As we did last year and the year before that as well, we’ve begun the new footballing year with an FBD defeat to a third level institute. Two years ago, we lost to Sligo IT, last year it was to NUIG and it was against the same opponents that we went under today, losing in Dangan by 2-10 to 1-8.
I wasn’t at the match and Mid-West were only providing score updates so I only have bits and pieces to report on but it sounded as if we were always on the back foot this afternoon. NUIG had the ball in the Mayo net through Cathal McHugh within 15 seconds of the throw-in and they led from there right to the end. By half-time, the score was 2-4 to 1-3 in NUIG’s favour, their second goal coming from Conor Devanney, while our goal was scored by Mikey Sweeney, with the points coming from Austie, Peadar Gardiner and Barry Kelly.
NUIG extended their lead in the second half and they were six points to the good, 2-8 to 1-5, at one stage in the second half but points from Aidan Kilcoyne (2 frees), Alan Dillon, Barry Kelly and Austie helped to narrow the gap to three points with five minutes to go. However, NUIG then closed out the scoring with two late points to secure a comfortable five-point win in the end.
From what the reporters were saying at the various matches covered by Mad West today, the experimental rules proved problematic enough, with a number of players getting ordered off on yellow cards for what seemed to be innocuous enough offences and with play being constantly stopped for black book offences to be noted. In our match, we lost Peadar Gardiner to a yellow card in the second half but NUIG had three of their lads ordered off in this fashion. From the sounds of it, there’s going to be a strong chorus of disapproval about the new rules over the coming month and I’d be surprised if changes aren’t made before the end of the league.
That’s about it: the football’s back and, once again, we’ve got an opening match defeat to chew over. Let’s hope this isn’t a harbinger for the year to come.