LET THE GAMES BEGIN
It's hard to credit that we're in March already which of course means the start of the 2013 season kicks off this Friday night. The friendlies are now but a distant memory, City Calling Group and Phil Munnelly are our new sponsors, the squad have numbers now and a whole new era beckons.
Locally, there's a definite buzz about the place and hopes are high that we'll have our most successful season in years. But then, all clubs must have that same start of term upbeat feeling. We have continuity with Tony Cousins in charge still. The facilities at City Calling Stadium have been upgraded. We've added both youth and experience to the squad as well as holding on to a few wise old heads.
So what does the season promise? Last Saturday afternoon, we had our final friendly against Bray Wanderers and although we lost one nil, it was a pretty good workout, with young 17 year old Josh O'Hanlon being one for the future. He almost scored the equaliser with the last attack only to be denied by an excellent save by the visiting keeper. It was also good to see Brian McCarthy back in red and black wearing an unfamiliar 25 on his back.
For some, the 2013 season is being tagged as “our year”. Only time will tell. But what most want is a season where we see passion, pride and skill, few silly mistakes and plenty of goals for the Town and then, if it's not being too optimistic, more points than any other club in the first division.
Let the games begin .
AWAY IN GALWAY
We kick off our season with a Friday night journey to Drom to take on Salthill Devon. It's a difficult prospect in many ways. It's a difficult place to find even if you've been there before. Obviously the recession has curtailed the buying of proper signage. Then, it's a cold, wild and windy spot even in our so called summer or spring. Opening games can be tricky at the best of times (ask any Waterford supporter about their opening against Wexford Youths last season!) and Salthill can be an extremely difficult opposition to break down. Every single game will be difficult but hopefully the weight of expectations won't be too burdensome for us to come away with some early points.
CAR BOOT SALES
The season starts both on and off the pitch this month. Our first CAR BOOT SALE will be the St Patrick's bank holiday Monday, March 18th 10am-3pm at City Calling Stadium, Strokestown Road. The name may have changed but the location and bargains remain the same. Traditionally our bank holiday Mondays have been hugely successful and it looks like this trend will continue into the future. Many people have been asking about future Car Boot Sales and the easiest way to remember the dates is to pencil in the Bank Holidays. This of course means that the Easter bank holiday will be our second one and that too is fast approaching. So, if you're buying or selling, remember to make a date for one of Ireland's best Car Boot Sales, bank holiday Monday March 18th at City Calling Stadium, Strokestown Road.
BUS TO DROM
Section 0 were on Facebook organising a bus but seemingly the wheels fell off that plan. So, as usual, if we have enough names by Wednesday evening, the Supporters' Club will run a bus to our opening game in the west. Call Liam on 087 6141926 but if there aren't sufficient numbers by this Wednesday 6th March, then there's no bus. Simple as that.
All in the Supporters' Club would like to wish Noel Nolan all the best. Noel was recently hospitalised in Mullingar. A few of his friends from the Supporters' Club went up to see one of our most loyal fans but the wily Noel had already left for the comfort of home and Legan. Some of the younger supporters have having competitions to learn the squad numbers off by heart but you can bet your bottom euro that Noel already knows them all already.
THOSE SQUAD NUMBERS
Just in case you haven't learned the squad numbers by heart yourself, here they are again. 1 Chris Bannion, 2 Noel Haverty, 3 Chris Deans, 4 Wilo McDonagh, 5 Willie Tyrell, 6 Des Hope, 7 Keith Gillespie, 8 Mark Salmon, 9 Colm James,10 Gary Shaw, 11 Michael Lee, 12 David O Neill, 14 Daniel Purdy, 15 David O Sullivan,16 Gary Cronin,17 Gavin Doyle,18 Paul Hunt, 19 Carey Tracy, 20 Keith Quinn, 21 Etanta Nknololo,22 Josh O Hanlon, 23 Michael Isichei, 24 Aaron Brilly and 25 Brian Mc Carthy.
Within a few weeks, it's sad to hear of the death of an other legend of Irish football, Con Martin. Con scored one of the goals when an Ireland soccer team became the first overseas team to defeat England on home soil. The match was played at Goodison Park in September 1949. After the match,Martin, then playing for Aston Villa, and Danny Walsh of West Brom, got a lift back to Birmingham with a group of West Brom supporters. “We stopped at a pub, had a few drinks, bough fish and chips and were home, almost before dark.” Could you imagine it happening today.
Con Martin was born in Rush,Co Dublin in 1923. Though he started off playing Gaelic he took up soccer when with the Air Corps and went on to play with Drumcondra. When only 18 he was selected to play with the Dublin Gaelic team and won a Leinster with them in 1941. But because of the ban, he didn't get his medal for 30 years! In 1946 he won an FAI Cup medal with Drumcondra. He then played for Glentoran before signing for Leeds in 1947.
He gained the Mr Versatility nickname since he played in goals, also as a defender, midfielder and forward although centre -half was his preferred position. Between 1948-1956 he made 213 league and cup appearances for Aston Villa.
He was versatile in other ways too. Capped 30 times for the Republic he also made six appearances for Northern Ireland.
He joined Waterford in 1956 and in 1959 moved to Dundalk as player-manager.He later had terms of management with Shelbourne and Cork Hibernians. His sporting gene was obviously very strong. His son Mick captained Newcastle United and was an Irish international, Con jnr, an other son played in the domestic league here, while his grand-son Owen Garvan play.s for Crystal Palace.
Con Martin, “Mr Versatility”, died on February 24th 2013, may he rest in peace.