|Posted: 29 September 2016 at 9:20pm | IP Logged
Old I’s 3 – 2 Norsemen
Scorers: Eoin O’Grady, Jake Watson & Renaldo Gracias
Man of the Match: Matt O’Sullivan & Sean Nolan
Muppet of the Match: Sean Nolan
We were back at Loyola for a first cup match of the season,
against a Norsemen side who had won all their games so far
this season. We didn’t too well in any of the cups last
year so were keen to make a good start this year.
I have to mention the most ridiculous attire I have even
seen on a Saturday afternoon. While the boys were
discussing what constitutes ‘going out’ the night before a
game, in rocks Sean Nolan wearing the most awful all-in-one
t shirt/jumper/cardigan/snood/sleeping bag, which led to
Callum bellowing ‘what the f*** is that you’ve got on!’.
He insisted to the rest of the boys that it was ‘fashion’.
On to the match - we lined up as follows:
Joe O O’G
Sean N Eoin Matty O Sean McD
Eoin O’G Renaldo Tommy Callum
After falling out of love with the game in the summer,
Conor Gaffey was making his season debut and started on the
bench, alongside Jack Barton and Conor O’Grady.
After five minutes we knew exactly what Norsemen were
about. The best way I can describe it is imagine playing
against 11 Tommy Martins. They were more interested in
kicking us than the ball – this set the tone for the rest
of the game. The first half was filled with off the ball
incidents and individual scuffles, although surprisingly no
cards were handed out by the over-lenient referee. One guy
in particular was off his absolute rocker - threatening to
break everyone’s jaw in sight…needless to say, all Old I’s
players jaws remained intact come the end of the game.
Midway through the first half they got a free-kick. Joe
flapped at what should have been a comfortable save and
their guy was first to pounce to the loose ball. 1-0 down.
Shortly after, some neat play by Brendan upfront saw the
ball played out to Eoin O’G who cut back in with his first
touch and drove a left footed shot into the near corner
beyond the keeper’s reach. A great goal and Eoin’s first
for the 1s.
Just before half time we added a second. Renaldo managed
to rob their centre half, and faced one-on-one with the
keeper, decided to square it to Jake for a tap in. Some
say he bottled taking the shot on but truth is the guy just
has incredible vision…less can be said for other members of
the team a la Jake (ask Eoin O’G if you would like to learn
more about Jake’s vision deficiency).
So we came in 2-1 to the good, and fired up after an
intense first half. The message was that we had to match
their aggression, while continuing to play our normal
We started the second half well, continuing to try and
create decent goal scoring opportunities and looking very
comfortable at the back. After about 15 minutes, our
pressure soon told and we added a third. It was the same
two at it again, but this time the other way round. After
good work on the left, the ball fell to Renaldo on the edge
of the box. He played a neat one-two with Jake and smashed
the ball high into the net past the keeper. 3-1 and
Conor Gaffey came on for Eoin O’G shortly after and
continued on from where he left off from last season –
booked after 5 minutes.
With 20 minutes to go, Norsemen threw their centre back
forward to help win the aerial battle. Rather than winning
any meaningful headers, the centre-back come centre-forward
decided instead to embarrass Eoin Culligan by sprinting
past him while running on to a through ball (Eoin literally
had a 10 yard start on him) and get a poke on to the ball
before being wiped out by Joe – penalty given.
Just before that, Jake had a penalty appeal waived away for
a very similar incident, which left us a little harshly
Their centre forward scored the penalty, which made for a
nervous final 20 minutes. To be fair, we coped well with
the pressure and showed great commitment to battle hard for
a good result. Jack and Conor O’G came on for Jake and
Bren in the closing moments. We had some opportunities to
put the game to bed, but couldn’t quite convert these into
Nevertheless, we held on and the game ended 3-2. A great
game to be involved in – all the boys showed they were up
for the battle and didn’t shy away from the aggressive
approach adopted by our opponents.
I must single out some praise for the back four – the two
Seans were excellent in their new full-back positions and
both Matty O and Eoin actually managed a decent game
together without confusing each other with ‘team shape’…
whatever that means.
Man of the match votes were quite spread out, with Matty O
and Sean N taking it in in the end. Sean N managed to go
one better and take home muppet as well, for the horrible
shirt he insisted on wearing even after the game.
Roll on Grammar next week!