League v Castleview in Mayfield Park on Saturday 30th May 2014
Castleview 7 Carrigtwohill United 1
A beautiful morning saw Carrig’s U12s travel to meet Castleview in Cork city for a return match which should have been played last December. No doubt the weather would not have been quite so warm and sunny had the game been played back then. Castleview is noted for inflicting to Carrig’s its most severe scoreline on the first day of this season and a clash with a U12 Hurling match meant this was a tough occasion for Carrig, with the addition of three late defection leaving the team without any subs. However, the match was evenly balanced in the first half with Carrig’s U12’s playing marvellous football, full of good passing and discipline. At the back, Scott McCarthy, Abdul Mohammed, Toby Kmiecik and Alex Canty defended with flair, well protected by Daniel Ciolacu and Darragh Hoare. The forward positions were held by James Barry in the centre, Evan Donnelly and Darragh Cullinane, whilst Robert Adam was in the lonely full forward position. In fact, he would turn out not to be lonely at all in the first half, with Carrig enjoying excellent possession in Castleview’s half. With only 15 minutes gone, he was put into space by Evan Donnelly and drifted wide towards the left across the 18 yard box, but his powerful left footed shot was somehow saved by the keeper. Minutes later a similar action at the other end of the pitch saw the ball wiz past Carrig’s left upright, leaving the score at nil all. Then, two goals were scored in quick succession. First Castleview went one nil up when Carrig’s defence failed to clear the line. Then at the other end, the ball fell to Robert Adam who found room in a crowded 18 yards box to squeeze the ball into the right corner of the Castleview goal.

Although Castleview found one more goal before halftime, there was much to rejoice from Carrig’s viewpoint with the team competing and staying in touch with the league contenders. Carrig could even have done better with Darragh Cullinane who had a great morning nearly finding an equaliser late on. Alas, the second half would be different with Castleview breaking Carrig on the right hand side to go three one up with a cool finish. Seconds later a clearance bounced awkwardly onto a defender to loop back into the Carrig net, making it four one. The rest of the game was utterly forgettable with Castleview finding the net a good few times, in front a of a Carrig team defending deeper and deeper into its own half. To give them their dues, Castleview used long distance shooting to great effect as Carrig failed to challenge them 30 yards out. This was a sad end to a great game where, for over 30 minutes, these 11 players had shown that they have learnt a lot this season.

Man of the Match – Darragh Cullinane.


League v Mayfield United in Mayfield Park on Sunday 18th May 2014
Mayfield United 4 Carrigtwohill United 0
The 2013/2014 season has been a long one, with over 25 matches played to date between league, cup and friendlies. The trip to Mayfield, who are still fighting for a top spot in Division 2 was always going to be a tough one. A strong Carrigtwohill team came out to face the challenge and, for a while, it seemed Carrig would compete well. The defence, Cian Olden, James Barry, Adbul Mohammed and Daire Sullivan, well protected by the tireless Sean de Burca and Darragh Hoare, held well and the match was even enough. The midfield was more problematic with Daniel Ciolacu, Evan Donnelly and Adam Walsh finding it hard to find space to move through. Upfront, Robert Adam already knew this was one afternoon where the ball would be scarce up front. Adam Walsh was in the wars however and had to be replaced by Ebe Imoh with only 15 minutes gone. The same phase of play led to a free kick for Mayfield and the ball, expertly delivered in the danger area, took a wicked deflection into the Carrig net. Darren Flynn who had a great (and busy) morning, could do nothing about it. Mayfield’s second goal was a different affair, with superb team passing resulting in a low unstoppable shot in the corner of the goals.

Play resumed in the second half with Carrig really trying to go forward and, for about 10 minutes, the match was even again. Alex Canty came on instead of Ebe Imoh and Jamie Dunlea came in instead of Evan Donnelly. However, as the game drew to a close, Mayfield became very dominant again and soon increased Carrig’s deficit to three and, on the final whistle to four nil. The playing surface – a very soft all weather carpet did not help Carrig who are used to play in pretty thick grass and even kick outs proved a problem with Carrig’s players finding hard to loft the ball off the ground. With GAA fixtures and training, it is time for the soccer season to come to a close and the players are clearly paying the price for all these cancelled matches which have imposed a crazy schedule since early March. Carrig have now played 12 matches in 3 months and it is no real surprise that a bit of lassitude is setting in. With the return match against Castleview still to come, players and managers cannot relax just yet however.

Man of the Match – Sean de Burca.


League v St Mary’s A in Ballyadam Park on Friday 9th May 2014
Carrigtwohill United 1 St Mary’s A 2
Scorer – Daniel Ciolacu.
As we get to the business end of the season, Carrigtwohill’s U12s welcomed St Mary’s in Ballyadam Park. The weather forecast had promised a fine storm, but the weather held long enough to deliver a truly excellent soccer match between two closely matched team.
Carrig had won the away match against this team on a tight score of 2/1 with two superb goals by Daniel Ciolacu and Darragh Hoare and these two players were also involved in the key moments of the return match in Ballyadam Park.
St Mary’s were the better team in the first half, much better than their bottom of table placing would have suggested. Defending very well and dominating the midfield, they controlled the football and launched wave after wave of attacks. After 15 minutes of stubborn defending, Carrig were undone. A short clearance out of the back was intercepted by St Mary’s and the killer through ball delivered a one on one on Darren Flynn whose desperate dive could not keep the rasping shot out. Ten minutes later, a corner kick was allowed to travel through the 18 yards box to one of St Mary’s player who sent a high curling lob into the roof of the net. In between Carrig enjoyed better possession and threatened the goal, notably on a couple of expertly struck corner kicks by Daniel Ciolacu, but Carrig could not find the net. Robert Adam, Sean and Adam Walsh, Sean de Burca and Darragh Hoare all had chances, but St Mary’s defence was very well organised. The two nil scoreline was logical given the possession St Mary’s enjoyed, but it seemed unfair on the back four: Scott McCarthy, Daire Sullivan, James Barry and Adbul Mohammed who have really found their calling this season and played very well in this match. Daire Sullivan deserved particular praise for his flawless performance at right back.

The second half saw Alex Canti, Ebe Imoh, Joshua U’Joseph and Evan Donnelly enter the fray and after a slow start, Carrig played better. St Mary’s seemed to have lost control of the midfield and Carrig were able to launch some good attacks, although St Mary’s back four held tough. This was the moment that Daniel Ciolacu decided to try his luck from distance and found the top corner from over 20 yards out. His goals in Popham’s field in October had been proposed as goal of the season, but this one was at least a match for it. With around 10 minutes to go, Carrig had loads of time to get something out of the game. Sadly, they would not find the opening. The end was somewhat cruel as Darragh Hoare broke free 30 yards out to run at St Mary’s keeper. The pitches are not the best in the 18 yards box and his final touch rolled away from him, giving a chance to the keeper to come out and counter the ball.

So 2/1 it stood and Carrig have found their place in 5th place: the middle position in Division 2, where they are likely to finish the season.

Man of the Match – Daniel Ciolacu.


League v Crosshaven in Cadmen on Sunday 4th May 2014
Crosshaven 3 Carrigtwohill United 5
Scorer – Sean Walsh.
On a misty Sunday morning, Carrigtwohill and Crosshaven played their second match in two weeks. Their previous encounter had seen a total of 12 goals and a draw, and both teams were determined to reach a different outcome this time.

On a pitch that was rapidly getting very slippery, Carrig got the better start. Daire Sullivan moved up to intercept the ball on his right side and unleashed a massive cross towards goals from just inside the halfway line. The ball carried through the air and the bounce took it well above the stranded Crosshaven goalkeeper and into the net. A fantastic strike from distance and a fitting first goal for Carrig’s now regular right back! It was only a short time later that Sean Walsh ran onto a superb through ball to put the ball beyond the Crosshaven’s keeper. Minutes later, Adam Walsh went on the rampage on his right wing and shot across the 18 yard box. Again, the conditions betrayed the keeper and at 3 nil, Carrig were really beginning to pull away. Robert Adam was exerting massive pressure on the Crosshaven back four and they were making mistakes. One of those led to a corner which Daniel Ciolacu powered into the danger zone. An unusual goal scorer emerged from the pack to head the ball into the net: Cian Olden, who has been carrying out defensive duties for Carrig for two seasons was delighted to get his first competitive goal. Before the end of the half, there was still time for Sean Walsh to add a second goal, before Crosshaven pulled one back through their magic number 7, a player with more speed and skills than most defences can cope with.

Although Carrig’s first half had seen 5 goals scored, it was the defence that stood out for most praise: Daire Sullivan, James Barry, Abdul Rahim Mohammed and Scott McCarthy performing as they always do, but defending particularly high and calmly on this occasion, only getting caught twice, when Darren Flynn confidently won his one on ones with the Crosshaven strikers. In front of the back four, Cian Olden and Sean de Burca provided a dream platform for Carrig to attack and put their opponents on the back foot.

The second half saw Jamie Dunlea come in on the right wing, whilst Toby Kmiecik replaced James Barry and Evan Donnelly came on as full forward instead of Robert Adam. The end of the game would be a bit different with Crosshaven determined to reverse the scoreline. They did manage to pull back two goals, but Darren Flynn made sure that they would not score any more. Sean De Burca dropped back to full back in support of Abdul Mohammed and Carrig defended superbly again. At the other end, Carrig did not fall asleep either: Sean Walsh, Evan Donnelly and Daniel Ciolacu attacked with speed and skill, but the Crosshaven keeper must have had breakfast cereals of a certain brand at halftime because he turned into a brick wall, getting in the way of absolutely everything Carrig threw at him. Daniel Ciolacu, playing one of his best games this season did hit the post, but the ball rolled along the line without going in. Still the three points look good for Carrig in the Div 2 table.

Man of the Match – Darren Flynn.


League v Buttevant in Ballyadam Park on Friday 25th April 2014
Carrigtwohill United 1 Buttevant 2
Scorer – Sean Walsh.
The bad winter has thrown the league schedule into disarray with a large number of cancelled matches having to be played before the close of the season. This explains that Carrigtwohill and Buttevant have these two back to back encounters, a mere five days apart. The travel to Buttevant the previous week yielded a bruising encounter with Carrig losing 7 nil, having had to field many players in unfamiliar positions due to clashes with other sports and the Easter break and having only the minimum 11 players available. For this return match, Carrig had no less than 7 changes in their team and this promised a more balanced encountered. On the other hand, the weather conditioned deteriorated in the late afternoon, the match having to be played in a strong Easterly gale which has a bearing on the game.

Carrig started with the wind in the first half and quickly established possession. Spreading the ball wide, they caused problems to Buttevant in a way that they had not been able to the previous week. The two Walsh cousins, Sean and Adam, on opposite wings, tormented the Buttevant defence and a lovely pass down the right corner of the 18 yard box launched Alex Canty into space, but his shot curled agonisingly wide of the left upright. In the first 15 minutes, Carrig were really unlucky not to go ahead and they will have to work harder on that “final pass” which can make all the difference. Sadly, on the other side of the pitch, it was Buttevant who opened the score, with one of their few occasions, when a throw in from the right was allowed to drift into the 18 yard box and their forward slammed the ball towards the left hand side of the goal. In truth, Darren Flynn, Carrig’s magic goal keeper, was very unlucky not to keep this one out, but the ball crawled inside the far post despite his very good block at full stretch. Other than on the goal, the back four, Daire Sullivan on the right, James Barry and Abdul Rahim in the middle and Scott McCarthy on the left wing did brilliantly, with Abdul Rahim displaying his unbelievable speed on several occasions to intercept long balls played over the defence. James Barry also produce a remarkable save on the line with the head as well as clearing every though ball that came through the centre. Both lateral defenders did remarkably well against Buttevant’s pacey wingers that had caused so much trouble the previous week. It is full credit to the quality of their defence that Buttevant did not manage to cross the ball in the way that they did in the first match. One reason for the success in defence was the super form showed by Darragh Hoare and Cian Olden playing in front of the back four. Playing in a position that gave them some freedom, these two tackled and blocked and recovered ball after ball, offering fantastic protection to the back four. In the middle of midfield, in a position totally new to him, Robert Adam did a good job, competing for the ball, getting back to recover and driving the ball forward. On many occasions over the two halves, he would manage to link up with the two wingers and Evan Donnelly who came in at full forward in the second half in replacement for Alex Canty.

The second half saw Ebe Imoh coming in on the right wing and Joshua coming in besides Darragh Hoare, Cian Olden replacing the departing James Barry at centre back. With these changes Carrig managed to keep their shape, despite now playing against a strong wind, aggravated by heavy rain towards the end of the match. In rapidly deteriorating conditions, Carrig managed to perform beyond all expectations, matching Buttevant against the wind nearly as well as they had in the first half. Luck came against them however, when a clearance bounced off the back of a Buttevant forward and was pushed back by the wind high into the Carrig goal. Two nil down was a poor return for Carrig’s exceptional display, but heads did not go down, quite the opposite, Carrig produced their best soccer at that stage. With five minutes to go then, the ball was played down the left by Buttevant and Daire Sullivan ran up to intercept. Dribbling outside his opposite number, he drove the ball up the touch line towards Darragh Hoare. Playing as a winger, Darragh got passed two players and delivered a great cross into Evan Donnelly. With no options towards goal, he turned around to find Sean Walsh whose shot beat the keeper. So simple, but so effective, and it gives a measure of what this team can deliver. Carrig pushed on straight from the restart, but unfortunately, they had run out of time and the final whistle interrupted proceedings. Still from 7 nil the week before to a close match that could have gone either way is sufficient progress to forget about the outcome. As a bonus, it seems the 4, 2, 3, 1 formation played on the day is a good one for this group of players and this is something that can be taken into the next games.

Man of the Match – Abdul Rahim Mohammed.


League v Buttevant in Abbeyview on Saturday 19th April 2014
Buttevant 7 Carrigtwohill United 0
Although they have been down in the table due to some unplayed games, Buttevant are clearly the strong team in the division. A huge goal average of 30 in less than ten games indicates the potential of that team. Travelling to their grounds on the Saturday of the Easter week end with a good few players on holidays and an Under 12 Football match played at the same time did not make things easy for Carrigtwohill U12s and the team consisted of exactly 11 players, no subs, no choice!

The line up was attractive however, with Darren Flynn in goals, Scott McCarthy and Toby Kmiecik as wing backs and Abdul Rahim and Cian Olden as centre backs, Ebe Imoh and Joshua U’Joseph in the libero position, Jamie Dunlea, Evan Donnelly and Alex Canty in midfield and Robert Adam in his usual full forward position. On any other day, this bunch would have delivered attractive attacking football in a 4 2 3 1 formation which is played by the very best football has to offer. On this Saturday morning however, against the likely winners of the division, Carrig has to chase the ball for 60 minutes. Buttevant were that good and the 5 nil score line at halftime was no reflection of any Carrig weakness but a reflection of the quality of the home team. Spreading it wide, very quick and very strong on the ball, with wing forwards that could not be denied, Buttenvant kept the pressure on for 40 minutes. The very good thing from Carrig’s viewpoint was that they kept improving throughout the match, putting pressure on Buttevant in the last 10 minutes and definitely not collapsing or giving up at the score became heavy.

Of course, in such a match, it was the backs who saw most of the action. Darren Flynn was as good as ever, making a couple of smart saves, although he needs to learn to make his mark on corner kicks. Scott McCarthy played a blinder, blocking crosses, cutting across through balls, saving on the line. Abdul Rahim used his power to stop many attacks in the middle, while Cian Olden, playing at centre back for the first time, covered more ground than anyone else, and recovered balls left right and centre, showing a certain amount of welcome ruggedness in the process. Toby Kmiecik did his best to contend with the speed merchant operating on his wing and he did well, apart from being caught out of position a couple of times. In front of them, Ebe Imoh and Joshua U’Joseph rubbed shoulders with the Buttevant midfield without fear, the former replacing Darren Flynn in goals in the second half. In the midfield Jamie Dunlea, Evan Donnelly and Alex Canty worked tirelessly to try to recover the ball and play forward. They might feel that they had a frustrating afternoon, but their progress throughout the game demonstrates how true it is that players learn much more in such tough games than when things are too easy. At the front Robert Adam had a tough afternoon, but things got better when he dropped back to get the ball back in his own half. In the last 15 minutes of the match, he managed a couple of very powerful forward runs and did his best to spread the play wide, Carrig being unlucky not to score, even though they did not manage to get close enough.

Perhaps this match was a bridge too far for this group of players, missing many of their usual team mates, but it remains that for many of them who have come to rely of their key players on match day, this really was a very important and interesting experience, another stage in their development. The good news is, these two teams get to do it all again the following week, this time in Carrigtwohill.

Man of the Match – Cian Olden.


League v Youghal United in Ballyadam Park on Monday 14th April 2014
Carrigtwohill United 1 Youghal United 1
Scorer – Robert Adam.
Games between these two teams at this age group have never disappointed in recent years, with results varying wildly, from the large Carrig win back in November to the large Youghal win of the previous season at U11 level. Also, fresh from conceding 6 goals at the previous match, Carrig were eager to tighten up at the back. From both these viewpoints, the game would not disappoint with end to end action lasting the full 60 minutes, but both teams being so well organised at the back that the scoring would be limited to one goal each.
Indeed, catching defences turned out to be tough, with Carrig opening the score in the very first minute of the match when Sean Walsh found space on the left wing to connect with Darragh Hoare’s through ball, before crossing perfectly for Robert Adam to beat the keeper from close range. This was textbook early pressure, unfortunately, Carrig would not manage another goal. The youghal goalkeeper had something to do with it, notably when Sean Walsh came down the right wing like a steam train and blasted the ball at the near post, only to see the keeper hold onto the fierce drive.

Clearly stung by the early goals, Youghal took a while to recover, but recover they did and from half way through the first half they began taking control of midfield, mostly through their magic number 8. Over the course of the match, Youghal put massive pressure on Carrig\’s back four, but the Carrig defence held well. James Barry (in the first half), Adbul Rahim (in the second half) and Sean de Burca delivered outstanding full back performances, putting in several last-ditch tackles each. Scott McCarthy at left back delivered a characteristically excellent performance, while Daire Sullivan played remarkably at right back. This was the wing where Youghal had the most pace and Daire Sullivan showed speed and composure. In the second half, Toby Kmiecik soldiered on in the same position, although he clearly found it hard to cope with the pace of the Youghal winger. All the same, it is only on a set piece that Youghal found an equaliser on one of the many corners which they got. Towards the end of the first half, a superb delivery by their number 8 landed in the danger zone and was bundled into the net by one of the Youghal forwards. It is testament to the discipline showed by the Carrig back four that this was the only time they were caught all evening. Joshua U’Joseph (first half) and Ebe (second half) helped out in the position of libero from where they also provided for the man marking of Youghal’s number 8 danger man.

As in the previous match, however, the hardest battle was fought in midfield, where Sean and Adam Walsh, respectively on the left and right wings, and Jamie Dunlea and Darragh Hoare in the centre worked very hard indeed. Darragh Hoare in particular covered an amount of ground which would have nearly allowed him to run Cork to Dublin within the hour. The performance of Darren Flynn in goal was also remarkable. The February Club player of the month produced yet another fantastic performance, making a couple of saves which had spectators wondering where the ball had gone and why it was not in the net. Towards the end of the second half in particular, he threw himself in front a Youghal forwards to deny a certain goal. Skill and bravery certainly in evidence in the young Carrig goalkeeper. At the end, Carrig hit a bit of wall and Youghal became increasingly dominant, Although Carrig still threatened on the break with several clear chances, most of the action was at the other end and Youghal rattled the crossbar on yet another corner. Loads of positives to be taken from a match where both team showed great resolve, but also great discipline the foundation of great CSL teams.

Man of the Match – Sean de Burca.


League v Crosshaven in Ballyadam Park on Wednesday 9th April 2014
Carrigtwohill United 6 Crosshaven 6
Scorers – Sean Walsh 3, Robert Adam 3.
Midweek matches are always a bit different with the likelihood of clashes with other activities and the reduced preparation time for parents, coaches and players. This one was no exception with just about enough time for a short warm-up and then it was straight into action from both teams. The limited availability of players on the team meant some changes of position and a different shape. Perhaps this explains why the game was played at such pace, with more open space and indeed more goals than in previous matches.

The frantic pace would not relent for the entire game and this one was really end to end stuff. The scoring followed the crazy rhythm of the attacks, with Crosshaven opening the score after only 3 minutes, only for Sean Walsh to charge down the left wing, round the last defender and score from close range. Within minutes, Robert Adam received the ball from Daniel Ciolacu on the right wing, pushing the ball in space, he took on the full back and beat him to the ball to score from a tight angle. Perhaps too honest he later admitted that he intended to cross the ball, it was still a great effort to create the chance. Crosshaven were constantly dangerous and through their gifted number seven, they equalised to make it 2 all. Before the end of the first half, there would still be time for Sean Walsh to drive down the left wing again and to score again this time with his left foot, before Crosshaven equalised yet again, always through the same player. There might have been more scores, but Ebe Imoh, back in goals due to the absence of Darren Flynn, made two dream saves on two rasping shots, one which he pushed out for a corner kick and the other which he gathered up in two stages with great authority. His long and rapid kicks down the middle of the park put Crosshave under a lot of pressure and he seemed to enjoy being back in his old position.

Although it seemed that this game was all about scoring, most of the soccer was actually played in the middle of the park and in defence where Carrig U12s performed very well. The back four: Cian Olden, Daire Sullivan, James Barry and Scott McCarthy defended like lions, keeping out Crosshaven’s speed merchants. In the middle of the Park, Darragh Hoare and Daniel Ciolacu played with great composure, finding space and delivering passes forward that found their mark in a way that did not happen in previous matches. It seems that having this duo in the centre of midfield is the good combination for the U12s, Sean Walsh finding then more space on the wing to use his speed and dribble towards goal. Playing on the opposite wing, Jamie Dunlea created danger on many occasions on the right side in what was probably his most complete performance this season. Another notable performance, was that of Alex Canty, playing in the libero position in front of the back four for the first time, due to the absence of Abdul Rahim. In this new position, he fought hard for 60 minutes, getting in the way of every attack that came through the middle and working tirelessly to turn defence into attack.

The game was there for the taking (or the losing) in the second half and two changes were made, with Scott McCarthy departing on choir duties, replaced by Toby Kmiecik, whilst Carrig’s U11 speed merchant Niall Harte came in on the right hand side of midfield in place of Jamie Dunlea. The pace was relentless again and the score line exactly the same as Carrig pulled ahead three times through Sean Walsh and twice through Robert Adam, only for Crosshaven to come back for a 6 all draw. Both players walked off the pitch with a hat trick, the first time any Carrig player scored a hat trick this season. In the end, the home team were happy to hold onto the draw as injury to a Carrig player meant they finished with only 10 men, having run out of subs. It is fair to say that Crosshaven threw absolutely everything at the Carrig defence, only to strike wide a number of times and be denied by the resolve of the back four.

All in all, a frantic match at Ballyadam Park and a result which was probably a fair one, given the number of chances created by both sides.
The issue of nominating a Man-of-the-Match remains and, in this instance, it is particularly tricky, with two players on a hat trick, some great performances in defence and in the midfield. However, for his relentless efforts both in attack and in defence in a new position, the award goes to Alex Canty for his performance in front of the back four, a player to watch for Carrig’s U12s.

Man of the Match – Alex Canty.


League v Strand United in Ballyanley on Monday 31st March 2014
Strand United 1 Carrigtwohill United 2
Scorers – Robert Adam, Evan Donnelly.
On the back of two consecutive defeats, and without a goal from play in three hours of soccer, Carrig’s U12’s certainly had something to prove to themselves in this match. The task was markedly complicated however by the tough travel away to Iniscarra in rush hour traffic on a Monday evening to visit Strand United, as it was by the concurrent scheduling of a GAA fixture involving some of the same Carrig players.
Nonetheless, excellent cooperation between the two team sports in the village and even more marvellous parent support ensured that Carrig’s U12s would be able to play this fixture with a competitive team. Definitely, there was competition for Parent-of-the-Match in this occasion, although Marissa McCarthy won it in the end, as she brought nearly half the team in her wagon! This was a reminder that without committed parents, schoolboy soccer is not worth talking about. The match started at 100 an hour and, unbelievably, it was to continue at the same pace for the full hour, leaving the players exhausted at the end. The ground was also rendered heavy by the recent rain and tall-ish grass, especially on the wings, really made this match a challenge. At that game, both teams did really well, creating good chances, only for defences to put in last ditch interventions. Cian Olden on the left, Scott McCarthy on the right and James Barry on the middle really played with 100% commitment for 60 minutes and, although they lost a bit of shape in the second half, they remained focused and held on for the win when it mattered most. Playing in front of them, Abdul and Joshua U’Joseph in his first match for the club this season battled in the middle of the pitch which was decidedly soggy and did not encourage close ball control. The massive improvement, however, was in the midfield, where the passing was altogether more accomplished than in the previous two games. At the core of it all was Darragh Hoare, back to his absolute best for the entire game, dribbling passing, driving forward, dropping back, highly influential and well deserving of the Man-of-the-Match accolade. With 20 minutes gone, he found Robert Adam in the 18 yard box, who turned his marker and fired past the goalkeeper from close range. The youngster would be a thorn in Strand’s side all evening, running on every ball that was played forward. On the left side of midfield, Alex Canty delivered his very best performance of the season, holding onto the football, driving forward and, on one or two occasions, torturing his opposite number on his way up the field. On the other side, Ebe Imoh used his power to round the Strand left back and he was unlucky not to score when the keeper turned his fierce shot for a corner. In fact, the Strand Keeper did not put a foot wrong all afternoon and held onto every ball that came his way, including two fierce shots/crosses coming from the right delivered by the right boot of Daniel Ciolacu.

In the second half, Niall Harte, the lively U11 winger invited as re-enforcement for the team, came in on the right wing and produced a great display of attacking football. Combining with Daniel Ciolacu and Darragh Hoare, he tormented the left back for 30 minutes, whilst not neglecting his defensive duties either. Toby Kmiecik also came in to replace Joshua U’Joseph and made his mark with some great defensive display 30 yards from his goals. He would become central to the end of the game, as Darren Flynn injured his wrist in the sequence of play that saw Strand equalise after 10 minutes in the second half. As all of Carrig’s subs had been introduced, Toby took over in goals where he performed well for a player who has only ever played in goals in training. Darren Flynn had probably even more fun outfield than he had in goals as he dribbled his way up the left wing, allowing Evan Donnelly to move up forward with Robert Adam. Fittingly, it was this pairing which produced Carrig’s winning goal, as Darragh Hoare yet again found Robert Adam in the 18 yard box, the striker this time turning provider for Evan Donnelly to shot across the goal and into the base of the post for a great winner. There was time for one last fantastic through ball from Darragh Hoare for Robert Adam to run onto, but his ambitious drive with the outside of the foot sailed wide. Overall a game that remained too close to call for a long time with sustained pressure from a Strand team which hit the cross bar in the first half and missed a great chance in the second half when one of their forwards shot way over the bar from close range, but a vastly improved performance nonetheless from Carrig’s U12s playing with a rotated squad. A good sign for the end of the season, with exactly 8 league matches played out of 16. All is yet to play for!

Man of the Match – Darragh Hoare.


League v Avondale United in Ballyadam Park onSunday 23rd March 2014
Carrigtwohill United 0 Avondale United 5
So soon after the tough match against Mayfield the previous Monday, this fixture took on particular importance for Carrig’s U12s. A tough training session in mid-week had put the emphasis on forward movement and passing and it was hoped that the problems with goal scoring would not return this week end. The first half was finely balanced with two teams intent on creating chances. Carrig came under pressure but the back four, Cian Olden, Scott McCarthy, James Barry and Sean de Burca, in typical fashion, held up well. There were still signs that the forwards did not find enough space to create danger, but still Carrig threatened with a cross by Daniel Ciolacu from the right nearly deflected into the Avondale net. Sean Walsh battled for 60 minutes, with Darragh Hoare on his shoulder and the two tried to play off each other all morning. On the wings, Cian Horgan and Alex Canty tried very hard to hold onto the football to provide the required platform for attacking, but the pressure on them was strong with Avondale spreading the ball wide at every opportunity. Up front Jamie Dunlea found rubbing shoulders with the Avondale backline daunting, given the size difference. With nil all at half time, it was all to play for and Carrig changed to a more attacking formation, with Robert Adam and Darragh Cullinane coming in as full forwards. There were more replacements with Daire Sullivan replacing Scott McCarthy at right back and Evan Donnelly coming in on the right hand side of midfield.

Alas, these replacements did not produce the expected results with Avondale going from strength to strength. Robert Adam did inject some pace on the left hand side, dropping back to collect the ball and dribbling convincingly up the field to try to find that killer pass, but Carrig were caught on the break with the ball played deep towards Darren Flynn in goal. The Carrig player of the month came out with his usual magic pace but his clearance took a nasty bounce off the Avondale forward who was able to pass into the empty net. The back luck would not stop here and the final score mounted to 5 nil in the end, Robert Adam seeing one of the only Carrig chances of the morning – his low shot from 18 yards out, deflected brilliantly by the Avondale keeper. Perhaps the last word can be left to the Avondale coach whose parting words were: “this was not a five nil game”. Unfortunately, it was, although in truth, there were many positives around the pitch with many Carrig players showing great skills individually. Work to do for the coaches to draw out better forward movement from this fine group of players.

Man of the Match – Sean Walsh.


League v Mayfield United in Ballyadam Park on Monday 17th March 2014
Carrigtwohill United 1 Mayfield United 3
Scorers – Sean de Burca.
Back in the CSL for the first time since the end of November and the great result against Youghal, the weather has been that unkind! Carrigtwohill’s U12s faced Mayfield in a so called top of the table clash. In perfect conditions, and with much less wind than teams have had to contend with lately, the two teams go into action without observation round and Mayfield were the brightest in the attack. Carrig’s defence however, with Cian Olden, Toby Kmiecik and James Barry (in the position of sweeper) were equal to the task. The game went on for about 15 minutes with two evenly matched teams neutralising each other. Then, an innocuous looking through ball came to Darren Flynn and took a wicked bad bounce as it got to him. Mayfield’s full forward, in close attendance, pounced on the easy ball to make it one nil. Still, it was all to play for and the strong midfield line made up of Daniel Ciolacu, Sean Walsh, Sean De Burca, Darragh Hoare and Sean Walsh powered through the field in search of an equaliser. That came just before half time with a superb header by Sean de Burca on a Daniel Ciolacu corner.

At one all and 30 minutes to play, it really seemed that this one was within reach, somewhat like that game versus Avondale back in October which Carrig had won 3 -2 in the end. However, when it got to Carrigtwohill needing to score to get in front, it just never happened. The backline, by now Daire Sullivan and Scott McCarthy as lateral defenders and James Barry at full back were still in control, protected by Abdul Rahim Mohammed in the Libero position, but the forward play just did not work. Robert Adam who has replaced Jamie Dunlea at full forward at half time, suffered the same fate his predecessor: he found it quite hard to get to the football all afternoon. In the end, Mayfield’s number 9, a live wire all afternoon, dribbled his way across the 18 yard box a shot across the face of the goal. The ball ricocheted off the post in the path of another Mayfield forward who scored from close range. There was just time for a needless fault to give a dangerous free kick to Mayfield, which they scored with a superb shot just under the cross bar. All in all a tired performance from a group of players who can produce much better football. But credit where credit is due: Mayfield were well organised, especially at the back, leaving no room for Carrig’s forwards to manoeuvre and showed much more realism in front of goal.

Man of the Match – James Barry.


Local Cup v Riverstown in GACA on Sunday 9th March 2014
Riverstown 6 Carrigtwohill United 0
The local Cup’s later rounds have the knack to bring together oppositions that would not normally play each other and this match was no exception. Riverstown are comfortable in CSL’s first division, playing for a top finish and there is a gap with the teams which Carrigtwohill U12’s have been playing this season to date. Very well organised, physically impressive with several players towering above Carrig\’s players, lightning quick at the front. Riverstown got stuck into this match without any observation round. At that, Carrig held on well, despite being under massive pressure. The back three made up of Daire Sullivan and Cian Olden on the sides and Sean de Burca in the middle performed well. James Barry playing in front of them competed for every ball that came through the middle of the park. But with the battle of midfield being won by Riverstown, the home team just had too many opportunities. After 15 minutes, another inch perfect through ball found Riverstown\’s forward who shot past Darren Flynn from close range. The second goal was the same, albeit it came from the other side. In truth, Carrig were under pressure in all areas, with both Alex Canty and Cian Horgan finding it very hard to hold onto the football on the wings. Sean Walsh, Darragh Hoare and Daniel Ciolacu did all they could to retain possession and build a platform to attack from, but Adam Walsh, playing as lone striker, saw very little of the ball. At the end of the half, Riverstown were 4 nil up and it was not undeserved.

The second half saw the introduction of Scott McCarthy at left back, Ebe Imoh in midfield and Robert Adam forward, with James Barry and Sean de Burca swapping positions at the back. Riverstown by then had also rotated their players and Carrig seem to do marginally better, with only two more goals being scored, albeit they were largely due to the strong wind, which picked up two crosses coming from afar to divert them high into the Carrig net, where a 12 year old goalkeeper cannot go. In fact, the score might have been more severe without another inspired performance from Darren Flynn who did very well in goals. Scott McCarthy, although he only played one half, also showed some great composure, clearing the line on a corner for the second match in a row and generally competing with the application and energy which are becoming his trademarks. Some positives, some lessons learnt and a good indication of the margin for improvement for Carrigtwohill\’s U12s if they were to be promoted to Division 1 next year.

Man of the Match – Sean De Burca.


Local Cup v Corkbeg in Ballyadam Park on Saturday 25th January 2014
Carrigtwohill United 5 Corkbeg 4
Scorers – Sean Walsh, Robert Adam, Evan Donnelly, Sean de Burca 2.
Soccer encounters between Carrigtwohill and Corkbeg always produce fantastic games, especially between these two teams now at U12 level and this match was no exception. Brought together by a Local Cup game, Carrig’s U12s and Corkbeg’s U12s met at Ballyadam with a change of venue at the last minute due to flooding in Whitegate. The weather conditions would dictate a lot of how this game was played with a gale force wind racing west to east across the pitch.

It is was down to Carrig to defend against the wind in the first half and this proved a difficult exercise, with any clearance going up in the air hitting the ground pretty much where it had left from! At that game, probably defending a bit too high up given the conditions, Carrig went down 2 nil within the first 15 minutes, before they started settling down. Keeping the ball down and bringing it forward in the feet rather than in the air, they managed to even out the game and Daniel Ciolacu, tirelessly running up and down his channel on the right hand side managed to bring the action into Corkbeg’s half. Combining with Adam Walsh, he managed to cross for Robert Adam who buried his volley into the ground, but that was better from Carrig. As the half was coming to an end, Adam Walsh yet again beat his opposite number and delivered a dream cross into the box. This time, Robert Adam controlled and shot to the left of the keeper, only to see the ball bounce back off the post. The Marauding Sean Walsh ran onto the ball and doubling back to open the angle, beat the Corkbeg keeper from close range. Two / one was a very good return for the first half against the wind, but things did not stay there. Corkbeg’s strengths have always been the speed of their forwards and three time, Corkbeg had two consecutive one on ones with Darren Flynn, the Carrig Keeper, but the ball sailed over every time. Just when all seemed in order, Corkbeg broke through one more time and Corkbeg’s number 6 had another one on one on Darren Flynn. Yet again the Carrig keeper parried, but the rebound was unkind and the Corkbeg striker managed to make it 3 -1 up at the break. This was still a favourable score line given the wind and the pressure on Carrig’s strongest backline – Cian Olden, Daire Sullivan and Sean de Burca, with Abdul Rahim Mohammed in front of them in the libero position. Of particular note in the first half, was the excellent performance of Darragh Cullinane, in only his second competitive match with the club, displaying outstanding ball skills in a crowded midfield zone, where Darragh Hoare was battling non stop. Sean Walsh was also on song, tirelessly bringing the ball up in the danger zone. But it was Daniel Ciolacu’s performance which really caught the eye. Realising that the wind made it all too easy for Corkbeg to clear their line and send the ball downfield, he could be seen retreating beyond the halfway line to help his backline, anticipating the ball movement like few 12 year olds can. Whether he knew it or not, this was his best performance of the season to date and it would see him designated as man of the match in the end.

The second half saw three changes, Alex Canti and Evan Donnelly coming in as wide midfielders whilst James Barry come on at full back with Sean Barry moving up in the libero position. There was of course only one thing to do for Carrig: catch up! But Corbeg were not finished and it was them who hit Caarig on the break making it 4-1. Last year, the Carrig team would have crumbled but not anymore. Pretty soon Evan Donnelly and Sean Walsh were combining on the left and Sean Walsh pushed the ball past the Corkbeg keeper for Robert Adam to push the ball into the empty net. And there it stayed for quite a while much to the despair of the Carrig coaches and parents. Then excellent work but Darragh Hoare sent Robert Adam wide on the left. He stopped and turned back and laid up the ball for Sean de Burca who shot narrowly wide. Time past and Corkbeg were making this an even game rather than bowing to the pressure. As the crowd was beginning to wonder, Sean de Burca came down through the middle and hit a wicked shot from 20 yards out. In these conditions, this proved unstoppable and Carrig were only one behind. Soon after, sustained pressure saw Carrig get close and when Daniel Ciolacu shot from distance, Evan Donnelly was on hand to make it 4 all. There was only 5 minutes left at that stage but it did not seem like this would be the final score. Within minutes, a Daniel Ciolacu free kick went agonisingly close and then Sean Walsh powered through Corkbeg’s backline and passed to Robert Adam whose left footed shot on the turn proved too weak to beat the keeper. Suddenly, as the action moved to the other end and it seemed Carrig had cleared their line, Corkbeg obtained a penalty. With 5 minutes to go, this seemed like game set and match for Corkbeg, but Darren Flynn who has made a habit of saving his team, somehow saved the hard shot and cleared off the rebound.
At that stage, Carrig’s supporters would have settled for extra time, but Sean de Burca managed to sneak the ball into the far post in the last minute of the game to edge the tie. A typical Cup game, which could have gone either way! A very good win for Carrig which makes up for the disappointment against Kinsale in the Conboye Cup earlier in the season.

Man of the Match – Daniel Ciolacu.


League v Youghal United in Ardrath Park on Saturday 30th Novmeber 2013
Youghal United 1 Carrigtwohill United 7
Scorers – A Walsh 2, D Ciolacu, D Hoare, A Mohammed, R Adam, S Walsh.
For Carrigtwohill’s U12’s, Youghal United have always been a bit of a benchmark as the two teams have played each other regularly in previous seasons at U10 and U11 level, with fortune switching from side to side. On a glorious but cold enough Saturday morning, the two teams took to the field at Ardrath Park on a pitch that was in marvellous condition for this time of year. From the off, the teams were evenly matched but Youghal put the pressure on while Carrigtwohill were more dangerous on the break. For over 10 minutes, Youghal kept pressing but Carrigtwohill’s back line made up of Cian Olden on the left side, Daire Sullivan on the right and Sean de Burca in the middle resisted excellently, well protected by Abdul Mohammed in the libero position. On the other hand, Carrigtwohill were beginning to take greater control in midfield and, finding space in the middle of the park, Darragh Hoare, Daniel Ciolacu, Ebe Imoh, Sean Walsh and Jamie Dunlea at full forward, were combining to catch Youghal on the break. This is exactly what happened after 15 minutes, when Daniel Ciolacu ran on a through ball from Darragh Hoare, controlled brilliantly and beat the keeper from 15 yards, only to see his low shot rebounding off the post. That was scant reward for such a superb move, but Carrigtwohill were beginning to look like they could do this again and 5 minutes later, Adam Walsh playing on the right wing ran onto a superb pass. Pretending to cross the ball, he powered past his marker instead and chipped the ball in the top left corner from the edge of the 18 yards box. Adam Walsh was full of running and it was him again who ran onto yet another magic through ball from Daniel Ciolacu to fire the ball into the net from close. By now Carrigtwohill were beginning to dominate in midfield and Youghal found it harder to exert pressure. The turning point of the game however was still to come, when Youghal combined to put their striker in space on the edge of the box. He delivered a rocket of a shot across the goal towards the left corner of the goals. The goal seemed certain but Darren Flynn, Carrigtwohill’s goal keeper on the day, produced was will certainly be the save of the year, palming the ball beyond the post one-handed and at full stretch. Crucially, within minutes Daniel Ciolacu was well placed to pounce onto a loose ball and put Carrigtwohill 3 nil up at half time.

In the second half, Youghal came out fighting and again applied great pressure onto Carrigtwohill’s back line. But as in the first half, the back three held on, showing great solidarity and Adbul Mohammed making a demonstration of double teaming, recovered ball after ball, in the manner that Patrick Viera became famous for in his Arsenal days. Yet again, the story of the day was the way the midfield line dominated possession, Darragh Hoare and Sean Walsh playing probably their best game for the club this season. By now Cian Horgan and Alex Canti had been introduced on the left and right of midfield and Cian Horgan produced a number of powerful runs down his wing. But Youghal were still dangerous on the break and their striker ran into space to get a one on one on Darren Flynn. However, the Carrigtwohill keeper came out on top again, blocking the shots twice before Cian Holden cleared the line. A few minutes later, Youghal were on the attack again and when the ball fell to another youghal striker, his strike seemed destined to go into the empty net, only for Sean de Burca to come out of nowhere and throw his body of the line to block the ball. There was therefore a strong sense of relief on Carrig’s side when Darragh Hoare dribbled deep into Youghal 18 yard box to beat the keeper with a nice little chip from 5 yards. Soon after it was Adbul Mohammed’s turn to latch onto a Daniel Ciolacu free kick to make it 5 nil. With 5 minutes to go, Robert Adam who had replaced Jamie Dunlea, received a long clearance from Daire Sullivan, turned his marker and ran towards goal, protecting the ball from two retreating Youghal defenders. He powered his way inside the 18 yards box and beat the Youghal keeper from 10 yards. There was still time for Youghal to pull one goal back, before Sean Walsh who had played absolutely impeccably all afternoon, relentlessly retrieving the ball inside his own half and bringing it forward, stole the ball in the heart of Youghal’s defence to add one score for Carrigtwohill.

In truth the very heavy score line may be flattering to the visitors, but Carrigtwohill’s performance was their finest so far in the 2013 / 2014 season.

Man of the Match – Darren Flynn.


League v St Mary’s A in Popham’s field on Saturday 16th Novmeber 2013
St Mary’s A 1 Carrigtwohill United 2
Scorers – Sean Walsh, Darragh Hoare.
Carrigtwohill’s U12s travelled to St Mary’s on the back of two great wins away to Avondale and home to Strand so expectations were cautiously optimistic before the game. The entire panel has been doing well in training and this game was the occasion to rotate players and bring in new talent, in particular Tobiasz Kmiecik in his first game for the club. At one of Cork’s historical soccer venue – Popham’s Field, where the game has been player for 50 years or so, Carrig’s U12s met pitch conditions that are unique to this venue. The grass is plentiful, but the ground can be uneven to say the least – not exactly a paradise for goalkeepers or for elegant ball players! From the word go, the home team showed how to hit the ground running. Their wingers put the Carrig defence under massive pressure, but Cian Olden on the left side and especially man of the match Daire Sullivan on the right proved equal to the task, winning all of their one-on-ones and running up with the ball. In truth though, it took Carrig a full 10 minutes to get into the game and claim their fair share of the ball. In the early stages, Sean de Burca was kept busy in the key position as centre back and Cian Horgan, playing in the libero position for the first time, ran the equivalent of a marathon before the end of the first half. At that, Sean Walsh came down from midfield to get behind the ball and tirelessly and patiently tackle and take the ball back up the field. Finally, Carrig’s five man midfield took control and never let go. Jamie Dunlea delivered what is certainly his most accomplished performance ever, patrolling the left wing for the full 60 minutes with amazing composure. On the other side of the pitch Tobiasz Kmiecik showed patience and resilience, proving that he going to be a fast learner this season. Then, Robert Adam drifted wide on the left and controlled the cross delivered to him with one single touch. He passed back to Darragh Hoare on the edge of the box who showed superb composure to find Sean Walsh, who curled the ball inside the far post. Carrig then pilled on the pressure to double their advantage and Robert Adam, again drifting wide on the left, powered his volley into the underside of the crossbar, only to see it bounce down on the wrong side of the goal line.

Thus, the score line stayed at one nil at the break and the coaches and parents knew that the game was still too close to call. Sure enough, St Mary’s came back on the pitch with the desire to get back into the game. Soon after, their star player thundered a corner kick onto the cross bar with Darren Flynn stranded on his line. There was only a short respite before St Mary’s got a free kick in dangerous position, St Mary’s striker stepped up again to curl a vicious strike over Darren Flynn’s head. The goal keeper stretched up and got a hand to the ball but could not deflect it away enough as it went down in the far corner. St Mary’s showed the signs of a team on the up, but Carrig’s U12s, as the did against Kinsale and Avondale, had other ideas. Darragh Hoare, Daniel Ciolacu and Sean Walsh displayed special composure as they got back behind the ball and hit St Mary\’s on the break. Evan Donnelly who had come in at half time, joined in the action, fighting a hard battle for the control of the foot ball. Then, Daniel Ciolacu picked up the ball in midfield and, in a display of skills that would even have found favour with his illustrious compatriot Gheorghe Hadji, rounded half a dozen players, powering away from a sliding tackle and unleashed a venomous strike that sailed just past St Mary’s goal and nearly out of the grounds. The best was still to come however as Daniel Ciolacu recovered the ball deep into his own half scrapped his way through the midfield to find Sean Walsh. He delivered a quick pass to Darragh Hoare ahead of him on the right hand side of the 18 yard box. Darragh went right and then left to get past his marker and, with his weaker (!) left foot, unleashed the shot of the day, perhaps of the season, into the top left corner. There was something special about the strike which seemed to head past the post only to dip down into the goal. At the end, St Mary’s pushed and pushed and Carrig’s back line came under pressure again as tired legs meant midfield players were no longer able to get back behind the ball. Darren Flynn made a couple of superb stops, holding onto the ball to take the danger away. Carrig held on however, for what is probably their hardest fought win to date. A run of three win means the heavy defeat on the first day of the season feels like an old story at the stage.

Man of the Match – Daire Sullivan.


League v Strand United in Ballyadam Park on Sunday 27th October2013
Carrigtwohill United 3 Strand United 0
Scorers – OG, Darragh Hoare, Sean Walsh.
On a week end that saw many games cancelled, Carrig’s U12s benefitted from the excellent drainage at their home ground to sneak their third CSL match of the season. In gale force winds, but with a sunny break in the weather, they welcomed Strand United in a game that turned out to be at their advantage. From the first minute, Carrig’s 4/5/1 formation proved effective with the home team winning the battle of the midfield. Based on this success in the middle of the park, Carrig spent the day defending 40 yards away from their goals and in total, Strand managed to break the back line only a handful of times. This led to Carrig’s U12s first clean sheet in two seasons, a notable milestone for the afternoon. In truth, the back three – Cian Olden, James Barry and Scott McCarthy showed great composure, especially in the second half when they performed admirable textbook recovery runs to deny Strand on two occasions. Their task was made easier by the excellent cover provided in front of them by Sean DeBurca playing in his usual role as Libero, where he has found the right balance between early interventions when Carrig lose the ball in midfield and moving up one notch to kick start attacking moves. The position made famous by his illustrious predecessor Frantz Beckenbauer suits him well, even though you can tell he is dying to run deeper forward. Towards the end of the game, he managed to find space and time to do it, with evident pleasure.
Perhaps the story of the afternoon was in the midfield where Darragh Hoare the conductor with Sean Walsh and Daniel Ciolacu on either side recovered ball after ball – winning most of the 50/50 balls and driving forward every chance they got. On the wings, Adbul Rahim on one side, later replaced by Alex Canty and Cian Horgan on the other side, later replaced by Darren Flynn gave the back three the sort of protection that delivers clean sheets. Cian Horgan in particular gave nightmares to his opposite number on the right wing all afternoon and robbed every ball coming down his way and played up the line towards Sean Walsh and Rob Adam with Man of the Match precision. His progress in this position has been amazing since the summer and he is well deserving of the Man of the Match accolade in this match. Alex Canty, Abdul Rahim and Darren Flynn, all excellent in the lateral midfielder positions, certainly give many options in midfield for the coaches to pick from.

Robert Adam at full forward battled away all afternoon dragging two in the Strand defence with him on many occasions and working hard, even though he did not see much of the ball, probably owing to the very tough wind conditions which did not encourage the long passing towards the front target man. His cross from the left however, nearly delivered a goal when Darragh Hoare volleyed just wide of the post. This excellent platform of play did deliver goals for Carrig. The first one followed sustained pressure from Carrig when the Strand full back diverted into his own net a Sean Walsh cross that seemed destined for Robert Adam to pounce upon. The second one came by way of persistent dribbling and a rocket strike from Darragh Hoare. The third one was a real stunner, with intricate passing between the Carrig forwards putting Sean Walsh in space to curl his shot past the Strand Keeper and inside the post. From the coaches’ point of view, it would be hard to ask for more from a soccer match. Perhaps a bit more cohesion and more passing upfront, but that is what training is all about. It is hard to argue with a 3 nil win.

Man of the Match – Cian Horgan.


League v Avondale United in Bessboro on Sunday 6th October2013
Avondale United 2 Carrigtwohill United 3
Scorers – Robert Adam, Daniel Ciolacu, Darragh Hoare.
For their second league match in the CSL, Carrigtwohill’s U12s paid a visit to Avondale at their Bessboro venue. On a day that seemed to promise little more than rain, the weather actually held long enough to facilitate a brilliant soccer match player by two teams that were very well organised in defence, but equally were very eager to go forward. At that game, Avondale did better and took the lead halfway through the first half on a speculative strike from distance which skidded on the wet grass. A while later, they had the chance to double their lead, only to see the ball bounce off the post. Apart from these two occasions, Avondale’s forwards could not shake Carrig’s back three, Darragh Cullinane (in his first match for the club), Cian Olden and Sean DeBurca, well supported by James Barry in the position of libero. James Barry however had to come off early on due to the recurrence of an injury sustained the day before during Carrigtwohill GAA’s U11s successful campaign in the Sean Twomey Cup. In came Cian Horgan to replace Abdul Rahim Mohammed in Midfield, the latter taking up the role of Libero. Up front, Carrig found it hard to get through a very strong defence. The forwards found it difficult to link up and too many balls were intercepted by Avondale’s defence before they could reach Adam Walsh playing at full forward. All the same, the 5 man midfield worked very well, Daniel Ciolacu, Darragh Hoare and Sean Walsh ever present in the centre, whilst Darren Flynn and Abdul Rahim Mohammed (later Cian Horgan) patrolled the sides.

The second half saw a string of replacements, Darren Flynn replacing Ebe in goals, whilst Robert Adam came in at full forward and Scott McCarthy (also in his first game for the club) replaced Darragh Cullinane at right back. Alex Canti took on Darren Flynn’s position on the wing. This change of personnel maintained Carrig’s good display and this serves to illustrate the strength of that Squad, a great sign for the future. Indeed, Carrig was pushing forward increasingly convincingly and were now threatening the opponents’ goal. Finally, after 10 minutes of pressure, Avondale gave in: Sean Walsh worked his way through the midfield to deliver a through ball for Robert Adam to run onto on the left side. The full forward took a single touch with the outside of the right foot to steer the ball past the keeper and score at the far post. There was more to come as in quick succession, Daniel Ciolacu and then Darragh Hoare found the net to make it 3-1. Carrig’s second goal was special, a superb dribble by Daniel Ciolacu on the edge of the box leading the youngster to deliver a rocket of a shot just under the cross bar and well out of reach of the Avondale keeper. This one may well be a contender for goal of the season such was the pace on that strike. Carrig’s third was equally well crafted, with Darragh Hoare penetrating on the left to beat the keeper with a left foot shot across the goal. It was then down to the back, well protected by Adbul Rahim and the never-tiring Darragh Hoare to preserve the scoreline which they did with success, Scott McCarthy showing great composure on several occasions to close down runs on his right hand side. He also came back out of nowhere to catch up with Avondale’s full forward and clear the ball when a goal seemed certain. Cian Olden on the other side did the same, tackling, clearing, dribbling tirelessly as he has been doing over the last few matches. Sean De Burca showed relentless determination and led the back three with a maturity and expertise which seems extraordinary at this young age. There was one more episode left in this match as Avondale were awarded a penalty for an unfortunate hand ball in the 18 yard box. Avondale scored emphatically, but there was no time left for any more and Carrigtwohill could celebrate their first league win on that 3-2 scoreline.

Man of the Match – Darragh Hoare.


Albert Conboye Cup v Kinsale in Ballyadam Park on Sunday 29th September 2013
Carrigtwohill United 3 Kinsale 3. Kinsale win 4-2 on penalties.
Scorers – Daniel Ciolacu, Robert Adam 2.
Another first for Carrigtwohill United’s Under 12 team as they took to the field of play for their first Cup match against Kinsale. With the tough encounter against Castleview still fresh in their minds, the coaches decided on a conservative 4 5 1 formation which allowed for a dense midfield presence, Sean Walsh and Daniel Ciolacu providing the speed needed to break through. This was one very even encounter, with end to end action, but advantage defence as wave after wave of attack saw defenders retrieve the ball. At that game however, Kinsale were more effective, going ahead early on following a corner kick that was allowed to travel through the danger zone. To make matter worse, Carrig were undone again on the counter, at a time when they seemed to be well in control. The ball broke out at the left corner of the 18 yards box from where Kinsale’s lively forward powered the ball inside the near post with an unstoppable shot. Throughout the half (and in fact during the whole match), Abdul Rahim Mohammed produce an amazing performance, winning all his duels, and powering past players in his usual nonchalant style.

The score stayed 2 nil until the break, where fresh legs were introduced upfront. Carrig knew what was needed and only minutes after the restart, Daniel Ciolacu shot from the right wing and surprised the Kinsale keeper at his near post to pull one goal back. Carrig went forward again and again in search of an equaliser, but yet again were caught on the break to go down 3-1. This was surprising because the back three, Cian Olden in his usual position on the left, Daire Sullivan on the right and James Barry in the middle were on song all morning. Good communication, great awareness and a fair bit of speed allowed them to keep Kinsale’s lively forwards out for long periods of the game. It is now a feature of this team that they don’t cave in when things go against them and Carrig continued to attack and when Darragh Hoare shot from distance, Robert Adam charged down the keeper to head into goal, only to see his effort blocked again. Only this time, he dribbled past the keeper to score in the empty goal. Still Kinsale were dangerous on the break and Ebe Imoh saved two one on one with Kinsale’s forward to keep his team in the game. With time now quickly running out, Carrig stuck to the task and Sean Walsh sent one more cross into the danger zone, finding Robert Adam at the penalty spot who volleyed into the top corner. Carrig were back in the tie!

That was the final score and the game went into extra time, where both teams, now on tired legs kept attacking as if they had loads left in the tank. Yet again it was advantage defence and, in truth, there were few clear chances in the 20 minutes of extra time. Cian Horgan who had entered at half time gave an amazing performance, covering huge ground, rather in the same manners as he does in the Gaelic sports.
So it was to be penalties to decide the game and when the coaches asked who wanted to take one, the whole Carrig team came forward as one. In the end, Sean Walsh scored Carrig’s first, before Cian Olden provided the talking point of the morning. Not twice but three time did he beat the kinsale keeper, as the referee who gave an impeccable performance throughout the match, called him back for not waiting for his whistle! In the end, Carrig’s lack of experience in the penalty shootout caught them, as Kinsale scored their remaining penalties, whilst their keeper produced two magnificent saves to deny Carrig. A wonderful match, with a cruel ending for Carrig….but there is a long season ahead and the team is showing such progress and promise that this end result does not matter too much.

Man of the Match – Abdul Rahim Mohammed.

League v Castleview in Ballyadam Park on Sunday 15th September 2013
Carrigtwohill United 3 Castleview 10
Scorers – Robert Adam 2, Sean de Burca.
Five goals in each half were enough for the visitors to assert their superiority on a Carrigtwohill Side which is inexperienced at that level. Division 2 is a tough grouping to be in and it showed immediately against a Castleview team that was very well organised, very solid at the back and extremely quick upfront on the break. On the left wing in particular, Castleview seem to be able to penetrate at speed and Carrig U12s found it hard to cope. The introduction of Ebe Imoh on the left wing did make a difference in the second half, but by then the damage was done. The problems in the defence gave the home side an indication of the progress that has to be made in order to do well in this division.The back four actually did well all morning, clearing wave after wave of attack, James Barry delivering Man of the Match performance at full back, but the visitors just had too many chances. The gaps appearing in the midfield when attack turned into defence and tired legs slowed down the players became increasingly wide as time went on and this will be an important theme on the training ground.

Carrig’s U12 are a development team and it is good to see definitive points for improvements. Already, the team works well on the attack, and there was good news upfront where Carrig created good chances, with an opportunistic Robert Adam scoring twice on the break, whilst Sean de Burca placed a fantastic left footed strike in the top corner of the net. Darragh Hoare, displaying his usual work rate in midfield also came agonisingly close when he chipped the opposite goalkeeper to conclude a very good Carrig movement, only to see his effort hit the crossbar.
A very entertaining morning of soccer with plenty to learn from for the youngsters and their coaching team!

Man of the Match – James Barry