St. Brendans GAA Club

Founded 1920

Co. Dublin

Brendans Under 10 hurlers turn the corner

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The bright sun and blue skies were deceptive as a Baltic wind swept across the Longmeadows pitches on Saturday morning. The assembled parents were glad of their hats and winter coats and Boot Welsh was tucking into his morning cappuccino with relish. No such creature comforts for the lads of St Brendan’s however as they were put through their pre match paces by our strength and fitness coach, Ze.

The match got underway and things seemed perhaps daunting at the start due to a numerical mismatch- Round Towers with 8 players and Brendan’s with 7. However, any fears were soon put to rest and Brendan’s were the first on the scoreboard within 3 minutes of the starting whistle thanks to a confidently struck point by Leo, making the most of a pass received from Erv "the Swerve", who proved to be a great playmaker over the course of the match. Another point followed soon after, this one scored by Crean, who played with even more determination and commitment than usual, later on adding 2 goals and a further point to his tally. Round Towers saw very few scoring opportunities in the first half, and any time they looked threatening they were put under pressure by Mathew in defence who chased every ball that came into the danger zone and prevented the Round Towers forwards getting any clear scoring chances. The one time that Round Towers did look to pose a threat was from a well struck ball hit directly at the Brendan’s goal, however Ranyu showed great courage and, using both hurl and body blocked a fast travelling ball and cleared his lines. From that clearance the ball reached Eric who managed to score a point from a good distance. Within minutes Oisin made a great run from near the Brendan’s goal, past the halfway line and selflessly set up Eric with a scoring opportunity which the latter had no difficulty in putting into the net. A point followed from Round Towers which would transpire to be their only score of the match. On the cusp of halftime there was a brief period of danger for Brendan’s; with Mathew outnumbered by the Round Towers players who were now swarming the goalmouth and Ranyu somehow managing to stop what look like an almost certain goal, stopped literally on the line. but the Round Towers attack continued until suddenly Leo, using all of his cross country running prowess and speed, appeared on the scene and, displaying great presence of mind, kicked the ball away from the Brendan’s goal and out of danger.

The second half got underway with some changes to positions made by Martin at halftime. The ever versatile Oisin taking his place between the posts with Ranyu assisting Mathew in defence. No sooner had the second half started than Brendan’s had yet another goal, Crean the scorer of this one. Two more goals followed, both scored by Eric, one of which was an almost spectacular strike from just past the hallway line and the other a backheel into the net which is somehting this writer has never seen on a hurling pitch before!. Such was the dominance of Brendan’s that for periods Oisin had little to do but nevertheless kept alert and was live to those few opportunities which came Round Towers’ way, ensuring that they amounted to nothing in terms of the scoreboard.

Overall it was a match where each of the Brendan’s players showed not only determination and effort but great skill, which is a testament to the hard work that they are their coaches have put in over the past months. "Swerve" displaying great reading of the game and skill around the middle of the pitch and setting up several scoring opportunities which were seized on by Crean, Leo and Eric. He also got a super score which dad Ed cheered loudly. Oisin demonstrating speed and agility as well as his ability to play in several positions. Ranyu likewise covering two positions and performing well in both, and Mathew as always dogged and determined in defence and showing great resilience by playing on despite a leg injury sustained mid-way through the second half. It was an impressive performance by the Brendan’s players and those post-match sweets generously provided by Ze were richly deserved by the lads who put in such effort in sometimes challenging conditions.

It should be said that Round Towers were very unlucky on the day and nothing went their way. They are a lovely team of kids and super mentors. The result flattered us and was tough on them as they are a very good side.

Our lads passed and played as a team. They communicated and i believe theyve never played so well. The clocks will soon change, the pitches will dry out and the lads will soon be playing in the sun. We know they are great kids but if they work hard this summer we will have a great team too. Eric Og was superb and he was our man of the match. The poor lad broke his collar bone a few days after the match and will be out for 6-8 weeks. We will miss him and wish him a speedy recovery. (Author Gavin "Con" Keogh)

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