King Solomon once said, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”. Bet you weren’t expecting that as an opening line (Ah yeah, still waters run deep)…………but how true, all good things must come to an end.
Our local rivals, Thomas Davis, in the quarter final of the 16 A Championship. A big physical mobile team, away from home, this was always going to be a big ask but C’est la Vie. (You’ve probably copped it by now, I’m in a philosophical mood for the swan song).
In a hard fought and tough, physical game, the players gave their all but unfortunately came up short in the end.
The backs, including of Monahan, Maguire, Dunne, Donaghy, Leahy & Mulligan-Lynch fought like rabid dogs over a stale sandwich. The mid field of Gannon and Colcough left nothing behind only blood, sweat and my tears. All the lads who played up front Hickey, Behan, Gavin, Sweeney, Power, Byrne & Kane, passed and moved, hasstled and harried (if that’s even a word) until there was no more to give.
And a word for McDonald, Mullen and O’Hallaran who were ‘Chomping at the bit’ to get into the action.
Alas, juvenile championships are not about teamwork, heart and spirit, they’re more about, who gets the lucky break on the day and unfortunately that wasn’t Ballyboden.
We started brightly with 3 goals in the first 15 minutes and then the managers introduced the Sleep Monster and, to their credit, Thomas Davis clawed their way back into it. Playing against the wind in the first half, a two point lead at half time seemed somewhat fortunate.
The second half was just all out “helter skelter” with the tackles becoming, let’s say…….. “Robust” and the lead changing hands on several occasions. Even the gallant Eamonn O’Dea (An unsung hero of the team), couldn’t stop the Thomas Davis onslaught and a couple of goals towards the end gave them the momentum. Now it was our turn to claw our way back into it and a goal from the exceptionally talented Luke Byrne gave us a ray of hope. But with a point between the teams, we simply ran out of time.
I both love and hate the end of the under 16 Season because this group of players, that we have been with for the last 10 years, gets broken up as they head into Adult football. Some will continue to wear the Blue and White and, tragically, some won’t. Their loss to GAA will be some other sports gain. But before I hand my bib back to the Director of Coaching and my keyboard back to the Director of Taking the Piss, I would like to thank the 55 players that finished the journey with this group of mentors (We started with 80 in 2008). If the lads got half the education, enjoyment and fun out of it that I got, well that’s a job well done.
I have never before given advice (but you’re getting it, whether you like it or not). “Younger coaches. The kids won’t remember winning a league, a Feile, a championship, a cup or a tournament in Bally-me-arse. However, they will remember kindness, fun, fairness and challenging them to Be the Best they can Be.” (I warned you I was in a philosophical humour, you can’t unread this s**t now). “Be kind, be nice, be fair and leave being a ‘hard ass’ to the minor and adult managers”.
I will sign off by saying thanks to all the children, parents, fellow mentors and Ballyboden St. Endas for allowing me the opportunity to take this unique journey with this magnificent bunch of young men. Much and all as it pains me to say it, “King Solomon was right”. Et gratias agens vale (There’s nothing like a bit of Latin, told ya, still waters and all that……..)
( Footnote: JD & Jimbo, ye just substitute Take That’s, “Never Forget” for the King Solomon quote, it will be easier for ye to understand)
Final Score: Thomas Davis 3 – 11 BBSE 4 – 7
Fot more photos, see here