Watching blue paint dry would have easier on the eye than this. On their first visit to Stradbrook this year, the Blues were somewhat fortunate to get away with a point in what can be described as a very poor spectacle for the travelling faithful. It really was that bad!
True, the pitch was (and always is) appalling for football and it is easy to understand why Cabinteely play a style of football that seeks to keep the ball in the air for most of the game but this cannot explain why the Blues struggled so badly to compete. The reality is that Cabinteely bossed the game for much of the ninety minutes and the draw was ultimately a much better result for the Blues than the home side.
David McDaid was restored to the line up and with Mark O’Sullivan by his side the Blues should have done better. The problem however was further out the field, where for most of the game the Blues were out muscled and could not really find time on the ball to feed the two strikers. Cabinteely pressed very high and it was quite a busy night for the Blues’ defence throughout. Several times they could have got the vital breakthrough goal ….the closest when Patrick McClean blocked a shot from close in by Kieran Waters.
Tom Smith was brought on in the second half to help shore up the midfield area and he managed to break up a number of Cabinteely moves in typical eye catching style….puzzling why he was not in from the start. Once again Matt Connor performed well and at this stage might feel entitled to think that the No. 1 shirt is his, ahead of Ian McLoughlin….maybe?
Sad to report that Kenny Browne broke a bone in his arm during the second half and will miss several games for the Blues.
Stradbrook is a difficult venue because of its surface and because Cabinteely have developed their game to suit the surface there. Points will be dropped there by most teams. Cabo’s well developed habits of going to ground and complaining to the match officials were also well exercised on the night.
The facilities are good for spectators insofar as the venue has a wonderful clubhouse with a great view of the pitch but there is no cover there for spectators. Thankfully on this occasion the weather was perfect. The team sheet produced by Cabinteely for the game will be a collector’s item in years to come. Clearly the guy in charge of research was unwell last week.
Former Blue Even Galvin lined out with Cabinteely and worked hard with little impact however. Another player to appear for Cabinteely, if only for a late cameo appearance, was Jason Byrne, who was making his 500th League of Ireland appearance.
The travelling Blues’ fans as always gave a good account of themselves although the display immediately after the final whistle was unnecessary.
Results elsewhere meant that the Blues’ lead at the top of the league was reduced to only one point. Next up come second place UCD to the RSC next Friday night and another chance for the Blues to open a gap.
C’mon the Blues!
Blues: Matt Connor, Dave Mulcahy, Kenny Browne (Robin Dempsey 64'), Patrick McClean, Derek Daly, Tom Smith, Garry Comerford, Shane O'Connor, Dean O'Halloran, David McDaid (Anthony McAlavey 77'), Mark O'Sullivan. Unused subs: Matt Sheehan, Kenny McEvoy, Gary Delaney, Dean Walsh, Conor Whittle.