Whitescross 9-5, Shamrocks 2-3
On Saturday last our under 16’s took to the pitch for the first time in the 2015 season. With the majority of last years double county finalists overage, the task this year is to solidify the gains made by them with a relatively new team. Six of last years starters form the backbone of a young team (only three could start last weekend). To this we have added four young lads who have played soccer for Carrigaline and a wealth of young talent from our under fourteen squad. A mixed bunch indeed.
Our first game was against Whitescross, a strong opponent of ours over the last few years at all levels. Last Saturday proved no different. With a team of players at the age limit, the physical difference was immediately evident. Though Shane Flavin played outstanding in goal pulling off many courageous saves, the continuous wave of attack after attack did not leave him with much chance.
While we lost the match 9-5 to 2-3, I was able to take some knowledge from it. Our new full back Nikita Ziguruv played well covering a lot of ground and will do well with a solid partner. Evan Seymour worked very hard but had to be replaced because of a recurring injury. Daniel O’Mahony played well against a physically bigger opponent and gave as good as he got. Jody Sisk settled better in the second half after being moved to the half back position. James Lynam covered a lot of ground in midfield, a roll new to him and was unlucky with some frees early on. Cillian Hayes played a solid match for us picking up most of the scores. His tireless energy covering ground to get the ball was exemplary. Dylan O’Flaherty was punching way above his weight level out there, but his talent was very evident and shone through on many occasions. Thanks to Rory Mehigan who made special effort to get back for the match as early as he could from a pitch and putt contest for the Cork County team. From his inclusion at half time he made a big impact, putting in hard tackles where we had, up to then not contested. Cillian O’Mahony also a late arrival came on in the second half as did Luke O’Driscoll and Robert Van Pelt and Sam Geary, giving all 17 players a game (12 a side). They replaced James O Callaghan, Josh Lenihan and Sean O Farrell, three young men who played a good game for their duration on the pitch.
To quote a famous coach, ”it’s only a butt kicking if you don’t learn from it, if you do it’s just a lesson”. We can take lessons from Saturday, not least of which is that we now know how much work we have to do. We know we need to get a goalkeeper, because Shane, though outstanding, is wasted in there. We need to get all of our players fit and playing and we need to help our young and new players step up to fill the big boots left by last years team.
Do I think they can do it? A resounding YES!
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