Day 6 2014-06-21 22:12:00

KENNEDY CUP – DAY 6 – FRIDAY 20TH JUNE 2014

 

Our last day began at a leisurely pace. Gudgie brought his lads for a full Irish. The rest of us slummed it and made to do the best we could.

 

In the morning the coaches had individual feedback meetings with each of the players. That was a good idea and went well.

 

Most then went to watch a few games while others just hung around while a few more played more FIFA.

 

We were all back at the House for 12.30 for lunch. Then there were a few speeches. Declan Carmody made a presentation to the four Coaches on behalf of all the parents. Then each player received a Certificate of Participation and a Tournament Programme. Each player also received a large team photo poster. That is just beyond cool. Well done to John McGrath for that idea. Then the players presented signed Pennants to Tommy, Gudgie, Kevin and Sher and Matthew presented a Kennedy Cup pennant, signed by all the players, to Seamus for all his good work.

 

Then we had to leave our packed bags out in the Hall ready for off and then went up to watch the Final between the DDSL and Waterford. Waterford took the lead from the penalty spot. DDSL equalised from a free kick and scored the winner with the help of a deflected shot but overall were stronger and deserved to win.

 

For us we finished 14th. That is the ADSL’s second best finish in the last 10 years bettered only by last year’s 5th finish.

 

We were in a difficult Group. It was called the Group of Death as it had three teams who finished 4th, 5th and 6th last year. We played well against Donegal but should really have won. We left that behind us. We played well to beat Clare 3-0. Our only defeat all week in regulation time was against Limerick District in the last Group game. We only lost 1-0 but we did not play until the last 15 minutes. That is the week’s biggest regret. We were good enough to win that game and to top the Group. Limerick went on to reach the semi-final and overall placed 4th. That could and should have been us.

 

After that we played really well. In fact our performances just got better and better with each game in the 1-1 draw with Carlow, the 1-0 win over Mayo and ending with our best playing performance in the 0-0 draw with Cavan/Monaghan. We did not do so well in the penalty shoot-outs but that should not take away from the quality of those displays.

 

Everybody played well and everybody played their part. There were however a number of outstanding performers. Both keepers, Stephen and Brian, were great. Keith, Callum and Kieran were fantastic in every game. Joe was amazing in midfield. Darran was sensational. Matthew was incredible scoring four goals in the first two games and we badly missed him on the pitch for the last three days. Tom was outstanding. (He is also Gudgie’s hero finishing just above Norman). Ian was fantastic scoring a great goal. Fred was awesome, also scoring a good goal, but his virtuoso performance against Cavan/Monaghan will never be forgotten. Charlie was the heart and soul of the team, on and off the pitch. Neil is Pirlo. Everybody played their part and all can be proud of their contribution.

 

Our 14th place finish will also see us as second seeds for next year which should help the lads that follow us.

 

Also if you look at the overall finishes for the last three years we, the ADSL, are ranked 12th of the 32 competing Leagues. That is not bad considering we are also supposed to be the second smallest. Somebody somewhere in the ADSL must be doing something right! It is also worth noting that of the Leagues nearest us Roscommon would be the next highest ranked at 22 out of 32, while Longford are next in 26th spot with Midlands in 29th place of 32 having finished 27th this year. In the last three years they have finished 22nd, 26th and 27th and there are people who want us to play in that League!

 

After the Final we returned to the Houses for the last time. The bus had arrived and we loaded up all our gear. Then we were on our way home. We stopped in Borrisokane on the way and were home in Athlone for 6.15pm.

 

It was a great week. However the Kennedy Cup was about more than the last week. It has been a huge experience over a much longer period of time. We have worked hard on the ADSL Development Academies for the last four years. We have enjoyed great trips away, to England this Easter and before that in Cork in 2011, in Wales in 2012 and Galway in 2013. They were great opportunities and great experiences. We have improved as players. We have made new friends and that will last a lifetime.

 

It was crowned with a great week in Limerick. Yes we will have some regrets but it was still a great week and one we will remember forever.

 

Thank you to all who made it possible. Thank you Tommy, Gudgie, Kevin and Sher. Thank you Seamus. Thank you Norman. Thanks to those who coached us in the past – to John & Ronan & Denis and John & Elton. Thank you to the ADSL and to our Clubs for making this possible. Thank you to our parents and our families. Thank you to all those who travelled to Limerick to support us and to those who sent us messages of support and good wishes.

 

Finally thanks to the ADSL Kennedy Cup playing squad. You were, and are, all great. You represented us all with distinction. You were a great credit to yourself, to your League and to your families. You were also great craic! However you would not wash a plate to save your life!

 

Finally, the ADSL Player of the Tournament was announced to universal acclaim. The winner played in almost every game. We could not have managed without him. He was always there. When things were going badly he just got on with it. He never grumbled nor complained. He was the most popular member of the Squad.

 

Yes. The ADSL Player of the Tournament is Derek!  (You had to be there!)

 





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