St. Rochs Vs St. Patrick’s – 2004
St. Rochs 1 – 4 St. Patrick’s
Today’s fixture may be viewed by some as a derby. It encompasses all the emotions and passion of a derby. The time of two halves the grass pitch will bear the scars of battle, cut up and lacerated by the endeavours of twenty two enthusiastic young players urged on by a vociferous and zealous support. Yet, this is no derby. In fact, this fixture can be described as a sibling rivalry. A fierce one that may be, but a sibling rivalry none the less.
The rain of late had softened the pitch. In order to preserve it for the game the warm up had to be conducted at pitch side. Just as well, because from kick off it became obvious that the battle for supremacy would be conducted on a muddy field. The firm ground boots slid at every opportunity while control of the ball was made that much more difficult. The two teams, to their credit maintained an energetic performance much to the appreciation of the watching public. We made the trip to St. Roch’s without Mairtin & Dylan currently recovering from injury. Ollie sacrificed his Handball game to join his team mates. St. Roch’s fought for every ball and then would attack with pace. However, for long periods of the first half they were well contained. Despite a high work rate, our boys struggled initially to impose a flowing game. A combination of a poor pitch and possibly as a result, concerns of losing possession pushed them to match St. Roch’s style of play. We were unlucky not to open the score when Ricky turned in a great cross goal-wards at the near post, but was palmed away with a fantastic save from the St. Roch’s stopper. With ten minutes to go to half time St. Roch’s mounted a devastating counter attack from one of our corners, overpowered our sparse defense and take the lead to the delight of the home support. The boys did not show any immediate concerns about conceding. They remained disciplined despite a re-energised St. Roch’s raised hard work to preserve their slender lead. We went to the break trailing.
At the re-start the boys went back on confident of the challenge that laid ahead. We were keen to get the game restarted but had to wait for St. Roch’s. When they turned up we were ready. Euan had come on for Jamie. Within the first minute St. Roch’s were on the ropes. We attacked on the left flank where a brave and resourceful Tyler was involved in everything great coming from the left wing. This time he literally turned the magic on and danced into the St. Roch’s penalty area determined. He held the ball, pushed on then smashed a fierce shot past the keeper to draw us level. The tone was set for the rest of the half. We improved our play matching our energy levels and enthusiasm with quality. We were foiled by the St. Roch’s keeper on chances that would have given us the lead. We kept pushing and fifteen minutes into the second half the St. Roch’s defense was breached. Beau delivered a free kick into the penalty area and Ricky pounced to strike beating the keeper to the loose ball. We celebrated going ahead. We were in the ascendancy and looked to strike at every opportunity. The battle would turn physical with the man in the middle forced to refrain some of the youthful enthusiasm on show. Aidan was unfortunately forced off and we pray for a prompt recovery. In the midst of the chaos Joe in goals, having taken over from Lennon at half time, stood out with a brilliant performance, probably his best. He remained calm with measured and mature interventions to clear, snuff out St. Roch’s attacks or simply put his body on the line with an incredible block to deny St. Roch’s with a clear chance on goal. Unassuming, he would go back in line ready for the next challenge. Brilliant!
With ten minutes to go we extended our lead. Ricky lifted the ball over the defense and Euan was quickest onto it with a high leg to lift into the net. The offside trap had failed. We went down to ten men with Beau given his marching orders for a second yellow. Jamie was thrown back on and of course he served us with a Jamie special in the last minute of the game. Winning the ball in the middle of the park he sized up the goals then went for a left footed lob from distance that looped over the keeper and nested itself in the back of the net. Wow, what a quality strike! He was mobbed by his team mates who knew that victory was finally theirs.
There were great performances across the pitch from the team today. The boys did us proud with a solid performance to earn the three points. If anything this shows that the league will not be a walk over. Assured performances will be required to secure points one game at a time, week in week out. Well done for today.