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Mens 3rds - Match centre

Mullingar
Three Rock Rovers M3's
Sat 24 Jan 12:45 - League Full time

A tale of two halves

By

TRR M3's resume league duties having last played on December 6th

December 6th the date of our last match seems like a eon ago, an away trip to Mullingar would be a tough enough test let alone without a 46 day rest period over the Christmas festive period!

We did however have a friendly early Jan (less said of this the better from my perspective having a day to forget), thanks to Pete and Scott W for arranging this, one-two training sessions, and with our match V Glennane off due to a frozen pitch, we it seemed were short of match practice, similar to the first of half of this campaign (we drew 0-0 with Rathgar) we resumed after a battling, bruising encounter drawing 3-3 v Mullingar.

Ritchie got very excited when he saw the pitch and the all new Loretto School, "oh look they have apartments here" whilst he scurried off to find the gents, TRR were in the main part at full strength, the oppo only had 6 or so prior to the match, but by the time the whistle went both sides were at full strength.

We warmed up well, some excellent one touch, finishing except for Ritchie who was getting frustrated with his warm up and declared at the huddle 'that wasn't a great warm up'... a negative before a positive doesn't bode well...

Talk of winning the first five minutes, setting the tempo were by an large fulfilled with some excellent distribution, movement of the ball, interspersed with ball given away in the wide channels. We created several chances in the first half drawing Mullingar netminder into a few good saves, however after 3 or so shorties, Findo would drive home the first of two goals in the first half from a rebound off the keeper's pads. 0-1 TRR. Plenty of wild challenges from the oppo and from our own Ritchie (I don't think I have ever seen the normally ice cool Ritchie play like this, if this was played on grass cries of 'sticks' would abound!!) I believe Phil scored the second from open play with a neat finish, ok okay Phil, Findo crossed the ball in at pace, you defected the ball into the top net giving the keeper no chance, 0-2 to the half time break, the first half dominated by TRR.

A tale of two halves... talk then of not going down to their level, don't make the umpires job easy, don't be put off by the host's umpire (indeed he stopped play when our umpire Ben blew for a 16, he walked over 2/3 rds of the pitch to inform Ben he had seen a reason why a shorty should have been given and proceeded to push Ben not once but three times! Ben should have given him a yellow!).

The hosts umpire (I don't normally mention a bad performance by an umpire, but on this occasion I will - its not sour grapes far from it!), by my count in the second half, gave 95% of all decisions to Mullingar, no consistency, he sent off our players and allowed his players to do the same with no recourse, and then make some really comical errors (having lost the plot and why he blew a whistle, he stopped to think why, oh yes someone broke the line in the shorty, looking at players astro boots, first Scotty then Ritchie he said ah yes it was your boots! He awarded another short corner as part of a series of shorties for about 5-8 minutes despite the ball clearly hitting the oppo player - anyway I could go on and on about his blowing the whistle, he certainly was on a mission).

Anyway back to to tale of two halves (in case I am accused once again of spending too much time on this), in the first 5 minutes of the second half the ball was worked across our d, several examples of offences that were not blown, saw Mullingar at the left post squeezing a ball past Ed on the right post, 1-2. This inspired the home side to play their game, we duly obliged losing position, not playing our game, giving possession away time after time, Mullingar crossed the ball in and similar to Phil's earlier goal the ball was deflected in, 2-2.

With Roly dispatched with a green card, despite being shoulder barged and pushed to the ground in an off the ball incident (I witnessed his bruises, bloody wounds after the match), we tried to restore a balance to the game, yet more unpunished incidents in the middle of the pitch saw Mullingar break free into the d, placing the ball past an onrushing keeper, 3-2.

It is at times like this, against the impossible, true leadership surfaces, fair play to Findo he took control, from here on in it was all TRR, finally now back to playing, forcing Mullingar onto the back foot, however Mullingar sat back to hit us on the counter, Greeny sent to the yellow bin for last man stick tackle, Gar created several chances but TRR held on, we then were awarded a flick for a blatant foot on the line, Findo neatly dispatched it, 3-3. We very nearly won this in the closing stages, but it wasn't to be.

All in all I think this game has gone some way to get us back to match level, preparing for our next match away to Clontarf (who beat us at home earlier in the season 1-3), compulsory attendance bar frozen pitch on Wednesday!?

MOM - Roly good game, but it goes to Findo, scoring two goals, got us back into the match, and yes thats 2 jugs (MOM and a genuine jug avoidance).
DOD - Several contenders, anyone who got a card, especially those that got 2 for the same petulant reason Ryan, but todays DOD is you guessed it Ritchie you... your comment at the end of the match to me trying to steer DOD away from you, 'Ed, the host umpire must be gettin' DOD!' sealed the deal., and this as you know is also a Jug.

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