On Thursday evening a few weeks ago, Mr. Cavanagh called upon all the men who would be interested in playing football the year for the seniors. There was a big hole to fill as the vast majority of last year’s team is off studying in college, off working in places such as Poundland (Cathal Farren) and others off filling cars with petrol (Dopey Devine). Then some are just lying in bed to dinnertime, getting up, watching daytime TV, telling as many people as he can about his Derry City career, and then back off to bed (former Captain Todd). Part-time footballer Conor Browne is living it up in Galway with his new bird he met at the Carn Cattle Show, treating her to tasty takeaways and long walks along Salthill Bay. James McKinney has gone missing and hasn’t been seen since Glengad lost to Illlies in the Cup last May. Evan Tweed however has taken his career to the next level; he now has learned to make coffee, where before he could only make tea...He now works in Café Bamba. And then you have Ciaran Jimmy Roe who hasn’t been seen since Doc's got a new Deli counter.
The crowd that showed for the trial match wouldn’t fill a hole in your tooth never mind fill a hole in your team. Local Rasheeny soccerballer, Nathan McConnalogue was one of the standouts (by standout I mean standing out on the sideline beside the rest of the subs). His performance on RTÉ the day before seemed that bit better than his performance during this match. Saying on TV “The Mother would be proud!”...She wouldn’t be too proud if she was there on Thursday. The football was not very fancy, although Brendan Doherty (L) did manage to do a few step-overs and put away a few tap-ins. Benny made a staggering 50 cent transfer to local rivals Rasheeny to join childhood hero Nathan McConalogue in midfield.
Wee Corey McBride didn’t show up to this match; we thought he was huffing...It turned out he was the last man in the changing rooms and had difficulty reaching the door handle. One of the other hot newcomers was Aidan Cunningham who hails from Culdaff FC, a player who I brought up through the Youth. I taught him everything. I even taught him how to tie his shoelaces and how to walk. The shortlist of who makes the cut will be released in the coming weeks, so fingers crossed for the likes of Jack Lackin and Thomas O'Brien. It’s time to go to Mass on a Sunday and say your Hail Marys at bedtime. So don’t be misbehaving in class, do your homework...and don’t forget Santa isn’t far away either.
Training will continue every Friday. There’s word on the street there’s an old friend coming to see us. A man with rippling muscles, a man who can squat two buses, a man who once fought off a bear with just his bare fists, a man who can catch a salmon with his teeth...
I’ve decided to take a back seat the year and watch on from the sidelines, use my head and not my feet. I’m joining the Management panel along with Mr. Cavanagh and the new horse in the stable, the man who has more Carn underage medals to his name than Conor O’Donnell, the man who’s going to be made sing a song on his first bus run, Mr C. Doherty (Conor not Colm)...and finally, the headless horseman..Samuel Todd. I will be Houghton's number 2. So, Johnny Toye, your day will come son, don’t worry.
Player of the year outright betting 2017/18
Nathan McConalogue evens (favourite)
Lackin brothers 5/2
Benoit Assou-Ekotto (Ciaran Jimmyroe) 5/1
Big Corey McBride 14/1
Wee Connor O'Donnell 25/1
Lee 'Keegan' McLaughlin 30/1
Big Daddy Daniel H 100/1
Mikey Friel 101/1
Fionn McClure 101.5/1
Lorcan 'The Pitbull' LOL/1
Jake 'HAHA' Harkin MoreHopeOfTonyHibbert/1
Kieran 'Dishwasher' Farren TooManyReds/1
Christopher Gill DeclanGill/1
Brendan Doherty 50cent/1
Me and Sam 2DerryCityAllStars/1
Ronan McCusker 2/1
The Scoil Mhuire Game
The boys came to school that morning, shaking with the nerves. The calmest man of the bunch was wee Corey McBride who was as calm as a summer's day, only he had one major dilemma that morning when he stepped off the bus...last man and went to open the door to the 1st corridor, he couldn’t reach the handle. He was stuck outside the school until the next busload came. There were fears the wee fella had frostbite, so we decided to give him a boiling hot sink and got Fionn to dry him off using a facecloth. We got him sorted anyhow and all men gathered together, but once again we had a problem; we had two Jack McLaughlins and no Nathan McConalogue.
The bus arrived and we did a final headcount...17. We needed 18. There was no Jimmyroe, he was still in class. We feared his devotion to school would result in us having no centre-half, so Mr. Cavanagh requested that the three strongest men go down and forcefully take him out of class. They sent me, Lee and Andrew Murphy. We trailed him by the legs out and got him to the bus, tied him down and got the bus driver to drive as fast as he could to Applegreen Deli to calm Ciaran down.
Scoil Mhuire 3-9 Carndonagh CS
Carn for once started the better team but there were a few major talking points in the first half that maybe Hession and Cade doesn’t want told, but we're going to tell them anyways. Mikey tapped in the first goal, that could have been put away by me lying on my deathbed and then Wee Corey saw a shot from his left foot that was heading for the Swilly deflect off the Buncrana defender, storming her into the bottom corner. Hession had a chance to open his account for the school, when he had saw another shot sail over the bar. He just didnt have the shooting boots on today. He hit the floor screaming at one stage, so we called upon new team physios Jack Fildara and Jack Barney to go sort him out. Fildara solved the problem by giving Hession a blow-dry and a skin fade. He was then back to his normal best.
Buncrana looked to get back in the game when they pounced back with two quick goals. One Buncrana fan said “Is that Tiernan Devine back in centre-half?”...No, it was Jake Harkin who couldn't pass a fish supper and like his Clonmany teammate, Oisin Hession, they arent very good at football. Captain Houghton was to blame for all three goals once again today as his spell as Number 1 seems to be coming to an end. He's like Joe Hart - flexible but clean useless. when we were 7-3 up I came on to see the game home, and a magnificent display it was too, being the only keeper in Buncrana to hold a clean sheet; something I'm very proud of. There's strong rumours that Houghton is now 4th choice, leaving me 1st, Jonny Toye 2nd and Oran Raymondo 3rd. Carn regained the lead with quick-fire goals from Jack Doherty, a thunderbolt Free kick from Wee Corey (luckily the wall had more holes than Ballyliffen Golf Course) and a 1st half brace for Mikey. The second half started with O'Donnell making a cheeky run into the box and scoring, but thankfully the linesman stuck up his flag to disallow the goal for we would never heard the end of it. The Management team finally couldn't take any more laughter, so they took Cade off. His replacement was the big superstar Luke Rudden, who looked to be no better but eventually managed to shin one in for a debut goal. Then the moment of truth, the words we'd all been waiting for...“Warm up Benny!”. A true predator in front of goal. Smashing them in. Cracking records and cracking ankles! The mobile centre-forward. The best thing to come out of Clonmany since….Eoghan Brennan. Came on and did what he does best - puts the ball into the net. Mikey got his hat-trick when he kicked the ball and the wind carried it into the goal. Wee Corey got his when he turned, ran in between the defender's legs in the box, and tapped her in. Both were then taken off. Jack McLaughlin came on, followed by Jack Mc Laughlin. At this stage Hession was so confused he had to come off (he wouldnt be the sharpest knife in the cupboard!) Fionn moved up the field a bit and yes! You guessed it! His shooting was a shambles. Hes got the aim of a sniper but the power of a Ford Fiesta. When the laughing had died down looking at McClure's shooting, O'Donnell’s heading and Jimmyroe thinking he can run with the ball, the decision was made to remove Houghton from the field. The Buncrana men were not happy as they thought Houghton was their best chance of winning the game. One smart man said “You would be as well with a cone in nets as having Houghton in”...Just in case you missed it up the page, but Houghton conceded 3 goals. At this stage Buncrana knew the game was buried, so they decided to throw on 2 stray dogs. Statistically speaking, they had a better game than Lee and Hession. After nagging the ref, Ciaran Jimmy Roe got the game ended as it had been nearly 2 hours since he swallowed anything solid. He demanded we stopped in Subway where he ordered a couple of Foot-longs, a couple of cookies and a diet coke.