The sun shone brightly on a beautiful warm Sunday in Mervue as both Colemanstown A & Mervue A took to the pitch for their warm-up in advance of this Round 1 Michael Byrne Cup tie. Mervue were so professional in their set up; their gear co-ordinated to a T; their appearance and warm up techniques were eye catching while Colemanstown’s array of mismatched tops drew the eye for the wrong reasons. The result though was certainly the most eye-catching result of the opening weekend of soccer action in last years Michael Byrne Cup. The start of a new season for all players is a time for clean slates, fresh hope and cautious optimism and that is exactly what was on show yesterday coupled with a few managerial tactics employed by gaffer Gerry Moran which saw Colemanstown beat Mervue A for the first time in the history of the club. Gary Lally played in a new position of right back while debutant Dermot O’Halloran was steady in midfield when introduced. It was a pulsating affair from start to finish as both teams were pretty much on a par. Colemanstown went a goal up on 10mins as the ball was won well in defence and crossed to Paddy Mullins on the left wing who released a lovely pass to Tom Flan who linked up nicely with Ray Moran who chipped the keeper from 20yards from the left side of the field. Colemanstown showed some encouraging early touches particularly from our rearguard. Lee Murphy was especially dominant at left back while Gary Lally slotted in perfectly into his new role at right back. Jayo Finn & Sean Hardy rarely put a foot wrong and commanded proceedings at the back. Colemanstown were under pressure for the next 5 mins and conceded a free kick which stunningly found the net to peg the score back to 1 a-piece. It was nip & tuck for the remainder of the half with half chances falling to both sides in an extremely competitive affair. Paddy Mullins excelled on the right wing and was pretty much everywhere, full of energy & invention. 1-1 half time. The second half continued in much the same vein as Flan gloriously found himself one-on-one with the keeper 5mins after the restart but the keeper denied him well. Both teams stepped up their pressing game but it was the visitors that were rewarded through Flan who came more and more into the game as it wore on making his presence known to the Mervue backs. His winner came with 10mins to go when the ball hopped nicely for him to unleash a bullet of a shot low and to the right of the keeper. 5mins later Mervue were offered a golden opportunity but their free header was blasted wide. Colemanstown then had to endure 6 consecutive corners which they manfully defended in the last few minutes of the game to set up a grandstand finish but despite Mervue’s courageous fightback, they just couldn’t find an equaliser. Deep into injury time, Mervue were granted a dubious penalty after Johnny Lally was deemed to have fouled the incoming striker but justice was done as the striker blasted the ball low & wide sparking jubilant celebrations, which for some, lasted the entire day! It was a great result & great start to the season and credit has to go especially to the hurlers who unfortunately lost out to Tommie Larkins in the preliminary Quarter Finals of the County Cup the evening before and yet togged out for Colemanstown early the following morning; namely Richie Lally, Damo Wynne, Sean & Kerrill Hardy, Lee Murphy, Tom Flan & Gary Lally. It must be said, they got the win their dominance deserved. The first league game starts next Sunday in a big test away to Athenry.
Meanwhile our B team fielded 4 debutants on Saturday namely Shane Lally, Jack Kennedy, Gearoid Fahy & Jason Burke in last seasons Jack Lillis Cup tie away to Tuam side Dynamo Blues. Blues strolled to victory using their bench to good effect and doing irreparable damage particularly in the 2nd half. They bossed most of the game but yet Colemanstown were in it right up until half time as they were only a solitary goal behind. In the second half though, the home side were rocking, as Gearoid Fahy had a gifted chance to put some respect on the scoreline and offer a bit of hope but his free header was launched straight at the keeper. It got much worse for Colemanstown as the Blues scored 3 more to finish powerfully on a 4-0 scoreline. It’s strange that for the last number of seasons an opening-day win has eluded our B team. Their first league game is scheduled for this Saturday away to Loughrea at the earlier time of 11am to accommodate the Bubble soccer fundraiser. Watch this space for more on next weekends fundraisers during the week.