MALTA NEWS TO DATE (GOOD FRIDAY) 2012-04-07 12:24:00

On the 5th April in the year 2012 twenty-three players from the ADSL Under-14 Development Academy travelled to the Mediterranean island of Malta.
This is their story. (Or at least that part of it, which, for various legal reasons, can be published).
Any reference to any third parties or any other persons is purely intentional.
No animals were harmed in the making of this Diary.

This is it.
After all the waiting, all the expectation, all the planning and all the preparation the day is finally here.
The 23 players and the ADSL party of 6 gathered at the Kilmartins N6 Centre in Athlone for 11.30am. There was a palpable sense of excitement and anticipation. A few of the Mums were a bit upset and emotional. That is to be expected and understandable in all the circumstances. They just could not understand that we were only going for eight days and thought that it should be for longer! A few were a bit miffed at the reasonable prospect of everyone getting home.
So all the good byes were said and once the large crowd of parents were satisfied that we were all on the bus and definitely on our way they headed off with beaming radiant smiles bravely masking their hidden inner trauma and angst at being separated from their precious darlings.
The only apparent regret on the bus was the fact that sadly John Farrell will not be making the trip. The very idea of work, responsibilities and family obligations getting in the way of football! We will miss you John. As Robbie rightly said, "It just won't be the same without John"
John however did send a message to the Squad in which he expressed the wish that we would play the West Ham way! Yea .... Right..... Kick it long to Carlton Cole so that he can kick it wide! .... I don't think so!
The bus made good time to Dublin and to the Airport. Check in went fine and then through departures without a single problem. Then down to Gate 220 and a further check to finally get on a bus! We thought we were flying!
The bus trip was short and then onto the plane to settle in for the three hour plus flight. The flight was a little long but the nearer we got to Malta the excitement and the anticipation started to grow again. Colin was also pressured into giving out the most important information - who would be sharing with who?
Emmet had the honour of being the first ADSL player to set foot on Maltese soil. There was however no band, red carpet or state reception. (That is for later). What did greet us even at that time in the evening was the warmest breeze to perhaps give some indication of the weather we can expect.
We did not have to wait long for our bags and then it was out onto a bus and our first views of Malta.
We were brought to the Club grounds of Hamrun Spartans and saw the pitch where we will play most of our games. The set-up is very impressive. We were given a history of the club and of the Tournament named after and dedicated to Tony Bajada, one of the founders of the Club. We were also given some hospitality although some of the local cuisine did not work for everyone.
Then it was off to the Hotel. We are staying in the Topaz Hotel and no it is not a petrol station! It is grand and we were soon checked in and after a short team meeting and some free time most were ready for the leaba. Eddie and Sean however had a bit of a midnight feast. Can't think who is leading them astray?
It was also Irwyn's birthday today. Happy Birthday Irwyn!
OFFICIAL NOTE: The first day cannot be allowed to end without recording the magnificent behaviour and good manners of these young players. They are each and all a huge credit to their families, to their Clubs, to their League and to their country.
On several occasions they have been complimented by various other people from the lady on the security check in the airport to passengers on the plane and in Malta for the manner in which they are conducting themselves. Great lads. Well done to one and all.

It was an early start to our second day with everyone down for breakfast for 8.00am and we were on the bus, ready to go, for 8.30am to play our first game, a friendly against Pembroke Athleta F.C. with a 10.00am morning kick-off.
This was just amazing. None of these players will have played or are ever likely to play a football match in such a spectacular location. The pitch swept down into the sea which provided a breath-taking view and setting rare for a football match. It also had the added advantage of a cooling sea breeze to attempt to offset the soaring temperatures even at that hour of the morning.
This game is only a friendly but every bit as important as any of the competition games that we will play. It is all part of our education and development and preparation for the Kennedy Cup.
ADSL 6 : Pembroke Athleta F.C. 3
What a great start!
We actually started the game reasonably well but 15 minutes into the first of three periods of 25 minutes we went a goal down from a super goal with a shot that just flew in from the side-line.
We did not panic. We were playing well and passing the ball well. The nearest we came to scoring was when Sean McGrane had an effort brilliantly saved. So we finished the first period a goal behind.
The second period was even better. Michael McGloin might have equalised but his effort was denied at the expense of a corner. From that corner they could not clear and the ball fell to Dylan Molloy to score for 1-1 with just six minutes on the clock.
Within minutes the ADSL were in front. A super Irwyn Griffin corner kick was headed to the net by Michael McGloin for 2-1.
The ADSL were flying now. Roan Hynes, Kevin Daly and Michael McGloin combined brilliantly to set Ciaran Lennon in down the right to then cut inside and simply blast the ball to the net for 3-1.
Into the final quarter the ADSL showed the results of all their training piling on the pressure despite the awesome heat. A simply super pass from Kevin Daly picked out Denji Adeleye who made a great run down the left before pulling the ball back for Jack Bradbury Hughes who controlled the ball with his first touch and scored into the bottom corner with his second touch for 4-1.
Denji then made it 5-1 with some great work this time down the right and a good finish.
Emmet Nally then got in on the scoring act from close range for 6-1. There is however some confusion over the exact scorer. Emmet is in no doubt. Everyone else will tell you it was anyone but Emmet. Emmet would tell you it was a screamer from distance. Everyone else will tell you it hit off his shin and fell over the line. The controversy will rage!
In the closing moments the ADSL tired and wilted in the heat and Pembroke scored two good goals but the game finished in a 6-3 win for the ADSL.
It was a great exercise. Everybody played a part except John M who was feeling a bit poorly. It was very good to get a game and in testing conditions.
Thank you very much to Pembroke Athleta for the game and for your splendid hospitality. Thank you.
After loads of hydration and some stretches with Seamus it was back to the Hotel for a shower and then out to lunch. Piazza never tasted so good.
John Murray has also made a full recovery. Alas, rumours that he was losing his voice are sadly and unfortunately untrue!
Then it was back to the Hotel and into the Hotel pools. The outdoor pool was cold but was just what was needed in the blistering sun. The mood of the Group reflects the magnificent weather. Sean P sunk Michael's boat but otherwise a great time was had by all.
At 5.00pm we piled back aboard the bus to go to Mosta to view the Good Friday Procession. This was an amazing spectacle full of pageantry, period costume, various bands and huge solemnity. It was a very different but very impressive experience.
Then it was back to the Hotel for the evening meal. That, in truth, could have been much better and was the first negative on an otherwise brilliant day. There was a Team Meeting for 9.00pm where we received our playing gear for tomorrow. After that it is early to bed as early to rise. Tomorrow is an early start to a big day with our first competitive game in the Tony Bajada Memorial Tournament. It is a 9.00am kick-off for us tomorrow.
Good night!
P.S. Kate Nolan continues to welch on her bet. She lost her bet fair and square. Her forfeit was to sing a song on the mic on the team Bus. To date she has singularly failed, refused or neglected to so do. Stay tuned for further updates.
Good night again!


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