U9's in Balllinderreen

U9s on the road, 15 July 2012

A great day was had on Sunday July 15th when we travelled to Galway to play Ballinderreen.  We had a total of 13 U9 players and we were joined by 2 U10 players for this event.  We arrived at about 11:30am and for once it was warm and bright if not a little breezy. Each player played 2 matches against the local team the 1st matches were small teams of 7/8 per side and then our boys got a first taste of a full size match as all the boys joined in one big 15-a-side game.

Game 1

Team: Daniel Nolan, Darragh Harrison, Eric McMahon, Conor Hughes, Oisin Quigley, Con Lohan, Darren Crowley, Joe Quinlan.

The 1st game was a cracker, Ballinderreen played with a very strong breeze behind them - it was real rear guard action from Kilmacud as the breeze ensured most of the play was around the Kilmacud goal. Kilmacud played great however and were only 1-3 to 0-1 behind with about a minute of the 1st half remaining. Unfortunately 2 goals in the last minute proved to be vital as Kilmacud went in at half time 3-3 to 0-1 behind.  The players were a little down at halftime but regrouped and promised to work hard to try and win the game in the 2nd half with the breeze at their back.  We were treated to a magnificent comeback and Kilmacud outscored the locals by 2-4 to 1-1 in the 2nd half.  But for great saves by the local goalkeeper, the score would have been even closer. 

Final score - Ballinderreen 4-4, Kilmacud 2-5.

Game 2

Team:  Hugh Moran, Kieran Maguire, Patrick Corbett, Sam McMahon, Christopher McCann, Conor McCarthy, Darragh Geraghty

In the other game it was 7-a-side and things were equally tough for our lads. Once again, the wind had a big say in the first half with the Ballinderreen goalkeeper using it to full effect to land the ball regularly down on top of our full-back line. Patrick and Chris responded well to the challenge though and worked tirelessly to chase down the fast moving forwards of the home team and limit their scoring chances. Hugh played in goal to start with and was called into action a number of times to clear the ball from the line forcing Ballinderreen to opt for taking their scores as points. Kieran latched onto a great pass from Hugh and turned nicely to send it sailing over for a point. This was as much as we could get from the first half and the teams took a well-earned break with the scoreline reading 0-1 to 1-5. The second half saw Sam moving into the goal and making some crucial saves as well as long puck-outs down the field. By now Conor was working alongside Christopher in defense and he put in some strong tackles to show our hosts that we were well able for the physical side of the game when required. Darragh had shaken off the effects of the long car journey down and was really starting to motor in the midfield. He lifted and drove the ball up into the box from where Patrick managed to get a foot to it and kick it over the line to get us our only goal of the match. As Ballinderreen put away a few more scores, Hugh managed to get a great long ball away which sailed over the goal for our second point. As the clock ran out, our lads had really started to get to grips with the match and had slowed down the pace of their opponents scoring significantly. It wasn’t going to be enough to pull back a win at that stage against what was unarguably the better team on the day but a lot was learned in the space of that 30 minute match.

Final score - Ballinderreen 3-6, Kilmacud 1-2

Game 3 - 15-a-side game

This game was challenging for our boys who looked a little tired after the 1st games and the drive down to Galway.  It was also clear that the Ballinderreen players seemed more comfortable with the 15-a-side format and used the width of the pitch better than our boys.  Ballinderreen played the 1st half with the strong breeze at their backs and scored freely as they built up a lead of 4-3 to 1-0 by half time.

Kilmacud played well at the start of the 2nd half with the wind at their backs and had probably their best spell of the match for the first five to ten minutes of the second half.  Unfortunately they couldn’t convert this on the scoreboard as a number of great chances were driven wide by the Kilmacud boys.  Near the end Ballinderreen got back on top and scored 0-6 without reply as Kilmacud faded. And with that the referee, none other than our own Galway-man Mark Lohan, blew the full time whistle, and the battle drew to a close.

After the handshakes all around, players and spectators made their way to the club house where we were very well looked after with tea, sandwiches and cake for the adults and party bags for all the kids.

Overall, it was a great test for the Kilmacud Crokes U9 players who made the trip.  The Ballinderreen boys were certainly very skillful and had the edge on many of our boys, particularly in the speed and accuracy with which they were able to rise and strike the sliotar. We continue to work on these skills as we train over the summer months and encourage as many as possible to join the training on Friday evenings in the Paddock and also over the weekends whenever we can get out (see Teamer blog for details).  Of course, we encourage parents to bring their boys with their hurls to the hurling wall, the parks or even the back garden to practice rising and hand-passing the ball at home (but not near any windows!!).

[Credits: Richie for taking all the photos on the day, Dermot for organizing the match, Brian and John for the match reports, all the parents of the boys for making the day-trip down].