I’m often asked what my proudest achievement as TFK manager is. For me, it’s probably registering the only win against current league leaders La Manga All Stars. With a depleted squad to work with I called on reserves, Doyler, Lawlor and Ledge. I urged them to go out and express themselves. Express themselves they did in a spectacular 2-1 victory for the men in emerald green. I’m not suggesting we were technically the better team that cold night in Sandymount but the heart, courage and battling qualities shown has been unparalleled since.
Unfortunately I haven’t been given the opportunity to manage the team since, however, captaining the team to their first win in nine also made me brim with pride.
My worst TFK moment was probably when we handed Real Estate and CSSO their first victories of their respective campaigns. Or alternatively any time I have to take the field with Rocko.
Myself, Bandage and Fats were just commenting on that monumental achievement last night on the way home.
I liken it much to Ireland in 1994 beating Italy. We got complacent and thought we could easily win the group after that
Looking at things objectively, this winter league campaign has been very unsuccessful on the whole. The rare good performances have been frustrating in that they only served to emphasise how scheidt we’ve been for the majority of the time.
A lot of my own decent displays have been in losing efforts where I’ve been kept busy throughout such as my personal duel with The Searchers’ outstanding striker in a 2-1 defeat. I stopped a plethora of efforts from him all through only for him to beat me for the second time with practically the last kick of the game to seal their win. The words and embrace we shared at the end was reminiscent of the one between Pel and Moore - two giants of the astro league united in respect.
Of course I’ve made a few typically Bandage blunders too though last night was the only one that directly affected the result despite the fact we should have won anyway with all the chances we wasted.
My favourite and far and away the best save of the season on any astro pitch in Dublin came against the team containing all the Italians (Pioneer I think) in another 2-1 defeat about a month ago.
One of them surged forward with the ball on a break from inside his own half after we were collectively caught up field. He marauded up towards the box and as I braced myself for the one-on-one he drilled a rasping, skidding shot along the wet surface across me towards the far corner from about 15-yards out.
I sprung low to my right and felt the slightest touch of glove on ball as my head smacked off the cold, damp, unforgiving turf due to the fact I’d launched myself down to the ball and couldn’t stop my own momentum. I experienced a kind of a whiplash feeling and as I regained my bearings and groggily scrambled up to my feet I couldn’t fooking believe that I’d saved it, only realising so when I saw one of their players about to take the corner. I don’t think any of my team-mates even recognised the sheer quality of the save but they bore witness to something extremely special that night! (We then equalised from the resulting corner too).
The best team display was against La Manga when we defended heroically for the entire second half to such an extent that I didn’t actually have all that many saves to make such given the amount of blocks and tackles the lads were making in front of me. In fairness to ourselves, we were dangerous on the break that night and it wasn’t a complete defensive stand by any means.
Overall though, it hasn’t been a good season at all from a team perspective. The Board and supporters are getting restless and they’ve every right to be.
Ashamed to say I don’t have many “proudest achievements” from this spell in the league - I’m not even sure I’ve scored in the winter league.
An early ankle injury took its toll and unfortunately by the time I returned to competitive first team action, the league had long since slipped away from our collective grasp. I’m sure I had my competent moments but it’s fair to say that this wasn’t my most glorious season in football.
But the league isn’t over yet, there’s not much to play for other than pride, but when that’s all you have, that’s all that’s worth fighting for.
I can promise a better performance in the summer league. Accountability begins and ends with management.