2006 U11B Manager Niall O'Cofaigh

This is their story
Whether we would have a team in the DDSL U11B league was in doubt up to the kick-off of our first game of the season - but as long as we have a bunch of lads (and lady) ready to play football on a Saturday morning we would give it a try.
 
While league success on the pitch eluded us we did manage a very good win against Ashwood in the All Ireland Cup, winning 3-2 after extra time (only to go out to St. Malachy's premier in the next round). In the league cup we pushed Knocklyon right to the end but that single goal eluded us and, while me may have came away losers on the pitch, we were still very much a team in the making.
 
Despite a good showing against West Tallaght, injuries and Secondary school commitments saw us cut to the bone and by Christmas we had settled into a losing run, after playing with 9 or 10 players and still seeking our first goal since September.
 
The fact that the team didn't go the way of many others and break up is a credit to the players themselves. We had full training sessions every Wednesday and slowly developed the technique required to compete in the B league.
 
Post Christmas saw a "bottom of the table" clash against Trinity with both teams seeking their first win of the season. While the scoreline reflected a win for Trinity our 9 players (helped by Mark from the U9s) executed a perfect training-groud exercise, putting Keith through on goal and, with only the keeper to beat, a trip from behind saw the referee point to the spot and Pierce slotted home a perfect penalty. While we may have lost the game, the exhileration of scoring our first goal since September made it feel like a win. I would also comment on the sportmanship of both the Trinity players and manager/supports, some of whom went out of their way to come over to commiserate with us, thank us for the game, congratulate us on our performance and provide us with much needed encouragement.
 
Now that we had proved that we had a technique that could produce goals we set out with new heart. Trinity at home were our next opposition and this time we didn't need the referee to slot home three goals. Of course we didn't win as Trinity slotted home more but we scored more league goals that day then we had scored all season up to this.
 
Tough games, injuries and missing players lay ahead and the rollercoaster continued. We failed to make any impression on Palmerstown Rangers and Cabinteely who were both fighting for league topspot. At the end of March we found "Moto" training with his brother on the U13 and looking for a team to join. We signed him immediately and his addition to the team allowed us to juggle around players and strengthen the midfield. We slotted home two against Leixlip but for the first time all season we had to accept the help of some U10 players to field a team against Brookfield - and on a wet, windy and bleak Monday evening we allowed 5 goals to slip in for no reply.
 
Things were about to change though. Playing out of our skins, in our best performance to date, we kept Plamerstown Rangers to a one all draw and went on to beat Leixlip away 6 - 4 away. Cablinteely lay in our sights next. Although they were now going for a top spot in the league we pushed them to the very end, scoring for them in the first half and having a goal disallowed in the second, Cabiniteely rolled out eventual winners 2-0 but we were now a team to be reckoned with.
 
Brookfield were our last opposition to date and, mindful of the humiliating defeat at home, we sought to fight to the bitter end. Excellent performances from Darragh in goal, a tight defence, a mobile midfield and a strikeforce working as a team saw us roll out 2-0 winners. What a way to end the season - a win and out first clean sheet.
 
Remember the highlights! Chris v Trinity, Keith, Peirce & David B. v Palmerstown, Cleansheet Darragh v Brookfield, Stephen v WestTallaght, Mark v Trinity, Eamonn & David F. v Cabinteely, Murtada & David S. v Brookfield, Declan v Leixlip, Aisling v Ashwood, Gavin v Knocklyon and everyone v everyone.
 
I have been involved at every level of underage football and I know that this team deserves special mention. Although defeat in every game seemed inevitable they worked at every aspect of the game, never missed a training session, never missed a match (when available), often took to the field with 9 and 10 players - but never became dispondant and never gave up and, in the end, reaped the rewards of their efforts. The support of the parents for this team and their encouragement throughout the season is much appreciated and I would like to thank both the players and supports for their efforts in the last twelve months and look forward to working with them again next season.
 
Back: David B., Pierce, Eamonn, Chris, Murtada, David S., Keith, Aisling, David F.
Front: Gavin, Darragh, Stephen, Mark, Declan (Absent Niall, Jack)
 

u11b 2006

 
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