English Super Cup Day 4   07/08/2018


            SATURDAY 28TH JULY 2018

A cooked breakfast for everyone this morning.

However Richie sold his soul this morning. And all for a rasher!

The lady behind the counter was a bit sensitive to the overnight news that Liverpool had beaten Manchester United in America. She was getting tired of the many references to the big hammering and was running out of patience with the Liverpool lads.

However in a desperate and despicable and appalling effort to ingratiate himself with the beleaguered woman Richie told her that he supported Manchester United and all in a scandalous effort to get a rasher. How low can you go?

We think the world deserves to know and certainly the extended O’Neill family deserve to know that Richie, the most dedicated and devoted Liverpool supporter you could meet, stated in public, and while in the full of his senses, that he supported Manchester United! And all for a rasher!

I know we all lost a certain amount of respect for Richie this morning.

More so because he got the rasher!

Of course we had to explain to the staff what a rasher is. They were serving bacon. We were looking for rashers!

On the bus to the Venue there was a discussion about how we were light on numbers and carrying a few injuries.

This prompted David to volunteer that he could do “a job on the edge of the square!”

This opened a whole new conversation as we tried to explain this concept to Clive.

We made some progress when equating “the square” to the 6 yard box but confusion reigned again when reference was made to “dropping one in the square”. Now this is foreign to Clive who as we all know only plays it on the ground whatever about any other connotations. Reference to “a square ball” had him further perplexed! I mean a ball is a round spherical object intended to go ...well .... around. How could there be a square ball? It only started to make some sense when he was informed that there were also two men present wearing white coats!

That all sorted it was time for another busy day. And a big day for the U-13 Scholars with a Super Cup semi-final.

But first up are the Under-12’s.

       U-12 – ADSL TIGERS  2  :  St. Brelade FC   3

Again this was close and could so easily have gone the other way.

We took the lead when Charlie found the top right corner for 1-0.

They equalised and then took the lead with a controversial goal. Again the standard of refereeing is not great but we turned it around with a Destiny goal to level it up at 2-2 by the break.

However a single goal in a close fought second half was enough to give them the win and loads more regrets for us.

    U-12 – ADSL LIONS  4 : Advanced Football A  0

This will be one of the highlights of the week.

This is how you play football with a smile on your face!

It was 0-0 at half-time but we were going well. Jeffrey had everyone primed for his goal celebration but first was the small matter of actually scoring a goal!

There was however an almost carnival atmosphere about the match with the Tigers lending enthusiastic support to everything the Lions did. They sang and cheered making for an unforgettable occasion.

Fola put us in front to kick start the party and prompt the first (good natured) pitch invasion. Eoin then made it 2-0 with a stunning spectacular goal spinning on the edge of the box to drill the ball into the top corner. Second pitch invasion! We then got a penalty. Only Jeffrey could take it.

And he did. And he scored. And the place went mad. Q the Jeffrey celebration dance. Even Clive and Richie joined in! Unbelievable Jeffrey!

Hagen and Eoin both hit the woodwork before Fola wrapped it up with a fourth goal.

This was amazing fun. Even the opposing manager came across to say that he never enjoyed a 4-0 defeat more. He loved the antics and said this is how football should be played and enjoyed. This game and everything around it will live long in the memory.

  U-13 – ADSL SCHOLARS  0 :  SFC Manchester  2

This was the Super Cup semi-final.

Everyone was agreed that this was a heroic performance by the Scholars. They conceded early and very late but in between took the game to SFC Manchester and put in their best performance of the week.

What made it even more noteworthy was the fact that we lost Michael O to a head injury and were down to ten men for long periods. But what mighty men!

Kyle F, Cian, Aodhan in fact every one of this team were magnificent and almost pulled off a shock result only denied by a late, late goal.

However, much honour and pride in defeat.

Of greater concern was Michael O’s injury. David was on hand to give best care and we were lucky that Aodhan’s Dad was on hand to give further medical care. The local paramedics were also very good. But Michael was clearly concussed and very wobbly on his feet. He was taken by onsite ambulance to the Medical Room and removed from there by ambulance to hospital with David to be checked over. There is obvious concern for big Mike but he is in good hands and it is important that he is checked over.

All thoughts are with Michael O.

   U-12 ADSL TIGERS  0 :  Pro Soccer Academy  2

The Tigers are playing on empty now.

We had no answer to two goals, both in the second half.

Not for the first time it would have been altogether worse but for the majesty of James again in goal. This is truly a very special talent and if there is a better goalkeeper playing in this Tournament I have yet to see him. A very special talent.

Meanwhile our best laid plans to go to Man City this afternoon are falling asunder. As we only got Fixtures last Tuesday we could only then identify gaps in our Schedule when we could fit in a Stadium Tour.

To be fair the Tournament organisers are doing their best for us but they cannot get through. Nobody is answering the phone in their Box Office. Their online booking is not working. You can only get so far then ... crash!

We are not alone in this. Another Group are trying to book a Tour and are having the same problems. However they finished early today and are just going to turn up and see how they go. Not really a luxury we can afford with a Group of 45!

Yet they had some joy and got on a Tour for 4.00pm and could give us a number that somebody would answer. But no real joy. They would need 3 or 4 weeks notice for a Group of 45. We checked that we were talking to Manchester City!

Anyway they had no Tours after 3.00pm. Not true! You have a Group at 4.00pm!

Again we had to check we were talking to Manchester City and explain how we were doing our level best to give them the best part of a grand! No. No interest! Bit bizarre really!

We even tried alternatives. We don’t want to disappoint these boys. But Man United are booked out! Liverpool is booked out! No go anywhere! But we will not give up!

   U-13 – ADSL SAINTS 2 :    Shawclough Rangers  3

We would have expected to win this. This was a Shield semi-final.

We left this one behind us. For sure!

These were the hardest team we played against all week. Not because they are that good. They are certainly dogged. But they have no shape or organisation at all and therefore very difficult to play against. I defy anyone to tell me their system! Don’t think they know themselves!

We went two behind here but a Brandon goal from a penalty put us back in it. We made it 2-2 from a Brandon free kick although Josh claims he got the last touch. That one is with the Dubious Goals Committee.

We were chasing the winner when we got caught by a sucker punch to go behind again.

We threw everything at it to equalise but just ran out of time. A very disappointing result. Special mention must go to Sean for an outstanding performance that did not deserve to be on the losing side.

   U-12- ADSL LIONS  2  :  Newton-le-Willows JFC 1

This was both sensational and a little worrying.

Again we were not blessed with a great referee. In fact he seemed determined to ensure that we would not win in an erratic, eccentric and sometimes bizarre performance.

Anyway having exerted all the pressure and playing all the football we went behind. Same old story?

But we battled on and having been denied a number of certain penalties finally got one in the second half. Tommy was fouled and got up to take it only for it to be saved with Eoin reacting quickest to put away the rebound for 1-1.

We were now totally on top and pressing for the winner but were several times denied by what can only be described as awful refereeing. The Ref had lost it. He was totally freaked out by the occasion.

There was a huge crowd watching this game. All our other 3 teams were there giving enthusiastic support. All the parents, family and friends were there. All were becoming increasingly bemused by the increasingly erratic refereeing decisions. He was young but he was totally overwhelmed by what was going on around him. He left the pitch at one stage to talk to one of the organiser’s staff. Mad stuff!

Then in the last seconds of an intense game we scored and with a belter with Fola firing into the top corner. The place went mad. The other players raced onto the pitch in massive celebration. Nothing sinister. Good fun and unbridled joy. Children having fun!

The referee abandoned the game and walked off!

It took some time for it to be confirmed that the result stood. We had won the game 2-1 and will play a Trophy semi-final tomorrow.

It was really a clash of cultures. It was almost as stark as the crazy Oirish celebrating a great goal to win a fantastic game in unconfined joy while the polite English disapproved of such a flagrant breach of some inconsequential rule. Neither side could understand what the fuss by the other was all about.

However I know which side I want to be on.

Then we piled onto our bus and into Manchester. We were cheered on the way by news that Michael O was still waiting to be seen but was showing big improvements. In fact he was sitting up, stinking out the place, eating Egg Mayonnaise sandwiches!

Later we were informed that he had been given the “all-clear” and was discharged and would be joining up to meet with us.

Thus it was a very happy crew who went to the FA Football Museum.

It was in fact very good and a good alternative to Manchester City. Michael O joined us and everyone was very happy to see him. We had good fun on the interactive games and the various exhibits and all. We also got pictures taken with the Premier League Trophy and the FA Cup. It was all very good.

As the Museum closed we made our way to the Cafe/Bar and what was on the big screens in the FA Football Museum except the Clare v Galway Hurling semi-final. A few thought it was the Discovery Channel but it was Sky Sports and methinks young David Lynch from Da Banner had much to do with that.

While the young lads kept the staff very busy, at exorbitant and almost extortionate prices, everyone else was watching a hurling match on all the big screens in the FA’s Football Museum.

Now, your scribe has long held the very firm view that gaelic games do not define my Irishness and that the repeated insistence that we share a true Irish “identity” that seemingly only the gaa can bestow on the nation and all its inhabitants is just plain incorrect. It is not a part of me. Not even a small part. But even I could see the irony of watching a hurling semi-final in Manchester in the FA Football Museum!

It was not going too well for Clare. When Galway scored a goal the suggestion that it was offside met with a withering stare from David. Eventually he even seemed to give up on it as we left to board our bus and head back to Salford and straight into the Dining Hall.

After dinner the match was back up now on Tadhg’s phone. Clare had made a comeback and we were playing extra-time. It was funny to watch. The cynics knew there would be a replay! Meanwhile David was totally engrossed in it. Opposite him Mark and Adam R were likewise engrossed but unsure how to react in David’s presence. There was no stopping Keelan however who was shouting for Galway without actually watching. When challenged to name a few Galway players he rattled off three or four names but nobody else knew if he was right or wrong.

Anyway, surprise surprise it ended in a draw. A replay. Who would have thought?  At least it keeps David and Adam and Mark on talking terms.

Then back to the Rooms. Free time. Games Room. Team Meetings. Then everyone came together with a Birthday cake and a Birthday Card signed by everyone for James. Everyone sang “Happy Birthday”. That was great. Happy Birthday James (again).

There were few objectors when bed was suggested.

What a day!


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