February : Connacht Cup Final
St. Mary’s 2 Presentation Athenry 3 (AET)
The fairy-tale season came abruptly to an end in a miserably cold and wet Mervue as the senior went down battling to a hyped up Athenry team. Lining out in Mervue colours we faced a strong wind in the first half but nevertheless played the better football and with the scoreline at 1 – 1, thanks to a goal from Nathan Ward, things were looking good. Jonas El-Ehmer and Kamil Szymaszek were having the better of the midfield battles at this stage and we were hopeful that we could push on. Indeed, when Gabriel Dossen rose highest at the back post to head in following a period of concerted pressure, things were looking really good. However, our joy was short lived as within a minute Athenry drew level. The swirling wind proved to be the villain as a speculative shot from long distance fooled keeper Cian Walsh and sneaked into the net. Athenry were resurgent, Mary’s downcast. Neither team could add further to the scoreline, although a fantastic save from Cian as full time approached kept us in the match.
Extra-time, unfortunately, was dominated by Athenry. A serious injury to Kamil, who had to be carried off on a stretcher, played no small part in this, as Mary’s struggled to get a foothold in midfield, and and Athenry started to dominate out wide. A brilliant goal line stop by Hakeem Ryan proved to be a fore-bearer of things to come as within minutes Athenry had scored from a corner. Into the second period of extra time Mary’s pushed on leaving loads of holes at the back, which Athenry completely failed to capitalise upon, missing a host of fairly easy chances. However, we couldn’t break down a resolute Athenry defence, and when the final whistle blew the cup was heading east. Mary’s fought gallantly throughout, and should be very proud of their performance. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…so hopefully we’ll pick ourselves up and go on to more victories. Congratulations to Athenry on their first ever victory and well done to our team and management on what was a great season.
January :Connacht Cup Semi-Final
St. Mary’s 3 Ballinrobe CS 2
Another thrilling match saw us once more live dangerously but still hold our nerve to progress. This was a match in which we defended better than the opposition as the weather played a key role in the outcome. Having won the toss we played with the near gale force wind and by halftime goals from Nathan Ward, Dion Walshe and Francely Lomboto saw us head for the oranges with a commanding lead…but facing ever deteriorating weather conditions and a mighty strong wind. In all honesty we should have made it 4 soon after the break but once the very talented Ballinrobe lads settled into things we soon found ourselves in a serious tussle. Conceding a goal to the penalty put a little less daylight between us and with 18 minutes to go an speculative cross found itself in the Mary’s net and it was finger-nail biting time once again. Resolute defending however safely saw us through and now its off to yet another Connacht senior final, our first since 2010
January : Connacht Cup Quarter-Final
St. Marys 3 Summerhill Sligo 2
Our senior soccer team march on as they overcame Summerhill College from Sligo to progress to the Connacht semi-finals. Ourselves and the Summerhill have undoubtedly been two of the biggest forces in schools soccer over the past 20 years and this match was one that brought out the best in both teams. Having gone 2 – 0 up the Sligo lads fought back to equalise, but a moment of brilliance from Tommy Molloy eight minutes from the end saw ten-man Mary’s come away with a well-deserved victory. Full report to follow…
December: Connacht Cup
St. Mary’s 7 Garbally College, Ballinasloe 0
The seniors continued their march through to the Connacht Cup quarter-finals following an emphatic victory over Garbally College Ballinasloe. In blustery wet conditions the Mary’s lads started somewhat tentatively and almost conceded an early goal to the fired up Ballinasloe lads. However, they soon got to grips with the opposition and became the dominant force in this match. Having no fewer than 15 clear chances in the first half the lads managed to convert only two, but after the break showed a lot more composure to register a further five scores, emerging as 7-o victors. Hat-tricks from Tommy Molloy and Nathan Ward were the highlights, with Jordan Powell-Lavin marking a long awaited return to action with a sweetly taken finish to wrap up proceedings. Next up is a home fixture, the opposition not yet known.
October: Walter Burke Cup and Connacht Cup first round
St. Mary’s 3 St. Joseph’s ( the Bish) 2
Following an exciting tussle against local rivals the Bish we emerged victorious and regained the Walter Burke cup for Senior Soccer after an absence of two years. This was a very exciting match which saw two well matched teams battle it out not only for the cup, but also for valuable Connacht Cup points.
Mary’s took the lead early on with a goal from centre-back Nathan Ward, but despite numerous chances were unable to capitalize, and a defensive lapse near the end of the first half saw the Bish draw level, somewhat against the run of play. However, an opportunistic strike from Nathan Patrick Ward, spotting the keeper off his line and chipping him from the edge of the box, nearing the interval saw us take a deserved lead into the half-time break.
We started the second half in great form, and went close a couple of times before the tide appeared to change when Nathan Ward added to his earlier goal with a second yellow card and left the field. From the resultant free the Bish compounded the matter by striking for the equaliser, and with half an hour to play it looked ominous.
However, with our backs to the wall we upped our game and the biting midfield of Kamil Szymaszek and Jonas El-Ehmer ran themselves ragged to chase down the ball and afford the Bish no room to launch an attack. The defence, excellently marshalled now by Landau Ndombasi stood resolutely, and with Tommy Molloy causing all sorts of problems up front the Bish could not take control. Indeed, many of the better chances in the closing part of the match fell Mary’s way, and eventually their pressure paid off as Tommy pounced on a loose ball out of defence, rounded the keeper and slotted home what would ultimately prove to be the winning goal.
The referee’s whistle signaled the end of proceedings and the Mary’s lads celebrated their victory accordingly. Captain Kamil received the cup from principal Mr. Ciaran Murphy. Walter would have been proud of them.
Mr. De Paor’s charges continue to march on as they are now into the Connacht Cup quarter-final
St. Mary’s 4 Claregalway College 3
A fantastic match in Mervue saw Mary’s score a last gasp winner to overcome their more fancied rivals in what was a great match.