Under 9s Conquer The Greenhills Of Divison 1

U-9 Div.1  At Community College Date: 05/10/2013 KO: 11:00 Ref: M.Moore  Att: About the same as last week

For Those About To Rock

For many people, geology is just a load of old rocks! But to those in the know, Greenhills is home to one of the finest specimens of Esker formations in all of Europe. In fact, it’s along this raised and winding trail of sand and gravel (formed during the ice age) that the Greenhills road makes it way up towards Tallaght and eventually meets the N81 and main road to Blessington AFC.  Not being content with having a superb geological specimen in its portfolio, and not to mention one of Ireland’s largest nests along its route, it’s also home to Greenhills Boys FC, one of the strongest teams in Division 1 and visiting opposition for Blessington’s second home fixture of the 2013/14 season.

On another beautiful Indian summer morning in Blessington and without a single cloud (or cowboy) in sight, the match kicked off and right from the outset it was clear that Blessington were up for the challenge. As early as the first minute, young Billy Moore managed to break through the Greenhills midfield, only to be denied by some last ditch tacking by their well organised rear guard unit. That set the tone for the half and as the match grew older, Blessington continued to cause havoc in the Greenhills defence and despite a couple of close range efforts by Frank Llop, the scores remained level.

Greenhills to their credit, tried to gain a footballing foothold in the game, but the ice that had helped form the landscape of the visiting side, was now coursing through the veins of the home side as they coolly yet ruthlessly attacked the visiting opposition with wave after wave of prolonged footballing pressure.  However, midway through the half and totally against the run of play, a rare Greenhills attack, dangerous cross into the Blessington box and failed attempted clearance saw the visiting side take the lead. 0-1 Greenhills!

Last season this could have signalled game over for the boys in green, but with the days of Blessington heads being dropped, well and truly behind them, the home team raised their chins, dug deep and within minutes were level again, thanks to a tidy close range finish by Jack McManus. The final few minutes of the half remained a tight affair with both sides having chances to take the lead, but some tidy defending by Bobby Gray and an excellent save by Patrick Foley kept the sides level.

Half time whistle and 1-1 at the break!

Who Shot That Poison Arrow

With Finn Jordan and Matthew Callinan sprung from the bench, the second half resumed in the same manner as the first had ended, with Blessington on the attack. Wave after wave of Blessington pressure continued to build and midway through the half, some excellent work by Shane O’Connor resulted in a side-line kick deep in the opposition half. Up stepped Aidan king and his superbly weighted ball into the box was met by the head of Jack Hardy. His clever flick managed (only just) to elude the outstretched keeper and deservedly, much to the delight of on-looking home supporters, Blessington found themselves (and deservedly so) 2-1 in front.

Blessington continued to press hard and despite some excellent chances, failed to add to their one goal advantage. With the bare minimum still between the sides and less than five minutes of the match remaining, Greenhills swept forward and fired a footballing arrow straight through the heart of the Blessington defence to score a well taken (yet undeserved) last gasp equaliser. Heartbreak for the home side!

She Hasn’t Finished Singing Yet

Kermit the frog once lamented, “It’s not easy being green” and what had once seemed a certain victory, now heading for a disappointing draw, the players and home supporters alike would surely have echoed his frog like sentiments!

HOW AND EVER!  This young team wasn’t going to let this one fizzle out for a disappointing draw and with time almost up, an excellent ball into the Greenhills box by Ciaran Clarke, fell to the feet of Zach Power. The young striker held his nerve, took aim and his close range effort, somehow, managed to squeeze past the despairing dive of the visiting keeper.

3-2 Blesso! Final whistle! Great Win!

For all those lucky enough to have witnessed another great performance and even better win by this superb group of young players, it was clear (despite earlier concerns) that the business of being green is actually turning out to be, something very special. Very special indeed!












Blessington  3 – 2  Greenhills Boys (HT:1-1)

McManus 15, Hardy 27, Power 40

Blessington Team: Patrick Foley, Matthew Callinan, Ciaran Clarke, Billy Moore, Shane O’Connor, Jack Hardy, Aidan King, Zach Power, Bobby Gray, Jack McManus, Finn Jordan, Frank Llop


Liffey Washed Away by the Under 9’s

U-9 Div.1  At Community College Date: 21/09/2013 KO: 11:00 Ref: J McHale Att: 39

Indian and Cowboy
Early Tuesday morning texts, padlocks, the opening of dark container doors and the eerie squeak of roller wheels, can mean only one thing. No, not the return of Christian Grey, but the return of another exciting season of small sided competitive football!
On a beautiful Indian summer morning and the preceding Cowboy inspired 3v3 match having been completed, both teams took to the pitch for the opening day Under 9 Division one clash between Blessington AFC and Liffey Valley Rangers.
Early exchanges between the two sides were tight and it looked as though the strong flow of the Liffey (play) might be enough to break through the well organised Blessington defensive flood gates. However, the defensive partnership of Matthew Callinan and Ciaran Clarke held firm, as they comfortably snuffed out any danger posed by the opposition. With a year of competitive action under their young footballing belts, the defensive duo, like experienced fishermen sitting on the banks of a river, were ready and waiting to reel in any brave little fish, that dared enter their defensive footballing waters.

Smokin’ Salmon

According to Wikipedia (so it must be true) the Liffey was previously named An Ruirthech, meaning “fast (or strong) runner. However, as the match developed, it was the Blessington players who looked faster, stronger and far hungrier than the visiting opposition. In fact, at times the Blessington players looked more like young Salmon, glistening in the September sunshine as they leapt high above the Liffey (players) making their way upriver to lay their footballing eggs in the back of the opposition net.

Mid-way through the first half the deadlock was broken after a tidy finish from close range by Zach Power. Some excellent work in mid-field by Aidan King and a clever, early pass in behind the banks of the liffey (defence) meant that a neat finish was all that was required. Power duly obliged. 1-0 Blesso!
Blessington continued to press hard and despite some excellent work out on the left by Billy Moore and having most of the possession, Blessington failed to add their single goal tally and the half time whistle saw the bare minimum between the teams going into the break.
Transfer deadline day signing Frank Llop, was introduced for the second half and alongside Jack Mack and Finn Jordon they were given the task of forcing home the territorial advantage and adding to the 1-0 score line.
Some early second half attacks by the opposition were comfortably dealt with by the excellent Bobby Gray and having come off injured in the first half and re-introduced early in the second, Shane O’Connor also made a telling impact. O’Connor’s strong tackle in midfield and jinking run through the Liffey defence, resulted in a free kick on the edge of the opponent’s box. Up stepped Jack Hardy. 2-0 Blesso!
Egg citing Finale
Blessington were in complete control now and what had once been a strong Liffey flow, had now become more of a trickling stream. The young footballing fish of Blessington continued to successfully navigate the weakening Liffey flow and with the final destination in sight it wasn’t long before more goals were added. Jack Hardy tucked home a clinical finish from just inside the box courtesy of a Finn Jordan cross, and Frank Llop fired home an excellent effort after a swift move started by some excellent distribution by Patrick Foley in the Blessington goal. Right at the death, Jack McManus played a clever ball in behind the Liffey defence and Zach Power tapped the ball home for his second goal of the game. Job done, destination reached!
As the final whistle blew to signal the end of an excellent opening day performance, the players and supporters could begin to look forward (with optimism) to an exciting season ahead. And unlike the brave little Salmon who lay their eggs and die after having reached their final destination, these group of young footballers will grow stronger and faster, as they attempt to navigate the choppy waters of Division 1 football.


Blessington 5 – 0  Liffey Valley Rangers (HT:1-0)

Power 12,39 Hardy 27,29 Llop 37

Blessington Team: Patrick Foley, Matthew Callinan, Ciaran Clarke, Billy Moore, Shane O’Connor, Jack Hardy, Aidan King, Zach Power, Bobby Gray, Jack McManus, Finn Jordan, Frank Llop

King’s Triple Crown Conquers Carriglea


Into the West

If Aliens ever invade, we should all hide in Dunedin Park. They’ll never find us!

Wrong turns, dodgy directions and after a quick detour to cash in some traveller’s cheques, the main Blessington convoy eventually found is way to the impressively maintained and even more impressively secluded Dunedin Park, home to Carriglea Boys FC.

For what was surely going to be (based on league position) an easy run out for the boys in green, conditions couldn’t have been better. Beautiful blue skies, white cotton wool clouds and a lovely surface for football meant that everything was set up perfectly, for an enjoyable morning of underage football. Although, there was a strange feeling that something was missing…

Pitch marked? Check!

Corner flags in place? Check!

Referee? ……Che ……. No referee!

Bananas in Pyjamas

After a quick call and confirmation that the referee was injured, both management teams huddled together and quickly conferred.  We’ll ref it ourselves and play for the points was the decision, and after a short pause to choose the referee and find a whistle, both teams took their positions and the match kicked off.

Right from the outset Blessington looked distracted. Gone was the hustle, missing was bustle and many of those watching, would have been excused for thinking that last week’s wine hadn’t turned back into water after all.  The team looked punch drunk!  Was it the delayed start time, was it the thought of the upcoming crunch match against Rathcoole, or, was the fact that the stand in Referee for the first half, was still wearing his pyjamas!

As the early minutes quickly passed, the first effort of the game saw Jack Hardy try his luck from just outside the box. But his long range effort not only gave the on-looking daisies plenty of time to duck for cover, but also gave the Carriglea keeper the chance to position himself and make the first save of the day.

As the half progressed and the scores remained level, a close range effort by Jack McManus was met with a fine save at his near post, by the opposition keeper.  Instantly, the call of “Use your box and kick it long” came in from the opposition side line, and without further ado their young shot stopper duly obliged. HOOF! The ball rose slowly into the mid-morning air and then paused momentarily, before beginning its final descent. Somehow, Billy Moore managed to read its flight path, position himself perfectly, and fire the ball back in the direction it came, over the keeper’s head and into the back of the gaping net!

One Nil to Blesso, courtesy of Billy’s boots!

The remaining uneventful minutes of the first half fizzled out and the referee’s whistle brought not only welcome relief, but also some freshly sliced Orange segments and the chance for some words of encouragement from the Blessington coaching staff.

Fangtastic Finale

With team talks complete and the introduction of Aidan King and Matthew Callinan, the referee for the second half (Stephen McManus) checked his whistle, blew his watch and the match resumed!

Things suddenly began to look different now and there was definite sense of a new found energy and enthusiasm. It looked like the change in both personnel and exotic refreshments meant that the second half was going to be far more fruitful, than the seedless one that had preceded it!

With only a couple of minutes gone in the second half, Aidan King won the ball high up the pitch, raced in behind the Carriglea defence and slotted home from close range to make it 2-0 to Blesso. Long sighs all round and some welcome breathing space!

It wasn’t long before a third and fourth were added by King and Hardy respectively, and all remaining doubts were suddenly washed away. The dying embers of game saw King crown a royal second half performance by coolly bagging his first ever hat-trick, after tidy finish from just inside the opposition penalty area.

As the final whistle blew and both teams exchanged pleasantries, there was a palpable sense of relief amongst the Blessington supporters. 5-0, job done, let’s go home.

Before anyone even a chance contemplate the next upcoming match away to Rathcoole (2-3 result prediction), Stephen McManus appeared out of nowhere with a celebratory box of jellies. Slowly, the fans and players returned to their cars and as they silently munched away on their end of match treats, some Liverpool Fans amongst them began to ponder…. “I reckon Luis Suarez gets sweets after every match, they thought…. and I bet his favourite bar is, a “Chomp!”

Roll on Rathcoole next Monday night!


Blessington Team: Patrick Foley, Ciaran Clarke, Bobby Gray, Jack Hardy, Shane O’Connor, Zach Power, Billy Moore, Jack McManus, Aidan king, Matthew Callinan



Under 8’s Make The Trip To Lourdes

Immaculate Interceptions

“My Granny went there once to get some Holy water” was the response.

The Blessington squad had just been informed of their opponents for Saturday’s match and with two key players due to be missing, they were definitely going to be looking for a miracle at Lourdes, if they were to have any chance of maintaining their top of the table position in Division 2. However, with pre-Christmas 3v3 football behind them and five wins from five in the league, the opposition for this match, would surely prove to be the toughest test yet for this young group of Blessington stalwarts.
With Aidan King missing from midfield and Ciaran Clarke absent in central defence, Shane O’Connor and Zach Power were given the tough task of anchoring the centre, alongside the free roaming Jack Hardy.
Early doors, saw Lourdes mount wave after wave of attack and but for some unbelievable shot stopping by Patrick Foley, Blessington would have found themselves 2-nil down within the first five minutes alone.
Try as they may, and despite some excellent defensive interceptions by Bobby Gray and Matthew Callinan, Blessington couldn’t hold out any longer. Some neat passing and clever build-up play by the opposition, saw the deadlock broken, the home supporters rejoice and the away supporters frantically reaching for the rosary beads!
However, as the half wore on, Blessington began to grow more and more into the game, and some excellent midfield interplay between Hardy and O’Connor, saw the pair create an excellent chance for Jack McManus that he just narrowly failed to capitalise on. With confidence levels continuing to grow and the Lourdes keeper pulling of a fine save from a Jack Hardy effort, many of the Blessington supporters believed, that the contents of the team bottles, were slowly beginning to turn from Ballygowan into Beaujolais nouveau.
But, just when it looked as though Blessington were beginning to get the upper hand, a brief moment of indecision in the Blessington rear guard, saw the Lourdes number 8 seize on the opportunity and slot home from close range for their second goal of the game. Blessington continued to battle hard and another excellent save by Foley right on the stroke of half time, saw Blessington enter the break 2-0 down and with a glimmer of hope that a Lazarus like come back, although not likely, was still a remote possibility.

Howay the Lads
The half time changes saw Billy Moore (fresh from his trip home to Newcastle) enter the fray and with Shane O’Connor asked to help the young “Geordie Shore” up the midfield, the teams once again took to the pitch and second half was underway!
Right from the whistle, Blessington fought hard for every ball and it was clear that they weren’t going to give up without a real fight. A couple of excellent balls out of the Blessington defence saw Jack Hardy get a run at Lourdes, but on both occasions his efforts were foiled by the opposition keeper.
As the half progressed, the opposition not only showed some nice one touch football, but it was also clear that Lourdes enjoyed showing off their fine selection of crosses! Another couple of world class saves by Foley, ensured that the score line remained the same for much of the 2nd half, but late into injury time, a clever ball in behind the Blessington defence saw the home side make it 3-0.

The Sea Of Galilee
As the final blew and the wine changed back to water, requests for a certain goalkeeper’s surname did the rounds and calls of, not at any “Price” rang around the Blessington crowd.
If there can be such a thing as a satisfying defeat, this was one of those days and with every last ounce of effort left out on the pitch, thoughts soon turned to the return fixture. Home advantage, smaller pitch, key players returning. “We can take these you know!”

There’s no pond in Sundrive Park. But if there were, Patrick Foley would surely have walked across the surface of it, on his way back to Blessington!


Blessington Team: Patrick Foley, Bobby Gray, Matthew Callinan, Shane O’Connor, Jack Hardy, Zach Power, Jack McManus, Billy Moore


Brookfield 0-4 Blessington

Another cold Saturday morning, another away day fixture and a short journey down the N81 saw the Blessington under 8’s visit an ever improving Brookfield side at Jobstown Park in Tallaght.

After a party atmosphere at this week’s training session, the team departed Blessington in plenty of time, even better spirits and hopeful of recording their third league victory in as many games.

No pitch inspection required this week so after a brisk warm up from both teams, the whistle blew and everyone knew, that the match was on.

Gay Byrne

Straight from the outset Brookfield looked the more comfortable in possession, while their Blessington counterparts seemed to look tired and distracted.  Was it the result of the previous evening’s birthday celebrations?  Was it the lack of a mid-week training session? Or, was it the result of having had to endure watching the Billie Barry kids on the Late Late toy show? One thing was certain they looked slightly off the pace!

Some neat and tidy passing from the home side saw them create a couple of chances early on, but a couple of brave interventions by Patrick Foley in the Blessington goal meant that both sides remained scoreless.  Nerves on the Blessington sideline were beginning to show and none more so than with Robin Gray, as he continued to wonder how he’d managed to be in possession of the linesman’s flag!

It wasn’t long however, before the cobwebs began to blow off  and as the image of Ryan Tubridy’s Christmas jumper began to fade, the Blessington players kicked themselves into gear and came to life. Midway through the half, a probing ball in behind the Brookfield defence, saw young McManus finish off from close range and continue to establish himself in the team, as a real Jack in the box!

The goal seemed to unsettle Brookfield nerves and as Blessington continued to grow into the game the home side conceded a free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of their own box. Up stepped Jack Hardy to smash home an excellent effort and make it 2-0 to the away side.

With Billy Moore beginning to grow in confidence in midfield, Blessington continued to create more and more chances and shortly before half-time Aidan King put the result beyond doubt with an excellent finish from just inside the Brookfield box.

“Did anyone just hear the sound of Sleigh bells?”

“It couldn’t be. It must have been half time whistle.”

Blessington 3-0 in front!

Cookies and Milk

As the second half kicked off, Ciaran Clarke moved into a central defensive role alongside Bobby Gray and Matthew Callinan. Another half time change saw Zach Power move into the lone striker’s position and it wasn’t long before Blessington were on the attack again. The early action in the second half saw very few chances created and as the clock ticked down, both teams began to tire.

Patrick Foley was once again given the chance to stretch his legs in midfield and with only 5 minutes left in the game he got himself on the end of an excellent Billy Moore pass and finished off in style, from the edge of the Brookfield penalty area.

To their credit Brookfield continued to push forward, but Blessington remained solid in defence and the match petered out to its inevitable conclusion. The final whistle blew, the players shook hands and Blessington had, for the 3rd week in succession earned another victory and another valuable 3 points.

As the parents climbed into their cars, headed for home and began to reflect on another job well done, something more important began to enter the players’ minds. “Santa’s coming to Blessington tomorrow. Can we go and see him. Please, can we go and see him?”

And as if by magic, childhood memories of cookies and milk, stockings on fireplaces and waiting for Santa began flooding back.

Maybe, just maybe, that wasn’t the halftime whistle after all!


Blessington Team: Patrick Foley, Matthew Callinan, Bobby Gray, Jack Hardy, Aidan King, Billy Moore, Jack McManus, Zach Power, Ciaran Clarke.

Santa’s Big Visit to Blessington FC.

twas the night Blog Version

Santa Comes to Blessington FC. Murphy’s Plan B, 2nd Dec 3PM-5PM.

Blessington’s Sub Zero Heros Win Again

Kettles on windscreens, woolly hats on heads and a cries of ”have you seen my gloves!” signalled the early morning start for the under 8′s first home game since mid-October. Belmont FC were the opposition this time out and having beaten their Dublin 4 opponents earlier in the season, Blessington’s confidence levels were justifiably higher than normal.

With 5 weeks having passed since the ground staff were tasked with having to prepare the pitch, the job proved even more difficult than normal, due to the heavy frost covering the ground. But once again, they battled the elements and managed to deliver a pitch fit for a king (and the rests of his team mates!)

The Perfect Pineapple

As the teams warmed up, the referee inspected the pitch and Gary O’Connor anxiously checked the weather on his phone. ”Zero degrees lads…. he mightn’t play it”

Images of John Motson’s Sheepskin coat ran through the coaches’ minds and after lengthy conversations, the referee finally announced. “It’s up to their manager, lads”

With all eyes on the opposition manager, he knelt down, picked up a handful of frozen grass and inspected it closely. With a deep breath, short exhale and a long pause he waited. The tension was unbearable. Finally he spoke.

The man from Belmont A, he says yes!

Game on!

Who Shot JR

As the teams took their positions a touching minutes silence was observed in honour of the late great Larry Hagman, then without further ado, the whistle blew and the game kicked off.

A couple of tactical changes to the Blessington line-up this week saw Billy Moore tuck into a central midfield position and Zach Power leading the line up front. From the outset they were straight into the action and the opening minutes saw Blessington with plenty of ball, but try as they may they failed to create any clear-cut goal scoring chances. Mid-way through the half Billy Moore shipped a heavy knock to his ankle and was replaced by Aidan king in the Blessington engine room.

As the half dragged on it looked as though both teams would go into the break honours even. However, with a couple of minutes remaining, Jack Hardy won the ball on the edge box and in a scene reminiscent of Dallas, he got his target in sight, took aim and fired off an accurate shot from close range. Opening goal!

Half time whistle. 1-0 in front!

The second half saw the introduction of Jack McManus up front and Matthew Callinan joined Bobby Gray and Ciaran Clarke in defence while elsewhere, Patrick Foley was given the task of thawing out in central midfield. The pattern of play continued in the same vein as the first, with Blessington having all the ball but nothing to show for it. That was however, until poacher extraordinaire Jack McManus, tapped in from close range to score his 2nd league goal of the season. That seemed to settle the nerves and it wasn’t long before Zach Power got on the end of a Shane O’Connor pass and added a third Blessington goal.

To Belmont’s credit they never gave up heart and their big number 6 was finally rewarded for his efforts, when he slotted home a tidy finish to give Belmont a glimmer of hope for the remainder of the game. That hope however, was quickly extinguished, when an Aidan King fizzed a shot past the Belmont keeper and the result was put beyond doubt.

The remaining couple of minutes fizzled out and as the final whistle blew and the players shook hands, over on the sideline there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Was it the joy of watching another win? Was it the ice cold conditions? Or, was it the sudden realisation that next season’s series of Dallas, just won’t be the same.

Blessington Team: Patrick Foley, Ciaran Clarke, Bobby Gray, Jack Hardy, Billy Moore, Shane O’Connor, Zach Power, Aidan King, Matthew Callinan, Jack McManus

Another Famous Five by the Under 8’s

“You’re away to Rathcoole 10:30 KO” read the early Tuesday morning text from Gary O’Connor.   “Is it 7:30AM already!”

After three league defeats in a row, Saturday’s fixture was a must win game for a Blessington team that had been without a league win in their last three outings. With that in mind, the coaching staff sent their players off for some naturally occuring cryogenic chamber therapy to a well-known location at the edge of Glen Ding wood.

With preparations complete and the players thawed out, the team departed a cold but sunny Blessington quietly confident of registering their 3rd league win of the season.

A changing of the guard on the line saw flag bearing duties for the day handed over to Gary “Green ball” O’Connor and with everyone else, including the teams in position the referee took a long look at his watch and the match kicked off.

From the outset it was clear that Blessington had the measure of their opponents and with only a minute on the clock, a dangerous attack down the right led to the first corner of the game. This came to nothing but with pressure building on their opponents, it seemed only a matter of time until the deadlock would be broken. And it was!

After another swift move forward, a dangerous ball was whipped into the danger area by Jack McManus and the attempted clearance was picked up by Jack Hardy, who curled a right footed shot beyond the Rathcoole keeper for the opening goal of the game.

Some excellent work by Shane O’Connor shortly after the restart out on the right almost led to a second, but the Rathcoole keeper was equal to his close range effort. It wasn’t long however before Jack Hardy had added a second and Blessington were now in cruise control. Total dominance combined with excellent team shape, saw Aidan King get on the end of an excellent move and blast home a third from the edge of the Rathcoole box.  Game Over!

As the half wore on, observant onlookers would have noticed the numerous shades of green, that had been created by the weaving trail of footprints on the heavily dewed grass. But when young Bobby came up for a corner at the end of the first half, the many shades of green were quickly replaced by a single shade of Gray. Excellence!  His powerful shot from the edge of the box ensured his ever first goal for the club and a 4-0 lead for his team at half-time.

Billy Moore and Zach Power were introduced at half time and Patrick foley swapped places with Ciaran Clarke alongside the ever present Matthew Callinan in defence. Postions taken, a quick check of the watch and the match resumed.

As the second half progressed Blessington appeared to take their foot off the gas and five minutes in, Rathcoole pulled one back. The rest of the half however, remained a largely uneventful affair until 3 minutes from time, when Blessington were awarded a penalty. Patrick Foley stepped forward and neatly tucked away the ball to the keeper’s right, to leave a final score-line of Rathcoole 1 -5 Blessington.

Third league win of the season, 5 goals scored in each victory and after 3 tiring away day fixtures in succession the team and their loyal supporters are now due a well-earned and much welcomed home fixture.

The neighbouring houses of Blessington College can once again look forward to being woken up by a dawn chorus of containers being clattered opened, pitches being marked and pegs being hammered into the frozen ground.

“Is it 7:30AM already!”

Blessington Team: Patrick Foley, Matthew Callinan, Ciaran Clarke, Bobby Gray, Jack Hardy, Aidan King, Shane O’Connor, Jack McManus, Billy Moore, Zach Power.






Seventh Heaven for the Under 8’s

Having played Granada and Rovers in their previous couple of outings, the motoring theme continued again this week, as the under 8’s travelled to the Transport club for an away day fixture against the unknown quantity of Iveagh Trust.

After a couple of recent heavy defeats the coaching staff took the unorthodox approach of cancelling mid-week training and instructing the players to spend the week meditating instead of worrying about fo0tballing matters. “What’s meditation Coach?” one of the players asked. “I think it’s the thing doctors give to you when you’re sick”. Replied another.

With batteries fully recharged and googlemaps directions digested, the convoy left town and sauntered down the N81 in the hope that victory was at least, going to be a possibility.

The team arrived at their destination looking more calm and composed than usual and as they made their way onto the pitch, the silent calm that had descended upon this group of young players, was briefly interrupted. “I scored in there years ago” Stephen McManus proudly announced. It wasn’t clear whether he was referring to the goal at the far end of the ground or the club house bar right behind it!

With Billy Moore ruled out through injury and unable to travel, the coaching staff took the brave decision to change things around by making some positional changes to the starting line-up. It was very much a case of sink or swim, as new signing Ciaran Clarke was thrown in at the defensive deep end alongside Jack McManus and Matthew Callinan. Jack Hardy was joined in midfield by old partner Aidan King and midfield debutant Bobby Gray made up the final piece of the midfield jigsaw. Shane O’Connor and Zach Power lead the line up front and after a brief warm up and match positions assumed, the game kicked off.

From the first whistle, Blessington immediately went on the attack and it was clear that the tactic of meditation was just what the doctor had ordered. After a few unsuccessful attacks the visitor’s patience was rewarded when Shane O’Connor dispensed a dose of reality on the Iveagh defence and fired home the opener from 6 yards out.

Some good work out on the right and an injection of pace through midfield, saw Aidan King fire home a long range effort beyond the despairing dive of the Iveagh keeper.

Half time whistle. 2-0 in front.

With first half diagnosis complete and second half tactics discussed, the game resumed and Blessington continued as they had finished off the first half. On the attack!

As the half worn on Blessington continued to have the lion’s share of the ball and all that was missing was a third goal and some clichéd quotes from the absent Chris Callinan.

However wave after wave of Blessington attack finally saw Jack Hardy add a third and a fourth to ensure that the victory was put well beyond doubt. Jack McManus, like his father before him on the same pitch, tucked one away from close range, to make it 5-0.  Zach Power and Patrick Foley put the icing and cherry on the proverbial footballing cake and it was clear that the previous 3 defeats were now just a distant memory.

As final whistle blew the Blessington supporters rejoiced, not only a well earned victory but an excellent performance by a team, now back on track and ready to take on whoever the fixture list throws at them next.

Blessington Team: Patrick Foley, Matthew Callinan, Ciaran Clarke, Jack McManus, Aidan King, Jack Hardy, Bobby Gray, Zach Power, Shane O’Connor

It’s an Ard Knock Life For The Under 8’s

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