The title of my Bohs’ report “we are rubbish” seemed to cause something of a stir over on the Ready To Go message board. I reported back to our lass in the tent (who is a consummate e-mailer but has nee time for this internet thing) that I seemed to have developed a hate club. “Oh no, do they know who you are?” she proclaimed (she panics easier than me). I had to explain that the thing with it being the world wide web ‘n all was that “they” were potentially 6 billion people. For some reason this didn’t reassure her and my assurances that despite its success RTG still had hit rates somewhat below the 6 billion mark fell on deaf ears.
I wondered whether the relative positivity of the message board (which may or may not reflect armchair opinion generally back home) was widespread and my panic was confined to me. On an entirely non-statistically reliable basis I spoke to SAFC supporters on the campsite in Cork, on the bus on the way down to the ground and in the pub before the match. Regardless of whether they would express it as “we are rubbish” (which was meant to express my panic – not be an objective assessment of the team) I couldn’t find anyone who was feeling confident about the Prem campaign – and I am aware of what pre-season is for and what an unreliable indicator it is of the season ahead.
Anyway, unlike the Saturday night in Dublin the weather stayed gorgeous all day and into the evening (I got sunburnt playing pitch and putt). To the dismay of my 16 year old son and my nephew my statement “let’s go to the butter museum, that sounds interesting” was not some clever play on words but was to be taken literally – we did indeed visit Cork Butter Museum and it was interesting. The view of the 16 year olds? “There was nothing but butter!” They were right.
And so off to the pub round the corner from the ground and a host of familiar faces. Despite being the drink of Dublin, the sworn enemy, of Cork we stuck to our Guinness – I know it is meant to be a myth but I swear the head is creamier over here than it is back home.
So this time we headed into the ground in a much better mood to the 7 row stand running along the side of the pitch (unallocated seating – which I prefer). Unlike the crumbling ground in Dublin this was a really neat little affair and it was full to the rafters (and beyond – our taxi driver on the way back said he had just turned up on spec to be told “go on in there – the more the merrier”!). Full credit to the Cork fans who were in great voice throughout the match. The chant “you’re not English any more” showed some originality but my favourite (which I am sure they sing to every visiting English team but who cares) was “what’s it like to have a Queen?” which managed to mix political comment with Benny Hill like double entendre.
The team was totally changed from the Bhos’ game (you can go on safc.com if you want to see the list – I can’t be arsed). Anderson got a start and we were keen to see how he fared. Canny in my view. He looked assured and commanding. Not as spectacular as McShane on Saturday night but his extra experience and maturity will count for a lot. Yorke started and although he had a great season for us in the Championship I really can’t see how he will cope against most Prem mid-fields. Miller also started but played most of the game out wide. Notwithstanding that he was by far the most effective player on the pitch (perhaps reflecting the fact that he was playing at home). I was over the moon for him when he got a very well taken goal in the second half. The pre-match rumour in the pub this time was that Veron was on Wearside having a medical. Excellent, I have never known a pre-match rumour in the pub be wrong so I am excited about seeing him in Galway.
Our real problem is still upfront. In the first half I am not sure we had a shot on target. Second half was better as we did start threatening their goal. No disrespect to Cork, who battled really hard, but if we can’t score against them do we really believe we can get past Spurs’ defence in less than a fortnight? Stern John I am afraid was again a major culprit in wasting chances. I thought he was a great buy for us in Jan and I was happy with his contribution to us winning promotion – but that is why we bought him wasn’t it? Not to play in Prem, surely.
Anyway before Miller’s goal Cork had actually taken the lead somewhat against the run of play. A 1-1 score line was a nice outcome – it meant we weren’t embarrassed but Cork felt good.
At the risk of bringing down the wrath of the message board I have to say I don’t think last night was an enormous improvement from Saturday. The fact that it felt better might have had as much to do with the weather and the ground than what was happening over on the pitch. But I bear the scars of every defeat in the 19 point and 15 point season. Sod it – I bear the scars of every goal conceded in those two seasons. I am going to go to every match. I am going to sing support for the lads from the stand. I am going to get behind every player in an SAFC shirt regardless of my personal opinion of them. I have complete faith in Keano and I know his calm, positive assessments of these pre-season games are correct and my knee-jerkings are wrong. However, I think I have earned the right to panic. So panic I will.
OH NO! SPURS ARE COMING! WE ARE DOOMED!
John aka Herts