AHL Division 9
Realt Dearg C 2-11 O’Dwyers 0-6
29th June 2017
Realt Dearg jump-started their league campaign on Thursday with a comprehensive win over the Balbriggan outfit.
The ruff weather and tight after-work turnaround wasn’t enough to dissuade these hardcore hurling hardmen from fulfilling this postponed fixture. However, some O’Dwyers men arrived in drips and drabs due to a crash on everyone’s favourite Dublin ring road. There was a sense that the man in the middle had reffed bigger occasions and possibly had a date with ‘Love Island’ later in the night. His time waited for no man and one Dwyers man was seen hopping to the pitch putting on a football boot; an incredible feat. As most amateur sportsmen will tell you, it’s a delicate balancing act negotiating your way out of work on these midweek evenings and few of us have the resources available to quit the old day job, live on ‘resources’ and concentrate on the hurling career. Apropos nothing; this writer came across Richie Hogan’s Twitter account recently. Sure, isn’t he beavering away, supporting @fordireland @elverys @sure and also ironically @e-frontiers.ie ‘the Recruitment specialists’.
From the throw in, Realt Dearg started strongly, with the new and improved midfield combination of Colln Deveraux and Mick Conlon fetching ball and neutering their counterparts. Dwyers crowded the midfield and hounded the middle two but neither could be subdued and the opposition looked like they had bitten off more than they could chew. It wasn’t long before the Stars’ tails were wagging. A hopeful ball was crossed into the full forward line and á la vintage DJ Carey, fellow cats man Canice Ryan sprung up towards the incoming sliotar and whippet into the back of the net.
All eyes were on the new stopper, and Bernard Hurlily did not disappoint. He lorded the small rectangle and barked out orders like a veteran stepping in to fill a gap at under-16. He certainly lived up to his own pre-match billing where he was telling all and sundry about various tips that he had learned during his time under Derek McGrath. Derek this, Derek that, you’re holding your hurl wrong; Derek told me... He’s a confidence player and he literally grew into the game. So filled up with confidence and pride he was towards the end of the game that his chest nearly burst through the helpless No.1 jersey. ‘How many did I concede?’ ‘How many got past me? Well? WELLLL?’ In fairness to him, he led from the back and his puck-outs found red and black retrievers on the vast majority of occasions.
As the forwards kept ticking the scoreboard over with reassuring regularity, it looked increasingly unlikely that O’Dwyers would come back into the game and after all of fifteen minutes, defensive Rottweiler Aodan decided that enough was enough and called to the line, ostensibly with an injury. That was after one of his comprehensive ‘anywhere will do’ clearances got caught by a freak gust of wind and was carried over the bar to the bemusement of all present. He didn’t mean it. Some have noted that the Limerick man never gets injured after a rake of Saturday night pints so we will have to see if the theory is true on the 9th July.
Keith Murphy decided to show coach McEvoy why he should be a regular starter with a tasty points haul. He further hoped that the aforementioned gaffer didn’t notice that O’Dwyers forgot to mark him for the whole match. But still he put in an assured performance littered with long range mega-volt scores.
As is customary, Paddy Ryan tumbled like a boxer with a glass jaw. It looked impossible that he could continue. This was surely the end of his hurling career. Ten minutes later, his spectacular touchline effort from the 65 dropped agonisingly short. The legend continues.
The coach decided on a bold strategy, four attackers in the back seven. Some had remarked that his home tactics board may have been flipped by a mischievous housemate but a 6 point concession showed that the Deise man had not been conned. Aodan was replaced at centre-back by the free scoring forward Ray Cahill and the defensive setup looked more prophetic than experimental. Surely now, back to front teams will spread through the GAA like fleas through a puppy farm.
With respect to Keith Murphy’s free man heroics, this writer’s man of the match was a ‘Dub’; James ‘Redzer’ Brooks. The erstwhile forward was covering corner-back with such assurance that now surely Gavin Deacon will be confined to the eternal dalmation of the bench. Them are the breaks when you go following your dreams it seems. Let it be a lesson to any star who decides to enjoy life to the detriment of their hurling career. Redzer hounded forwards from start to finish and if he wasn’t nipping at their heels he was clearing ball over the shoulder to howls of ‘gwwwan’ or ‘sthufff Jamie-boyyyy’.
A special mention to Mark Dunphy who goaled on his debut. Since I didn’t witness it, I’ll go out on a limb to say it was the goal of the day. He has a 50% chance there, well done new man.
Team in full: Bernard Hurlihy, Ross Kelly, Gavin O’Connell, James Brooks, Cillian Thornton, Aodan Hurley (Ray Cahill), David Lynch, Colin Deveraux, Mick Conlon, Mark Dunphy, Keith Murphy, Patrick ‘Canice’ Ryan, Peter McElhone, David Sheehan, Shane Murphy (Paddy Ryan)
What a debut for the Devereux
Castleknock 0 – 13 Realt Dearg B 3-21
Sunday 11 June, Somerton Park
The Stars B Team was out again in League action on this busy week following the championship game on Thursday. Conditions threatened to be similar to Thursday due to a downpour just prior to throw in but it cleared up in the early minutes of the game. Your humble narrator opened the scoring in the opening minutes after good build up from the midfield and half forwards. Colin Devereux opened his tally for the club on his debut with a neat point of his own. Rory continued his fine form from earlier in the day to add another goal to his tally. The Stars tipped away nicely at the scoreboard all half against the wind to go in at half time 3 or 4 points up.
The second half saw the stars really ramp up the gears to take full control of the game. What was most pleasing was the spread of scores through the team with all 6 forwards scoring and both midfielders as well as Tom and Niall Mullane. Colin Devereux capped a very impressive debut with 6 points in total. There was a big turnover of bodies due to all the games this week so fair play to everyone who took part to make it an unbeaten 2 games.
Team: Trevor Jackman, Ed Kavanagh, Mushy, Mike Richardson, Kevin Deady, Tom ‘T-Bone’ Keohoe, Niall Mullane, Stephen Bunny, Niall Kennedy, Ciaran Brennan, Niall O’Keefe, James Kenny, Ultan Dillon, Rory O’Loughlin, Colin Devereux
Subs: Ruari Henchy, Brad Harte, Colin Swinton
Realt Dearg B 2-15 Round Towers 2 - 15
Thursday 8 June, Drimnagh Castle
Sometimes there's a game... I won't say an epic, 'cause, what's an epic? But sometimes, there's a game. And I'm talkin' about the Stars B team here. Sometimes, there's a game, well, its the game for its time and place. This wasn’t championship weather, this wasn’t samba hurling but man it was a game. About as much satisfaction as you can get on a field without winning. Ding dong was a phrase used on the viber thread and it was apt.
Rory got the game underway with a sweet strike on the turn in the first minute. Niall O’Keefe added another on his debut. Round Towers (RT) replied with a point of their own which was a pattern that continued throughout a really close game. Next up I got to set up Stephen Casey with a reverse infield pass, controlled on the run and blasted to the back of the net. Game on. RT’s replied with 2 quickfire points of their own and Niall helped himself to another in reply. Then a breaking ball around the half forward/midfield area broke to Ronan ‘Mailman’ Moloney who despatched it over the bar. Mailman always delivers baby! Your humble narrator even got in on the scoring. Ronan Keane contributed a point on his championship debut too. It was up and down the pitch with the sides going in at half time with only a point to separate us. The stars up 1 point in 1-10 to 1-09.
The second half started with a bang with RT going straight up the field and scoring a goal which was a class finish to be fair. The Stars replied with a free from the ever reliable Tom Kehoe. Then your humble narrator got in on the goal scoring act with a shot that dropped just under the bar. I can’t say I meant it but hey they all count. Game on again. More points were exchanged as the game went from one end of the pitch to the other. There was lots of ground hurling, there was lots of honey potting and throw balls but the intensity never dropped. Niall O’Keefe and a RT man had a bad accidental collision midway through the second half but both got back up and battled on. The Stars had a goal ruled out controversially after the goalie appeared to collect the ball behind the goal line.
Points were exchanged tit for tat right up until the end when the Stars found themselves a point down with a minute to play. After some heavy pressure the stars were awarded a free which Tom duly despatched. Game over. Points shared. What a game. Realt Dearg Abú.
Team: Trevor Jackman, Mike Richardson , Mushy, Brad Harte, Ronan Keane, Ronan Moloney, Tom ‘T-Bone’ Keohoe, David O’Connell, Stephen O’Leary, Niall O’Keefe, Stephen Bunny, Stephen Casey, Ultan Dillon, Rory O’Loughlin, Niall Kennedy
Subs: Ed Kavanagh, James Kenny, Mick Conlon, Ciaran Brenan, Kieran Kelly, Kevin Deady
Coach McEvoy puts baby(face) Leon in the corner(-forward)
Realt Dearg 1-11 O’Dwyers 0-4
Junior F Hurling Championship, Sunday, 7th May 2017
The long anticipated Championship debut of the now famous Leon Flanagan took place on a glorious Sunday afternoon in Drimnagh Castle. Both teams were greeted by a season-high spectator attendance (at least 5 and a dog) and freshly cut grass for a top o' the ground hurling encounter.
The C-men were making their maiden appearance in championship hurling. Expectations were kept in check all week and the cognoscenti were of the opinion pre-match that a victory in their first taste of championship may be a bridge too far for this fledgling outfit. Coach McEvoy imparted some sage advice pre-match and there was a palpable sense of giddy anticipation in the home dressing room.
Those fans and that dog weren't necessarily there to see the Cs birthing in to the molten hot heat of Junior F Championship hurling. This was but a sideshow to the media circus that surrounded a quinquagenarian and his much vaunted championship debut. Leon played the media game well all week, declining interviews and keeping a low profile aside from a rake of pints at the Terenure Inn on Friday night. He cared not one jot for the effects of two day hangovers and sauntered up to the field of Drims with a strut of the weekend rock star that we know and love. Some play better suffering when ‘in ribbons’ and some are just genetically superior but either way Flanagan opted to sweat it out rather than binge watch his re-runs of Glenroe and Candid Camera. He opted against the guard of honour as is his selfless wont and cruised onto the field to take his place at corner-forward and into the pantheon of greats with other masters of the game of yore who have graced the fields of the Dublin Championship.
Both teams started strongly as they traded early blows in the opening twenty minutes. O'Dwyers meant business from the off and were typically combative; tackles weren't shirked and quarter wasn't sought. The scores were tight in the early stages and Realt Dearg were given a let-off in the opening quarter when an O'Dwyer's forward crashed the sliotar against the crossbar. Luckily, Gavin Deacon was the first to pounce on the rebound and heroically clear the ball to safety. Some say the 9 mile stare of rookie goalie Caoimhín Concannon was enough to dissuade the ball from having the temerity of bulging his net. On such moments games can turn and it must be noted that the stars started to turn the screw straightaway; by half time they had built up a three point lead in a low scoring match. Little needed to be said at the break aside from ‘steady as she goes’ as it looked increasingly unlikely that O'Dwyers would prove to be party poopers as their challenge wilted in the summer sunshine.
Flanagan had seen enough at half time and decided to exit stage left and prime himself for another ‘skin-load of creamy-ones’ contented in the knowledge that the day belonged to him. He confessed to this writer when interviewed that he had a ‘mixed-bag but happy enough’ which amounts to promising debut for this callow tyro who was later reported to have said that he ‘had the time of his life, never felt this way before’. Some statement from a fifty-four year old.
However, Ray ‘speedy’ Cahill decided that he was in an iconoclastic mood. He pissed all over Leon's chips, metaphorically at least and grab all of the headlines with a return of 1-3 from wing-forward. Ray thought better of setting up the man of the moment and instead opted to pick off some outrageous long range scores to send at least one of those fans into raptures. Moment of the match came from the impressive Westmeath man, when he 'got on his bike', gliding by opponents ‘like the wind’ and emphatically burying a low bullet on his wrong side past a stranded 'keeper.
Pirlo Ryan enjoyed a running battle with his opposite number in midfield that irked the referee enough to ignore them both by the end. The opposing midfielder must have read a previous match report and planned to nullify the stars man. The running tete-a-tete was reminiscent of a quote from all-round hero and much-missed Patrick Swayze in his seminal role of Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing:
‘Look, spaghetti arms. This is my dance space. This is your dance space. I don’t go into yours, you don’t go into mine.’
David Sheehan put in another high-scoring display notching 6 points, 4 of which were from play. The unabashed Corkman’s movement around the forward line created pockets of space for his fellow forwards and kept the defence guessing. As the Realt Dearg scoring machine started to tick into overdrive, one forward; Gary W(I won’t name him for fear of some dressing room beatings) decided that another goal would be an unfair reflection of the game and decided to scoop the sliotar over the bar from a full 230 centimeters out. G. Walsh decided that the he would hold off until another occasion and get his first goal ever ‘when it really mattered’.
Other notable performances from Eoin Ryan and Caoimhín Concannon who brought some nous and guile to an otherwise inexperienced line-up. Multiple championship debuts were made on Sunday and it the progression of this squad is a sight to behold. It was a game in which everything clicked and where O’Dywers will be disappointed to have faded so badly in the second half. Focus now turns to the league where McEvoy and the brains-trust will no doubt be planning to keep the winning streak going and for that, these C-men will need hungry eyes... or something.
Just to be clear, I’ve never actually watched Dirty Dancing.
Realt Dearg Team:
Caoimhin Concannon, Gavin Deacon, Cian 'Wazu’ O’Brien, Gavin ‘ball & chain O’Connell, Domhnaill Carberry, Eoin Ryan, Michael Butler, Cillian Thornton, Paddy Ryan, David Lynch, Ray Cahill, Gary Walsh , Ross Kelly , David Sheehan, Leon Flanagan Subs: Shane Murphy, James Brooks, Keith Murphy, Colin Devereaux, Aodán Hurley (All used)
Réalt Dearg C: 5- 12 St. Pelegrines: 5 -16 (possibly)
AHL 9 Drimnagh Castle, 9th April 2017 – Division 9
All grannies safe and accounted for as Stars lack killer instinct.
‘Bobby Collins..used to say: “would he kill his granny?” and Bobby Collins would kill his granny and his grandfather to win, to win a match’ John Giles
A stunning first half display by the C-men wasn’t enough kill off a spirited St. Pelegrines fightback. The home team started brightly as Pelegrines’ accuracy escaped them for the opening skirmishes of the first half. Pelegrines’ flurry of wides was not reciprocated by the mean R.D. forward line who capitalised to great effect in the opening half and seemed to score from every chance. The home team’s forward line were in especially effervescent form and had racked up a potential match winning score by the break. Gary Walsh dubiously enough laid claim to a calf deflection while Ray Cahill and David Lynch also chipped in with some impressive scores. However; the scoring was led from an unusual source; a tough as nails, grizzled stopper playing with a notional nosebleed streaming down to his boots. Said enforcer, let’s call him ‘Bobby Collins’, was revelling in his newly found offensive role and was hunting the target with extreme prejudice. At half time, the Stars were leading by 8 points, thanks to two net-busters from Bobby and the ghost of Rathcoole had been banished.
The Pelegrine brief for the second half was to up the tempo and bring greater physicality to the occasion. Unfortunately. the scores dried up for the home team and they let their jackboots off the necks of their opponents for long enough to let them rise from the dead, nailing a succession of scores to rare second half replies from Dearg. ‘Chunky’ Sheehan narrowed the deficit late on with a howitzer that nearly Paddy-Ryan’d the keeper, such was its ferocity. This was too little, too late.
There was an inherent ‘niceness’ about this callow Realt Dearg squad full of rookies and long-term returnees. Such was the improvement from last week that it was too much to ask to add the bit o’ dog to their development. This cordiality was not shared by our offensive enforcer who was savvy enough to throw a half full bottle of water into the long grass rather than share it with an opponent on a hot day; the type of badness that this team needs to develop to mix in the street-brawl that is Division 9. Pelegrines wheeled on their big-boss of sorts in the closing stages. The grizzled veteran; in his dotage, didn’t disappoint and one of his bullets almost made it a full 20 yards; not bad for an octogenarian. Fresh-faced Leon looked on and could only admire his elder.
In the end, a four point deficit was probably an unfair reflection on the effort that the Cs put in. Serious positives must be taken from this fixture. The lads racked up an impressive score and although the rate of scoring dropped off into the second period, the team showed enough improvement to show real promise for future challenges; both league and championship. Further hurling debuts have been made again this week and this team is growing in confidence and ability with every minute of additional hurling under their belts. Best of all, our spiritual leader; Paddy Ryan is recovering from his decapitation and should be fit enough to line out once his head is fully sewn back on.
Réalt Dearg team: Gary Thompson, Kevin McEvoy, Ross Kelly, Gavin Deacon, Domhnaill Carberry (c), Eoin Ryan, Mick Butler, Cillian Thornton, Ruairi Henchy, Paddy Ryan II, Ray Cahill, David Lynch, Gary Walsh, Dave Sheehan
Subs: James Brooks, Michael Gavin, Leon Flanagan, Peter McElhone
Realt Dearg B 1-19 Kilmacud Crokes 1 - 02
Sunday 9 April, Sliverpark
Look, it wasn’t the closest of games as the score line suggests but it was another good performance for the B team under the tutelage of caretaker Coach Gahan. Highlights of a first half played against the wind was the workrate that we pride ourselves on mixed in with a blistering start from full forward Ciaran Brennan. He scored a goal and several points from play in a fine performance. Highlight of the half was a bursht of pace up the field and a shot from Hollywoods finest Ronan Moloney, only this time it just dropped short. It was a strong gust I’m assured.
Second half started slowly for us. Kilmacud got their goal which proved their only score of the second half. Moloney backed up his first half antics with a majestic pluck from the skies on the spin with a Hollywood clearance to dazzle the crowd. Your humble narrator also contributed a score amongst several from play and frees from T-Bone. There was even a scoring cameo from 2 of our subs Chubba and Dave Berney.
Another fine performance from the Stars, and while some other reporters might include the fact that T-Bone bellowed #Mulout in honour of his new Wexford overlord of the day in the dressing room after, I for one I’m not one of those to break the sanctity of the dressing room. No siree bob. Realt Dearg Abú.
Team: Trevor Jackman, Gav O'Connell , Mushy, Billy Brazil, Mike Richardson, Ronan Moloney, Tom ‘T-Bone’ Keohoe, David O’Connell, Stephen Barry, Stephen Casey, Niall Kennedy, James Kenny, Ultan Dillon, Ciaran Brennan, Shane Murphy
Subs: Chubba, David Berney, Mark Dunphy, Ed Kavanagh
Stars in Heaven
Réalt Dearg A 1-18 v 0-16 St Vincents
Páirc Naomh Uinsinn, 8 April 2017
Saint Vincents welcomed the Stars men to a gloriously sunny Marino on Friday evening in the next chapter of the 2017 AHL5 tale. The club with 41 Dublin Senior titles to their credit going toe to toe with the club without a championship trophy at any level (yet..). A true David v Goliath match-up if ever there was one. Having wandered for almost forty days in the desert of defeat in this league season, a victory here was paramount to avoid giving into the temptation of accepting we might not belong in this illustrious company.
But this was a good Friday evening for the Stars. The transfiguration from discombobulated, disjointed, directionless individuals to a cohesive, connected collection had a profound impact on the team’s performance. Even within this spirit of community, the power of transcendence can be achieved. Jamie O’Hara, Moses-like parting of the seas in the opening stanza showing the road to enlightenment. Yours truly ascending to the heavens to pluck the sliothar from the sky performing a minor miracle (failed a repeat performance moments later, a mere mortal after all).
The evening might have provided the first glimpse of our Irish summer but this was still early April. Twilight descending rapidly, the referee called out for some illumination. “Let there be light” he cajoled of the Vincents officials...the floodlights turned on...and there was light. Proceedings a little clearer but the result still in doubt - the engagement toing and froing into a epic battle. Like David found out all those years ago, Goliath is a difficult foe. Nothing was going to be achieved easily here. Half-time offering some brief respite but the score deadlocked at 10 apiece. Some divine inspiration needed to get the victory.
The second half was where the Stars men wrote the new testament of their hurling year. Not yet the greatest story ever told but a glorious refrain nonetheless. Fabled performances.. like Matt Lynch appearing to walk on water having time and space in a disintegrating battlefield, Conor Maharaj ceremonially leading the crusade into the heart of Marino, Eoin O’Dwyer omnipresent under the dropping ball. O’Dwyer knew what he was doing (like Tom Humphries did the devil).
JB and Hesty ushering attackers from the danger-zone with a righteous anger like the Messiah clearing the traders from the Temple, Paul Warren being flogged in midfield but undaunted, coming back for more, you’ll have to knock him more than three times. The Vincents men coming forward in waves but crashing on the seashore of the Stars defence, disciples of Brendan Walsh’s defensive coaching. In the midst of the tempest, Martin Murphy offering some Christian charity bounce-passing his penalty into the welcome arms of the goalkeeper. No matter, Murphy atoned for his sin with an almost spiritual over-the-shoulder effort.
New recruit Robbie Madden led us to the promised land. A beautiful work of art controlling and striking the sliothar in one graceful movement without the need to handle the ball. An Abraham-like knife to the heart of the Vincents men. Goliath was down. David had again won the day. The Stars men victoriously heralded back into the AHL5 fold on this Palm Sunday weekend.
An important post-script though is that the glory of Palm Sunday did not last long for Our Lord. No doubt, Cuala, like the Roman centurions of old are waiting for their opportunity to crucify us. The possibility of ascending to greatness is ours to grasp. Unwavering faith and belief will be key to achieving that goal.
Réalt Dearg: Gary Hurney, Mossy O’Connor, Cathal Hester, Brian Gavin, Eoin O’Dwyer, John Barry, Mike O’Connor, Paul Warren, Dave Berney, Martin Murphy, Matt Lynch, Conor Maharaj, Jamie O’Hara, Colm Gahan, Robbie Madden
Colm O’Gorman, Stephen O’Leary, Padraig Buckley, Ultan Dillon, Stephen Casey, Mike Richardson
STARS in (Ballin)Teers
Realt Dearg A 1-11 Ballinteer St. Johns 2-13
Sunday 26 March, Drimnagh Castle
Second round of the AHL5 saw a hopeful Realt Dearg take on St Johns of Ballinteer at home in Drimnagh Castle last Sunday. With favourable hurling conditions following a string of the best days of 2017 so far, Realt Dearg came out hungry for the win after their first-round loss to Counsel Gaels. Ballinteer while also seeking better form after a close shave in their first outing with Skerries Harps.
Unfortunately The Stars found themselves on the back foot facing into half time conceding two scrappy goals in the first half while being able to keep toe-to-toe with the points tally.
The second half brought a better game with great battles all over the pitch as the Realt Dearg men began to find their rhythm. Some fantastic scores from the forwards, particularly Martin Murphy, Jamie O’Hara and Conor Maharaj displaying great bursts of skill and accuracy. Even our own Cathal Mulkere tried everything he could in his role as umpire. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be, as Ballinteer held out and won the game by 5 points, taking home the win. The scoreline in the end came to 2-13 to 1-11 with those two first half goals proving critical.
Although it wasn’t the A’s day, the second half proved the stars are capable of play equal to that of the stronger sides from division 5. You can be sure manager Harry will leave no Stone unturned in preparation for April’s fixtures (sorry/not sorry). Onwards and Upwards for Realt Dearg as League 5 marches on.
Panel – Mike Butler, Stephen O’Leary , Cathal Hester, Brian Gavin, Mike O'Connor, John Barry, Eoin O'Dwyer, Paul Warren(cpt), Matt Lynch, Thomas O’Mahony, Conor Maharaj, Dave Berney, Jamie O’Hara, Colm Gahan, Martin Murphy
Subs – Robert Madden, Colm O’Gorman, Gary Hurney, Niall Mullane, John O’Callaghan, Mike Richardson, Podge Buckley
Tough break on this commercial
Realt Dearg C: L
Final score TBC
Sunday 26th March 2017
Star-spangled invaders fail to find Weapons of Mass Destruction
'Do not yield. Do not flinch. Stand up. Stand up with our President and fight. We're Americans. We're Americans, and we'll never surrender. They will.'
John McCain, Aug. 30, 2004
Coach McEvoy's stirring pre-match rabble-rousing reminded me of this long since forgotten speech at the beginning of a great invasion into enemy territory. Sure, the enemy may have been different, there wasn't an American amongst us (we miss you Zack) and our 'President' was a young greenhorn captain by the name of Donal. Such speeches can stir a man into a frenzy of hurling anticipation and in the way that when you have a hammer, all you see is nails; there was a similar desire to turn anything in view into a potential sliotar. However, the frenzy subsided when the search for an actual match sliotar took over a minute .
And so to the actual main event. The pock-marked pitch was bathed in glorious sunshine and the fare on show in the opening minutes complemented the rare March glare as both sides started brightly. Young Davy Sheehan was keeping the scoreboard ticking over in the opening quarter and both sides were moving well in the unseasonal conditions.
A minor tête-à-tête broke out between one of the senior Realt Dearg defensive stalwarts and a grisly Commercials unit. The referee took it upon himself to give all of the players on show some much needed respite by possibly reciting the whole rule book to each player sequentially before brandishing a yellow card to each. A true humanitarian. Commercials meant business and it was obvious that the match fitness they had under their belt would stand to them on a day like this. That 1st round bye that the Cs were given wasn't looking as good now as it was when we took advantage of the weekend off to help struggling publicans.
That brings us to the Evergreen Paddy Ryan Snr. Experience personified. Nous. Guile. Paddy bestrode the middle of the park like a hurling icon your da' told you his da' told him about. At least, he bestrode the park in his head; they say that that the first five yards is in the head, and Paddy covered some middle distance Kenyan territory in that first quarter. He pulled the strings like a puppet master of old, spraying sliotars to the man in space time after time.
In the heat of the battle, there wasn't time to search out Coach McEvoy's emotions, but surely he was a picture of calm, serenity and satisfaction in seeing the youth, experience and guile fusing together into a Division 9 dream team. All was going to plan. 22 minutes in. Beginners starting to hurl and hurler starting to flourish.
One of the great imposters was surely to visit Coach McEvoy's day but one moment dictated that it would not be triumph. One of the Commercials men must have heard Coach McEvoy's call to arms and have acted late upon his emotions. Bash. Silence. Crumple. Picasso with an ash paintbrush was down. A head injury. It was a bit like Independence Day when Will Smith & Jeff Goldbloom injected a virus into the main computer and took out the whole battalion. And such it was. Gavin Deacon replaced the downed midfield General and battled manfully. His swordsmanship meant the team were holding tight to half time but the virus had taken control and the disaster took hold when a well placed goal from a Commercials man rattled the confidence of the visiting team in their maiden game.
There were two acts in this game; before Paddy's injury (BPI) and after Paddy's injury (API).
In the BPI; the Realt Dearg 'C-men' showed that they could go toe to toe with the best team in the division on their home turf. (turf is an appropriate description of the state of the pitch), debuts were enjoyed and partnerships were formed.
In the API, the Iraqi war analogy came to fruition. Battles that were even at the beginning were lost and it ended up with a return home with plans to perform better invasions in the future and safe in the knowledge that we are now battle hardened.
More debuts and re-debuts were made on Sunday then ever before in the club's history. Honourable mentions to the new lads who will have to be hazed in the usual ways; listening to Uncle Leon's tales of yore. 'When I was your age, I had hair' and so on. Well done to Keith Murphy, David 'Eraserhead' Lynch and Michael Gavin making their full debuts and to 'Bernard Herlihy and Michael Cummins making their re-debuts after an absence.
P.S. an exotic creature was seen lurking on the sideline; the lesser seen hurler from Tyrone. Such rarities put the club's erstwhile far flung hurling experimenters from the continent and North America into the ha'penny place. The club expects big things.
Team in Full:
Kevin Deady, Patrick Ryan (Bernard Hurlihy), Ross Kelly, Leon Flanagan (Kevin McEvoy), Domhnall Carbery (captain), Eoin Ryan, Michael Gavin, Cillian Thornton, Paddy 'Pirlo' Ryan (Gavin Deacon), David Lynch, Ray Cahill, Keith Murphy, Gary ' Becks' Walsh (Michael Cummins), Dave Sheehan, James Brooks
Peregreens with envy
Realt Dearg B 3-16 St Peregrines 1 - 11
Sunday 26 March, Drimnagh Castle
The Stars gained their first victory of the season for the club with a fine performance against Peregrines thanks in a large way to goals from Rory O'Loughlin (2) and John O’Callaghan. It was a glorious day weather wise with the pitch in great condition so early in the season. Every day is a school day and learning that Tom Keohoe is ‘T Bone’ in Mul’s pre match talk was news to me but such is the acclimatisation to a new team for your humble narrator.
The game got off to a frantic start with early points traded by both teams. Your humble narrator was personally delighted to be able to contribute with my first competitive scores for the club, I dedicate them to all the corner backs out there – dream big.
Half time came as a welcome relief from the heat. After a confusing reference to erectile dysfunction in the half time talk, the stars carried on where they left off with a goal from Rory after the goalie was chased down and pressured into a poor clearance. A few more scores were tagged on from all over the forward line and midfield in what was a very pleasing performance and win. Realt Dearg Abú.
Team: Mike Butler, Gav O'Connell , Mushy, Billy Brazil, Mike Richardson, Ronan Moloney, Tom ‘T-Bone’ Keohoe, , Colm O Gorman, Mossy, Stephen Casey, Niall Mullane, James Kenny, Ultan Dillon, Rory O'Loughlin, John O’Callaghan
Subs: Shane Murphy, Chubba, Droma, David Berney, Gergantor, Ciaran Brennan, Mark Dunphy