1 November, 2008

On the weekend before the Bank Holiday we met at Old Conna on a cold, windy morning for an away match to Faugh's. We had plenty of wind and a little bit of rain, but great support all the same.

Neil took the White team and lined them up as follows: Aaron Lyons in goals, after his man of the match performance last week. In the backs were Jimmy Mason, Adam Barry and Ryan Purdy. In the middle we had Ronan Browne and Oscar DeBurca, and up front we had Conan O'Duill and the battling Kevin Nolan and Kevin Spaine. 

We started off the first half with a slight wind behind us but found out very quickly we were up against some tough competition throughout all their positions. Within 4 minutes they got their first score. We fought back immediately with Oscar connecting up with the two Kevin's who were in great attacking form again, but unfortunately their defence cleared our first attack. Ronan and Jimmy combined well during Faugh's next attach, and succeeded in clearing the ball down the centre, but Faugh were able to shoot, but it went wide. Ryan and Oscar were doing a lot of great work in defence to keep Faughs from scoring. Our next attack came from another great puck-out from Aaron, all the way up to the forwards, but again Faugh's defence proved too strong, and got the ball to their forwards who managed to score again. Then for the second week in a row Ronan scored another skill point from a great block down in defence.

Ryan continued his good work in defence and cleared a ball wide where Conan fought for and won the ball driving it up to Kevin S. who was helped out by Kevin N. but unfortunately they were closed down again. The right hand side was seeing a lot of action, and Adam was doing his best against all the attacks coming down that side. Aaron was doing well in goal, and Jimmy was fighting hard in front of him trying to protect our goal. After 10 min the game went to air hurling and Conan was leading the pack in pick-ups and striking in the air. Ronan continued his good work in defence with another tap down scored another skill point, his second of the game. With our defence seeing a lot of the ball, Jimmy and Ronan were seeing a lot of the ball, with Adam showing how to clear out wide to the wings. At the end of the 1st half there was a goal line scramble where the Bray backs were putting their bodies on the line, so much so that the goals managed to fall backwards. With that the half time whistle blew. 

We tried some positional changes in the second half, with Ronan moving up front, Conan into the middle and Oscar into the backs. Faugh's scored early, after our backs were slow to mark-up, I think all the first half pressure was beginning to show. We had a few chances at the start of the second half, with Aaron's long clearances setting up Ronan and Kevin S. but unfortunately both shooting wide with our first two chances. Faugh's next break again caught our defence stretched after chasing the game and they scored on that attack and on their next three, putting the game out of reach. Conan was dong great in mid field picking up and trying to strike the ball about 10 times. The team continued to show great spirit and fight, starting with Aaron on goals, Jimmy, Ryan and Adam in defence, Ronan and Conan picking up and clearing the ball in the middle with Oscar and the two Kevin's giving it everything up front. Well-done lads. Man of the match on this pitch was Conan. 

On the green pitch the game was hampered for both sides by the heavy pitch and ground clearances weren't travelling very far. The 1st and 3rd quarters are ground hurling and the conditions turned them into a frustrating time for both sets of players with little progress made by either team. The 2nd and 4th quarters were air-hurling and this was when most of the action took place. Faughs had the better of the opening half and took their few scoring opportunities whereas our opportunities dropped short or went agonizingly wide.

Bray came out for the second half and immediately upped their performance and went chasing the match. Tackles were put in and opposition players closed down quickly and we started to take our scores and to close the gap. Bray also clocked up a huge 8 skill points (for bat downs) throughout this half. This pitch had the unusual configuration of one adult goalpost and one juvenile post. We had the benefit of shooting into the larger posts in the first half but we didn't take our scores. The final outcome in this match swung on 2 frees to each team in the second half. Faughs had two frees into the larger goals and scored both (6 points as over the bar is worth three points). Bray's frees were into the smaller goals and with a strong crosswind blowing off the motorway our first free drifted just right of the posts. To compensate we lined up our second slightly left but the ball flew true and drifted just wide of the left post - a possible six points missed. Final score was 24-15 to Faughs. If only the posts were reversed for those frees - c'est la vie !!

No individual man of the match on this pitch as the whole team put in a phenomenal second half with every player either scoring from play or scoring a skill point. This team has made huge improvements since some of our early year heavy defeats and is now becoming very competitive with each match - well done lads for all your effort. The team this week was Mark Kenny, Ryan Hannon, Liam Carolan, Owen Duffy, Fintan O'Shea, Philip Redmond, Stephen Finn, Ben Hoskin and Oisin Dougan.