FC Blanchardstown 0 v 1 Iona - Railway Union, 24th April 1997.
It looked like it was going to be one of those games where no-one was ever going to score, no matter how long the game went on for. That was of course before Iona scored. Shows you what I know. For IBM Blanch, this was only our second game together, and for most, the first time they'd ever played 11 a side on Astroturf (note the tenuous excuse).
Despite some late arrivals, we managed to get a full XI on the pitch for kick-off. The first half was a very dull affair, with plenty of endeavour, but little real action. Iona probably had the best of the half, but only managed one shot on goal. This was largely due to the solid defending of Gary Fitzgerald. In midfield, Don Gormley was running non-stop, but we never really looked dangerous.
It was nice to see the roll on-roll off subing working very well, right up until 10 minutes into the second half, when we suddenly had two left backs and no right back, Our right wing was pulled back into defense, only to notice that there was now no-one on the right wing. For all our strikers we had playing, we were still struggling to make clear chances, though Greg McIhenney, and Fergus Meharg.
It was in the final 15 minutes that Iona began to press home their the advantage of their experience. After a defensive mix-up, Dermot the Iona striker was put through, only for his shot to be blocked by Cruise. Soon after, Iona won a series of corners. Blanch were never able to deal with them comfortably, and eventually one was swung in and met with a perfect header to rocket the ball into the back of the net.
IBM Blanch went chasing the game, but lacked that final touch, though Stephen Boyce and Keith Lynch both came close. Ultimately, it wasn't that disappointing a performance. It was disappointing to miss out on a point we should have got, but a great effort was put in by everyone, and the teamwork was very good for such a new team. Roll on next week for the first big derby match!!
FC Blanchardstown 0 v 1 IBM Oldbrook - Railway Union, 1st May 1997.
The sun shone down on Railway Union yesterday evening as the all new and relatively inexperienced Blanchardstown team took the field against IBM Oldbrook. For many it was their first taste of an IBM derby, but as always with these games there was that feeling that there was that bit more at stake.
Both teams got stuck in immediately, with IBM Oldbrook perhaps shading the early minutes, as we struggled at times to keep the ball on the deck and looked at little anxious. But as the half wore on we began to settle. In front of a defensive line that looked firm and decisive, Gormley and McElhenney we were able to win good ball, and if at times our football lacked art, we started getting balls into the danger area. IBM Oldbrook looked under pressure in the box but it was always crowded and never quite fell rigthly. A free kick from Gormley forced a save out of McCaughey, and McElhenney saw an excellent solo effort sail just over the bar.
In the second half, IBM Olbrook were able to exert more pressure. Some excellent work from Cruise, who was in confident form throughout, kept the sides level. As the heat began to take it toll and more space began to open up, we started to look more like a team. Gormley was an inspiration in midfield and as Boyce stepped it up, Maguire had some nice touches you began to feel we might just nick one. A move involving Gormley and McCarthy resulted in a half chance for Keogh but credit must go to the Olbrook defense who were always at the races. 0-0 is always a danger, and sure enough 10 minutes from the end, an Olbrook free kick, saw a ball driven in to the danger area. A messy contact (miskick?) by their no. 7 was enough to direct the ball in the bottom corner as Cruise was left with no chance.
Full of running in the last 10 minutes the heads did not drop and we once again were able to find people in space. Unfortunately though it just was not to be.
After the game, the mood was not overly despondent. We had improved on our previous performance and could take encoragement from several aspects as well as identifying areas that need attention. What these are I will leave our management team of Cruise, Boyce, and Connolly to expand upon in training. See you all there!
FC Blanchardstown 0 v 2 Corel - Three Rock Rovers, 8th May 1997.
Last night at Three Rock Rovers IBM Blanchardstown produced a performance worthy or Liverpool in a title run-in or Man.Utd against Newcastle - in other words way under par. Apart from 2/3 chances that we did create, Blanch never looked dangerous. We were completely out-fought and out-thought as we crumbled in the Rovers Den.
Early in the first half, Blanch had all the pressure but the only chance of that period came when a ball was swung from right to left and Boyce had a snap shot with his left foot that went straight to the keepers midrift. A few minutes later and it was 1-0 to Corel. Corel broke quickly down the Blanch right and the ball was swung into the box. It bounced awkwardly up and Hoade was caught in two minds as it bounced off his chest and fell nicely for the Corel forward who coolly slotted the ball home. Blanch replied with a small bout of pressure but the only chance before half-time was a snap-shot from Lynch which the keeper saved brilliantly and then collected the ball at the second attempt before it trickled over the line. Corel always looked dangerous on the break as their midfield gradually took control. However, at half-time it was 1-0 to Corel.
The second half started with Corel pounding pressure to the Blanch goal but never had the chances. Blanch looked completely ragged and didn't get a shot on target until the last 10 mins of the half. About half way through the second half, Blanch got a corner which was swung in dangerously and a nasty collision occurred between Gormley and the Corel keeper. The game was stopped as both got attention Gormley ended up with 6 stitches). The game carried on as if nothing had happened. A few minutes later and Blanch had another corner. It was cleared to a Corel forward, who rounded the last Blanch keeper. Although both Boyce and Keane tried, neither could get back and only for Cruise Corel would have been sailing. About 5 mins from time, a ball was swung across the Corel box and it fell to Boyce, but he couldn't get the ball from between his feet and it was cleared by Corel. A few minutes later and it was 2-0. A quick break resulted in the ball crossed in and it was headed home and that was that. Lots for Blanch to look at before the next game !!
FC Blanchardstown 3 v 2 AIG - Railway Union, 13th May 1997.
Glad to have that one under the belt. The first win of the season for the hardy warriors from the worlds newest IBM callcentre in north west Dublin. The boys from just beside Finglas (that will frighten the other teams) went 2 - 0 up before halftime with 2 well taken, if slightly similar goals by John McCarthy. Both of them were crosses in from the left after hard work by ol'scarface Gormley (who had spent one too many nights out in Finglas).
The eternally solid back four (superbly marshalled by Fitzgerald (ahem)) were not troubled too much until after halftime when the now long awaited Blanchardstown collapse began. Lack of fitness? Hung over after the latest going away party? Or just distracted and confused after the moral boosting halftime speech by Stevo. (hey Stevo, agression and anger when we are loosing, congrats when we are winning).
Soon after the kickoff and the candystripes went 3 up after what is in my opinion the goal of the match, and indeed the season so far (would have to be, but lets not talk about that) by Mr Liverpool Fan Boyce (4th, ha ha ha). And just as well to, given the way that the match turned from then on. AIG pulled one back, and then another, but not another. Thankfully, as a draw after being 3-0 up would have been a bit too much to bear, especially as Fitzgerald (that is me) was being victumised by the ref (well maybe not).
Man of the match goes to Don Gormley, with special mention to Boyce and McCarthy and Mark Bosnich in goal, as solid and bearded as usual.
FC Blanchardstown 1 v 2 JBA - Three Rock Rovers, 20th May 1997.
After lasts week victory over AIG we were determined to edge ourselves from the bottom of the league and get a victory over league champions JBA. With the bare 11 players we started the game and received a lot of pressure from JBA in the first 10 minutes. Although our defence was holding firm with some great saves from Cruise in goal. The IBM back four fought hard and made some timely clearances.
As we settled the rugged (or should I say the Neil Ruddock lookalike) Boyce made some good breaks from defence. With JBA still putting alot of pressure on our defence, Cruise again was dominant in his area making some great stops midway thorough the first half, JBA got a good shot in, with Cruise making a great save but the rebound fell to a incoming JBA man who found the net. So IBM 1-0 down. IBM with the never say die attitude fought on and as the half wore on we were starting to put some good passes together.
The half time team talk, began as it always does with a 11 people just shouting abuse at each other and making no sense. We went out to the second half with our tails up and started the half with some good movement up front from Maguire ( The white Emerson ). As his hair got in the JBA defenders eyes he was able to hold up the ball for good lay offs. IBM still putting the pressure on, got a deserved goal worked from a cross or was it a mishit from Gormley to Lynch who saw the JBA keeper come of his line and placed a good header in the top right corner of the net - (Keith is this believable!!!) . So with a deserved draw we fought on putting the pressure on JBA defence, but still we lacked the any clear cut chances. With a deserved draw looming JBA got a corner with one minute on the clock, the ball was floated in and was met by an unmarked JBA man who put in the net for a 2- 1 victory for JBA .
As the song goes " Things can only get better"
Man of Match : Mark Cruise( not for his goalkeeping - but for turning up when he had just been caught by the guards for speeding on his toy moped and having no tax).
FC Blanchardstown 2 v 1 AutoDealing - Railway Union, 27th May 1997.
There are games you'd really rather forget. There are games you'll never forget. You play in epics, you play in dour struggles. You play in games where amazing things happen, where magic seems to fill the air around you and you know you're in participating in something very special. Then, sometimes you just hack around for an 50 minutes after the ref showed up late and at the end of it, you find out you've won a game.
This scenario was what happened last night. When the final whistle blew, all of Blanch's squad and supporters stopped for a second and used their fingers to count up how many goals had been scored. A look of anxiety crossed their faces as they realised 3 had been scored. The sound of brains groaning was audible, until they all realised that Blanch had actually won a game.
But hang on? Hadn't we missed a hatful of chances in the first half? Didn't Autodealing look like they could play a bit and looked dangerous on the break? Naturally we scored, and then they equalised. This was the rule. But what happened to the prime directive that we concede a corner/free kick with 3 minutes to go in order to lose the game? In all fairness to the lads, they did try hard to do this, by setting a world record for "Most Corners Conceded in the last 5 minutes" and thus robbing Middlesbrough of the only thing they could claim as their own this season......
But we forgot the bit before the last minute panic. The bit where Stephen Boyce sent a free kick flying into the Autodealing goal (well, off the crossbar). The Autodealing players forgot the new rule that says: If the referee is in doubt as to whether the ball crossed the line, the team the shouts the loudest, shall get the decision. This is the sole reason Adrian Maguire gets his game, and it worked well last night, as when the shouting rule applied, himself and Carlo managed to get us that split decision which ended up giving us the win.
Oh yeah, Adrian was "credited" with the first goal. But I'm told it was an own goal. I didn't want to embarass the Autodealing defender by saying he scored and OG, but then I realised that wasn't nearly as embarassing as playing for a defense that conceded an Adrian Magurie goal....
Anyway everyone played well, blah, blah, blah. Congrats to everyone, I love you all.......
Man of the Match: A joint title this week: John Hoade/John Nash. The reason? Those white runners look really lovely when the floodlights shine off them just so........
FC Blanchardstown 0 v 4 FMS - Railway Union, 5th June 1997.
In the pouring rain, Blanch found it tough against a well organised FMS side. To put it simply we were trounced-ish ! The warning signs were there early on with FMS quick on the break but found it hard to get passed the Blanch defence. At this point i should mention that for the first 15-20 minutes of the half, Blanch played with 8 men before the other players realised that we were playing and made an effort to get to the pitch. However, a brave display saw Blanch have two of the best efforts of the half - both from Don "i must break my duck" Gormley whose two left footed efforts the keeper saved well.
Then we upgraded ourselves to eleven men with the arrival of our Italian import Carlo "Andrea Silenzzi" Manselli. We were a team - or so we thought. Minutes before half time a most excellent long range effort went passed Cruise at at least 200mph (umm, umm) and FMS took the lead and almost immediately it was half time.
The second half started with Blanch applying pressure but FMS were quick on the break and could have snatched a second. Then Hoade made a great break, linking up with McCarthy on the right before delivering a ball into Gormley whose first touch (for once) let him down and the chance went a begging. Then the killer blow. A quick break, a shot, a great save and a tap in - two nil to FMS. Minutes later the exact same. Blanch caught out attacking and FMS scored. Heads went down but still we battled on.
Then (amazingly) Blanch broke forward. Boyce made a great run to the left and opened the defence up. Lynch broke through but his shot dipped seconds to late. FMS completely wrapped it up then with their fourth. A great pass through and their striker slotted it home nicely. That was that - no more chances, no bookings, no sending offs so the ref blew up. All in all a very wet affair.
FC Blanchardstown 0 v 5 ITG - Railway Union, 6th June 1997.
As if the FMS game wasnt bad enough to endure we had another drubbing - and to make it worse both games were in the same week. I dont know if it was fatique from the night before, was it just the night before or was it simply that we meet a much superior team ??? You decide (answers on a postcard to "The Gatekeeper, Main Road, Dublin"). Anyways, it went like this after i mention that we played the whole game with ten men (really grasping at straws or what).
First 15 mins ITG all over us. Should have scored. 15-25 Blanch came back in. Forced some corners. Shots over the bar so on, so forth. Then ITG came back into it. A break down the Blanch right, a cut inside. ITG's forward shouting one-nil and it was. A nicely placed shot into the corner giving "The Bruiser" no chance. Half time and time for our supporters to fill us up with some re-vitalising liquid (ahem, ahem).
Second half more of the same but with ITG scoring four more goals. They were very quick on the break and very quick to score. Their second goal came from tip-off. One of their lads made his way though, Boyce came to meet him, got flattened and they scored - sounds simpe doesnt it ?? After that it was a matter of pride, but they still scored and thus gave us a really bad goal difference. The ref blew up (thank God) and we all went drinking. What a difference a week makes in Football !!!
FC Blanchardstown 1 v 0 IBM Burlington - Railway Union, 12th June 1997.
Some games you walk away from feeling just a tad guilty that you got something from it. Some games you feel like you've mugged the opposition and stolen the game. Sometimes frozen frogs fall from the sky, sometimes people think Garth Brooks has talent. Well this was stranger than all of that.....
If Stephen Boyce, Don Gormley and Sean Prior didn't hate Celine Dion before Thursday, they do now (no, she didn't put in a great sliding tackle). The horrendous traffic (and singing) made them very late for kick off.
So with a hearty bunch of 9 men.......sorry, people! We put up our defensive walls, ready to repel the Burlo hordes. This lasted for all of one minute, before they got their first shot on target. Fortunately, the burlo attack was similar to those contestants on Gladiators who lead the assault course the whole way around, but then fall on their ear going up the Travelator (Sp??). This was much appreciated by the Blanch defense, who gladly retrived the ball from behind the protective netting behind the goals. It made a change from taking it out of the actual net.
Well things changed once the Celine Dionettes arrived. They strolled on to the pitch wanting to make Burlo "Think Twice" (Boom Boom!) about trying to beat us. We did our usual job of nearly being worse with a full team than we were when short, but managed to go in at half time leading 0-0.
We were unsure of how we'd do in the second half....after all, we had no half-time beer this week, and it actually looked like we stood a chance of winning. What could we do?
Well the rest as the say, is history. Keith Lynch running up the pitch, beats one, beats two, beats three, stops for a smoke, has a sandwich, beats four, Oh, I say! Boys own stuff..........Roy of the Rovers..........they think it's all over...........no wait..........Keiths stopped for another smoke..........he shoots......he scores! The crowd go wild, women scream for a glimpse of Keith's bellybutton.
So that was it really.............
FC Blanchardstown 3 v 1 Continuum - Railway Union, 17th June 1997.
As expected, with a thrilling display of exciting, devil may care football, IBM Blanch, thrilled all but the most hardened Continuum fans last night with an exiting mix of attacking-Brazilian, Total Football-Dutch and erm..............Columbian defending.......to weave a magic spell that was a magical 3-1 win in the Cellnet Railway Union Stadium.......
Well, ok then.............we only had three shots at goal, they had 70% of the ball and posession, but what the hell..........it's about time we were jammy.....................two weeks in a row. In fact if you look closely, there is a trail of jam following us around now.
Depending on who you are, the first goal was either a lucky hack from his own half, or a well executed piece of Genius...
Please read the following and send your answers on a postcard to Adrian Maguire.
A) Mark Cruise took the ball down neatly on his chest, while letting it fall to his feet, he looked up and spied the keeper safely on his line. He knew this was his time. Wishing to emulate his hero Jason Cundy, he judged the weight of the ball and the speed of the wind and hit it with deadly precision. It bounced neatly right in front of the keeper, only to bounce right over his head due to the bit of Topspin he put on it.......... or was it?:
B) The big useless defended was scared to death when he saw two strikers coming at him, he got rind of the ball as quikly as he could by booting it up the pitch, much like that useless defender Jason Cundy did when he scored that flukey goal at Ipswich............
I know what I saw. That's all I'm saying.
Oh yeah, the rest of the match............Well Keith scored and John scored too, but then we've seen them do that before, so no-one's really interested in that, now are they?
Other significant mentions must go to Sacha and Tom, our newest members. Welcome to the company guys...........Also to Denis Conolly and Melissa Vogel who had their best games in an IBM Shirt, despite the shiny white runners (Denis) and that "Unfortunate" goalmouth incident (now who was that?.................)
PERSON OF THE MATCH: A joint result this week between: Tom Daly, Melissa Vogel and the mercurial Keith Lynch..........
I hope you all know that's the biggest margin we've ever won by. Sad isn't it............
FC Blanchardstown 1 v 6 QV2 - Railway Union, 26th June 1997.
Here are some of the responses I got when looking for people for last Thursdays match against table toppers -QV2
"I will be able to make Thurs game.."
"Count me in for the next game against QV2"
"Thursday: I am available "
So I'm a touch bemused that out of the 14 people expected, we only started with only 9 . I think I've spotted the fatal Blanch weakness: If we put out too few players against top teams (ITG, JBA, FMS, QV2) we don't do so well.
Well, if we win the league, we won't do it on goal difference....
Still credit where credit's due. Everyone who turned up bust a gut trying to get something out of the game. Special mentions go to Don Gormley and Sean Prior to their tireless running, and MOTM (for what it's worth) goes to Fergus Meharg who showed how the ball ricochetting off his knees can be used in the middle of a mazy dribble.
Also, credit to QV2 for not being smug about......................oh hang on sorry, they were extremely smug. Well done boys. It's always a sign of a great team to be able to score against 9 men......