Match 1: 10:00 AM @ St. Vincent’s Park – Main Pitch
Happy Apples vs. Ferguson Brewing Co
The first time these 2 sides met was match #1, which was an absolute cracker. It was a well-played, cagey affair ending up in a 3 point victory for Ferguson Brewing Company. That match saw one Joe Byrne arrive out of the mist up the St. Vinny’s cart path with 15 minutes left to play. There would be no such apparition for the Fergies this time though, and Happy Apples was ready to have their revenge.
As the sides lined out, the most notable sight was that captain Ryan Lobbig was absent for Happy Apples. His skill and speed were crucial if the Apples were going to win this match. Without the captain’s contribution, I feared this match could be one-way traffic.
From the throw in it was a fairly even match, with both sides showing some free-flowing play. At the 5″ mark, FBC’s Matt Anglin hit a stellar short angle point from the left side. This will not be the last time you hear his name… As the match settled in, the Apples were forging ahead without the possession game that Ryan Lobbig brings to the side. A flurry of activity in the Ferguson end by the Apples saw 3 consecutive wides in a short span at the 12″ mark. This was not coincidentally the same time frame that captain Sterling Hayden left the match for Ferguson with a strained hip flexor – he would not return. However 20″ in, Ferguson Brewing Co turned up the wick. After a foul in the Apples’ end, a free sent in fell a bit short giving Ferg a gilt-edged chance at goal – only to be blocked on an outstanding effort by Apples’ defense. 23″ in, ‘the teaching Brit’ Ryan Limb bombed over a free from 45m to extend Ferguson’s lead to 10-2. That would be the last score for the Fergies in the half, with Happy Apples adding 2 late points to their tally.
Happy Apples: 0-4-4
Ferguson Brewing Co: 1-7-10
As Happy Apples tried to rally for a 2nd half comeback, the absence of Ryan Lobbig was crippling. What the Apples needed was some possession and ball movement and being without their most mobile player made that virtually impossible. The 34″ mark was the beginning of the end for the Reds as they conceded a penalty which Mike Keane was happy to put into the ‘ol onion bag. A 40″ goal by Eric Caldwell pulled the Apples back into the match if only for a few minutes. At this stage, Ferguson’s Matt Anglin put his stamp on the match by scoring his 4th point from play. The last 15 minutes was basically a clinic in possession from Ferguson Brewing Co, with Bob O’Mahony, Dan Cowin, Phil Hawkins and Ryan Limb all spending quality time with the ball.
Happy Apples: 1-6-9
Ferguson Brewing Co: 2-13-19
Happy Apples: Ryan Hallows(0-2), Eric Caldwell(1-0), Joe Driefke(0-1), Mike Guinn(0-3).
Ferguson Brewing Co: Angel Garcia(0-1), Keith Mayers(0-1), Matt Anglin(1-4), Mike Keane(1-3), Ryan Limb(0-4).
Man of the Match: Matt Anglin – Ferguson Brewing Co.
Match 2: 11:15 AM @ St. Vincent’s Park – Main Pitch
Pat Connolly Tavern vs. AOH St. Charles
Not unlike the first match of the day, the first time these 2 sides met in week #1 it was magical. The Pat Connolly Tavern squeaked out a W in that one, with their keeper Kara Richardson under constant siege.
The 2nd match of these 2 teams was much like the first. From the opening throw in, AOH’s John Beard got loose down the left side and a long ball found him in stride, allowing him to stuff the ball home for a 3 point lead within the 1st minute of play. Could this be a case of ‘here we go again with all the goals?’. Yes, yes it could. Only 1 minute later PCT’s keeper was under attack again with Kara making not 1 – but 2 point blank saves. That run of play right there saved this match from getting out of control, as the Pat Connolly Tavern crew buckled down and worked the ball around with some nice possession play. 13″ in featured yet another turning point for the PCT when AOHSTC’s Jeff Brown scored an apparent goal resulting from a free attempt sent short – but was ruled to be in the small box, allowing the PCT to dodge another 3 point bullet. At this stage midway into half #1, there were 7 combined scores for the sides; all points for PCT and all goals for AOHSTC. Just before the half, the referee showed a yellow card to AOH’s Greg Hake for what looked like a regular high ball challenge with PCT’s Tony Cowin. After Cowin went to ground holding his head, Hake was shown the yellow.
Pat Connolly Tavern: 0-6-6
AOH St. Charles: 3-1-10
1 minute into half #2, AOHSTC found themselves in the principal’s office again as Jimmy Orbin was shown a yellow card for overly aggressive play. Just minutes later things went from bad to worse for AOH when Greg Hake was shown yellow #2 in the 38th minute. But the AOH offensive onslaught continued when the referee awarded them a penalty 42″ in. Once again, PCT’s Kara Richardson proved to be the difference as she thwarted the spot kick and the rebound, eventually relenting on attempt #3 when AOH flooded the box and put the rebound away.
After the sending off of AOH’s Hake, PCT did not change their approach and kept the points from play flowing regularly. Playing 1 man up for virtually the entire 2nd half, PCT enjoyed even more room for the big man from Co. Kerry, Kieran O’Shea. The man was unstoppable on the day scoring 9 points and dictating play with his physical presence on the ball. With AOH’s focus on goals, the points from O’Shea were crucial in keeping this match close. Pat Connolly Tavern had a chance to edge out in front with some breathing room at 44″, but a rocket from the 20m line hit the upper 90 of the frame – literally – as the ball struck the post, crossbar and ultimately the goal line. After a bit of a scramble AOHSTC was able to clear the ball to the outside and out of danger.
As if things weren’t difficult enough for AOH, Jimmy Orbin joined Hake on the sideline with his 2nd yellow on the day at 50″. That left the PCT primed to take advantage of being 2 players up and put this match to bed. However PCT was only able to muster 2 more points from the short advantage and at the final whistle – we were tied.
For the purist, you will love the Pat Connolly Tavern’s style of play with quick movement, wide play, sublime points and quality possession. The video game generation will salivate over AOHSTC’s method of route 1 football: middle of the pitch, long balls over the top to the forwards who will pump in goals regularly. They’ve no interest in points at all as they have exactly 2 points in 2 matches vs. PCT – it’s all goals, all the time.
2 completely different ways to get to the same place: goals vs. points.
Pat Connolly Tavern: 1-13-16
AOH St. Charles: 5-1-16
Pat Connolly Tavern: Ken Buckholtz(0-2), Kieran O’Shea(0-9), Matt Hoffman(0-2), Tony Cowin(1-0).
AOH St. Charles: John Beard(1-0), Alex Cooke(0-1), Jeff Brown(2-0), Pete DaPrato(2-0)
Man of the Match: Kieran O’Shea – Pat Connolly Tavern