Wednesday, 12 June 2013

ADSL Diary Day 2

Antony Sherlock

Athlone 2 Waterford 1

After a good nights rest for the players ( I couldn't sleep a wink) we had a light set piece session at the pitch. Nothing too hectic , basically just a walk through. After some food we had some downtime where the players took great delight in seeing how poor I was at Black Ops on the console. In all truth, I was poison. We had our pre match meal and meeting then headed down for our first game against 3rd seeds Waterford. I know I have the scoreline down at the top of the topic but I'm going to put it up again!!

Athlone 2 Waterford 1

Oh sweet Jesus (can I say that? ah yeah I can) what a performance and victory. Tommy, Gudgie, Kevin and I have been working with these players since they were in nappies; well not quite but you get the idea, and I can truthfully say that I have never witnessed the steely focus and determination shown by the group before. 

We had the ideal start. After thirty seconds Harry played a pass to Luke on the right wing. Luke cut inside his marker and fired in an unstoppable shot into the top right hand corner. Unbelievable! My normal reaction to an early goal would be , "Oh no". The simple reason being that the normal soccer mentality is to be conservative. Its natural. Was this the case? Not a notion of it. We totally dominated possession with a high tempo passing game. 

Waterford registered their first attempt on target after nineteen minutes. We battered them. On thirty one minutes a Conor Layng pile driver was well saved by the Waterford custodian resulting in a corner kick. Conor Farrell drilled in a perfect cross ( we have a lot of Conors , 4 in fact) but the Waterford defender did well to clear to Conor Layng who just put it back in first time and Conor Lynam headed into the bottom corner of the net. I told you we had a load of Conors. 2.0 up against the third seeds. Jesus where is Jeremy Beadle? We are ranked twenty six (yes 26). 

Now my head is racing. The usual scenarios played out in the head. Will we crumble? When will they get their fifteen minutes of sustained pressure? F£$%in hell ref blow for half time. Eventually he blew the whistle after 35 minutes. Oxygen for me , quickly. Keep believing lads , keep believing. 

The second half started pretty much in the same vein as the first. High tempo passing game from us. We cant keep this up can we? We piled the pressure on. Corner after corner and we just couldnt get the third goal which would have killed the game off. 

We emptied the bench for fresh legs. Down at this tournament every team is entitled to use six out of nine substitutes. Dont get me wrong , we have a SQUAD and not just eleven definates and nine token players. They can all play. ALL of them. Here it is , the Waterford backlash. Their main threat coming from their left winger who is rumoured to be on the international scouts radar. A very good player. A long diagonal caught us a bit square and he outpace our defence and our goalkeeper Jordan (who has been exeptional) just miss timed his tackle and down he winger goes like the proverbial sack of...... Penalty. Oh jaysus. They duly convert. 2.1 

Now what will happen? The head goes into overdrive again. Will they get an equaliser? Or even a winner? With this group of players the answer was a resounding "no". Crunching tackles , vital interceptions , brave running were all in abundance. Come on ref will you blow it up? Will you please blow it up? 

After what seemed like an eternity there it is;the three long shrills that signal the end of the game. The relief. The excitement. The emotion. The tears. Now will they take notice of us? Poor little ADSL with approx 130 players to choose from. Will they? Too bloody right they will!

Come back later this evening for Antony's entry on their other exploits as ADSL booked their place in the 1/4 finals with a 2-2 draw wth NEC and a 2-1 win over Inishowen. ADSL topped their group with 7 points and play Cork at 3.p.m today (Wednesday)

Meanwhile, the Midlands representative side unfortunately suffered defeats at the hands of Limerick and Galway either side of a 1-1 draw with Mayo. Midlands now enter the Shield section of the competition where they will play Carlow at 3.p.m. on Wednesday. 


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