2009/2010 First Year Soccer

All Ireland Semi Finalists 2009/2010

Connacht Cup Group Stage

Back in September the first years were drawn in a tough group alongside Presentation College Athenry, The Jes from Galway and St. Marys, Ballasadere from Sligo.

Our first game was against The Jes in Drom. Despite our team only being together for a short length of time, we put in a spirited performance. Unfortunately Jes overpowered us towards the end and got a well fought for 3-2 victory.

After the disappointment of losing our opening game, the players took homage in the fact that some of the greatest teams have lost the first game of season and gone on to great things. With this in mind, intensity was stepped up for an away game in Sligo. Weather was arctic with much rain and sleet in the air as we fought it out on the all weather pitch in Sligo. Despite conditions we achieved a comfortable victory and confidence was again high.

Our final group game was a must win. Any drop in points and the we would be consigned to elimination at the earliest of stages. Presentation College, Athenry arrived in town knowing a draw with secure their passage. We were well riled up and confident ahead of the game and it didn’t take us long to get on the scoresheet. After a competent and professional performance, The Bish won comfortably. The Jes topped the group on 7 points and The Bish came second with 6 points. Both teams progressed to play St. Marys College and Garbally College respectively in the Connacht Cup Quarter Finals.

Connacht Cup Quarter Final
Garbally, Ballinasloe vs The Bish

Despite a long period since our previous game, we had trained regularly and remained sharp and match fit for the impending match against Garbally in Ballinasloe. Any game from here on in was going to be difficult so we made sure to prepare well. Thankfully, we picked a fine day and were well prepared for the battle ahead. Despite a bit of early pressure in the first half, The Bish drew first blood with a terrific goal from inside the box. More Bish pressure early doors, led to some fantastic football and a terrific shot ricocheting against the woodwork. At half time, The Bish was winning but the players knew the job wasn’t finished. In the second half, we stepped it up again to ensure smooth qualification, but it wasn’t easy and very nerve wracking at times.

A St. Marys College, Galway victory over the Jes in the other Quarter Final match has set up a mouth watering tie between the two schools for after Easter. No doubt both sets of players will be relishing renewing the rivalry between the two schools once again.

Connacht Cup Semi Final
The Bish 1-1 St Marys College, Galway (5-4 PENS)

First Year team put in a heroic display against their fierce rivals St Marys College and booked their place in the final. After a very tight game, which ended 1-1 after extra time- the Bish showed their composure by dispatching all 5 of their penalties before Bish keeper Cathal Reilly, capped off a terrific performance with a great save to win the shootout. This victory is the 3rd time this year a Bish soccer team has dispatched their compatriots from St. Marys College, and set up a First Year Connacht Final against St. Aloysius of Athlone.

Connacht Cup Final
St Aloysius, Athlone 0-1 St. Josephs College, The Bish.

St. Josephs College, This Bish, won the 1st Year A Soccer Connacht Final to win the cup they last claimed at the start of the millennium.
St Aloysius College, Athlone proved worthy competitors in what turned out to be a very tight affair. Bish started off slow and it took a while to settle into the tense surroundings of Colemanstown. With Aloysius strong in defence, perseverance was the key and the Bish soon began knocking on the door and asking questions of the opposition.

In delivering a master class of modern full-back play against St. Aloysius, defending and attacking with equal gusto, Ronan Keville was gunning for gold, but it was the sight of goal in the 25th minute that won the day. With an assured calmness, he looked up and lobbed the ball over the keepers head into the far corner of the goal from 30 yards out when he saw the keeper come off his line.
The second half saw both sets of managers engage in slick tactical manoeuvres and a change in set up for the Bish saw them reclaim possession in dangerous areas of the pitch. Although the score remained 1-0, both sides had some clear chances with Aloysius hitting the crossbar with a fantastic header and the Bish being denied what the 100 plus crowd felt was a clear penalty.
Amid all the hype, it sometimes is easy to forget these are still very young sportsmen and it was a difficult but deserved win from the boys from the Bish and the result guaranteed gold for the school and a chance to represent their province at national level over the coming week.

All Ireland Semi Final
The Bish 1-2 Rochestown, Cork AET

Despite taking the lead early in the first half, and having a terrific goal ruled out also in the first half, the Bish succumbed to intense pressure from the Cork team late in the first half. With things evenly set, the match was brought into extra time and even though the Bish had a number of opportunities to finish out the match as winners, Rochestown snatched a goal at the brink of half time in extra time. This proved one goal too far for the lads from the Bish and proved to be the final match for them in the current campaign.
Overall, the First Year soccer team did a fantastic job and were the first Bish team to represent the school in a First Year All Ireland Semi. With Connacht Gold medals in their pockets and great experience to boot, big things are both hoped and expected for these sportsmen in the future.



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