A Farewell to Estadio Rusal Alcan
Shannonside FC 0 – 0 Ballingarry AFC. Match Report: Leandro Jesus Ordonhas
Appearances can be deceiving and indeed the pitch at Estadio Rusal Alcan was deceiving. From a distance the surface looked great, but on closer inspection…tut tut tut it was shocking. Numerous puddles and divots which made it very difficult for both sides to play football on. What potentially could be the last ever match played on this surface its shame that the hosts could not grace it with a final victory that would have absolutely secured safety.With hardly a breeze you could not ask for better conditions in which to play. The first half saw Shannonside dominate proceedings. Bearing in mind that the home side have hardly played a match since the turn of the year and only one competitive match in five weeks (ridiculous) the standard of performance was above what should have been expected. Trying to get the ball down and play the style of football we have become accustomed to, Shannonside at times were free flowing down both flanks. Causing problems with their passing and movement off the ball Ballingarry were pulled this way and that for much of the opening 45 minutes.
Both Declan Lane and Seamus McSweeney were beneficiaries of this good play but unfortunately the final ball was lacking the desired quality in order to reward Shannonside. All over the pitch the home players were winning their individual battles, both full backs Dillane and Fitzgerald were well on top and with Trinder winning the aerial battle, the visitors offered little up front. Central midfield was dominated by Alan and Downey and both Grouse and Shaughnessy were keeping Ballingarrys defenders busy. Apart from needless free kicks given away, Ballingarry were kept at bay and the half could have been perfect had Shaughnessy taken his chance.
The best chance of the half and arguably that of the match fell to Shaughnessy with 10 minutes remaining. A delicate chip over the top of the away defence allowed him to use his pace and race away. Clear in on goal he perhaps took the ball too close towards the goal and narrowed his angle. Firing at the out coming goalkeeper his shot was well saved and well held.
Ballingarry may consider themselves unlucky as they were looking for a penalty when it appeared David Dillane pushed the centre forward over when tussling for the ball. The referee saw it differently and a relieved Shannonside management called for calmer heads.
Mike Sillery was called on once in the first half, a shot from distance was spilled as it bounced awkwardly just in front of him. Unable to hang onto it he was quick in getting to his feet and clearing the ball.
Half time and scoreless. The second half saw Shannonside start well again taking the ball down and trying to play football but with the pitch in the condition it was it became more and more difficult. As the half wore on, the visitors came more and more into the match. Unsurprisingly the home side began to tire a little, losing shape slightly and a little concentration particularly when passing the ball, giving it away too easily after winning it back.
Shannonside can be thankful for Sillery’s cat like reactions when a through ball split the defence. Sillery raced off his line and was on hand to ensure that the scores remained level but took a stamp on the hand for his bravery. It was not long before Sillery came to Shannonsides rescue for a second time. With Shannonside unable to clear their lines the ball broke and fell kindly for the centre forward. 8 yards out from goal on the right hand side he fired into the bottom left hand corner, only for Sillery to get his right foot to it and deflect the ball past the upright. Great save. At this point the visitors were on top and not surprising given the circumstances, it took Shannonside a little time to re compose themselves and once again take control of the match.
Both Hanlon and Martin Fitz made an appearance from the bench replacing O’Shaughnessy and Lane respectively. Back and forth like the pendulum on an old Grandfather clock the game swung to and fro, all that was needed was that solitary goal which would have guaranteed the three points for the team scored it. Shannonside had more than the one opportunity; Grouse had two chances, one where the defender threw himself with complete disregard for his own safety at the feet of Grouse to ensure that scores remained level and another which took a slight deflection off the defenders shin just evading Grouses outstretched right foot. Seamus McSweeney also had two chances, one which fell on his right, rather than swinging his weaker foot, he decided to cut back onto his left. The chance had gone and his effort was easily saved. Seamus’s second effort was on his favoured left foot, but lacked any real conviction and the ball rolled tamely past the left post. The latter stages of the game belonged to the home side but they were unable to take full advantage. 0 – 0. Point gained or two dropped, it’s unclear as to who would be happiest with the result but a clean sheet, 20 points on the board and 3 remaining matches, Shannonside look to be secure in their premiership status once again.
There is no ‘A’ game this coming Sunday so the fans will look to follow the reserves in their quest for Desmond Cup glory as they make the short journey down the N69 to near and dear rivals Glin. With the weather looking fair we could be set for one momentous occasion. A place in the Semi Finals at stake for the winner and in one off cup games you never know what may happen… Just ask Ballinarry.
This could potentially have been the last match held at Stadio Aughinish as the doors close at the end of the season. Shannonside will say a fond farewell to the place with some great memories to take with them to their new home. Slán agus go raibh maith agat. So with baited breath we wait for the coming weekend.
Squad; Sillery, Fitzgerald, D., Dillane, Trinder, O’Donnell, Lane*, McSweeney, Downey, Moroney, Kavanagh, Shaughnessy*
Subs; Hanlon*, Fitzgerald, M.,* O’Connell