Sun. Oct. 20th
Scorelines and stats don’t tell the story of a match. Passage lost this game convincingly and struggled to get a toehold in what was a very hard climb against a very good team.
But here’s what the stats don’t say: even though they conceded twice as many goals in the second-half as in the first, Passage played better in the second-half. And stats give no idea of how hard they fought.
The scale of the task before them was evidenced by the size and strength of Carrigaline. Like Rockmount in an earlier cup match, they might have been a year older than the Passage lads. They played like it too.
The first-half was all about defending. Knowing they were up against it, Passage knuckled down to the job of keeping the opposition at bay. For quite a while they succeeded.
Soaking up whatever was thrown at them, they knocked a couple of long balls forward that might have given them the lead. Cian Fleury, getting behind the defence, was narrowly wide when he lobbed the keeper with one effort.
A goal for Carrigaline, however, seemed inevitable. With all the possession and the freedom of the park they launched attack after attack.
Passage stayed compact, tried to squeeze space, but couldn’t get on the ball long enough to find their own rhythm.
The first goal came after 25 minutes, a Carrigaline player finding enough room to rifle a shot into goal. 1-0 to Carrig.
On 35 minutes, from a cross, goal number two was headed home.
Passage battled on. Before the break, they launched a counter-attack, Cian fleury laying off a pass to Craig Crowley, who side-stepped an opponent on the edge of the penalty area but couldn’t beat the goalkeeper in a race for the ball.
The second-half saw Carrig keep up the pressure, with Dylan Murphy getting a hand to a shot that went in off the post.
Only 2 minutes later he made an outstanding block by coming off his line quickly.
With Carrig now in control, and Passage on the back foot, the goals seemed to arrive like buses, one after the other. But Passage managed to play too, getting out of their own half and working some lovely moves up the left-wing.
It has to be said that along with Dylan in goal, Maciek Jany and Kevin Byrne never gave up, fighting for every ball till the final whistle.
And good as Carrig are, the Passage lads should take heart from this: they’ll improve more this season than Carrigaline will. That’s not a stat, of course, but it will be a fact.