When the groups were constituted at the beginning of the year, there were five teams in our group. However, Tir na Cille requested a transfer into a five a side and this request was granted by the committee. This meant the four remaining teams were guaranteed to play in a final. The group convened on the 7th of June 2002 for the qualifying blitz which was played on a round robin basis. Tully topped the table by winning all their matches and each of the other three teams all managed one victory apiece. Everybody was exhausted after the day’s play and because of this, the Principals of the three second placed schools agreed to reconvene at a later date. However, due to adverse weather conditions during the following few days, the Principals decided to draw lots instead of reconvening. Lettergesh National School was first out of the hat. This meant that they would go forward to play Tully in the A Final. The B Final between Eagles Nest and Letterfrack was brought forward to 12th June 2002 to accommodate our Captain Fiachra Coyne who was heading of on holidays the following weekend.
On the morning of the game, team Manager John Francis Flaherty was disappointed to hear that Danielle Lydon was unavailable due to illness. He was forced to line out his team in a different way. The team played with great heart as always but Letterfrack’s greater all round strength and balance saw them build up what looked like a winning lead midway through the second half. Up to this point, the highlight of the game had been the great tussle between Eoin Gannon and Cathal O’Neill, two very fine footballers. The game looked beyond Eagles Nest at this stage. Danielle Lydon realised this and told John Francis that she was willing to play the remaining of the game if required. John Francis was delighted to put her in even though she had no boots. He was now able to make the necessary tactical switches and thereby restore the balance of the team. We went on to stage one of our typical fight backs, eventually winning the game by three points. The most crucial score in this comeback was probably Cathal O’Neill’s goal. He showed great courage and opportunism by finding the net with a quick free when it was expected he would take his point. This quick thinking inspired his teammates and thereafter, we never looked back. Final score: Eagles Nest 5-7, Letterfrack 6-1.
Written by Sixth Class.
Behind the Grand Gate