This was another important game for this Raheny team, against a strong Ballymun team, with a particularly potent attack, competing for places at the upper end of the league table. Before the summer, Raheny scored a narrow win over Ballymun at home in a real hum-dinger of a game on Pitch 10, so we weren't expecting an easy return fixture!
We arrived in good time to the pitch in Poppintree Park, only to find that it was double-booked with a Setanta Camogie game. Fortunately, Kickham's astro pitch at their clubhouse was available, so we hopped back in the cars and made our way out towards the airport. Shortly before throw-in, unexpected re-inforcements arrived in the form of three of the under-12 squad fresh from the Camaint finals in Parnell Park.
The sky was looking ominous, with rumblings of thunder, and sure enough, the heavens opened as soon the ref got the game started. While those on the sideline grabbed raincoats and huddled beneath rebellious umbrellas, the players found themselves squinting into horizontal hailstones (ahhhh, Ireland in August!). After a few minutes of play, the ref had to suspend play temporarily until the worst of it passed. When play resumed, players & spectators alike were pretty soggy, but the tempo of the game soon put it out of everyone's mind. Sodden ball, pitch and gloves made for difficult conditions, with plenty of uncharacteristic slips and errors. But the Raheny boys seemed the hungrier team from the start, and seemed to cope with the conditions that bit better. With good defensive work from both sides, the first score took some time arriving, but it was Raheny who got it. We never relinquished the lead from then on, going in with a healthy lead at half time.
Ballymun enjoyed a good perod of pressure at the Raheny end after the restart, but some excellent defensive work meant they got little return on the scoreboard. Raheny continued to work the ball out of defense well, and kept the score board ticking over. Fiachra came on just after the restart, and put tremendous pressure on his opposite number all the way into the corners. Subbing on our Under-12 "galacticos" - Brian, Conor and Adam - seemed reinvigorated the Raheny attack, and in the end we came through winners with an impressive scoreline of Ballymun 3-7 to Raheny 7-9.
This result was the 3rd win in a row for this Raheny football team, and temporarily put us top of the Division 3 league table (until the days other results come through - we're really sitting second or third), with a very healthy points difference of 94 for the season so far. The top 6 teams in this division are all pretty tightly bunched though, so with 5 games remaining, its still wide open.