Match Reports Div3B - season 2002/2003

16/Mar/03
Brighton Celtic 0:5 TCAFC

A dogged display from Terenure on a terrible pitch saw them claim all three points on Sunday. The team had changed since the last match at home to Brighton two weeks ago – the back four was the same but in the middle of the park were Keith, Brian and Stevie, Gus and Dec were on the wings and Ken was back up front again.
Despite what the score line suggests this was a tough game and only the one goal separated the sides at half time. We defended well for the first 30 as Brighton put us under a bit of pressure and had a few frees and corners. These were dealt with well and with the midfield tracking back and the back four covering the runs Brighton were limited to one clear cut chance but the no 8 volleyed over the bar.
After a while Stevie and Co. in the middle of the park start to gain in confidence and were soon running the show. Dec and Ken both went close after some lovely one-touch football got them in, Gus and Keith did well to tee up Stevie for a shot but it just went wide of the upright. The first goal came after a great run from Stevie who spread it wide to Gus, the resultant cross was met by Dec at the back post who did well to direct into the far corner and steer it past the keeper. The rest of the half we pressed for the second and the hard working Ken went close after he robbed the ball off the number 4 but his shot was saved by the keeper.
The second half we knew if we got the next goal that we’d be home and dry. Brighton put some pressure on us for the first 15 but it amounted to nothing and Al was never really troubled. Dec F was having an excellent game at the back with Richie and it was him who was to make the opening for second. Dec read a Brighton through ball and intercepted on the half way line, the proceeding pass cut the Brighton defence in two (a la Graeme Souness’ pass to Kenny Dalglish, European Cup, June 1978 V. Bruges) and rolled into the path of Dec D who took his second goal with growing confidence.
After that the Brighton heads dropped and we knew we had the game won. Gus came off with 30 to go and gave Will a run on the right. The third goal came shortly after, another great run from Stevie saw him set Dec up for his first hat trick for the club - as he said himself he’s a confidence player, so we’ll expect a few more goals before the end of the season.
Brian had worked tirelessly throughout and helped us gain the upper-hand in the middle of the park, he got a well deserved break and Rodders came on for the last 15. After good work on the right from Will and Stevie we won a corner and Dec Fitz was there to do blast the header home (a la Karlheinz Riedle ‘97-’98) from Stevie’s corner.
The fifth goal saw a number of players involved in the build up with the ball moving down the left wing, the white Babayaro himself, Graham O’Sullivan, made his way to the by line and pull back excellently for Rod Bishop to slot home. An amazing record has seen Rod score in each of the last sixteen seasons.
Next week sees us take on Terenure FC in the quarter final of the cup, this win will keep the confidence high and keeps us on target for the 27 points.

TCAFC: Leckey, Doherty, Fitzgerald, O'Loughlin, O'Sullivan, F. Bishop (60’ W. Kearney), O'Donaghue (75’ R. Bishop), Jordan, Daragh, Dolan, K. Kearney

2/Mar/03
TCAFC 0:0 Brighton

The last home league game of the season saw us playing Brighton for the first time. The team had to undergo major surgery since our cup win last week. Allan and Alex were both away for the weekend (not together!) and Coly was back with the firsts to put a stop to his goal scoring. On the plus side Richie was back after his bout of flu and he would partner Dec again in the centre with Sean and Graham right and left respectively. Stevie, Padriag, Keith and Brian were in the midfield and Dec Dolan was up front with Gus who had earned a well deserved start. Special mention to Ken, who after excellent games outfield the last two weeks had no problem going into nets to cover for Alex. Rod, Will and Jimmy made up the 14.
The majority of the first half saw Nure defending. Both Dec and Richie had to be on their toes a few times as Brighton were playing most of the football. A succession of corners saw a few goal mouth scrambles and they had one or two shots that Ken had covered. We also created chances though, Dec was working his socks off and causing them a lot of problems with his movement and Keith was getting in behind his full back a lot and putting in the crosses. Gus had a shot that just scraped over the bar and Brian also had chances.
The second half saw us pile on the pressure on a creaking Brighton defence. The excellent Brian and Dec were skinning their marker’s every time and putting the balls in the box. Keith was unlucky not to connect from a through ball to the back post and Brian had two shots that looked like they were on their way in but went just wide. Stevie and Padraig were running the show in the middle of the park and whenever we had possession we were putting the moves together and creating the chances but couldn’t find the back of the net. There were one or two decisions that didn’t go our way - Dec D was clean through but was adjudged to be offside and Keith was also held back in the box but nothing was given.
Brighton did break forward on one or two occasions but good work by Richie and Dec and a good save form Ken kept them at bay. Will came on for Gus for the last 15 and this allowed Stevie to push forward a bit more, despite a few more chances for Keith and Brian we failed to get the goal our second half performance deserved and it finished even.

K. Kearney, S. Doherty, D. Fitzpatrick, R. O'Loughlin, G. O'Sullivan, K. Darragh, S. Jordan, P. O'Dwyer, B. O'Donaghue, D. Dolan, F. Bishop (W. Kearney ’70)
Subs not used: R. Bishop, J. Holland

23/Feb/03
Earl Celtic 1: TCAFC 5 (Bill Holmes Cup)

The cup run continued and this week we were travelling to Tymon to play Earl Celtic’s 3a side. Over the years previous trips here had proved to be soul-destroying expeditions and we had never done ourselves justice against this outfit. Things were to change today and there was an air of confidence about the dressing room, the lads had trained well and knew this Earl side were very beatable.
The team was changed again from last week – the in-form Richie O’Loughlin would be a big loss at the back and Keith was called up to the firsts. Our strength in depth though meant that we could put Graham in at centre and Brain at left full. Padraig and Coly were back to complete the midfield trio with Stevie, Dec and Allen were on the wings and Ken was up front.
A slightly nervous start saw us playing up the slope and defending deep for the first few minutes. More and more though the midfield was beginning to show it’s class and gain the upper hand. Brian was doing well to contain the influential right winger and Dec and Graham were covering the balls over the top with ease. Padraig has perfected the holding midfielder’s role and made sure nothing was getting through and was picking out players from the back expertly.
After about 20 mins the first goal came after good work by the midfield and Ken saw Coly get in for his first and finish well. This settled the team down and we started to play with a lot more confidence and Coly was to get his second after a few more minutes. Earl were now completely on the back foot and all over the place at the back, the third came after a good ball in from Stevie saw an Earl defender sticking his hand out – Coly took the peno and dispatched to the keepers left with ease.
At half time Dec warned against complacency and we knew we’d need to get the fourth to make sure there was no circling of the wagons at the end. This was epitomised when, right from the Earl kick off, Ken chased down the centre half and made him fluff his clearance immediately putting their defence under more pressure.
After last weeks efforts against Verona the Nure defence was given something of a weekend off as Padraig, Stevie and Coly pretty much ran the show for the rest of the game. Dec and Allen were providing cover to their full backs while all the time we looked like scoring more when we had the ball. Gus came on to the right wing for the last 20 and made an immediate impact with a cross that saw Dec D hit the upright with a header. The fourth goal came after good work from Brian at the back saw the ball played to Ken who turned his man and left a leaden footed Earl defence for dead. Ken had options to his right but took his chance well and no-one deserved the goal more.
Earl did get one back after a loose ball fell kindly to one of their forwards and he placed it past Al. There were one or two more scary moments and Al was called to make a few good stops but the back four had most of their efforts covered. The fifth goal came after some neat football from a throw in on the right saw Ken flick the ball on to Gus who put in a “Beckham’esque” cross to Coly who finished well at the near post.
Overall it was a good mornings work and our first away win of the season, however the mood afterward was that we didn’t actually play as well as we know we are capable of. Next week sees us return to Lakelands for the first game at home since the end of January, Brighton provides the opposition.

TCAFC: Leckey, Doherty, O'Sullivan, Fitzpatrick, O'Donaghue, Dolan, Jordan, Costelloe, O'Dywer, Sweeney(F. Bishop ’70), Kearney.

3/Feb/03
Verona 1:1 TCAFC

Verona had beaten us 1-0 at home earlier on in the season and so we knew we’d be in for a tough game going out to their ground in Blanchardstown. Dec had decided on a new formation earlier on in the week and we would be playing a 5-4-1. Richie and Dec were the centre halves, Sean and Brian the full backs and Graham would sweep up behind. Allan and Stevie were in the centre of the park, Keith on the right and Dec D on the left while Ken was up front.
The first half proved to be a tricky affair as Verona threw everything at us and it took us a while to get to grips with the new formation at the back. For all their possession though it was Nure who had the better chances, Richie going close with a volley at the back post after a corner, Keith was unlucky to see his shot saved after a great move saw him through on goals and Dec Dolan also went close. Ken (man of the match performance) was doing a super job up front on his own, he was battling for everything and bringing the two wingers into the play to create the openings.
The goal came for Verona after a free from our left saw the big no 7 connecting with the loose ball and putting it away. We managed to keep the difference to just 1 goal and were grateful to hear the half time whistle. Despite a very tough first half we all knew that if we upped our performance, and with the hill in our favour, there was an equaliser there for us.
Stevie (also putting in a man of the match performance!) and Allan set the tone for the second half covering every part of the pitch and putting in some crunching tackles, giving the influential midfielders no time on the ball and setting up chances for Dec and Ken. From then on it was all ‘Nure as we continued to push for the equaliser. With about 30 to go the equaliser came, a clever ball over the top by Brian saw the excellent Dec Dolan quickest to react and he took his goal brilliantly.
Keith was given a well deserved rest, Padraig came into the centre of the park and Allan switched to the right side. Verona tried to apply some more pressure but Padraig and Stevie had it wrapped up in the middle of the park and the guys at the back were covering everything and getting their tackles in. Ken, Dec and Allan were giving them no time at the back and always looked the more likely to get the winner. Gus came on for the last 10 for Dec and showed some good touches that nearly created another goal for us.
We could have gone on and won the game but it was an excellent draw away from home against an experienced Verona side.

Congratulations to Dec Fitz on his 500th game for the college, an excellent performance so far this season has seen the squad improving with every game and taking points off all the top sides.

TCAFC: Leckey, Doherty, O'Loughlin, Fitzpatrick, O'Sullivan, O'Donaghue, Darragh (P. O'Dywer ’70), Jordan, Sweeney, Doan(F. Bishop ’80), K. Kearney.
Subs: R. Bishop

3/Feb/03
Coastal 0:0 TCAFC

“the wheels on the bus go round and round…”

An early start saw us boarding the bus at 9. Richie was distraught as he hadn’t time for his ritual Sunday morning pebble dash – we were all to suffer the wrath of his anger on the way to Laytown. The gaffer was in super form due to an article in the official Liverpool match program about the first game he had attended.
The team was changed again from last week. The back would remain the same, in the middle of the park were Allan and Stevie, Brian on the left and Keith on the right. Ken was back to partner Dec up front and Gussy and Will were on the bench. Coly was back this weekend but he had been called up to the firsts to get them back to winning ways.
We started brightly and immediately put them under pressure with a numbers of corners and free kicks. Allen was a revelation in the centre of the park. On a number of times he was able to open up the play with incisive balls down the left and right channels which Keith and Brain were thriving on. Stevie was tasked with the holding role and despite carrying a few knocks was winning all his tackles and working hard. Dec was causing all sorts of problems when he had the chance to run at the defenders and Ken was holding the ball up well and bringing the midfielders into the game.
After a throw in saw Dec held in the box we were awarded a peno, Allan was unlucky to see his well placed kick saved as was Stevie when a free kick went just over the bar. Coastal were also getting more into the game and had a few shots from out side the box that didn’t really trouble Al and finished the half the stronger.
In the second half the game really opened up with chances for both teams and some excellent football being played. Brian was unlucky with a shot as was Ken when he hit the side netting after a fine move saw the ball moved from right full all the way down the wing and then across to him.
Special mention must go to Graham “rabbit” O’Sullivan. His exorcet from all of 30 yards looked to be heading for the top corner when the keeper pulled off an amazing save to tip it over the bar. After a few moments of stunned silence trying to figure out what had happened and getting over the shock we got on with the game.
Toward the end Coastal were starting to create more chances and for the last 20 became encamped in our half. Excellent work by Dec, Richie, and in particular, Al Leckey who made some top drawer saves, managed to keep them at bay though. Will K cam on for the last 15 to give Stevie a well deserved break and Keith went into the centre of the park. We had a few more opportunities with good breaks down the right involving Will and Ken, and we were denied the obligatory blatant penalty after Allan was pushed over in the box, but we were unable to kill them off and in the end Coastal were worth there point.
A special game next week sees the gaffer play his 500th game for the club away to Verona – ironically his first game for the club was also against Verona!

TCAFC: Leckey, Doherty, Fitzpatrick, O'Loughlin, O'Sullivan, Sweeney, Daragh, Jordan (Will Kearney ’60), Ken Kearney, O'Donaghue, Dec Dolan.
Subs: F. Bishop, Will Kearney

3/Feb/03
Bluebell 3:2 TCAFC

A few changes this week from the team that performed so well to beat Cherryfield down in the college. Colm “Smokie” Costello had to head home to Limerick to sort out some “family business” and Ken Kearney got a well-deserved call up to the firsts. The back four were unchanged, in the middle of the park were Keith, Stevie, and Padraig, we had Brian and Alan on the wings and Dec Forlan was back up front.
A dreadful first 45 mins saw Terenure 2 goals down. The first was from a corner, their no.10 had a free header at the back post and planted it past Alex. The second saw a clearance fall to a Bluebell player on the left, he took his time and put in a cross over a floundering Sean and on the head of their no.9. There were a few times when we saw flashes of the football we played the previous Sunday - Brian was causing them a lot of problems on the right and a few of his through balls were unlucky not to find Dec or Allan. The Bluebell defence was well marshalled however and we never got shots on target or troubled the keeper with any crosses. Dec Fitz let rip at half time and rightly so - we were second to the ball all the time, standing off players, and not holding it up or playing it out to the wingers like we talked about.
We started the second half a bit better but still could not find any kind of rhythm or put a persistent spell of pressure on the Bluebell defence. After a corner for us fell to one of the midfielders they countered quickly and some clever passing saw them break through on goal and make it 3 nil.
Dec brought on Gus for Keith and reverted to a 4-4-2. We increased the pressure on Bluebell and started to play the game in there half a lot more. Gus made an immediate impact with a dangerous cross from the right after good work by Brian. Eventually the goal came and it was Dec Dolan who got it with a delicate lob over the keeper– that’s 2 in 2 for Forlan. We kept up the pressure and the second came after more good work from Forlan in the box saw him hold the ball up and feed Brian who managed to squeeze his shot into the goal.
Will came on for Sean with about 15 to go and his accurate passing also caused them a few problems and he nearly got Brian clean through on goal. Allan was also unlucky when he was adjudged to be offside after a good ball from Stevie. We still had to watch Bluebell on the break and once or twice we were nearly caught but good work by Dec, Richie and Alex kept them at bay. Rod came on for the last 5 for Dec and we reverted to playing three up front. We piled on the pressure but couldn’t create any clear cut chances – Padraig was unlucky when a shot from outside the box just clipped their goal and the last kick of the game saw Richie nearly get on the end of a free kick from Stevie.
This was a good chance to get out first away win of the league campaign but in the end we payed dearly for a mediocre first half performance and have missed a good chance to gain some valuable points in our push for promotion.

TCAFC: Leckey, Doherty (Kearney ’75), Fitzpatrick (Rod Bishop ’80), O'Loughlin, O'Sullivan, Sweeney, Daragh (Gus Bishop’55), Jordan, O'Dwyer, O'Donaghue, Dec Dolan.

26/Jan/03
TCAFC 3:2 Cherryfield United

Sunday saw the Second team in action in the league, against the leaders Cherryfield United, at the college.
Captain Dec Fitz won the toss and decided to get Nure ‘on the front foot’ by playing with the strong wind blowing into one corner of ground. So it proved, as Nure got on top in the early exchanges. Ken Kearney had slotted home after a flowing move only for the referee to harshly adjudge him offside before Dec Forlan opened the Nure account after 10 minutes. Dec drove a ‘daisy cutter’ from 25 yards to the left corner of the goal which the Cherryfield keeper had covered only to inexplicably let the ball under his body and roll into the corner. Nure reciprocated the charity 5 minutes later when it seemed the entire Ternure team failed to react as a half clearance from a corner was put back in by the corner taker and up popped a Cherryfield defender to volley home from the 6 yard box as Terenure stood and watched.
The lesson was learned and Nure went about recapturing the lead goal. It came after 20 minutes. Pressure on the keeper from Ken Kearney from a Forlan shot ensured the keeper did not gather the ball cleanly; Collie was the lucky beneficiary as his pounced on the loose ball and toed home to the gaping net. Nure dominated the remainder of the half with Stevie Jordan involved in everything in the middle and Ken Kearney working tirelessly up front. Chances came and went for both Forlan and Ken until Nure got the deserved daylight they had looked from another goal after 40 minutes. Paudy Dwyer played to Keith Darragh whose deft flick left Coly in space at the edge of the box; the keeper could not do enough to keep out the ensuing shot, which left the halftime 3-1 to Nure.
Playing against the wind a big second performance was always going to be needed. The players delivered in what was an excellent team performance. The Terenure midfield got stuck in, this ensured that there was no way Cherryfield could pass their way to goal so long balls were the order of the day. Sean, Dec, Richie, Graham and keeper Leckey (acting as a sweeper) lapped up any long balls, demoralising Cherryfield. It was Nure who had the better of the second half chances. The Cherryfield keeper just got hands to two Ken Kearnry lobs and in probably the most remarkable save of the season, a Cherryfield defender denied Forlan a second with an amazing last ditch diving header. Nure had a nervous last 10 minutes when Cherryfield made it 3-2. After a mis-hit goal kick the Cherryfield centre forward was left clear, the referee was left with little option to award a penalty when a Ternure defender could only get back enough to haul him down. The same player slotted home.
Terenure, however, applied themselves to the last 10 minutes as the previous 35 and saw out to the final whistle with minimal anxiety. Terenure were full value for their 3 points for a great team performance however the performances of the defence as a unit [ed: You'd never know Sean wrote this, would you?] and Ken Kearney in the lone role upfront were excellent.

Terenure:Leckey, Doherty, O’Sullivan, O’Loughlin, Fitzpatrick, P. O’Dwyer, Jordan, Dolan, K. Kearney, Costello, Darragh
Subs not used: Sweeney, O’Donoghue, F. Bishop

12/Jan/03
Orwell 1:1 TCAFC 1

Orwell had beaten us 5:2 earlier on in the season so this was always going to be a tough test. The squad had a familiar look to it with the same back 4 as last week and the midfield triangle of Stevie, Coly and Padraig also present again. There was a return to action for Keith on the right, and in an interesting move by the gaffer, Dec Forlan was deployed on the left wing. Ken Kearny was up front and Al Leckey was in nets.
We started well and immediately began to put Orwell under pressure. On the left, Graham and Dec were causing the Orwell defence all sorts of problems, as were the high balls from Al’s kick outs. Several times Dec made headway on the left flank but we were unable to finish the move off or find that final pass. Ken was holding the ball up brilliantly and bringing the midfielders into play, on the right Keith was working hard and put in some dangerous crosses and was unlucky not to connect with crosses from the left on one or two occasions. With the three in the middle of the park dictating the game we had most of the possession but could still not find the killer pass and score the goal our play deserved. The back four were playing some good football and covering each other well, they restricted Orwell to one or two chances but Al was on form today and made some excellent stops.
The second half saw us get the goal we deserved, a corner from Padraig was put away brilliantly by Coly. After 15 mins Alan came on for Ken who had run his legs off and Dec Forlan went up front.Orwell started to put us under more pressure as they came in search of the equaliser. Some good defensive work kept them at bay and restricted them to shots outside the box. A through ball to their no.10 looked to have been put out for a corner by the gaffer but the ref decided that the challenge had been unfair and awarded a peno. Justice was done when Al made a fine save down low to his right to deny Damien Richardson.
This should have served as a wake up call to us but Orwell kept on pushing and we were unable to get the ball out of our half, a free from the left saw the no.7 missing a sitter after the ball had come back off the cross bar. The goal finally came when a long ball found their striker on the left wing, he was forced back outside the box but his pass across the edge of our box found one of their guys unmarked and they scored.
We pushed forward in search of the winner and good work by Alan on the left saw Coly go close. Dec was nearly in after a ball over the top from Sean but their keeper did well. Brian came on for the last 10 for Keith and made an immediate impact when he put in a through ball for Coly but they somehow managed to clear. Alan and Coly again worked some magic in the corner but Coly’s shot hit the side netting. Brian linked up well with Sean on the right and the resulting cross was inches away from Dec Forlan’s head.
Another draw. The feeling afterward was that it was two points dropped, for all our possession in the first half we were unable to make clear cut chances and find that killer instinct, our inability to hold onto the ball and push up the pitch had cost us dear in the second half.
Next week sees us play Cherryfield at home.

TCAFC: Alec, Graham, Richie, Dec F, Sean, Dec Dolan, Steve, Coly, Padraig, Keith (Brian O'D '80), Ken (Alan '60).
(Subs: Brian O'Donaghue, Alan Sweeney, Denis)

12/Jan/03
TCAFC 1:1 Earl Celtic

Our worst performance of the season to date had been against Earl out in Tymon Park. The gaffer was in vengeful mood and was determined to beat Earl this time after 22 years of trying and start off the second half of the season with three points. Dec Dolan was away and Keith was still recovering from his ass opp, but the majority of the second team squad had got a training session or two in after Christmas. The back four was the same as the Ards game with Graham and Sean at full back and Dec and Richie in the centre. Padraig returned to the middle of the park alongside Coly and Stevie, and Ken Kearney was up front. Allan was in the process of serving his one match ban for going AWOL and so Darren “56 goals in 30 games” Frehill was given the left wing spot while Brian was on the right. On the bench were The Monk, Allan and Gus “Big Show” Bishop (more on that later!).
We started well and played some good football with Brian in particular linking well with Ken and Steve and managing to put in some dangerous crosses. Earl were well up for this game and once or twice we were nearly caught trying to play the ball out from the back when a good hoof would have been more appropriate. After about 5 mins a mix up on the left hand side saw Stevie putting in a great tackle on Graham – the resulting injury meant Frehill went to left full, Brian switched to left mid, the Monk came on to the right and Graham went to the hospital.
We continued to play some good football and Brian was again influential in opening up the play down the left side. Coly also went close with two good efforts that on another day would have gone in. Padraig and Stevie were getting to grips with the midfield and after some initial scares at the back they were limited to one or two crosses. The goal never came though, the final ball just seemed to be evading us and when it did come the ref was happy to blow for offside everytime. Allan came on for Brian after about 10 mins gone and, judging by the gestures, proved to be a bit of a pain for the Earl right full.
We started the second half well and got the ball down their half from the start but again could not find the net. They were awarded a dodgy corner after about 20mins and the ball started bouncing around the area – their no.6 was quickest to react and we found ourselves 1-0 down. We recovered well though and started putting them under pressure right from the kick- off, Coly and Stevie both had chances cleared after a scramble in their area and Ken’s effort with a lob just crept wide of the post. Stevie went close with a free and they had a header from a corner cleared off the line.
With the game getting a bit more frantic, and Dec Fitz doing his Emile Heskey impression up front, there was a distinct smell of leather in the area as the handbags started flying. This suited Earl perfectly and they were happen to make us lose our concentration, disrupt the game and stop us from getting any sort of momentum going. A cross saw the keeper collect the ball but fall over the line for a corner – enter the Big Show (Gus), he proceeded to put a full nelson/sleeper hold on the keeper in an effort to get the ball off him – more handbags!
An excellent ankle tap by the Earl goalkeeper on Coly was ignored by the ref, handbags galore!
The 3-5-2 formation worked though - some good work by Richie and Darren saw the ball move down the left and then into the centre, the ball was played across to Gus on the right and pushed on to Coly who excellently put away his 10th of the season. At 1-1 there were a few chances for us to finish off the opposition with Ken going closest but it wasn’t going to happen today. Our only consolation was that we had been 1-0 down but battled hard to get the equaliser and hadn’t completely thrown away all the points
Next week sees us travelling down the road to Orwell for the first away game of the year. They beat us 5:2 at home after we had battled back to 2:2 with 10 mins to go so it should be another good test for this team.

Squad: Alec, Graham (10’ Will, 70’Gus), Richie, Dec F, Sean, Brian (50’Alan), Stevie, Coly, Padraig, Darren, Ken.

8/Dec/02
Kinvara Ards 3:2 TCAFC

TCAFC seconds came crashing back to earth on Sunday when they lost to Ards away from home.
Last weeks battle against Rush in the cup had taken its toll. Padraig had to receive stitches to a nasty cut on his shin and he was out and would be sorely missed. There was an anxious wait to find out about Coly's metatarsal but Dec’s vigil had paid off and he was available, Keith was also missing after his ass op.
The journey to the pitch would also see another player fall by the wayside but the less said about that the better. The gaffer had decided to play a 4-4-2 formation in an effort to accommodate the best players. The back four was the same as previous weeks and Alec had returned to the nets. Coly and Stevie were in the middle of the park with Brian on the left and Kavo on the right, and Forlan and Ken “The Colonel” Kearney were given the job of scoring the goals. Gussy and Donal were on the bench.
The first 20 minutes of the game were sloppy to say the least and there was little football played. Ards seemed content to hoof the ball up the field and Richie and Dec F were dealing with this easily enough. Any through balls from Stevie or Coly were causing their back four all sorts of problems and Ken and Dec were chasing everything. Kavo went close from the right side but hit the side netting, and some great work from Forlan saw the ball laid back to Coly but he could only shoot over.
Ards got round the back of us for the first time and a cross from their right saw Nure struggling to clear and one of their forwards was on hand to finish despite Dec’s best efforts. We picked ourselves up and tried to play some football but the conditions made it difficult and Ards had set their stall out well after the last hammering we gave them at home. Anytime Stevie or Coly got the ball the space was immediately closed down and the big guy in the middle of the park was beginning to run the show for them. We kept to our game plan though and a ball down the left channel found Brian running at the Ards backs only to be taken down inside the box. Coly dispatched the peno with ease. Ards caused a few more problems at the back but Alec was sweeping well and they were restricted to a few long range efforts for the rest of the half
At the break Dec let us know that it wasn’t good enough and we had to work harder and show a lot more application and hunger for the game. We went 2-1 down after about 15 mins when their centre forward scored with a neat volley from inside the box. We pushed forward again and the ball was worked down the right channel by Sean, then Mark and played in to Forlan - he was taken down and Coly scored his second peno of the afternoon. We had other chances when Ken and Dec both went close as did Ards when Alec had to pull off an excellent double save and once or twice we had to be on our toes to clean up some tricky through balls. It was Ards who got the winner with about 10 to go. Another ball into the box wasn’t dealt with effectively and they were quickest to react giving Al no chance.
TCAFC pushed for the equaliser and reverted to three at the back with Dec “call me Michael Owen” Fitz going up front to add some more spice to the attack. A good ball down the right channel from Richie saw Dec put in a cross which Ken just failed to connect with. Alas it was not to be, circumstances had contrived to put an end to the longest undefeated run the second team had ever gone on.
However, the first half of the season can only be described as a success for a number of reasons:

  • the seconds now have more points than they’d normally finish a season with
  • the squad now has a measure of consistency which was never there before (thanks to Phe for this aswell)
  • some excellent new players have been brought in this year - Stevie, Allan and Ken to name a few
  • and some more established players have blossomed under the tutelage and encouragement of the Gaffer – Padraig, Forlan, Coly, Keith and Al
  • We look forward to the New Year with renewed anticipation and a trip to Tolka Park!!

    Squad: Al Leckey, Sean, Richie, Dec, Graham, Brian O’D, Stevie, Coly, Mark K, Forlan, Ken
    subs – Gus, Donal

    8/Dec/02
    Terenure College 4:2 Rush (Bill Holmes Cup 1st Round)

    As Dec had pointed out on previous occasions, after our poor start to the league campaign our best chance of some silverware was in the cup. Rush had been in our league the season before last and our matches always proved to be eventful affairs and we were normally on the losing end – this would be an interesting test of how far this squad had come under the tutelage of one Dec Fitz.
    Al Leckey was away this weekend and Ken Kearney was between the sticks, the irrepressible Dec Forlan replaced him in the lone strikers role and the midfield and backs were as last week. On the bench we had Mark K, Ross and Brian O’D. Quick mention to Kevin B who had an excellent cup game the previous Sunday after a well-deserved call up to the firsts.
    We started the game well and immediately put Rush on the back foot with Keith, Coly and Forlan causing them a lot of problems, any ball over the top was creating chances for us with Dec, Coly, Keith and Alan all getting chances and not giving their backs any rest.
    An excellent move from the back saw the ball played into the middle of the park and then passed out wide to Keith who put in a great cross. The keeper’s “Birdman” impression caused all sorts of confusion and Forlan’s predatory instincts saw him pounce on the loose ball and ram it home from 2 yards.
    We went 2-0 up after a great move down the right saw Keith putting the ball into Forlan who managed to get the ball across the face the goal to Coly slotted home under pressure.
    After about 20 mins the Rush no.6 woke up and started playing a bit, his ferocious tackling was deemed fair by the ref and seemed to catch us by surprise. We were unable to step our game up a gear to rise to the challenge and our passing game broke down as the rest of the Rush team started to arise from their slumber. Before we knew it they had been awarded a penalty - Ken managed to get a hand to it but it crept into the corner. 5 minutes later a ball over the top saw 3 Rush players offside but the ref waved play on and we were back on level terms.
    The big number 6 was causing all the problems, the gaffer made the astute move of putting Padraig O’D on him - we managed to ride out the storm for the rest of the half and got our own game back on track with some tough tackling. At half time Dec spelled out the obvious for us, we had relaxed after going 2-0 up and then when they had put it up to us we hadn’t been able to compete.
    The 2nd half saw TCAFC gain the upper hand, our fitness was beginning to show and the lads in the middle of the park were really starting to control the game. Padriag O’D was having another man of the match performance, Stephen was utilising the extra space he was finding really well, and Coly was working tirelessly to cover the ground between the midfielders and Forlan.
    The chances were coming thick and fast now. Keith went close with a left shot from outside the box, Padriag had a shot that just crept over, and the move of the game saw the ball being worked from right full down the channel and Keith crossing to Coly who headed just over the bar.
    After 20 mins a corner from the left again saw their “Birdman” keeper trying to take off and Coly was there to put it away. Ards changed their tactics and in true cup style put three strikers up front – the back four managed to keep them quiet enough and they rarely troubled Ken apart from a good counter attacking move which produced a shot from the right but he saved well.
    The TCAFC defence has become a bit meaner over the last few games and this was epitomised by some excellent tackling from Graham, Dec and Richie. With 20 to go Brian came on for Alan and Kavo came on for Keith. We wrapped up the game after another excellent move, a good ball down the left channel from Richie saw Forlan working tirelessly to retain possession and square a neat ball to Kavo. Even with Coly doing one of his better “vein bulging” Keano impressions on his right side he managed to keep his concentration and despatch his shot excellently.
    Next week sees us away to Ards who are sure to be looking for revenge after the result of a few weeks ago but this win has set us up nicely and has prepared us well for future battles to come.

    Squad: Ken K, Graham, Dec, Richie, Sean (Ross ’80), Keith (Kavo ’70) Coly, Stevie, Padraig, Alan (Brian O’D ’70), Forlan.

    24/Nov/02
    Terenure College 4:0 Coastal Ramblers

    Dec F had put us through our paces on Thursday night and nobody had any doubts about how important this game was. The victories against Ards and Bluebell were well deserved but we needed to make sure we were going into the christmas break with maximum points.
    There were one or two changes from the team that had faced Ards two weeks ago. At the back Richie was partnering Dec F in the centre instead of Mark, and Graham and Sean were the full backs. The two wingers were Alan on the left and Keith on the right with Padraig, Coly and Stevie in the middle and Ken up front. Testimony to the strength of the squad at the moment can be gauged by the talent that was on the bench - Kevin B, Dec Forlan and Mark K – and also the talent that didn’t make the squad – Will K, Brian, and “Stone Cold” Shane to name a few.
    If anyone had doubts about the commitment of the Coastal lads they were soon cast aside after a few minutes when the tackles started going in. The game was evenly balanced for the first ten with neither side gaining the upper hand. Soon though our strength in the middle of the park began to show. Padraig was sitting deep in front of the back four and Coly and Stevie were pulling the strings in the middle of the park, soon the chances started to come our way. Alan combined well with Ken to set up a chance for Keith – the shot looked to be going in but went just over the upright. Padraig and Steve both tested the keeper with long range efforts and Ken always looked dangerous running at their defence. Keith again went close when he chased down the centre half but his angled shot just crept just past the post – remember Keith, it all about the stats!
    The goal eventually came after good work from Keith and Sean on the right worked an opening for Coly, he was taken down and (man of the match) Padraig O’Dwyer’s free kick managed to evade everyone and go straight into the net. Richie claims that he got the touch to it but these murmurings proved to be unfounded.
    Just before half time a high ball out from the back saw Keith attempt a spectacular volley that just went wide of the upright. At this stage TCAFC were well on top, Richie, Dec and Graham had everything under control at the back and Al hadn’t been troubled. At half time Dec Fitz warned us about complacency and told us we needed to be more clinical and put these guys away. We knew we had to get another goal to be sure of the points and to avoid any “circle the wagon” type scenarios that had become the norm over the last few seasons.
    We started the second half a bit slowly and they had one or two corners which amounted to little. The goal that settled our nerves came after about 10 minutes when excellent work by Keith on the right set up the influential Alan Sweeney for his third in two games. This seemed to calm the nerves a bit and we started creating chances whenever we attacked. Graham was combining well with Alan, who was now tormenting the Coastal defence everytime he had the ball, and Stevie and Coly always looked dangerous going forward. Dec F made a few changes and brought on Dec Forlan up front, Mark K on to the right and Kevin Brady in at centre half. In fairness to Coastal they never stopped trying but the back four coped well and restricted them to one or two wayward shots from outside the area.
    With about 20 to go we got a third, Sean put the ball through for Coly, who controlled well on his chest and blasted his shot into the roof of the net. Sean could have made it four a few minutes later after a good ball by Keith down the right channel saw him shoot instead of utilising one of the nine TCAFC payers lining up in the box waiting for the pass. A corner 5 minutes from time saw Richie get his third in five (years!) from a difficult angle after an excellent pass from Mark K had set him up.
    A well deserved 4-0 victory and we go up another few places in the league table.

    Team: Alec Leckey, Graham, Dec F (Mark K ’75), Richie, Sean, Alan, Stevie (Kev Brady ’70), Coly, Padraig, Keith, Ken (Dec Forlan ’70).

    10/Nov/02
    Terenure College 5:1 Ards

    This weekend saw the majority of the first team away to Amsterdam for Bully’s stag, as yet there is very little to report but I am sure it will all come out soon. We did pick up some news after the game while we were in the Morgue, but the old mantra - what goes on tour, stays on tour will have to be observed. The seconds were still on a high after their win against Bluebell the week before and were chomping at the bit for a game after our trip to the seaside was cancelled due to the weather. We knew Ards from previous seasons and it was always a close game - this year they had lost to the same teams we had but by greater margins, we had to get three points today and try to get into mid-table respectability.
    Dec Fitz had some tough choices to make this weekend, with all the lads down training and one or two first teamers still hanging around there was plenty of talent to choose from. We would stick with the 4-5-1 formation that had been serving us so well and the back four was Graham on the left, Dec F and Sparky in the middle and Sean on the right. The midfield saw a lot of changes from last week with Stephen, Padraig and Kevin B holding the middle of the park, Keith D was on the right and debutante, Alan Sweeney, was on the left. Ken Kearney was in for his first game with the seconds and he was out to make a start on those “30 a season” he had told us about. Dec noted the number of players who were absent for this fixture and everyone knew what was required of them to make sure they were in contention for a jersey next week.
    The first few minutes saw Ards put us under a bit of pressure and they had one or two shots but they didn’t trouble Al. There was a bit of a scare when Mark and Al got their wires crossed and they nearly got in but it cleared by Dec. Some good work on the right from Keith and Ken resulted in a corner to the Nure. Padraig swung it in and a scramble in the box saw Mark nod it in for his third of the season. We put them under more pressure and started to play some nice football. Alan and Keith on the wings were combining well with Ken up front, Stephen was pulling the strings in the middle of the park and Kev and Padraig were doing great work covering the ground and playing some nice ball. Ken got off the mark after the Ards defence failed to deal with a through ball, his shot was saved by the keeper but he managed to slot away the rebound with confidence.
    We always looked like scoring another and Keith was unlucky with a one on one against the keeper after being put through by Sean, however he was instrumental in the third. Good play down the left by Alan and Ken saw the ball break to the right, Keith put it back across the face of the goal and Alan was there to stick it in. We were now creating chances every time we went forward but we could not add to our tally. Sean went close with a free kick after good work by Padraig, and Keith, Ken and Alan all looked dangerous when going forward. With a minute to go in the first half they got a free kick and floated it into the box, they managed to get a nod on it at the back post and we handed them a lifeline. Dec F didn’t hold back at half time and a few of us remembered the debacle against Ballyogan at the start of the season. The next goal would be crucial.
    Ards, as expected, came at us from the start but Al was never really troubled and Dec and Mark were clearing up everything at the back. They had one or two corners but we defended them well and Al claimed one or two to take the pressure off us. Kev B had worked tirelessly to allow us to control the centre of the park and he was given a break after 5 mins to allow Colly to return for his first game since he came back from his holidays. The crucial goal came after about 10 mins when a break down the right saw Keith working hard to get the ball to Ken who squared to Alan and he smashed in his second of the day. After that Dec made a few changes, he took himself off and moved Graham in beside Mark and moved Keith to left full, Dec Forlan went on to the right wing and Mark K replaced Alan on the left. For the remaining 30 we played all the football, Kavo was doing some great work on the left and was a constant threat whenever he got the ball, Forlan was causing them all sorts of problems with his pace and Ken always looked dangerous. We were caught offside on numerous occasions and our eagerness for more goals sometimes meant they had a numerical advantage on the break but at the back Graham, Mark and Keith weren’t really troubled and Al was sweeping to good effect.
    With about 15 to go we got another, Keith had held the ball up well under pressure and played it back to Sean, his cross come shot (!!) made its way to the back stick where it was played out to Ken, a great shot from the left went over the keeper and into the back of the net.
    He could have got a third after good work from Kavo on the left, but his shot went just wide. Colly also went close after some neat football saw him in space on the right but he was unlucky as the shot went just over and Graham also managed one of his rabbit killer specials that just crept (being the operative word!) wide of the post. Another good win for the Nure, which brings us to 8 points and continues the longest winning streak the seconds have ever had.
    More tough decisions for the gaffer again next week as the “TCAFC on Crack” tour returns and the pool of players he has to choose from increases. A far cry from two season ago when 9 warriors travelled to Lucan for a game and nearly won (it was closer than the 7-1 scoreline suggests!).

    Al Leckey, Graham, Mark H, Dec F (Forlan, 70), Sean, Alan S (Kavo, 70), Padraig, Stephen, Kevin B (Colly, 50) Keith D, Ken Kearney.

    27/Oct/02
    Terenure College 4:2 Bluebell

    Perennial under-achievers TCAFC faced a tough task against table toppers Bluebell. The stats made for scary reading, Bluebell had 1 against and 20 for in their games to date and we had to make 6 changes to the squad that turned out for the epic against Joseph’s two weeks ago.
    Into the fold for his first start came new boy Stevie Jordan, he had made some cameo appearances for the firsts as a sub but this would be his first start. A He would be playing on the left of a midfield trio, along side Richie and Kevin B. Donal Cash had obviously caught the eye of the gaffer with his pulsating runs from full back the week before, and he was moved up to left wing to add a new dimension to our attacking play, behind him saw the return of “Stone Cold” Shane. The remaining back four was made up of Dec at centre and a “Special Guest” appearance from Sparky Hanlon playing alongside him with Sean slotting in at right full. On the right wing saw Gary Barlow supporting another “Special Guest”, yes, the Prince of Darkness, Hakan Sukar, Darth Maul, Blackie Connors himself – our very own Denis Friel.
    Jerzy Dudek returned to do nets for us as Al was away in Lucan for the weekend. The subs bench consisted of some scary talent with Will K, Brian O’D and Dec Brady all clicking their heels. The preparations, as always, were immaculate, and the one good thing about the swamp fight in Wexford was that we all got new socks! Dec F had also changed his routine and decided to get changed with the squad was instead of on a Friday night.
    The plan was good, we would hold the middle and let the wingers turn the formation into a 4-3-3 when we had the ball, and when we didn’t we would revert to the 4-5-1 and try and hold a line high up the pitch and catch them off. There was an air of determined confidence in the dressing room and everyone was concentrating and focused on the job in hand. We started brightly and played with the gale at our backs for the first half, Denis’s running up front was causing them all sorts of problems, and Gary was skinning his full back everytime he got the ball. Stephen and Kevin were making some brilliant runs from the middle of the park and it took Bluebell a while to realise they were actually in a game of football. Donal, Richie, Kevin and Sparky all got the early tackles in and let them know stats would count for little out here. Denis went close on two occasions only to be denied by the keeper but when Stephen Jordan shot hit the woodwork and rebounded to him he produced an excellent finish from the tightest of angles. Bluebell pushed on for their equaliser and came close on a number of occasions, but thanks a “Friedel’esque” performance from Jerzy, some desperate defending and some slack finishing on their part we held on to our slender lead till half time.
    We knew we’d be up against it this half, the breeze would make it difficult and these guys were bound to throw everything at us. We started nervously but soon got back into it and recovered from the early pressure they put on us and started pushing them back. They equalised after a break down our left saw their no.10 put it into our area and despite the best efforts of Dec he couldn’t clear the no.8’s shot off the line. A simple ball down the centre saw their no.8 nipping in and slotting the ball away after a mix up at the back with Jerzy and Mark getting their wires crossed.
    The heads dropped - Dec told us to get ourselves going again, slowly but surely we started playing the ball around a bit more, picking out our passes and getting the tackles in. Great work from Denis on the right saw his cross turned in brilliantly by Gary Barlow - great, back to 2:2 and the flow of the game had now turned in our favour. The Bluebell guys had started throwing Wobblers at each other. Straight from the kick off Gary broke into their box after a through ball from Denis, he managed to get around the Bluebell centre half – who looked more interested in fouling him than getting the ball – and slot the ball past the keeper. Jaysus 3:2 – Nice One!
    They pushed on again but at this stage we were playing with a lot of confidence and the back four were taking care of everything and Stephen, Kevin and Richie had taken ownership of the middle of the park. The Prince had a bit of a Darth Maul moment when he went for the ref but was subdued before he could grab the corner flag! With 15 to go we sealed the game when Denis and Gary combined again to score a fourth, Garys hat-trick was complete. 4:2 – Gift!
    Dec through on Dec B, switched Kev to the left and Ryan Giggs, sorry Donal Cash, got a well-earned break. This strengthened the middle of the park nicely and their tactic of moving to three up front caused us few hassles. And so it ended, the first win of the league campaign for the TCAFC seconds, a great performance combining grit, determination and skill to get us our first three points.
    Rumour has it that “Big Phe” was down observing – complete with lambs wool coat, gold medallions and Mediterranean tan – and no doubt a numbers of players have provided him with a welcome selection headache for his squad.
    Get your bucket and spade ready because next week were off to the seaside to play Coastal in true Bolton V. Sunderland six pointer style! Next week also sees the return of our inspirational front man Colm “Keano” (sorry Forlan – not you!) from his sojourn in South Africa, no doubt he’s been busy writing his book exposing the gambling, vice and drinking culture that courses through the underbelly of TCAFC!! However, it is worth noting that we are yet to lose a game while he has been away.

    Team – Jerzy, Shane, Mark, Dec, Sean, Donal, Stevie, Richie, Kevin, Gary, Denis Subs: Will, Dec B (Donal ’75), Brian O’D

    13/Oct/02
    St Josephs 1:1 Terenure College (Leinster Junior Shield, Round 2)

    We boarded our “Dream Team” bus at 9 in the college and got going, the atmosphere on the way to Kilmuckeridge (or something like that) was good and there was a positive vibe running through the squad. The gaffer wanted us in a 4-5-1 formation with the wingers supporting the lone striker as much as they could. The back four were Sean, Graham, Shane and Donal, in the middle of the park were Richie, Clank and Kevin with Gary Barlow on the right and Brian on the left. Dec Forlan was up front.
    Before kick off the rain started - and continued for the rest of the day! The pitch looked in ok nick but it was on a huge slope from end to end, we won the toss and decided to take the initiative and play down the hill. We seemed a bit tentative at the start but soon got into the running with Gary and Kevin combining well on the right a few times and Dec D was causing them problems when he got the ball to feet. We were holding our own in the middle of the park but we had to keep an eye on their big no.7 and their no. 10 was causing us a few problems at the back. A free kick from our right caused us worries again and their no7 got a “loopy loopy” header in and it crept into the top corner.
    We picked ourselves up and all realised it was vital we tried to get an equaliser while we had the slope, we pushed on, Clank hit the cross bar with a header and Dec had a shot that went just wide. It was proving tough to play football as the pitch was starting to cut up and the water was sitting on the surface. At half time Dec made it clear that we had to play the game in their half and not start sitting to deep, we would push up the pitch and hopefully work an opening. Chaos ensued in the first few minutes as the Nure back line tried to hold high up the pitch and the Joseph’s lads tried to play balls through and over the top to the runners.
    We were lucky that they missed a few clear cut chances and Alex had to make some timely interventions as a make shift sweeper. The gaffer made a few changes and put Kev in marking their no. 10 and brought Will and Keith into the fray and gave a Shane and Brian a well deserved rest. We seemed to settle a bit more, at the back we started getting our tackles and clearances in, and finally playing the offside a bit better. The rest of the team took confidence from this and we slowly worked our way back into the game. Richie, Clank, Keith and Will were doing excellent work in the middle of the park and Gary had pushed right up beside Dec - they always looked dangerous when we got the ball up to them.
    The goal arrived after excellent work from Donal on the left, Clank worked the ball across to Dec who squared to Gary Barlow for his third of the season. For the next 25 we dug in and fought hard to keep the ball and get it back up to Dec and Gary, Josephs didn’t look as dangerous as they had at the start of this half and the match was turning our way. Richie managed to drop the lipstick out of his handbag in a scuffle with their no7, apart from that we were not able to force a goal and win it.
    Extra time, again we decided to play down the hill. At this stage the conditions were atrocious and the ball was sticking in the water, it was hard to keep your feet and the legs were really hurting trying to run in the mud. Clank and Dec both had chances but it was over all too soon and for the next fifteen we knew we’d be up against it. They went close but a brilliant save from Al at the kept us in it, and good work by all limited the rest of their chances to a few long range efforts. We still managed to get forward a few times and always looked dangerous on the break but couldn’t get the deciding goal.
    Full time. Dec called us in and congratulated everyone and named the peno takers. We lost on the penos and a tired and dejected Nure team headed for the dressing rooms and the long journey home.

    06/Oct/02
    Terenure College 2:5 Orwell

    A disappointing result for TCAFC as this was a game where we desperately needed three points to get us out of the bottom half of the table.
    Brian O’D, Graham, Keith and Anto were all absent from the squad but we still had a very strong team. We had Richie back in the middle partnered by Will K, Kev B was on the right and Clank on the left. Upfront were Gary and Colly while at the back we had Dec F back from injury accompanied by Gary C and Donal and Sean in the full back berths.
    The gaffer had some things to say in the dressing room and raised some questions about our commitment and application. Star Bars and “pop” have been banned from the dressing room and a very distressed Sean was heard mumbling something about “energy snacks”! The chat had the desired effect on the team and we started brightly. It was fairly obvious that these guys had been around the block and they were very clever with their use of the ball and there passing was causing us a few problems.
    Despite this we battled hard and the game seemed to be turning in our favour. Coly went close on a number of occasions and was combining well with Gary. Kev was giving their left full a roasting and Richie and Will were beginning to dictate the pace in the middle of the park against a very good Orwell midfield.
    Tragedy struck with about 25 mins gone when a near post corner was nodded over Al and they went 1-0 up. They got a second as we were pushing for an equaliser. They broke from the midfield and their no.10 scored a screamer from 20 yards out. 2-0 down.
    The half time talk was simple - the next goal would be vital and could turn the flow of the game in our favour. Gary C was tasked with marking the no.10 and Will switched to the right with Kev going into the middle of the park to try and curb their midfield jaunts.
    Disaster struck after about 5 when the gaffer had to leave the field with a calf injury - he had made a good tackle though! The reshuffle at the back unsettled us and we seemed to lose a bit of shape but we started getting into it again and with Coly up front we always looked dangerous –Dec Forlan was introduced with 30 to go and his graft and tackling unsettled the Orwell backs. Tomas “footballitis” then came on in the left wing berth and caused all sorts of panic with his crazy legs. With Gus acting like some sort of crazy madman on the sideline - picture a somewhat larger Gordon Strachan in one of his bad moods - we pressured and harried and got our reward with two goals. A Forlan special hung in the air for about 5 mins before it eventually dropped over the keepers head, and Gary Smith got on the score sheet again with a fine finish after good thinking by Richie with a quick free.
    After clawing our way into the game for the last 40mins our concentration lapsed and a cross from the left saw two Orwell players tossing a coin to see who would nod it in! We battled on but alas it was not to be - the gaps we left in search of another equaliser were easily punished by an experienced Orwell midfield and their big no.10. We had a few more chances with Gary B, Colm and Dec all going close but our opponents class and experience showed in the end.
    Next week sees us off to the sticks for a cup game with St. Joseph’s in Wexford. All players have been allotted a 20min slot on the journey back to discuss tactics, formation, training, team selection, love life, etc. with the gaffer. A minimum of 8 pints must be “on board” in order to avail of this fantastic opportunity to discover how the mind of a gaffer works.
    Note: Dec Forlan is only allowed 4 pints before his slot as we don’t want any “incidents” on the bus.

    29/Sep/02
    Earl Celtic 3:2 Terenure College AFC

    The 2nd team suffered yet another narrow defeat on Sunday morning, this time to perennial nemesis Earl Celtic. The team was unsettled even before the first whistle by the ‘no show’ of one of the centre halves. Owen Keating stepped up from the bench to get a first start since being sidelined with an ankle injury last season.
    On an extremely hard pitch with both sides trying to find their footing the early exchanges resulted in the ball bouncing everywhere. Nure, playing with the hill and slight breeze in the first half, enjoyed the majority of possession and despite several chances could not put the ball in the net. When Nure overcame their own terrible finishing and bad option taking they found an Earl Celtic keeper in good form with some good saves most notably, Bishop from distance a close range volley from Costello. In vintage Nure style, Earl’s first attack yielded a corner from which one of their defenders was left unmarked at the back post. A good header and static Nure meant a 1-0 deficit. That became two when an innocuous ball into the corner by the opposition sparked a calamitous mix up in the Nure defence. The result was a Nure defender neatly squaring the ball for an Earl Celtic forward to pass the ball home to the gapping net.
    O’Donoghue limped off after 25min to allow Tomás get his first outing of the season. Nure managed to compose themselves once again and still enjoyed plentiful possession with Kearney and Hanly dominant in the centre of midfield and Gary causing problems for the home defence on the right hand side. Despite more chances squandered for Nure, the scorer was untroubled. Half time score 2-0.
    The second half was more evenly matched and pretty much end-to-end. Nure were yet again on the wrong end when, after 15 minute, the resulting cross from a short free kick ensured that yet another Earl defender was left unmarked at the Nure back post to again finish comfortably. 3-0 down meant revival time for Nure. In the 70 minute, initial good work by Keating, Costello carried on and chipped the last defender into the path of Smith who coolly pushed the ball past the keeper. 80 minutes gone when strong running by Thomas resulted in him being chopped down; the referee played good advantage as the ball fell into the path of Costello who ran on to beat the keeper for 3-2. A hectic last 10 minutes resulting in chances at both ends. A particular miss by an Earl Celtic sub making Nure’s missed efforts look minor. Nure could not grab the equaliser and went down by the single goal once again.
    Bucking recent trends, manager Dec Fitzpatrick refused to criticise his players and believes that the season can still be turned around. He also would not be drawn on impending disciplinary action for ‘the absentee’.

    Leckey, Doherty, Keating, Cash, Fitzpatrick, Kearny, Hanly, Smith, F. Bishop, Costello, O’Donoghue.
    Subs: Tomás 'Footballitis' (O’Donoghue 25 min), Whelan (F. Bishop 75 min)

    22/Sep/02 (FAI Junior Shield)
    Terenure College AFC 2:1 Moyne Rangers

    A good weekend for the club. Friday night saw the birthday boys all out on the piss, and Mark and Coly picking up their player of the year awards from last season. Sat 21st was a non-day for the majority of attendees. Special mention again to Rodders for the excellent trophies.
    On Sunday the seconds picked up their first win of the season against a plucky Moyne Rangers team. We had lost to a team from Wexford in the second round of the cup last season but the mood in the dressing room was one of quiet confidence, there were a few changes in the team but the tactics would remain the same and we felt we were unlucky last week not to get something from the game. Big Gary Copeland was drafted into centre half and Shane had recovered from his injury to get his spot back at left full. Dec at centre and Sean at right full made up the rest of the back four. Anto and Richie were asked to anchor the centre of the park and Kev and Brian were to support “Keano” and Dec Forlan up front as much as they could.
    The first 20 saw a free flowing game of football with both teams wanting to play the ball on the ground and attack in numbers. We soon reverted to having Sean come in on the centre forward thus allowing Gary to sweep up behind – this tactic worked well throughout the game and limited their chances on goal. Anto and Richie were playing some great ball in the centre and the lads up front were putting together some good moves. The goal was on the cards and some good interplay between Brian and Coly teed Anto up nicely for a shot - it crept in to the top left corner and left the keeper with no chance. 1-0 up. Anto swears the shot was from the edge of the D at the centre circle but we all know better. The keeper had injured himself in his effort to get the ball and had to come off - the smallest player on the pitch replaced him.
    We had another chance about five minutes later when a ball was chased down on the right and the full back made a hurried pass to the keeper, he fluffed his clearance and it landed at the feet of Dec “Forlan” who was very unlucky with his shot which just clipped the upright and went wide – he’s not having the best of time times at the moment, if Dec fell out of a boat he’d miss the water!
    Half time and Dec Fitz was rightly disappointed at our inability to test the stand in keeper and we knew these guys were not going to give up easily; we’d need another goal to secure our passage to the next round. We started poorly and immediately handed the initiative to the visitors, who put us under a bit of pressure. We started coming back into it though and eventually Richie and Anto started asserting themselves on the game as they did for the first 45. However, our relentless quest to give the opposition as many free kicks as they wanted was again our undoing, a good ball into our back post saw one of their lads sneak in for a header and we were back to 1-1.
    We started to get our act together after that and got our passing game going again. Coly went around the keeper but the angle was too tight to convert, Dec Dolan and Gary both had free kicks that went close. In fairness to Moyne, every time a Terenure player looked like they made a bit if space for themselves they were closed down quickly. The winner came with 20 minutes to go, a free kick from the left by Gary saw Dec get a flick on and Coly poke it past the keeper. “Well at long last” was heard from one of our centre halves as the goal went in. Moyne didn’t give up and came back at us, there no.2 hammered Dec with a shoulder and he was replaced by Donal for the last 10. Gary then milled their no.8 out of it in the corner and the ref told him he was “too big to be playing this game” – I’d say the no.8 thought the same! Kevin and Brian were excellent throughout the game and their tracking back to help out the defence saved us on many an occassion.
    We held on for a fully deserved first win of the season, I think we would have all preferred 3 points in the league but at least were off the mark and we have another cup day out to come. Some tough decisions again for the gaffer next week – Graham, Forlan, Gary, Kevin are all out for Sunday and Phe has a few guys missing as well. Watch this space.

    Jerzy, Sean, Dec F (Donal ’70), Gary, Shane, Kevin, Anto, Richie, Brian, Dec, Coly subs: Gus, Donal, Keith.

    15/Sep/02 (LSL Div3B)
    Terenure College AFC 0:1 Verona

    Firstly one or two things to clear up from last weeks report - Victor didn’t score the first goal from the free it was another guy that Dec was not marking (ok Dec?) and we were actually playing Verona this week and not a cup game.
    Everyone was fairly demoralised after our loss to Lucan the week before and the Sunday game against Verona was going to be another toughie – they had one their last few games and looked to be on a bit of a roll. Training during the week had been good and the seconds had a bit of an open forum on Tuesday night to discuss Sunday mornings defeat, their were some controversial views – mainly from our very own Keano (“No Dec, I don’t think so! ”) – but in general it served it’s purpose and left the gaffer with some thinking to do before Thursday.
    Phe pointed out a few home truths on Thursday night - while our timekeeping had improved our slack attitude had to change - their wasn’t enough effort being put in and we just seem to be going through the motions and having a bit of a laugh during the training games. This had to change and hopefully we turned a bit of a corner on Thursday evening.
    The gaffer had some tough choices to make this week with Team selection; he was also reading up on new tactics other than the Liverpool style of 4-5-1. What he came up with was a 4-4-2 type formation with Keano and the mercurial Anto Hanley up front. Richie and Padraig O’Dwyer were asked to anchor the middle of the park, while Brian and Kevin B were given a license to go forward and attack their respective full backs and support the two lads up front. The back 4 consisted of Shane and Sean at full back, and Graham (lucky to be playing after a nasty fall outside the tennis club at 4am on Friday nite – witnessed within the vicinity of the incident included a very drunk Richie and an even drunker Sean) and Dec reformed their partnership at the back. On the bench were Gus, Keith and Donal.
    Special mention must go to Rodney Bishop who came in for a bit of stick earlier in the season (re. “A set is two”), everyone was in agreement that the pitch was in immaculate condition, a pleasure to play on and a credit to the club.
    We started brightly enough and did what Dec had asked us – show them no respect and played our own passing game. We applied some good pressure and won a few corners and Brian and Anto both had shots on target saved by the keeper. At the other end there were a few scary moments and Jerzy was back to performing heroics again. About 25 mins gone Big Shane jumped for a ball and came down badly on his shin and had to be carried off – enter Donal Cash for his first appearance for the club in about 10 years and slotted into left full. It took us a while to get back into our rhythm but we were soon back on track again. With a minute to go to half time disaster struck as we were caught in possession and Verona broke down our left - a last ditch tackle from Dec couldn’t prevent the ball dribbling over the line and Verona were in front. Half time and Dec re-stated his tactics and asked Padraig and Richie to get their shape again – we were still very much in this game and there was a goal there for us.
    Richie and Padraig did as instructed and they got things motoring for us in the middle of the park – their big no.6 was causing us a bit of trouble but we closed quickly when he had the ball and Coly and Anto were creating chances up front.
    Throughout the second half we battled hard and everyone gave it their all. Dec went close with one of his trademark headers that was somehow cleared off the line. Keith Darragh came on and combined well on the right with Coly and Padraig to carve open a few chances. Brian was proving a constant thorn in their side on the left and was linking well with D and the front men. Gussy came on for the last ten and nearly got through once or twice, on another day we might have got one or two breaks of the ball but alas it was not to be.
    In truth though, Verona deserved the three points and it was Jerzy who kept us in the game with two terrific saves in the second half (their was a third from Grahams diving header but apparently the two of them knew what they were doing!!). While this wasn’t the result we wanted we showed an improvement over last week and everyone upped there game.
    We have played 4 games and three of those have been against the two teams who are most likely to battle it out for the top spot and we have the cup game to look forward to on Sunday morning.

    Jerzy, Sean, Dec, Graham, Shane (donal 25), Kevin (Keith 65), Richie, Padraig, Brian, Anto (Gus 80), Coly

    8/Sep/02 (LSL Div3B)
    Lucan 2:0 Terenure College AFC

    Back to playing footie on a Sunday morning – after last Sundays debacle with the goalposts, no pitch in Bushy and Coastal unable to play at home we were all looking forward to a game of ball. Didn’t we already play Lucan away you may be asking yourself?? Well don’t, were playing them away again.
    The plan was simple - five in the middle of the park, cut off the supply to the strikers and try and catch them on the break. Trigger was on the left, Colly, Keith, and Kev in the middle and The Monk (still abstaining from using the spoken word as a means of communication!) was on the right. With Graham away at a family gig I Galway, the Gaffer had to change things around at the back a bit. Brian O’D was drafted into left full and Shane came into the centre with Sean on the right. Dec “Forlan” Dolan was given the Michael Owen role up front.
    We started off badly and were immediately on the back foot. The pitch wasn’t helping and a lot of us were unsure of our footing. A missed header by Sean nearly allowed their big no. 9 in and Jerzy had to get down smartly to clean up a "rabbit killer". Victor was their no.9 and I wondered if this was a nickname for him as his resemblance to Victor Costello was uncanny! Dec F was doing a good job on him though and we started to settle down a little bit.
    The referee was a bit finnicky about some of the challenges and one thing we need to take from this game is that we have to keep our hands down. This resulted in countless free kicks for the opposition but we defended them well and Man of the Match, Jerzy, claimed a number of high balls.
    Another Lucan attack saw the ball break at the edge of our 18 and Keith put in what looked like a good tackle – the ref blew for a free and our pal “Victor” slotted it away. Pants. We kept going to the end of the half but we failed to get a shot in on goal. Will and Dec D combined well and Colly worked hard to create the openings but we went in a goal down at half time.
    The second half saw more of the same and some stout defending was called for Shane and Dec F were doing well in the centre but sheer weight of numbers meant we always looked vulnerable. Jerzy kept us in it again when he got down quickly to push the ball around the post and again when Victor put in a shot from the right. Our inability to keep possession of the ball and support Dec D was killing us. When Lucan broke they always looked like scoring. We were sitting so deep they were able to pass the ball out from the back and put us under pressure straight away. Their second goal resulted when a cross from their right saw Victor turn smartly and the Nure defence was caught leaden footed as the ball was slotted by a helpless Jerzy.
    Rodney "a set is two!" Bishop came on for Barry, and his ability to hold the ball up and bring in other players created one of our only chances. Colly was put through but his clever chip was agonisingly wide. Hawkeye and Dave C came on for the last 15 and put in some good work but it was not to be. Lucan were good for the points and Nure were bereft of ideas - next Sunday sees us taking on a team from the Model County in a cup game on our own pitch. The cup always provides the seconds with a bit of excitement. 3:0 win last season, beating Ards on penalties away the season before, losing to CY on penos in the college. Looking forward to it.

    Wilson, Doherty, Shane, Dec Fitzpatrick, B. O'Donoghue, Will, K. Brady, Keith, Coly, B. Doyle, D. Dolan Subs: R. Bishop, Dave C, E. Keating

    25/Aug/02 (LSL Div3B)
    Ballyogan 3:3 Terenure College AFC

    The second game of the season sees the lads travelling out to Leopardstown to take on Ballyogan, these guys were beaten last week 3-1 last Sunday by Verona and were new to our league so we weren’t sure what to expect.
    The team was much the same as last week – Alex in nets, Sean at right full, Graham and Dec in the centre. Shane was making his competitive debut for the club and started at left full. The midfield was made up of Brian, Kev, Richie, and Will with Coly up front and Keith playing “in the hole” behind him. It was a 2.30 kick off, the sun was shining and the lads seemed up for it. We started well and soon recognised the fact that these guys were nothing to fear. With the ball on the ground we were destroying them with our passing and movement. The final ball into Coly or Keith was lacking and we seemed to be a little short of confidence and belief in our own ability.
    Some good work on the right again saw Sean putting Brian through – he combined well with Keith who put the cross into Coly. This guy has taken to playing up front like a Duck to water and dispatched his shot expertly giving the keeper no chance. 1-0. A free kick from the left for Ballyogan saw the ball floating in toward Jerzy, a lapse in concentration and we were back to 1-1.
    We picked ourselves up and got going again, the midfield was working hard and we were creating chances, Coly went close again from a difficult angle and Keith and Brian combined well on the left after a cross from Sean but couldn’t finish. Shane seemed to be enjoying his debut and went on one or two rampaging runs which created no end of trouble for the opposition.
    At half-time we outlined the obvious fact that we were better than these guys and it was up to us to take the game to them and up the pace. We immediately took this on board and the second half saw a rejuvinated Terenure take to the field. From the right again Will and Sean worked well and won a corner, Richie duly obliged by sticking it on Dec Fitz’s bonce for our second of the game. A wry smile toward the cute blonde on the sideline suggested a “that was for you baby!” type relationship was developing – watch this space.
    Anyway, back to the game - a free from the left for Ballyogan saw their no. 10 getting a flick on and scoring another equaliser. Back to work again. Dec F gave Will a rest on brought on the elder of the O’Dwyer brother taking to the field on the right side and Senor DecD took over from Keith up front. The re-org disrupted our rhythm for a while and the back four were made to work a bit harder under the increased pressure.
    Despite this, througout the game the opposition were restricted to a shot count of zero for the game, and Jerzy got down smartly the one time they got in behind us – this is a credit to the work that DecF and Phe have put in on the training pitch and the work ethic that we talked about in the dressing room beforehand.
    Some good work in the midfield again saw the ball played forward and Coly combined well with DecD put the shot went agonisingly wide – still thinking about the Cuban Lady-Boys no doubt. Amazingly, Graham also got a shot on target that hit off the post and went wide.
    And now for a moment of brilliance – a high ball out of defence bounced in front of Coly who had his back to goal over on the right side of midfield. He turned and volleyed and the ball flew in to the top right corner - a screamer and definite contender for goal of the season. The expression “Rafty’s love child” has been used on a number of players in the club before but surely a DNA test is required here.
    A free from the left for Ballyogan two minutes later saw the ball bouncing in front of Jerzy who spilled under pressure, in the melee that followed (similar to the Cork v. Kerry game happening at the same time, albeit on a bigger stage) the ball ended up in the back of the net.
    While we managed to snatch a draw from the jaws of victory we should take heart from the commitment and fitness levels shown, we never gave up and worked hard as a team. We are looking more solid at the back and playing some good football in the middle of the park. Shane and Kev have come in and taken their chances well and in Coly we have a striker who can put the chances away. Confidence is growing and a win is due but we’ll have to make it happen rather than waiting for it to happen to us.

    Wilson, Doherty, Graham, Fitzpatrick, Shane, Will, K. Brady, Keith, Brian, Richie, Coly. Subs:Dolan, B. Doyle, P. O’Dwyer

    18/Aug/02 (LSL Div3B)
    Lucan 2:2 Terenure College AFC

    What had preceded this game heralded a new dawn in the history of TCAFC for a number of reasons

  • after 21 years at the club Declan Fitzpatrick has decided to give something back and has taken over the managerial reigns from Sean Doherty, his enthusiasm and application had spread through the team;
  • during the summer months a number of senior players, Phe, Gus, Alec, had attended the FAI training course and the changes brought about in pre-season were welcomed by all;
  • the club has grown in size and numbers for pre-season have often exceeded 30 and for the first time in a long time it looks like there will be sufficient numbers for both squads to compete successfully on all fronts; and
  • a number of key players who were not around due to various commitments and injuries last season have returned and are eagerly anticipating the new season – Dec Fitz, Graham O’Sullivan, Karl Bishop, Richie Lombard, and Gary Copeland to name a few.
  • The first game of the season is Lucan away - last years record was a 3-3 draw at home and a 1-0 defeat away. The preperations on the morning were excellent and Dec had everything ready, the team was Jerzy in nets, Sean and Darren full backs, Graham and Dec centre halves, Will K, Kevin Brady, Keith D, and Brian O’D made up the midfield with Colm and Rafty up front. Richie (the less said about this the better), Shane and Baz made up the bench along with our regular season ticket holder - Sparky Hanlon.
    Dec has taken the Gerrard Houllier book of management to heart and emphasises the importance of a solid work ethic and commitment. Darren was to work the left with Brain and think offensive while Will and Sean were asked to hold back and sweep up when needed.
    Unfortunately this goes to shite after 2 mins when there number 10 nips through and slots the ball past Jerzy who had no chance. Have Terenure 2’nds reverted back to their old ways - concede an early goal and put the heads down and go through the motions??????
    We re-group and 15 mins later none other than Rafty latches on to a through ball and slots away the shot mercilessly. The movement of the two forward is causing all sorts of problems at the back and we revert to pulling Sean in from the right full to man mark one of them and leave either Graham or Dec to sweep. We keep playing football and Keith and Kev are linking well in midfield and trying to do what they can to create chances and play some neat football – the distribution from the back is poor though but they work card to protect the goal. Another goal comes Lucan’s way from a freekick – the ball is blasted in and the ricochet falls to the striker - who amazingly has time to turn, take the ball down and shoot. The lack of match practice can be seen in the fact that we seem to be second to a lot of ball.
    Brian O’D is a constant threat on the wing and a ball through from the back puts him clear on the right where he wins us a corner. Rafty does his Salmon impression and directs the ball to the far corner but it goes agonisingly wide. The first half ends.
    Nothing much to say - we’re not playing as well as we should have and we know that, we need to tighten up all over the pitch and try and create some more chances. Sean goes inside to mark the forward leaving Dec and Graham to sort out the sweeper role and Darren stays on the left where himself have linked well. Kevin is asked to sit a bit deeper and watch the runners.
    We start well and put them under some pressure, Kevin has some powerful runs and one in particular down the left of the pitch causes no end of problems, Will K has started to come into the game a lot more even though he has his work cut out tracking back on the right as well as trying to create some chances. The second goal came with good work from Keith and Brian with the latter slipping it through to the big man to get his second of the season.
    Shortly after this Brian had a penalty claim turned down but maybe this was evened out by some decisions going our way at the back. The last 20 mins required a great deal of effort from all involved as Lucan brought out the kitchen sink and started throwing it our way. We proceeded to “circle the wagons” (a phrase we’ll no doubt be hearing more of the coming season!) and defend what we had (again from the Gerrard Houllier book of management). Some excellent work tracking back from Kev, and Will and some hard tackling by the back 4 kept Lucan at bay for the remainder of the game. Brian, Keith, and Coly worked hard to create chances and close the midfield down and Barry came on for the last 15 for Coly but at that stage it was mostly one-way traffic.
    In the end a point was fair result considering the amount of possession we had and the lads showed excellent commitment to come back, hold on and not capitulate in the second half.
    No going through the motions here – hopefully a sign of things to come.

    Wilson, Doherty, Graham, Fitzpatrick, Frehill, Will, K. Brady, Keith, Brian, Coly, Rafter. Subs: B. Doyle, Richie,Shane

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