€460 was raised in a special charity soccer match last Wednesday as students and staff alike gathered to raise funds for Sama, a young boy with a rare genetic skin disorder. Sama has a thickened skin which grows 200% faster than normal and was the guest of honour alongside his classmates from the Educate Together School in Carlow. An All-Star Team made up of students and staff took on the college’s soccer team who had a good campaign in Division Four of the Colleges and Universities Soccer League earlier on in the year. The Soccer Team came out on top in the end, winning 5-4.
The crowds had gathered early on the college grounds in anticipation of what was sure to be a fantastic day. Both teams were in place and gathered at the side of the pitch to welcome Sama and his classmates with a guard of honour. They all then made their way to the side of the pitch where a piper blared out Amhrán na BhFiann but not before the surprise referee for the day could be unveiled. The surprise referee was led out to the pitch in a black cape covering him until he was revealed to a very shocked crowd to be the college Registrar, Dr. Thomas McGrath. With everybody in place it was over to the MC for the day, the very lively Dr. Derek Coyle to start the match.
The game started brightly with the Soccer Team having the best of the early chances. With less than a minute on the clock, Craig Henderson had jumped onto a Danny O’Keeffe pass and was flying down the left wing. He crossed it into the box but it went over the heads of everybody in there and out. An Adam Colton cross from the right hand side subsequently went out for a goal kick.
The all-star team, not wanting to be left out of the action had a chance themselves just seconds later as Dr. Noel Kavangh crossed into the box only for it to be cleared away by O’Keeffe at the back. Moments later, Henderson was down the wing again only to be dispossed by Darragh Wheeler who sent the ball out for a goal kick.
The first goal of the game came shortly afterwards with Kevin Anthony volleying the ball in through the bottom left hand corner. The all-star team had a close chance soon after as Karen Delaney got her knee to a cross from Dr. John McHugh only for it to go over the bar.
The second goal for the soccer team came on six minutes as Kevin Anthony gave the ball into Adam Colton on the left hand side and he dribbled his way into the middle of the park and scored. They continued their dominance through chances from Craig Henderson who got on the end of a Dan Greville ball and tried to shoot but it went over the bar and Adam Colton who had a one-two with James Ferry before shooting only to be blocked off the line. James Ferry made it three for the Soccer Team as he volleyed the ball in through the middle but not before Dr. McHugh had an attempt on goal and was blocked by the defence.
The Soccer Team continued their dominance up until half time with some half chances as Ferry launched a long ball which went wide and out for a corner, Enda O’Toole crossed into the box only to find the head of Ollie Meaney in the all-star defence and Colton shot wide and then got blocked moments later. On the stroke of half-time, Delaney had a chance to pull one back for the all-stars as she got onto the end of a Meaney cross but again could only see it over the bar.
The Soccer Team had a goal disallowed by Dr. McGrath, the referee shortly after the interval as Cillian Taafe passed to James Ferry who put the ball in the back of the net. The All-Star Staff and Students Team pulled a goal back through Darragh Wheeler who got the ball in the middle and put it past Kevin Nolan in the goal. The Soccer Team had a couple of chances to extend their lead in the second half as Henderson tried a shot on goal, coming in from the left hand side but was blocked and Colton shot on goal after a through ball from Ferry.
Taafe got his name on the scoresheet shortly afterwards as he latched onto a Colton pass to make it four. He had another attempt shortly after but again was blocked. The All-Star Team pulled a goal back moments later as Michael Sherman put the ball past the injured Nolan in goal after latching onto a Delaney pass on the right hand side. Seconds later, the Soccer Team defence were caught unaware as Delaney scored, coming in through the middle past O’Keeffe for the third goal for the All-Star Team. Player-Manager, PJ Lawler brought himself for the Soccer Team on with just minutes left in the game ad latched onto a pass in the midfield and volleyed it in from outside the box to make it five.
Samantha Nestor then crossed into the box for the All-Stars but the ball went over everybody’s heads and out. The Soccer Team had a couple of half chances shortly afterwards as John Mangan stopped a O’Keeffe corner and O’Keeffe shooting wide after being played in by Lawler. The All-Star Team had a couple of chances of their own as Meaney shot at goal, hitting the post, giving the ball to Nestor who could not finish, Dr. McHugh who crossed it in only for Henderson to put it out for a corner and Nestor who shot wide.
They did finally pull a goal back with minutes left in the game as Meaney scored after Greville tried to stop what looked a certain goal just seconds previously. Dr. Kavanagh had an attempt seconds later but was tackled by O’Keeffe which led to a free kick. A scuffle emerged in the wall with players each trying to secure victory for their team but the free was eventually taken by Wheeler but it went wide to end the game.
Soccer Team: Kevin Nolan, Dan Greville, Daniel Mackey, Danny O’Keeffe, Enda O’Toole, Kevin Anthony, Adam Connor, David Kilkelly, Craig Henderson, James Ferry, Adam Colton, Cillian Taafe, Philip Flynn, PJ Lawler
All-Star Team: John Mangan, James Heaney, Shannon Taggart, Dr. Noel Kavanagh, Dr. John McHugh, Dr. Eoghan Smith, Michael Sherman, Samantha Nestor, Darragh Wheeler, Emma Carroll, Averil Lawler, Alison Brennan, Marili Dooley, Helen Maher, Edel O’Brien, Corey Brennan, Ollie Meaney, Joanna Wator, Karen Delaney