The heavens opened as the U14A footballers made their way around to Tymon for a third attempt at playing this key Division Two game against Judes. The mentors were out with mops trying to clear the swimming area in front of the goals before the ref arrived but all was fine and there was even a hint of blue sky when the game threw in just after 7pm. Things were nip and tuck through the opening quarter as the sides remained level at 1-3 a piece.
Jack and Mark as part of a three man midfield were getting forward and taking the scores but as the half wore on Judes began to get the upper hand edging into a four point lead. Then it was the turn of the forwards to come alive. First Jamie, then Ryan after a lovely through ball from James at Full Forward found the back of the net in the closing stages and Cuala led by two at the half.
The side were down a number of key players with Daniel, Diarmait, Thomas and Rory unavailable and Oisín’s comeback was delayed a while when he pulled up before the start with a thigh injury suffered the previous day at hurling training.
The lads were feeling good though and when Fionn burst through on the restart and set up James to feed Jamie, a third goal in five minutes had them well on top. Then, disaster. Joe who was having his best game of the season after a really good summer building fitness went up to field another high ball but crumpled on landing. He does not go down lightly and it quickly became clear that he was in trouble.
The threat of a break was enough to ensure that every care was taken. The Sligo Senior team physio, John Coyle, was on the sidelines and his calm intervention meant Joe was comfortable as we waited for an ambulance to arrive. There was a delay and serious consideration of abandoning but both teams wanted to carry on and as the sun faded the blue lights came and Joe was taken to Tallaght. X Rays were uncertain and he has to go back again this week for a scan but it’s a real blow for a great lad who has had no luck with injuries this season or last.
Cathal came in to plug the gap and Fergus, Tiernan and David kept up a tremendous work rate at the back. Ross pulled off three of his trademark excellent saves but slowly Judes began to peg back the lead. Ruari and Emmet, together with some great running forays from Greg kept things in the melting pot and a hotly disputed shout for a penalty a minute from time could have swung the game the other way but as the night closed in a 2 point deficit meant we were witness to a 20 man packed penalty box before the whistle came. Final score was Judes 3-12, Cuala 4-7 and another great chapter to savour in a long time rivalry between the sides that has rarely seen more than a single score victory one way or the other.
Cuala R Broderick, T Dunne, D O’Driscoll, F O’Drisceoil, C Newman, J Mahony (C O’Floinn sub), F O’Rourke (0-2), R Frankling (0-1), J Hartnett (0-3), M Tracey (1-0), E Murphy (0-1), J Broderick (2-0), G Sheehan, R De Felice (1-0) (F O’Tighearnaigh Sub) J Murphy.