Successful fight back for reserves

Our reserves played their part in a thoroughly entertaining match in Athenry yesterday in which they fielded a blend of youth and experience and this game was always going to test the fitness of the experienced campaigners as the cramps started to build up in the ould lads as the game wore on. Athenry fielded a predominantly young side whereas Colemanstown had that perfect blend of both. The focus for us on this occasion was on the newcomers, Stephen Rabbitte at centre back who took on his nephew in a bit of a family affair, Niall Rohan & Stephen Burke at left and right back respectively who made somewhat of a comeback following their long sojourn from the soccer field, as well as 17 year old Conor O’Neill on left midfield who also hadn’t seen football action for a while. Central midfield saw debutants Adrian Queeney & Ferghal Flannery rise to the occasion while another debutant for the club Gerry Grady up front, looked a real threat and had plenty of half chances. Colemanstown looked impressive and looked full of intent from the off and had the better of the earlier exchanges as Stephen Rabbitt’s header from a corner was powerfully driven over the crossbar; Shane Bailey’s attempted lob of the keeper from distance wasn’t too far away from the target while Gerry Grady created a few half chances for himself. The opener came on 25mins when Baileys 30yard pass to the impressive Ferghal Flan who ran with speed unchallenged with the ball at his feet to slot under the keepers body. There was nothing worthy to note from the Athenry youngsters at half time as they failed to muster a shot at keeper Joe Flannery. 1-0 at half time. In the 2nd half, Athenry started the better team and restored parity 10mins into the half when their striker’s half volley found the net from 20yards out. At this stage of the game it was Athenry who enjoyed a period of supremacy and with 25mins into the 2nd half Stephen Rabbitt’s nephew cracked a shot from 25yards out which went into the top right corner and left Joe Flannery helpless in goal. Then came the arrival of the astute Kenny Duane with 20mins remaining. Kenny doesn’t normally boast of any managerial qualities or orchestrate changes in team tactics but on his arrival he engineered a few changes, indeed changing the entire structure of the team in a 3-4-3 formation as Adrian Queeney dropped back to centre back; Rabbitt  and Matt Moran were introduced to central midfield & Ferghal Flan who had run himself to the ground was re-deployed up front to link up with Bailey & Gerry Grady. With 5mins to go, Colemanstown were justly rewarded as Stephen Rabbitt latched onto a long kick out from Joe Flan in goals and powered through the middle before he drove an unstoppable shot past the keeper to restore parity between the sides. The tactical changes made the difference so much so that Kenny could be described as a bit of a revolution; in him could be a man that wants to stand as team manager in that small little box marked in white on the sideline; such was the change in the team on his arrival. He might battle it out with gaffer Moran yet! That said it was a good overall team performance and was great to see the newcomers put in such a good shift as a tired Colemanstown clawed their way back into the game. Young Conor O’Neill showed a great level of fitness and looked a real threat going forward as did Niall Cunningham on the other wing. Garry O’Grady showed off his experience organising things well with Niall Rohan & Stephen Burke at the back whilst putting in a sterling display himself coupled with Rabbitt who was always in the right place at the right time. Ferghal Flan & Adrian Queeney combined well, were tough and tenacious and showed great fighting spirit; fists clenched, arms pumping, running themselves to the ground. Up front Bailey’s performance had a lot to do with the threat posed by Colemanstown during their periods of dominance feeding Gerry Grady well as there was a kinda symbiotic relationship between them. It was a totally newlook Colemanstown outfit and a good start to the Reserve league campaign with nothing between the sides in the end as reserve fixtures from here on come quick & heavy. Meanwhile our B team had to concede their away game against Athenry due to insufficient numbers.