Day 9 2015-04-09 22:45:00



As Eamon Dunphy might say – “It was a good day, not a great day”.

All our hopes were invested in the Saints in their semi-final this morning. They put up a great show but narrowly lost out to a single goal. They went on to win the 3rd/4th Place Play-Off while the Scholars won the 5th/6th Play-Off .

But we digress.

The main item of note which came too late for inclusion in yesterday’s Diary was Demilade’s Onesie. He tells us it is custom made and he is very proud of it. But it is simply outrageous and an affront to fashion. Frankly the only thing worse was Bryan’s Offaly jersey. At least Bryan, who took huge slagging, changed that within minutes but Demilade would not be moved. It is a sight those who saw it are unlikely to forget for a very long time. And we mean that not in a good way!

It was an earlier start today than usual. We were down for breakfast for 8.00am so as to be on the bus for 9.00am. Even that early it was very hot.

The Saints prepared for their 10.30am kick-off. Valletta beat Hamrun 2-0 to win the first semi-final. Could we join them there?

                   SEMI-FINAL – ADSL SAINTS    0   :   PIETA HOTSPURS     1


By kick-off time the sun was blazing from a breathless blue sky.

Both sides started cautiously. They did hit our post after 11 minutes. We had a good chance on 14 minutes starting with a good pass from Gary out to Jayden who found Jordan down the left. Jordan beat his marker and put in a lw cross that found Nashir but their keeper saved his first time shot at the second attempt. There was very little in it.

They however scored on 24 minutes. Gary made a very good save to keep out a low shot but they reacted quickest to the rebound to stab the ball to the net from close range.

In the second half we won an early free kick. Jack S put in a great dlivery that fell to Jordan but he put the ball over. 12 minutes in Daragh had a shot from distance saved. We were doing okay but needed a goal.

Our best chance came on 19 minutes. Tony won a good ball and played it out to Jack S who in turn found Eoin K, now out on the right flank. Eoin put in a super cross met by a great header from Stephen. It looked like it was in but went just the wrong side of the post.

At the other end Gary produced an absolutely fantastic reflex save to keep out a close range effort for the expense of a corner.

In almost the last play Stephen got on the end of an Eoin K cross after good work by Jordan but it was saved at the second attempt.

It was just not to be. We put in a super effort but it was not to be on the day. Not everything came off for us but we spared nothing in effort. They are a very good side. It is said that they have 8 players on their national training squad. However there was little in but that was poor consolatation.

So, no Final for us. Attention next turned to the Scholars.

         5th/6th PLAY-OFF -    ADSL SCHOLARS   3    :    SLIEMA WANDERERS    0


This was a very good performance by the Scholars.

We went at them right from the start. Cian M set the tone with an attack in the first few seconds. We had a number of god chances before finally hitting the front in the 24th minute.

Oisin released Cian M down the left. Cian cut inside but his low shot was saved for a corner. Owen K put in a sweet delivery with the ball falling to Paul who found the net with a great finish. We took that lead to half-time.

Again we made a quick start to the second half. Cian M had an early shot. Then just 4 minutes in we doubled our lead. Jack O’B got on the end of a decent passing move and then picked out Jack B. Jack steadied himself and then let fly with a fierce shot that just flew into the net. 2-0.

We made the game safe 19 minutes in. It started from our defensive corner. It was headed away and Jack B added to it with his clearance finding the willing Cian M who first held it up and turned his man and advanced on goal before playing in Jack B who did quite brilliantly to be up in support and then fire low to the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

It was a great goal and sealed the victory. The mood was getting better.

The Saints were very next in action in the 3rd/4th Place Play-Off.

         3RD/4TH PLAY-OFF :    ADSL SAINTS    4    :    HAMRUN SPARTANS      1


What a great way to exit a Tournament!

It was eventually a comprehensive and accomplished performance. It did not start that way. We took some time to grow into the match. By that time we were a goal down after they scored from the penalty spot in the 11th minute.

We  did improve after that. Jordan hit a post just four minutes later and Eoin K came close on 23 minutes. But overall it was not a great first half performance.

There was more about us in the second half. We equallised in the 2nd minute having already come close from a good Jordi move. Ryan picked out Jordi with a clever pass. His shot was saved but Eoin K followed up to almost toe poke the ball home. 1-1.

We were flying now largely inspired by Jordan’s energy and runs.

Jordan was just over from a free kick on 6 minutes. Ryan had a goal harshly disallowed for offside on 7 minutes. Five minutes later good interplay by Naz and Jordan set up a chance for Ryan which was saved. Then Aaron had a good effort saved. A second goal was coming.

It arrived soon after when after a good passing move Ryan volleyed to the net. Six minutes from the end we scored again. Jordi went on another mazy run and pulled the ball back for a simple tap in from Aaron for 3-1.

The same two combined just two minutes later for Aaron to score again and win the game 4-1.

It was a great way to finish.

Pieta Hotspur went on to beat Valletta rather more easily than the 2-0 score line suggests and that prompted its own regrets.

We stayed on for the Presentations and there was actually Cups and medals for finishing 3rd and 5th (not that anyone was celebrating that).

It was then back to the Hotel and another fantastic sing-song on the bus. Then down for dinner. The hotel baked us a special cake to acknowledge our good behaviour over our stay. It was fabulous.

Ryan then lost his Staring title to Clive. He did not see that one coming!

Then we were off to Karaoke!

The Paul Garvey Band and the Naz Band kicked off proceedings. Everyone had a turn after that mostly in Groups. The Mad Dads had a go. What they lacked in singing ability they made up with enthusiasm although David Seery could have made a bit of an effort! The Majestic Mums were fantastic to the mortification of their offspring! We had a Dads and sons ensemble! “Wondewall” has rarely sounded better. The coaches were up. Even Terry was eventually persuaded to sing. There were two highlights. First when Alex’s son Luigi sang. He was unreal. Second when all the players got up to sing “You Raise Me Up” and then finished with a rousing rendition of “KIN KAN GOOLY”. These were memories that will endure for a very long time.

We finished up when the players received their medals and headed back to the hotel just before midnight. There was still craic to be had but all in good fun and in great spirits.

Eamon Dunphy would have been wrong. It was a great great day!



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