Kinvara Utd B 0-1 Colga C
Kinvara u12’s Blue squad hosted Colga for their first league game at home this year. Weather on the day was perfect and the Killina pitch was in great shape for the game. Although the previous meeting of these two teams had resulted in a Kinvara victory any cursory look at the recent results in the league show that Colga have steadily improved throughout the season. On matchday morning it became clear that Kinvara would have to go with a different formation as a combination of factors had combined to leave midfielders for Kinvara thin on the ground.
With only the warmup to come to terms with a new formation and with several players playing in unfamiliar positions, captain for the day, Cathal, stepped into the centre circle for the coin toss. With favourable weather conditions and playing at home Cathal elected to take the tip. The man in charge for the day was Tommy Murphy who took the time with all the players before kick-off to set out the rules, expectations and more importantly to ensure that there were no nerves and ensure that the game would be enjoyed by all.
From kick-off the Kinvara Blues, despite the last minute changes in formation, focused on the job in hand, Cathal quietly but assuredly organised the defence into their new format and controlled the tempo of the game in the Kinvara half. It was clear from the outset that Colga and their travelling fans had come with great expectation and while it may not have been a different team facing Kinvara for this home fixture it was certainly a much-improved and disciplined team from the fixture earlier in the season, and they set about testing the Kinvara defence from the outset.
Oisinn took well to starting in the back and made it his business to break down any attacks coming in from the left, in this role he was ably assisted by Cormac in midfield. Liam shared full back responsibilities with Cathal for the first half, and facilitated Harry, who was playing his Kinvara debut to operate with abandon up and down the right wing. In the early exchanges the Kinvara defence looked assured and controlled in intercepting everything that Colga threw at them. Ethan was also introduced into the defence midway through the first half and responded well within the new formation and to all challenges that came his way.
As the defensive line grew into its new format the midfield also had to contend with the new formation and with reduced numbers Cormac, Daire and Miguel had to work extremely hard to assert themselves and get time on the ball. The three lads clearly rose to the occasion though and persistently got into good positions to support each other working intricate passes together to press into the stalwart Colga defence. David quickly got to grips with his role and understood straight away that he had to be strong on the ball, frequently holding it up to give the supporting players time to get into position and make pinpoint lay-offs to set up shots…… and there were several shots, with Daire, Miguel, David and Liam all having good shots turned wide in the first half.
It was a very even first half with both teams pressing and it was real end-to-end football. The best chance of the half probably fell to Colga who got a free kick on the edge of the box after a last-ditch shot-saving tackle by Harry was deemed to be over-enthusiastic and too physical by the referee. Colga set themselves up and their number 8 launched a high driving shot towards the top corner that was only turned away by a finger-tip save from Luca diving into the corner. The defence re-set and again the match took on its attacking and counter-attacking format for the rest of the half, with both David and Miguel making the Colga keeper earn his keep by deflecting on target shots wide of the post. At half time the teams walked off the pitch 0-0 in what was a really competitive game.
The game restarted with Miguel pushing into the forward position, David moving to central midfield and Daire moving to the wing. Liam and Harry continued as they had left off making tireless darting runs up and down the wing while Cathal, Ethan and Oisinn were not giving any quarter in defence.
Again the match was back and forth but on balance, even playing a completely new system, Kinvara were retaining more of the ball and had the better of the chances. With ten minutes to go Colga broke from midfield and launched a low driving shot which was turned wide by Luca. The resultant Colga corner was accurately driven into the penalty spot and following a bit of goal-mouth ping-pong Kinvara just couldn’t clear it and the ball squirreled into the Kinvara net. 0-1 to Colga.
The last ten minutes would prove to be a real test of character for the Kinvara Blues, but they threw everything they could at Colga. David made his presence felt in midfield and upfront, Miguel made several darting runs constantly making himself available for and running onto through balls. On one through-ball from David, Miguel burst from the midfield without setting off the disciplined Colga off-side trap, made space and created the opportunity for a one-on-one with the keeper, however, on this occasion the Colga keeper did just enough and the shot went just wide. Daire provided great linkage place throughout and the defence remained a solid platform to build on. In his first game for the Kinvara Blues, Harry thrived from his back wing position to press throughout (and all over) the pitch and was nearly rewarded by a goal but his 55th minute shot went just high and wide. In the closing minutes Ethan pressed in defence to break up attacks and pushed forward where he could and Oisinn was a great utility player and made himself available on the wing and in defence to contribute to defence and attack wherever needed.
Cormac too was tireless in the midfield and added to both defence and attack as opportunity arose, he also made an excellent opportunity for himself in the closing minutes but again was just beaten to the ball by the stalwart Colga defence.
Kinvara showed great team spirit and never stopped attacking, or working for each other. Colga worked hard too and with the minutes passing by they knew the balance of play was swinging their way. Kinvara attacked throughout the last five minutes but the equaliser just would not materialise. The game ended 0-1 to Colga in what was a highly entertaining and skilfully played match. Kinvara could point to the squad numbers and new formation as obstacles that needed overcoming but all in all can have no complaints, team discipline, understanding of their roles and heart could not be faulted, the Kinvara Blues played really well and worked hard for each other and did everything that could be asked of them…. it just wasn’t to be their day.
Any good game of football needs two teams and Colga are to be congratulated on their skill and discipline on the day and Kinvara will be hoping that they put in as strong a performance against Bearna in their next fixture who have just edged Kinvara off the top spot in the league after the weekends results. Kinvara can take a lot of solace in the manner in which the squad played and in their attitude but must now reset and focus on the games ahead.
KUFC would also like to thank spectators and parents for their support in fielding the teams and encouraging the players. Kinvara U12 Blues would also like to thank the match-day referee Tommy Murphy who went above and beyond to ensure a free-flowing game and went out of his way to offer support and advice to the young players when needed to ensure that the game was enjoyed by all. Finally Kinvara management would like to thank Andrew for being there to support his team who despite being unable to play contributed well by encouraging his team-mates and helping on the sideline calls, warming up and briefing substitutes and overall keeping managements blood-pressure down.
Kinvara Utd: Luca Green, Cathal Malone (c), Ethan Murphy, Cormac Leech, Liam Daly, Miguel Medina, David Huban, Oisinn Grady, Harry Allen, Daire Hawkins.
Management: Jimmy Green and Andrew O’Grady with great match day help/support from Mike Leech, Catherine Hawkins and Orla Murphy.