Hat tricks and heroes
Saturday morning saw St Finians down in Longmeadows. Both sides had absentees due to the start of communion season. We wish all our kids making their communion the very best.
Longmeadows looked its best and our “pitch crew” Ze, David and Federigo soon had the flags and goals in place. Finian’s are a lovely bunch of people and their kids looked very handy with hurl and sliotar
We got our 2 teams set out and we quickly got down to business. Coach Finnegan was managing the first team and we had quite a few more players than the other side so we asked for a few volunteers to swap sides and play with Finians. Two hands went straight up - Daniel and Lorenzo. Two smashing kids who always keep us smiling. Paul was very proud of them stepping forward where others wouldn’t be keen to.
The helmets were pulled on and the sliotar thrown in. Samuel went in goals and played a very good match and improved as the game went on. Some very brave saves and good puck outs.
Art played in defence for us and did a top job. Again getting better with each game. He joined us only last year but he’s firmly “one of us”. Devin and Max played in midfield and both had super games. Both battlers with tons of energy and it would be a brave lad would go up against them. Improving with every game.
Ervin “the hurling God” continues to be such an addition to the team up front. Top player and knocked in a few goals. Oscar Mc had a really good game up front. With Sarah proudly cheering him on he knocked one in the net – g’wan Wexford! We must mention the great return of our pal Jamie – he set up one of our goals – a vital touch.
As for our two lads, Lorenzo and Daniel who played for St Finians how did they get on? Maybe a little too well. Daniel put on a great performance and Lorenzo scored a few goals! The St Finians coach asked if he could sign them both. Coach Finnegan politely said “no”.
On the other team it was like a roller coaster. St Finians went ahead and Brendan’s had their work cut out to get back in the game (“always a second half team”)!! Maxo asked to go in goals – a super brave kid who is improving every match he plays. Cool as a cucumber – during the match he regaled me with stories of a chess match he won during the week. Talented lad. Our defence is getting better every week. Mathew was top notch – I see him wearing the Number 3 jersey for years. Dogged, determined and smart. Ready to jump in and stop a forward but also watching over his shoulder to make sure no one has sneaked in behind him. Defo a candidate for player of the season. Beside him was Oisin. The most improved player on the panel due to his hard work and dedication. Not many lads his age can hit a sliotar 40 or 50 metres. By the end of the Summer he’ll be hard to stop.
In midfield Crean who put on a powerful display. Loves the game deeply and put on a brave display. He stopped one shot by diving onto it and blocking it with the grill of his helmet. I gulped and thanked my ancestors that his mum hadn’t been there to see that. We were 5 points down at half time and a big team talk was required. We all sat down on the pitch and had a good honest chat. There is a wonderful openness in these kids. We talked about 2 or 3 things we needed to improve and they all agreed what was required. The next 20 minutes was like a different game. We got short balls into the forwards and they punished Finians. Ranyu went into top gear and came back to support Crean as well as help up front. We started making progress at last. Danny rapidly knocked in 2 goals and we were back in gear. Finians struck the net and I thought the heads would drop but Oisin decided to pile on the pressure as he smashed the ball into their net. Oisin has developed his own unique hurling strike – it involves the ball dropping almost to the grass before he lashes it in a sort of lackadaisical fashion at a hundred miles an hour. Very effective but stressful to watch I can tell you.
Danny decided it was time to put Finians out of their misery and put them to the sword with the 3rd goal of his hat trick which he celebrated in style! The ref blew it up and our lads had carried the day. It was some day from lads volunteering to play for the other team, to sliotars smashing off helmet grills to last minute winners – it was a day of heroes and hat tricks. We have 3 young players to mention this week as our players of the week. Daniel, Danny and Lorenzo. Well done lads and thank you.