Under 13 Football v Naomh Olaf

U13's FIRST FOOTBALL LEAGUE OUTING IS CLOSE GAME

Naomh Olaf 2-10 (16)

Erin Go Bragh 4-1 (13)

Erin Go Bragh U13's Footballers made the 25 minute trip down the M50 to Sandyford to take on Naomh Olaf. The game was delayed as two referees turned up to officiate and, after James Padden won the coin toss for Erin Go Bragh the referee also had to decided on a coin toss. Erin Go Bragh knew they were in for a tough game with Olafs having scored 31 goals in their 5 grading games, so coaches O'Hara and Campion had been working on the teams defensive work with a view to containing the Naomh Olaf forward line. Naomh Olaf started brightly pushing the Erin Go Bragh boys back but they were restricted to points as EGB worked hard to cut off access to goal. With Olafs 3 points up Madigan and King combined to break down an attack, clearing the ball to Padden. Padden worked the ball out the field picking Vickers out with a sublime pass. Vickers played a long ball over the head of Campion who raced onto it, collected the ball 45 metres and carried it toward goals. He dodged a couple of tackles before unleasing an unstoppable shot to level the game up. Olafs played the ball down field trying to work in for a goal of their own but had to settle for a point with some fine defending from Ford, Hayes, O'Hara and Humphreys. The game was getting physical and Vickers who was throwing himself into tackles had his name taken for a tough mistimed tackle and the referee brandished the yellow card. Olafs were throwing in hard tackles also and Pownall was fouled as he burst forward with the ball.  With Olafs 1 point up and Erin Go Bragh backs containing their attacks, Padden and Vickers burst out on the counter attack playing a ball out to Byrne. Byrne played it back to Padden who laid the ball off to Pownall. Pownall played a brilliant long ball in to Doherty, who had been creating space for himself time and time again. Doherty tried to work space to take a shot but his shot was half blocked. It fell to Campion who shot was also blocked. It fell into the path of Padden, who had followed up the length of the field, and he made no mistake finding the back of the net to put EGB 2 points up with 24 minutes gone in the first half. That was to be Erin Go Braghs final score of the half as Olafs piled forward picking off 3 unanswered points before Ford, lucky not to be blacked carded, dragged an Olafs forward to the ground inside the 13 metre box conceding a penalty. Daly, who was having a fine game and had pulled off a fantastic double save a short time earlier when a goal looked likely, guessed the right way but could not get a strong enough hand on the ball to keep the penalty out. The half time whistle sounded a few moments later with the score at Nh Olaf 1-7; EGB 2-0

With just 4 points in it and Vickers on a yellow card and last warning it was decided to move him out of midfield and into the half forward line swapping with Campion. EGB had the slight wind at their backs and knew it would help their counter attacking. The second half began with EGB holding firm preventing Olaf from getting through. With high intensity defending comes the risks of fouls and both sides were giving them away with Olafs taking 2 unanswered points from frees. 6 minutes were gone in the half and it was again great work from Humphreys and Hayes combining to block an attack before clearing the ball to Campion. Away he went with Padden, Pownall, Nitoi and Vickers in support. The 5 interchanged passes and work the ball quickly up field to Doherty who made no mistake finding the back of the net for EGB's 3rd goal. O'Hara, carrying an injury into the game, was replaced by Evans, with Evans moving into the forward line and Nitoi moving to half back. Shortly afterwards Olafs found the back of the net after a miskicked clearance from EGB found it's way straight to an opponent with a clear sight of goal. Daly found Campion with the kick out, who played it out to Pownall. With space in front of him Pownall took off, running clear with the ball and kicked a lovely long range point. Olafs attacked again and again with EGB holding firm for a long period of the second half before once again giving away a foul directly in front of the posts. Olafs kicked a point from the free to put them 6 up.

Before the kick out could be taken the referee gave a sharp blow on the whistle signalling to EGB number 9, Lee Byrne who was shown a black card. O'Hara who had come off injured had to go back on to replace Byrne and it wasn't long before he was involved in the play. EGB were pushing forward with just 5 minutes left and Vickers launched a ball towards the Olafs goal. It looked to be heading wide until O'Hara jumped highest, pushing the ball back across the goal and into the hands of David Evans who made no mistake and netted from 6 metres out to put just 3 points in it. Again Olafs tried hard to break through and again the EGB lads stood firm, countering at speed Vickers put a super ball into Doherty and he looked to be goal bound when he appeared to get shouldered in the back falling forward and spilling the ball. Olafs cleared their lines but not for long as Padden and Pownall combined again this time finding Vickers. Vickers skipped the first tackle and only 13 metres out had goal on his mind, before getting pushed as he was kicking the ball. The resulting shot flew narrowly wide. Final whistle sounded and the EGB lads were exhausted having given everything on the pitch. EGB coaches O'Hara and Campion were very happy with the structured, disciplined and really hard hitting physical game their team had played. They never gave up and with a bit more luck could have snatched the game.

Team: D Daly, C King, M Madigan, C Ford, O O'Hara, J Humphreys, D Hayes, J Padden, S Vickers, G Campion, L Byrne, M Nitoi, E Doherty, C Pownall, D Evans.

-Niall O’Hara

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