WE REALLY HAVE to stop meeting like this.
Our season resembles a peeking drop of water hanging on to the tap. Waiting for someone to turn it. Weeks, even months pass without a game before a surge in the sometimes sunshine of April.
Did you ever think to yourself that professional football players need a rest between midweek games like they need to scream obscenities into a camera? These are highly-tuned athletes with washboard stomachs and diets pruned to perfection. We are the beer-belly-breakfast roll chugging- can’t run 10 yards without hyperventilating-couch elites.
Yet we are asked to go Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday and squeeze in work to boot. Not that I’m bitter.
Our league is seriously lopsided; the team at the top Ballincollig have played five games more than us. If we were to stand any chance of competing for the title we needed to rattle off three home wins starting against Hillington last Saturday week.
The conditions were biblical. I once observed Brian O’Driscoll shaking with the cold after a game against the All Blacks down under when the weather took a drastic turn and from the comfort of my sofa questioned Drico’s fortitude.
As we took to the field against Hillington conditions seemed similar. I did a Tiger-like flick of a couple of blades of grass to test the wind speed and quickly got a good idea after I spat out said blades.
As the wind was joined by a downpour I thought back to that game and Drico and thought this was karma. Should never have gotten off that couch.
Hillington went for the kill and played with the wind. Mitre’s started raining down on top of us reducing our foreheads to jelly. We repelled their attacks and entered the second-half level.
Last time I was with you I mentioned the Kid. He came on for his debut and scored after 30 seconds. Alas, he couldn’t keep up that dizzying standard. It took him a full 10 minutes to score having come off the bench this time. He may need a word.
That goal settled it. With the breeze with us, we favoured O’Gara-like percentages and played territory.
One down. We entertained Los Zarcos next. Having tonked them 4-1 at their place earlier in the season we were confident to say the least. The sight of them starting the game with 10 men, awaiting their striker as he very nearly slipped coming onto the field, emboldened us further.
I have never quite experienced a game like it. You often hear or see Alamo games. Where one team is camped in the others’ half but just cannot score. This was taking a grenade launcher to a barrel and missing the fish. Chance after chance came and their goal remained intact. 0-0. Margin for error? Zero.
So we arrived at the last part of the quick-fire trilogy. A local derby against Newmarket last Tuesday. They were also in the mix for the title so the game assumed an even greater edge. We took the lead through a fortunate penalty. From where I saw it I didn’t think it was so naturally I screamed for it.
We started to retreat second half and they got on top. It is hard to define just when a game changes. It can be a tackle, a pass but whatever it is there is a tacit understanding between the two teams that the momentum has shifted. One takes attack, the other defends. We were hanging on but conceded to a sloppy goal two minutes from time. Our title aspirations probably went with that strike. Promotion is still a target as the top two go up, but the trophy is no longer ours to win.
We have regrouped and drawn breath from that sprint. Easing our way into Saturday and a quarter-final cup clash at First Division Hibernians.
Turn that tap on.