CUP RUN ENDS
It took Cork City only a couple of minutes to open their scoring before adding three more to their before running out comfortable 4-1 winners. The game was played in front of a small crowd but it took a late,late pitch inspection before the game in order for the game to proceed at all. Therefore full credit to the hard working ground staff who made sure we didn't have to turn round and go home. The small band of travelling supporters wouldn't have been too pleased to turn for home again without stretching their legs and vocal chords. The display from the host team was in total contrast to the week before but again, it's so easy to be a hurler on the ditch.
An aside from the game was the meeting up of a father and son . The father had travelled the long journey on a less than comfortable bus, while his son journeyed from his Athlone base on a motor bike. Both were loud in their praise of our facilities and mentioned correctly that even Turner's Cross lacks our facilities, both social and on pitch (both teams warmed up on the new pitches while travelling supporters warmed up with great value, fresh sandwiches and soup in the Clubhouse). They also noted how well kept, tidy and clean the stadium was kept and that even the flags were spotless. The Cork father and son remarked that we must have a huge band of willing volunteers working tirelessly. Indeed.
This Friday sees us travel south to Turner's Cross to face Cork City at home with kick off at 7.45pm. It's hard to believe that we won the equivalent tie last season 3-2. Still though, you never know and if soccer is a funny old game, we'd certainly come home smiling if we could get anything from the tie. We lost 6-0 last time down there where the locals didn't even bother much to turn up to support their team – it was their lowest attendance to date then. This game however will be different. It'll be on a Friday night as opposed to a Monday night and Cork now have Dundalk in their sights. On top of that, the RTE cameras will be present to add to the glitz of the occasion. It's a pity though that the same camera crew weren't at Oriel to see our seven goal cracker at the Louth venue. It'll be a tough one for sure and fair play in advance to those travelling down to support us; we already have Mick Mallon of Killoe and the Donlon family of Ardnacassa who are exiled down there and who will be flying the red and black flag with pride.
Alan Mathews has returned as manager to De Town he loved so well. Gary Cronin did very well as caretaker in the match against St. Pats and then was in charge again last Saturday night. Hopefully, he'll still be involved.
Alan Mathews was our most successful man at the helm 2002- 2007 during our golden period and if some of that sparkle can be restored, we'd all be happy. Alan is one of the most respected managers in the domestic game and his gentleman status is well documented. If he ever pens his life in football management, it should make for fascinating reading due to the amount off poor treatment in different clubs he has encountered. While with us, he was always supported and maybe this is one of the reasons he was so happy to return. He faces a massive challenge. The task before him is daunting. It goes without saying that the team itself has to improve radically and start winning games again. We are facing automatic relegation with the horrible prospect of drowning in the first division. Alan has grasped the lifebuoy and it's up to us, the supporters to do everything in our power to save the ship and crew. No pressure!
There was more written about the domestic league in the lead up to Dundalk's clash with Legia Warsaw than there had been for many years. If bandwagon jumping was an Olympic sport, we'd be serious gold medal contenders. And yet, more attended the Celtic -Barcelona friendly game at the same venue. Anyway, Stephen Kenny's side certainly missed the rub of the green. First they were the victims of a terrible refereeing decision (we know that feeling only too well) and then were hit by a sucker punch of last minute goal (Dundalk did it to us in the 4-3 game, so we know that feeling too). So now the Lilywhites face the daunting task of an away tie in Poland which result in their fourth loss in a row. Add to that extra games both domestically and internationally and their winning mettle will surely be fully tested.
There was a huge Legia following in the 30,000 attendance at the Aviva (they won't be too bothered with the fines following their pyro display, if they advance). There were red and white flags dotted all over the stadium and not just among the Polish ultras behind Arkadiusz Malarz's goals. With a minimum of 150,000 Polish people now resident in Ireland and a large proportion living locally, maybe it's now time that they'd support the red and black as well as the red and white.