Ever the gentleman, Martin Hayes of St Judes, our friend from the nearby parish in Tymon Park since the days of the Go-Games, extended his hand and complimented Ballinteer St Johns Minor Footballers with the words, “a good win”.
He might well have shook his head and wondered out loud, “what happened there ?” An hour or so earlier he wouldn’t have been contemplating defeat or gracious words to recognise his opponent’s victory.
St Judes overran our lads for the first ten minutes of the match and secured the first 3 points without reply … and they were playing into that cruel wind.
Maybe it was the earlier than usual start time of a Sunday morning and the breakfast was sitting heavy. Perhaps it was the bitter wind originating in the frozen Steppes of Siberia. Maybe it was the late night of celebrating a successful Transition Year run of the Musical “Oilibhéar” in Coláiste Eoin. Maybe they froze in Croke Park the night before, watching the Dubs qualify for the semi-finals of the League. Maybe all combined to produce the deleterious effect but the fact is our lads struggled to match their opponents’ pace from the start. And we were playing with the wind.
Steady Eddie remained calm and repositioned his forces while his leaders, of which he has many, on the field adapted to their circumstances and set about clawing their way back into the game. As often seems to be the case the first score can be decisive in unlocking a self-belief in this side and it was no different last Sunday. The score swiftly moved from 3 points to 1 in favour of Judes to parity at 4 points each before Briain McGeary slotted the first of his 2 goals.
6 points adrift at the turn, St Judes must have relished the prospect of playing with that merciless wind at their backs and overturning their deficit in quick order. It seemed like that was how it was going to be too, as they slotted the first points of the second half much as they had done at the start of the match. Ballinteer moved the ball well into the forwards but felt inclined to take their shots from a tad too far out only for the blanketing wind to hold the ball up and cause it to cease to make forward progress, dropping, not over the bar, but into the keeper’s arms or even further out.
Once again the lads rallied and carried the ball deeper into enemy territory. Robert, who played the part of a pickpocket on stage during the previous week, now demonstrated great sleight of hand, leaping one-handed in midfield, yet still coming away with the ball, running at the defence and putting it over the bar with venom. Once again the lads’ inhibitions were released and they played some beautiful football, executing with precision, holding the ball up well then penetrating the defence with well-timed and angled support runs.
Fagin was carded for a tug on a jersey on the 21 meter mark during a rare Judes attack and received a talking-to which warned that he would be sent to the sideline for such a transgression next January. A minute later Daire was unfortunate not to have any reward at the other end when he shrugged off a rugby style tackle and had his shot footblocked in the penalty area. No matter – it was all one way traffic now and Ballinteer pressed on to increase their advantage.
The match finished BSJ 2-12 0-11 St Judes – a good win for Ballinteer.
Great to welcome return of Daire, Brian Mannion and Kevin O’Connor after injury.
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