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St. Paul's CBS Secondary School

North Brunswick St

Dublin 7

St.Paul’s Long Unbeaten Run Ends in Pulsating Cup-tie

Under-20 Dr.Tony O’Neill Cup Round 3 – Clontarf All-weather Pitch –  28/11/2014
St Aidan’s (Whitehall) 3 – St Paul’s CBS 1

Carpe DiemThis was the first defeat in 12 matches spread over 13 months for this particular group of players and it was a game they were very unlucky to lose. They did not lose it on attitude, determination, chances made or good football. In the end they were undone by a lack of composure at times in defence, a particular failing in personal discipline and the eccentricities of officialdom. St Aidan’s had suffered a narrow defeat at senior level last year by a St Paul’s team containing 6 of the current squad so a keen competitive contest was expected from the start.

The Whitehall outfit started brightly, moving the ball around crisply and keeping the play in the Brunner half for the opening 10 minutes. Having weathered this storm, St Paul’s began to play their accustomed brand of attractive quick-passing football. Chances were created but not taken. At the other end, Arron McKenna in goal had to be always on his guard but comfortably dealt with the Whitehall threat. On the half-hour mark, Brunner captain Troy Carey went on a ‘mazey’ cross-field run before unleashing a bullet-like drive which flew into the net past a despairing keeper. The score stood at 1-0 to St Paul’s at the break.

Once again St Aidan’s started the brighter of the two teams. During the break they had obviously recognised the strength of the Brunner midfield and from the restart closed down their opponents quickly and with great efficiency. The tide was turning, St Aidan’s were gaining the momentum. In the 57th minute the Brunner defence was slow to re-act to a brilliant point blank save by Arron McKenna and St Aidan’s scored on the rebound. This seemed to dent St Paul’s collective confidence and two further events deepened the blow. A lack of composure /failure in communication between centre-half and goalkeeper allowed a wayward header to be diverted over the net-minder’s head into the path of a grateful St Aidan’s striker who had the simple task to tap the ball into an empty goal to put his team ahead. Worse was to follow. Following a 2nd yellow card, St Paul’s captain was sent off.

However far from totally demoralizing the Brunner lads, these events galvanised them into action producing their best football of the game. They pressed constantly on the attack, Aidan’s withdrew and tried to counter-attack on the break. The 10 men even managed to get the ball into their opponent’s net twice; one was disallowed for an obvious handball, the other was controversially deemed not to have crossed the line by an official. On another day the goal would have stood. Still the Brunner boys continued to attack, goalkeeper Arron McKenna adding his commanding physical presence to a series of corners. Inevitably with so much attention to offensive play, gaps were left in defence and St Aidan’s scored their third goal on the break. The euphoria of their players was clear evidence of the pressure they had been put under by the Brunner boys. Soon after the referee blew for the end of the game.

This group of Brunner players can be proud of their efforts. It is not the knock-backs we suffer in life and sport that define us as people, it is how we respond to them that counts. They should remember that they are the current Leinster League Champions, they are still in that competition. They are in exactly the same place as they were this time last year, they soon have a quarter-final to play. It is time to move on and prove themselves again. Carpe Diem!

Squad:

1. Aaron McKenna 2. Kaiem Ali 3. Sean Bannon 4. Darren Prendergast 5. Nathan Slatterly 6. Conor Duff
7. Jordan O’Reilly 8.Troy Carey 9. Ciarán Horan  10. William Mcadams 11. Jake Carey 12. Eric Douglas 13. Karl Ivory

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