On what is without doubt the toughest away day fixture of the season, Blessington under 8’s travelled to Bray to meet an unbeaten and highly rated Ardmore Rovers. On a crisp sunny morning the sugar loaf loomed large in the background, however that was as close to sweetness as Blessington would get, on what turned out to be a very difficult day at the footballing office.
After having been well beaten by this Ardmore team on the opening day of the season and with half a dozen games now under their belt, Blessington fancied themselves to at least give a better account of themselves than their previous meeting back in September. It wasn’t to be the case
Even before the teams took to the field, Blessington were going to be up against it, as future Ireland goalkeeper Patrick Foley was away on international duty in the UK and unavailable for squad selection. Shortly after kick off any hopes of an upset were dashed, as Ardmore scored the opener after some neat interplay on the edge of the Blessington penalty area. They added a second shortly afterwards and thoughts on the Blessington sideline immediately turned from victory to damage limitation.
Halftime whistle. 2-0 down
With a constructive halftime team talk complete and couple of fresh pair of legs introduced, the second half kicked off and Blessington looked early on that they might offer some stiffer resistance than they did in the first half. However, after a couple of minutes, Ardmore added a third and heads began to drop. Jack Hardy offered some hope, by finishing off an excellent individual effort midway through the half but the light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be the Ardmore express.
The Blessington goal seemed to inspire the Ardmore team as they drove on and carved Blessington up at every possible opportunity. The remainder of the half saw Blessington lose their shape, the coaches lose more hair and the Blessington linesman lose his sense of direction!
As the final whistle blew, thoughts immediately turned to putting the result behind them and getting things right for the next match. With 5 matches left to play in the group stages of this competition, a much welcomed home match awaits against easier opposition so, there is a silver lining to the even the darkest football shaped cloud.
“We’ll get there, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow… But we’ll get there” (Chris Callinan didn’t say that)
Special note: Jack McManus deserves a special mention. He had huge gloves to fill on the day, but unfortunately found himself in goal against the best team in the league. He tried his level best and never once complained during or after the match. Well done Jack!
Ardmore Rovers 8 – Blessington AFC 1
Blessington Team: Jack McManus, Matthew Callinan, Aidan King, Bobby Gray, Jack Hardy, Shane O’Connor, Billy Moore, Emily O’Toole, Zach Power