Galway Cup - Match Day 2 2014-08-08 18:27:00



All else was overshadowed today with the very sad news that Breffni Rowan passed away in the early hours of this morning.


That news will sadden all football people. Bref has a proud record as a player, coach and administrator and was a founding member of the ADSL and a long serving officer and is current Hon. President of the ADSL.


We owe a great debt of gratitude to Bref and people like him and without whom this League would simply not exist. His foresight and hard work has benefitted countless thousands of young people in Athlone and in the Athlone region.


We can only extend our sincere sympathy to Bref’s family and friends. We will remember his visit to the Kennedy Cup in Limerick in June to see his grandson, Kevin in action for the ADSL. His boundless enthusiasm that day was obvious. Bref was in his element, surrounded by young footballers on the side of the pitch and enjoying the game he made such a significant and meaningful contribution to.


Bref passing today casts a shadow this morning but he, more than anyone else, would want young people to play and enjoy their football on this of all days. So that is what we did.


The players were given a brief chat about Breffni, about his contributions to football and about his significant contribution to the Athlone District Schoolboy/Girl League and the rich legacy he gave to them. The players were asked to honour Bref’s memory by just going out and enjoy playing.


We would wish to acknowledge the gesture by the Tournament organisers in holding a minutes silence in Bref’s memory before our teams’ games this morning against Kerry and Northern Ireland. We would also like to thank the Kerry League and the Northern Ireland team for helping us observe those moments of silence with honour, respect and dignity. Bref would be very proud.



                             ADSL         1      :     KERRY SCHOOLBOY LEAGUE        4


We started well and took an early lead.


Fiachra Garvey played a great ball into the path of Ryan Conway who fired into the roof of the net from the edge of the box.


Kerry were soon level and then had an opportunity to go ahead when awarded a penalty but Cian Tracey brilliantly saved the spot kick in the 17th minute. There was no further scoring in an otherwise very even first half.


Kerry just pulled away in the second half. They scored in the 2nd and then the 3rd minutes of the second half to effectively end the game as a contest and a 4th goal on 23 minutes of the half put the result beyond any doubt. We played well in patches but not for long enough and it was a tired and weary group of players that finished out this game.



                                    ADSL      0       :        NORTHERN IRELAND    1


Before this game we did wonder just how proud Breffni Rowan would be to see his beloved ADSL play the Northern Ireland international squad in a competitive fixture.


He would have been prouder still to have witnessed this ADSL display with his little League more than matching an international squad and to lose only to a goal four minutes from time with a display of great skill, courage and conviction.


We settled quickly and soon came to dominate the exchanges playing with a great and nerveless conviction. We had the first shot in anger on goal when the imperious Nashir Ishola fired just wide on 6 minutes. One minute later great work down the left flank by Robbie Dolan and Jordan Carr created a chance for Jack O’Beirne but his shot on the turn was just wide. Moments later Jordan and Robbie again combined to find Big Jack who turned inside his marker and pulled a low shot across goal that skimmed just past the far post.


The ADSL were on top. All over the pitch we were playing well but Nas was, and by a distance, the best player on the pitch. Jordan was causing havoc down the left and were comfortable and in control at the back. It was 0-0 at the break and the ADSL could reflect on a very good half when they were the better side. Yes, that is right. The ADSL were the better side in that first half.


The second half was more even and Northern Ireland had more of the ball but without ever hurting us while we broke well and to good effect.


Just when it seemed that we would hold out for a draw and a point that would see us top this Group the North struck.


There was just more than four minutes left on the clock when they played a long diagonal ball which caught us out with their player skipping in to pull a low ball across goal finished first time to the net. The manner in which they celebrated the goal said much the way they saw the game. They had got of jail. And they knew it!


We still had a chance when Oisin Duffy took a quick free kick to release Jordan down the right who crossed to the back post where Stephen O’Connor almost scored an equaliser that was the least that we deserved.


It ended 1-0. We were devastated. They were ecstatic. We were bitterly disappointed to have lost 1-0, four minutes from time, to an international side.


Note this is a national development squad who train three times a week. They beat Manchester United 2-0 in the Milk Cup last week. They were fortunate to beat the ADSL here.


That was little consolation to us. Our mood did not improve when we heard that Kerry beat North East Counties. Four minutes from the end of our game we were top of the Group. Four minutes and a Kerry win later we finish third in the Group on goal difference with the same 6 points as Northern Ireland and Kerry. There seemed little justice in that.


However that feeling was replaced by a real pride in the level of our performance in this game. It is also a real measure of our progress and our potential.


We will qualify as the best placed third team for the Elite Plate competition but must wait till later to find out who we will play.



                                     ADSL     1     :     CLARE SCHOOLBOY LEAGUE       3


The ADSL Boys are having a tough week but you have to admire their attitude and determination.


We went behind to a shot from distance after 10 minutes but were level within three minutes when Conor Rushe pounced on a loose ball and finished superbly for 1-1.


Three minutes later they went back in front with another shot from distance. Zach did get a hand to it somehow but it still creeped in. Five minutes later Clare went 3-1 up while we were down to ten men for treatment to an injury.


We kept plugging away into the second half. We kept trying to do the right thing. We did fashion a few chances but there was to be no further scoring and we were disappointed to lose.


The Boys team have a day off tomorrow and they deserve that.


The Elite team will play the North Dublin Schoolboy League in the Plate semi-final tomorrow afternoon.


A day that started with sad news also ended with more sad news. Dermot McCormack’s mother passed away this evening. Dermot is coaching us in Galway this week and was in Wales with us last week. He has already made a great impression on all the lads and we are very sad and sorry for him to hear this news. We extend our sincere sympathy to Dermot and his family at this sad time for them.


Today playing and winning football matches did not seem the most important thing in the world.    


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