SPORT IN G.M.I.T @ CASTLEBAR
With the dust finally having settled on the return to college and the initial trials over, training schedules sorted and teams eventually beginning to take shape, the competitive action has begun in earnest. The hurlers have had a very promising start and a seven-point victory over Athlone I.T. in glorious conditions in Breaffy set the campaign on the right road. Unfortunately injuries to key players (Gavin Kearey and Sean O’Callaghan) took its toll in the game against Sligo I.T. But with their expected return for the deciding game of the league section against G.M.I.T Letterfrack next week confidence will be high that they can reach the league semi-finals.
The Women’s football team had a tough outing in their first game against an N.U.I.G. team that had several inter-county stars. But when they entertained their second team
It was a much tighter game and was as exciting an encounter as you would be likely to come across. And excellent performance in goal by Mary Bourke kept the Castlebar team in contention despite strong Galway pressure. With great work all round but especially by Terri Gallagher in mid-field the girls clawed their way back into it. When Melissa Casserly kept her cool to finish in soccer style to the net in the last minute to give a two point lead it looked secure, but incessant Galway pressure in a lengthy injury time saw one point and then, (reminiscent of another last minute heartbreaker, from Meath in Croke Park), a hopeful ball into the area was met with a fist and headed goal-bound until Mary Bourke got a touch the deflect the ball high it eventually landed on the crossbar to fall over for the equalizing point in the very last action of an absorbing game. If the girls continue to improve at this rate and play with similar passion they can expect to better last years haul of two runners –up medals when the divisional playoffs come around.
Another match with an exciting ending was the men’s soccer team who were very disappointed to be held to a draw By Griffith College Dublin. In a game they totally dominated they played some excellent football and despite a penalty miss they still took the lead when Christy Keaney found the net early in the second half. Following this they bombarded the Dublin area but with no security goal to show. They were rocked to their boots when two minutes into injury time Griffith scored with a long-range effort to get a share of the spoils. Their next outing will be a much tougher assignment away to I.T. Tallaght next Wednesday.
That trip will be shared with the Basketball Club as both the Men and Women’s teams try to improve on a disappointing year last year. They have been training hard with an influx of talented first years such as Michael Hubbard and Eoghan Harris for the men, and Sarah Syron and Ciara O’Neill making a big Impact. The National Arena in Tallaght will be just the place to check exactly how far they have come.
The men’s football team were buoyed by last year’s Trench Cup performance and started the year in good spirits. As has always been the case in the last few years the league has not been a happy hunting ground for them and the initial loss to Cavan College was a big disappointment. The loss of Daniel Branley to injury for the entire year was a huge blow but the promising signs of return to fitness of Dwayne Flynn, and the return from club duty of Alan Moran and Ronan Walsh will be a great boost and hopefully they can turn it around for their next trip to Dublin V.E.C.
The men’s B Team soccer had a very exciting opener early confusion in a new defence lead to a two-goal deficit, which they never managed to overhaul. Despite constant pressure in a very creditable performance and an excellent goal from Brian Philbin it was the Galway outfit that came out on top. A marvellous performance from Spanish Goalkeeper Igor Garcia was a highlight for Castlebar although I think the Connemara ref is still trying to understand Igor’s reaction to some of the more robust challenges!
The Women’s soccer team had a tough opening game against a very strong Athlone I.T. side but the performance in the two-nil defeat was very encouraging and they will have nothing to fear from Sligo, Limerick or G.M.I.T. Galway
The Rugby team cut their teeth in the National sevens and with many of the top players in the country on display it was always going to be tough. The experience gained will be of great benefit when they play in the 10-a-side league, which is limited to smaller colleges, as they aim to improve on their runners –up position of last year.
So the gloves are off and it’s down to action, the tough sessions in raw conditions, the early morning workouts and the testing league fixtures on heavy pitches that are all part of the winter programme for college sports. It’s hard to see it at the time (or to even link the two) but that’s where the late spring glory of Trench or Ryan Cups is won. There’s a tough road ahead but those who came so close last year (or those that remember the ultimate prize –the hurlers of three years ago) know that you get out what you put in and while it may not be pretty here’s where it is won and lost. Good luck to everyone along that road, hope it’s an enjoyable one