GREAT GOOD FRIDAY
Good Friday was transformed into a great Friday following our wonderful 1-2 win against Limerick. It was a game the locals were looking forward to with relish and over 1,200 fans turned up to watch the two top teams do battle. Following the meagre attendance in Galway the previous week, it was a pleasant change to be part of a long line of expectant fans queuing up to enter the quaint Jackman Park, in the heart of Limerick city.
With a stiff wind at our backs, we took the game straight away to our hosts. They opted to play with Denis Behan as a lone striker but Tony Cousins had only one thing on his mind and we lined out in a 4-4-2 formation. As in the other games, we controlled things with swift and accurate passing which had the large local crowd stunned into silence. But despite controlling affairs, their keeper was seldom tested and we wondered of we could maintain our high tempo game for the full duration. When Limerick eventually managed to work the ball into our danger area, they found Craig Hyland in scintillating form.It looked certain that Denis Behan would score from a close in header but somehow Hyland managed to get a hand to it . The clearance went to a Limerick player and with Hyland still on the ground after his first save, it seemed this time they couldn't miss. But somehow, Craig scrambled to his feet again, and gazelle- like, tipped away what the local crowd had reckoned was their opener. Such was the brilliance of the double save that many Limerick supporters clapped our young keeper;even Barry Ryan, their keeper raised his hands in appreciation of the incredible saves.No wonder the locals were asking us about Craig Hyland during the half time break.
The second half opened brightly for us with our mid fielders dominating affairs.Following a clearance we won a throw in on our left. We expected an other slow and measured build up. Instead Thomas Crawley launched a rocket into the danger area which the inrushing Noel Haverty smashed to the back of the net with a glorious header.Suddenly Good Friday got a whole lot better.
As expected Limerick were stung into action and though they had chances, it was the Town who almost added to the one goal advantage. The ever industrious Daniel Purdy sneaked in behind their defenders and lobbed their keeper only to see his goal bound effort cleared off the line.After that let off, Limerick stepped up the already high tempo. With only about ten minutes remaining, disaster struck when Limerick were awarded a penalty which, no doubt was helped by the roar that went up from the crowd. This was our third harsh penalty conceded in away games.
With only minutes remaining and the game finely poised at one all, the momentum seemed to be swinging in favour of the home team.The huge crowd now found their collective voice as we prayed to hold on for a share of the points.A long silent trip home loomed large.
But we of little faith. This team are real battlers from keeper to striker. Gary Shaw harried their defender and dispossessed him way out on the left and then delivered a cross at speed. Colm James was at the end of the it and from about six yards flashed the ball to the back of the net for an incredible goal. This second goal sent the Town supporters into sheer ecstasy while the locals looked on in stunned silence.
Limerick pressed hard to get back on level terms but the Town defended as if their lives depended on holding firm. The three added minutes lasted for what felt like an hour and despite a few hairy moments, we stood strong and resolute. Eventually the ref sounded the sweetest final whistle which finally turned Good Friday into a great Friday.
Before the end of the game the announcer named the home Man of the Match which sounded very hollow. While Craig Hyland was outstanding for De Town, it was a night when all the players deserved a collective award for their gallant display on maintaining our unbeaten record for a record number of games.
FINN HARPS AT HOME
Saturday night sees us back at home in Flancare Park after two weeks playing away. Finn Harps provide the opposition in what will be an other tough game. Both ourselves and Harps had good wins at the week-end, with Harps beating Galway SD 3-0 at Finn Park. Hopefully we can maintain our recent good run but as we found out in Galway, we have to be in top form not to slip up. What's really important is that a good crowd turn out to support the team. After all the lads are producing the goods on the field, so it's up to us to support them off the field. So far this season, we've seen many familiar faces return and this Saturday night will be a great opportunity to see even some more make the relative short trip out to Flancare. If it's decent and entertaining football you want to see, then Flancare Park is the place to be.
Our chief designer Paddy Donnelly has weaved his magic once again and has produced a wonderful team poster. Ray Donlon took a superb photo of the squad at the start of the season and Paddy has added some extras, like a complete fixture list and names of the players. He has produced two different posters which already have proven to be a big hit with our younger supporters. They'll be available in the Club shop on Saturday night but get there early as supplies are limited.
Best wishes to Seamus Murray who has been unwell recently, hopefully we'll see him back in action very shortly. Mel Devlin has made a welcome return to the fold and was looking fit and well in Limerick on Friday night.
The Supporters' Club and indeed everyone in the Club was deeply saddened with the passing last week of our dear friend and Vice President Dennis Dowd. Dennis was an integral part of the Club and besides being Vice President was also our Commercial Manager. The title may have been grandiose, but for Dennis, it simply meant trying to bring as much funding as possible. Collecting funds is an unenviable task shunned by most, but when Dennis called, he was impossible to refuse such was his popularity and belief in the cause. At matches, Dennis was as much part of the event as the game itself with his famous “ half-time draw”. Again, he brought in massive funds with his familiar smile and easy going friendly nature.At the moment we have top class facilities at Flancare Park, many of which would not be there without the tireless and selfless work of people like Dennis Dowd. Our sincere condolences to Kitty his sister and his extended family.
Many, many thanks to all those who contributed to our Church gate collection on Easter Sunday.Every Sunday, there seems to be some sort of collection and all of them are for genuine causes. We are trying to support sport locally but it's an uphill struggle keeping the show on the road with increases in expenses and a fall in income just like households and organisations all over the land.We therefore appreciate your generosity all the more during these tough times. We would also like to thank everyone who supported the Bank Holiday Car Boot Sale in whatever way. Your help and support is genuinely appreciated.
PLAYER OF THE MONTH
Congratulations once again to Daniel Purdy who is our March recipient of the Player of the Month award. It was a particularly tough month to pick a winner, having had five games with four wins and a draw and all players putting in five star performances. The award, in memory of John Donlon, will be presented before Saturday night's game against Finn Harps.
Many who couldn't travel to Limerick last Friday night were once again frustrated with RTE's poor coverage on Artel. Others have now switched to www.extratime.ie which provides up to the minute coverage and which kept quite a few glued to their screens, their hearts beating harder than an old steam train. They also have superb pictorial coverage after the games. Well worth a click or two.