be conspiring against us.
With a rip-roaring team talk delivered by the two old fogies, (remember ‘No regrets’ and what was a new one on me… ‘the postman’, Mr. Morrissey explained away my ignorance on the way over to the pitch), the team ran out onto the pitch full of enthusiasm. If we could bottle whatever it was that they had that day, we could become millionaires. I was full of fear, De La Salle in Waterford , defeated four years in a row by them… After 25 minutes I found myself somewhere on Cloud 9, because I could not believe what was unfolding. We were 3-0 up and looking like a team that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Premiership. (I am biased. . .) 3 – 0 up against the most powerful school of soccer in Munster … what a performance.
Alas it was not to last! Two mistakes inside a couple of minutes and boom 3 – 2. Ten minutes to go, 3 – 3. Cloud 9 had taken on a very distinct shade of grey. Galvanised by another, ahem, ‘pep’-talk; the lads played their hearts out, only to have to go to penalties. Taking the opportunity to chat with the opposition manager, we both seemed to have had heart attacks at various stages of the game; I’m pushing on now lads. Johnny O’Mahony emerged the hero (yes Jonathon O’Mahony the big lad in 2 nd year), with two penalty saves and we marched, nay roared into the last eight in Munster , away to a Cork side.
An entertaining affair, if you call playing in a gale force wind entertaining. We were assured it was only a ‘gentle breeze’ by the Corkonians. On the sideline the subs and management debated whether or not to tie themselves to the railings, so powerful was the wind.
Down 1 – 0 at half time, we were not too despondent, as we had the wind in the second half. We soldiered on bravely and emerged with a 3 – 1 victory. Munster Semi-Final stage now, Limerick C.B.S. at home!
We knew that they were good, our ‘spies’ in Cashel having informed us. Didn’t help us though as we soon found ourselves 2-0 down. Our illustrious captain pulled back a vital goal before halftime, and in the second half; a highly controversial goal was scored to level. It seemed fine to us on our side of the field. The Limerick manager pointed out to the ref, in ‘polite’ terms of course what he thought of the decision and so on… (this is something we all hope never to see in under age soccer).
Extra time; again!!!
Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. With a man down injured and receiving treatment the ref allowed play to continue, and Limerick benefited from this to score. Two more soft goals followed and we were finished for another season. The score-line does no justice to the effort the lads put in.
What has made it more difficult to stomach is that limerick went on and won a handy Munster Final; only to lose on penalties to a Letterkenny side (certain pleasure taken from that), who went on to win the All Ireland. We were that close lads. So chins up, plenty of practice over the summer, learn a few tricks watching Euro ’04, and come back in September, only this time, know that we will win!!!
Congratulations and well done lads!!!!!!!!!
This group of ‘likely lads’ was a bit of a motley crew. However, with Mr. Morrissey cracking the whip in training (I was tired, and I was only watching), the squad and team quickly began to take shape. There were a number of the players a tad ‘unfit’ (ye know who ye are Cillian and friends)…we tried very hard to ensure a certain level of fitness. We went a step further this year, we tried to convert a few hurlers… one attempted conversion was successful, and we all know who that is. There were a number who didn’t manage the transition, proving that there is a higher degree of skill involved in soccer (Mr. Keher take note, ‘skill’ in soccer, ‘brute force???’ in hurling, well Kilkenny hurling anyway, sorry Mr. Shanahan).
Anyway on we went, and two friendlies proved we had a bit of work to do, a hard fought win over that bastion of soccer, Rockwell, and a loss to the powerhouse of soccer, Cashel. We had entered two competitions this year Thank God!!
In the main competition we went out in the first round to a well organised and well drilled etc etc St. Declans side. The words barn and door spring to mind… out of that competition and onto the next… after shedding a few tears and arguments.
Next up was Blackwater. The game was called off after 65 minutes, officially due to the inclement weather. .. the fact we were 10 goals to the good had nothing to do with it.. .Honestly!!
Next up was Mt. Sion , and a highly controversial finish here. We won, but there was a lively debate as to whether the ball had crossed the line, after a ‘fumble by the opposition keeper. We’re certain it did, but we kind of got the feeling Mt. Sion didn’t agree. Another home game, against Cahir. We had so many chances we were beginning to think we would never score. Then again, we were missing five first team players. To cut a long story short, and not wanting to embarrass anyone who had to come off early (fitness??), the game finished 2-2 after extra time. Penalties!!! What was it this year with them? Right down to the last kick, and amidst tears and joy, one unfortunate Cahir player managed to miss allowing us to sneak on.
Another Munster Semi-Final, another away game, and another Cork side (remember Nagle?), this time it was Bishopstown. I’ll tell you this, I’m convinced Cork teams only play when it’s windy. Another ‘gentle breeze’ my. more like a gale. That and a pitch beside a stream/river and the fact we were missing three players.
Much to our delight the man with the consistent hair that never ever moves, ably cheered on by his private trainer, Jimmy Grimble aka Wayne Rooney, played a stormer and scored twice in the first half to put us two to the good. One foot in the final. It was not to be. Bishopstown came out in the second half and using the elements to their advantage, went on to win 3 – 2, scoring the winner with time almost up. Again the victors went on to win the Munster , Final, 4 – 0. So close!!!
But what a fantastic bunch of players. Team and squad members alike put in a ‘huge’ effort; and deserved so much more! They were a team that understood and valued the meaning of the word ‘team’!!! Well done lads!! All the best in the future, those of ye in 6 th year.
P.S. there are strong rumours around that the Consistent One and his Captain are going to attempt to win the Munster title with us next I year. they have stipulated one condition though, that Jimmy Grimble manages. watch this space! ! ! !
Thanks a million to Clonmel Celtic for all their help with pitches etc etc and congratulations to their youth team who won the Munster Cup (Michael McHugh, Andy Ryan and Adam McSherry). Thanks also to Clonmel Town for loaning us their jerseys as our ‘away’ set early season. Without the help and support of the clubs around the town, and the fantastic work they do, it would be very difficult for soccer to succeed in the Highschool. To all the parents who supported us at home, and to those who travelled to our away matches, thanks also, keep it up!!!
Billy Byrne, Darren Murray and Shane McCormack all the support is greatly appreciated!! !
And finally, McHugh (The Consistent One) you ain’t getting an invite, so give it up! Till Next Season!!!!!!!