Any fears that the staff had that they were getting too old for this contest were put to bed by half time, when they rested up with a 2-1 lead. The early indications were that the staff had done their homework on the pupils, with Mrs. Connor roaring her way up and down the right wing, being a very dangerous outlet for the teachers. With Mr. O’Connor pulling the strings around the middle, one-two’s with Mr. Fagan were paying off. But it was Mrs. Connor with a rasper that couldn’t be stopped for the staff to take the lead.
Not to be outdone, the pupils moved down the field with some very good passing. Emma Gibbs made one particularly incisive run, which eventually met the feet of Mr. Ó Braonáin. However, this was followed up by Tadhg Martyn, who hit an absolute beauty from all of twenty five metres, under Ms. Gerard, to draw the teams level at one all.
Awoken from their slumber, the staff’s lead was restored by a brilliant goal by Ms. O’Brien, who followed it up with an even more acrobatic cartwheel in her celebrations.
Just after the break, Mr. Fagan added a third and all the pre-match training camps in the Algarve began to bear fruit. Despite complaints about old age and ailments, Mrs. Goulding and Mrs. Johnson rolled back the years and were merciless in the face of attacks by the pupils.
The pupils were in the unfortunate position of having to change their team every ten minutes, so once they built momentum, it was lost again with a new team having to come in. However, with Lorcan Smyth coming out and Tadhg Martyn going in goals, and a new formation including Daniel O’Neill, Alex Devin, Óisín Mooney, Karoliny Santana Pereira, Rachel Scully and Ben McDonagh appearing in the final twenty minutes, they were hoping to change things around. However, the plan backfired when when Mr. Fagan was given two acres of free grass in which to score, for a 3-1 lead.
Mr. Ó Braonáin and Mr. O’Connell were the enforcers at the back, with little getting past them, although Mr. Ó Braonáin was very fortunate with a number of nudges as he headed the ball out. The referee, our caretaker Davy, seemed to have swallowed his whistle, and just waved ‘play on’ throughout and the best that can be said of him was that he was equally criticised by both sides.
Ms. Gerard came out the field in the second half, replaced by an assured Mr. Flanagan and proved to be a very good outlet for missiles from defence, drawing in two or three players on several occasions, before releasing Ms. Duignan and Ms. O’Brien down the wings. Ms. Collins filled the gap in the middle vacated by staff running forward and took no counter attacking prisoners. Judging by the amount of mis-timed tackles, Mr. O’Donnell’s best days seem far behind him and may now depend on sporting memories to fill the gap.
In the end, a second goal from Mrs. Connor, undoubtedly the ‘Mam Of The Match’ and Mr. Fagan, sealed a 5-1 victory and it appeared that the most demanding duty for the staff fell to Mrs. Reilly and Mrs. Kelly who were supervising the rest of the pupils watching the match.
It was a bitter, bitter result for the pupils to swallow, and one which they will have to dissect in the months and years ahead but at least some of the boys have their county medals in their pockets and some girls a county semi final appearance to ease the pain. Bragging rights go to the teachers, for the fourth year in a row. Many thanks to all the spectators.