|Posted: 05 February 2018 at 8:25pm | IP Logged
Old Ignatians 4 – 0 Bealonians
Scorers: Conor O'Grady 2 Alex Youngman 2
Man of Match: Eoin Culligan
Muppet: Conor Gaffey
The ones returned to Loyola after what seemed forever
since a home game, knowing that performances since
Christmas have been much improved and we were keen to
keep the momentum going. We knew we had another tough
assignment against Beals, who we have had plenty of
battles with over the last couple of years and very
often coming out on the wrong side, including a 5 – 2
defeat earlier in the season.
After inspecting the pitch at the new Bulls Cross, it
was deemed that the clubhouse surface was in better
condition; although it represented a bog by the end of
the day! We lined up with Rybo in goal; the returning
Culligan at full back, with the experienced and
reliable Peter O’G and Matty O in the middle and Sean
McD at left back. With Tom Martin suspended, Steve
and Liam were employed in front of the back four,
which left the exciting quartet of Ren in the number
10 role flanked by Conor and Alex and our very own
“burly” Watson up top. Calum Barton also returned
from his travels and Conor Gaffey made up a strong
From the opening minutes, it was clear that the pitch
wasn’t going to be conducive to much football, as the
rain added to an already soggy pitch. Beals probably
started the stronger and played with a higher tempo
than us for the first 15 or 20 minutes. This led to
probably their best chance of the game, when a ball
over of the top saw a midfield runner bear down on
goal. With Peter O’G continuing to defy all logical
science, he ate up the yards in chase to apply
pressure and Ryan got a strong hand to an effort to
the far corner and the ball trickled wide. Apart from
a couple of other crosses, that was about it in terms
of chances for them for the rest of the game.
We started to grow in to the game as Liam and Steve
grabbed hold of the middle, breaking up play and
winning tackles. Culligan was also showing his
appetite for a big challenge and set the tone for the
rest of us with his commitment. Ren started to find
pockets in between the lines and took responsibility
by getting himself on the ball as much as possible and
knocking probing passes into the front three.
One such occasion saw the ball drop to Conor, in the
inside right channel. As they screamed that he only
had a left foot, Con nipped between what seemed like
three or four defenders and with his wand of a left
foot, hit an absolute thunderbolt in to the top
corner! The keeper had no chance. 1 up at half time.
We had been in this position before against Beals and
we knew they would try to up the tempo again and force
us into mistakes, which has been the pattern in
previous games. However, we were determined to stay
strong and although there were periods of defending,
we kept them outside our box and restricted them to
the occasional long distance effort (one which John
O’B was seen searching for long into the night)!
Both Conor Gaff and Callum entered the fray at half
time to freshen up the left hand side.
As the game entered the last quarter, it was getting
quite tense. Fortunately, this tension seemed to
affect Beals more than us and led to two or three
pieces of calamitous defending/keeping as the front
trio (Alex had by now replaced My Burly up top)
pressed and probed for chances. After a goal mouth
scramble the ball popped up in the box off Alex for
what should have been a simple catch for their keeper.
For whatever reason (whether he thought it was a back
pass or he had lost his bearings and thought he was
outside the box) he tamely nodded the ball straight
back to Alex, who jinked and tucked the ball away.
Alex notched another in the next few minutes and Conor
also completed his brace by rounding the keeper and
rolling the ball into the empty net for four. Game
well and truly over and a well-deserved three points.
We have now taken 7 points from a possible 9 since
Christmas and confidence is definitely back and there
a number of players in a really good run of form.
Rybo has become an excellent presence for us and
Dave’s wallet is definitely much lighter than at other
time in his managerial stint, notching up four jugs
for clean sheets this year. Steve has been a
revelation since the New Year and Liam was solid and
destructive in the middle. This was Ren’s best
performance of the season and with Conor and Alex
linking with Jake, we are back to absolute in the
final third. We entertain league leaders Southgate
this weekend and if we continue on in this vain, will
be a match for anyone!
MOM went to Culligan for his combative display and
Muppet to Gaffey for an horrific slice that troubled
the corner flag more than goal. They joined pretty
much the rest of the squad in a team “whack” as we
saved pints from the previous weeks away games.