Our ‘A’ team commenced the new season on Saturday with the longest trip in Galway Junior Soccer to Letterfrack based West Coast United. The new management team of Ollie Crowe, Niall Rohan, Garry O’Grady and Gary Devaney knew this was arguably the toughest test they could be handed to get the new soccer season underway but were confident they had their homework and pre-season in check. A healthy squad assembled at HQ for the unusually early time of 9.30am due to a 1pm KO with a quick stop of in Peacocks for a wanted stretch and refreshments.
West Coast came out all guns blazing from the off, dominating proceedings with wave after wave of attack with Colemanstown finding it difficult to get on the ball. Their relentless pressure paid off after 10 mins with the ball crossing the line after a strike by the West Coast attacker hitting the post and rebounding off a Colemanstown defender. Again after the restart the hosts were hungry for a second putting our defence of Jason Finn, David Mullins and Ronan Carr in all sorts of trouble. They were awarded a dubious penalty after 20 mins which was slotted away calmly giving Conal Docherty in goal no chance .
At this early stage, 2 nil down and finding it impossible to hold on to possession one would wonder if the long trip had sapped the energy out of our lads and we would be leaving Connemara with a drubbing.
Cool heads on the line were needed with all sorts of permutations and combinations discussed by the management team. A complete formation change after 25 mins was a gamble but one management felt may steady the ship. Just as you’d flick a switch, Colemanstown finally got on the ball, playing in the opposition’s half and getting some dangerous crosses in from wingers John O’Brien and Alan Finn. Confidence began to build with relentless running and pressure from strikers Dylan Grady and Geordan Kenny eventually leading to Mossy Carr upended in the box as he attempted to round his marker. Up stepped Jason Finn who demanded the ball for the resulting penalty which he justified by drilling the ball past the helpless West Coast keeper 2-1
Almost immediately after the restart some good passing in the middle from Shane Lally and Edo Flannery, the ball fell kindly to Dylan Grady whose shot deflected off the West Coast defender to the waiting John O’Brien. He calmly placed the ball to the keepers left to level things up at half time. Colemanstown, whose tails were in the air at the half time break, started sluggishly in the second half with the hosts creative play and fast passing creating a few half chances.
Our bench was called on early in the 2nd half due to the muggy conditions with lads emptying the tank for the cause. Colemanstown’s first real attack of the second half came against the run of play with a great pass from David Mullins out of defence to Dylan Grady who in turn linked up with Geordan Kenny. His shot from the left hand side of the box was clinically finished across the keeper to the right hand corner for as good a goal you will see.
West Coast were left stunned but restored parity emphatically with a well taken goal after 60 minutes. 3-3
West Coast Utd continued to play in the Colemanstown half hitting the upright and crossbar and forcing some fine saves from our keeper. Ronan Carr and Alan Finn showed great resilience on the left channel breaking down many of West Coast’s plays. On 67 mins a ball cleared out of defence by Niall Cunningham was held up by Sean Walsh who waited for support in the shape of Shane Lally. Shane’s strike from 30 yards had West Coast’s keeper at full stretch but he was helpless in Colemanstown going 4-3 in front.
It was ping pong at this stage while a defibrillator on the line was almost called for such was the heart stopping football on offer. West Coast again pressed but failed to penetrate a solid Colemanstown defence. The icing on the cake came on 82 minutes after a long kick out fell to the industrious Sean Walsh who disposed of the ball expertly. The remaining few minutes played out uneventful after a deflated West Coast side failed to comprehend what had happened. The full time whistle couldn’t have come sooner with players draining all energy to record their first win of the new season. Final Score: Colemanstown 5; West Coast Utd 3
Some real character was shown by all Colemanstown players with a never say die attitude. Colemanstown’s 5 goals came from their 5 chances – efficiency the Germans would be proud of !. The mix of youth in Dylan Grady, Mossy Carr and Geordan Kenny along with the experienced players proved to be the winning combination. This win will bring great spirit and confidence to this group of players who did our club proud with such a fine economical display.
A special mention to Sean Walsh who overcame his disappointment when Peacocks failed to fulfil his scrambled eggs order when he scored the goal that really sealed this win. At least Eileen would have had apple tart for him on his arrival home.
Our next league game is Away next Wednesday v Mervue. All support is greatly appreciated. Thanks to Barry Forde who made the trip out west and for his trojan help on the line. Thanks to John Lally for the social media updates throughout the game.
A great match report from Niall Rohan of the A Team management quartet – you can almost feel the tension and the match atmosphere as you read it. – Well Done Niall.