The reports from the football playing fields during the past week have not been as one would have hoped or wished. However, there is nothing that can be done about these setbacks; they have to be accepted, the lessons they taught learned and all must move on in the philosophical mindset of the seanfhocal galar gan leigheas foighne is fearr ( in the absence of an immediate solution, patience is your only man).
The Junior A’s first outing was a home game against Valleymount on Sunday morning. I mo chuimhne, nach bhfuil anois mar a bhí uair, an t-am deireanach a thugamar aghaidh ar an bhfreasúra céanna sa bhaile ná la oscailt oifigiúil na sean seomraí feistis i 1991. (The last time, if memory serves me correct,we played the same opposition at home was at the official opening of the old club house in 1991. A day one has cause to remember as on that day a relation had his jaw broken in two places by a vicious unprovoked blow).
The Seniors played An Tochar on Friday night.
In the Junior game Éire Óg led by one or two points at the interval but were eventually comprehensively beaten. The half-time score was quite deceptive as an indicator of the game’s evolution during the first period, in that the local score had been accumulated in the first quarter while in the second quarter, a barren period on the score-board for us, a more and more assertive Valleymount gradually gnawed away our lead. Yet we were more or less holding our own in general play.
The second-half was a totally different story. The visitors, much fired up after the break, exuded intent, and soon had the Éire Óg defenders with their backs to the wall in heroic struggle against wave after wave of attack. During this time we watched in anxious anticipation of a breach in the defensive wall. It came on 10 minutes into the half, a well worked lakesiders’ goal. After that as the game moved inexorably to its inevitable outcome we leaked points on a regular basis.
After the game there was an air of pessimism in the home camp, not so much because of the score-board reading but more because of the team’s inability to score during the last 30 minutes- not that the forwards didn’t have their opportunities.
In mitigation it has to be said that Valleymount, just down from the Intermediate Grade, were quite a formidable opposition and will surely be in the mix for League and Championship honours at the end of the season. As a team the visitors were very fit and focussed for so early in the season and had a highly developed team plan which manifested itself in their ability to create the extra man.
It was not all doom and gloom however for the Greystones followers: there was an embryonic promise in much of the team’s play which included some nice movements out of defence that with a little more savoir faire could have been fruitful.
Eddie Davis worked hard and to effect at centre-forward and Andrew Walsh was prominent around the centre. Gary Dunne had a solid game in defence and Eoin English was reliable between the posts.
The Senior League match against Roundwood ended in a draw, 1-7 each. A remark heard after the final whistle described it as “a strange game” and indeed there was much about it which justified such a comment.
The tone was set very early on with the dismissal of young Daniel Keane on what was judged to be a black-card offence. One understands that such a misdemeanour implies more than a little cynicism on the part of the player. This quality is not characteristic of Daniel’s play and certainly wasn’t blatantly apparent in this instance. Further, indulging in such behaviour so early in a game which was yet to develop a pattern would serve no strategic purpose.
The game was closely fought throughout but there were numerous times when Éire Óg seemed to be about to pull ahead. However An Tochar kept a tight hold on the leash and always succeeded in pulling us back. With 8 minutes left on the clock the sea-siders were two points ahead and an Éire Óg victory looked to be very much on the cards. Then a quick ball out of the Roundwood defence found its way into the Greystones goal area which erupted into a scene of much ado. A huge sigh of relief was heard among the Éire Óg following at the sight of a defender exiting the melee with the ball. However things are not as they seem, The ref spreads his hands, a penalty for An Tochar. Converted. The visitors a point ahead. Time running out, a free for Éire Óg 20 metres out on the left. Willie ‘Decibels’ O’Hagan picks up the ball. A feeling of dread at the sight of such a vital free being kicked from the hand. Éire Óg joy at the sight of the ball sailing through the uprights.
James Kelly was impressive at full-back and Justin O’Brien and Leon Browne caught the eye in the half-line. Sam Thompson starred among the forwards despite being the subject of often doubtful attention and Thomas Gberbervie was active in the centre.