It was a beautiful day in Kinvara last Saturday evening as St Ellen's kicked off their pre season against the locals with the Burren in the background and Mike Burns in the foreground. As has come to be expected for the thousands of fans who follow the club through thick and thin it was not long before the dark clouds came circulating.
As the team completed their warm up, rubbing their hands in front of the warm air billowing from their cars rumours started circulating that the new management team had a bold plan to change formation from the trusty 4-4-2 which had served the club so admirably throughout the years. Formations like 6-3-1, 5-5-0 and 8-1-1 quickly came to mind to those who live, breath and eat St Ellen's. Nobody could have anticipated the 3-4-3 formation which the management claimed would revolutionize the club.
The teams lined out with their top 11 athletes and the game was on. As half time approach one could have been forgiven for thinking the new formation was working quite well. The only goal came for the home side from the penalty spot but with the magical Ellen's forward line carving out the best chances of the game. They were playing like a team bundling with the confidence, energy and buzz that their recent promotion entitled them to.
As with all newly promoted teams their confidence was short lived. Ellen's made changes bringing on likes of Duignan, Trevor and the always enigmatic Tommy Gill in the knowledge that given their chance they would make their mark. Soon after their introduction Kinvara quickly came to dominate. The substitutions had made their mark. Burkey, holding the defence, team and club together to this point was struggling to constantly cover the two young guns either side of him. It was a daunting challenge and while he managed to cover his keeper in the first half he was powerless to prevent the goals from the two howlers the stand in keeper who could barley stand up made. Ellen's were in big trouble. Just as hope was fading, young Clohessy was sent through on goal, finally he could put the nightmares of the previous season behind him, he was coolness personified as he blasted the ball 50 yards high over the bar. It was at least an improvement from the rest of his performance as he managed not to be 50 yards offside on this occasion.
The game ended with two more soft goals for Kinvara giving them a 5-0 win. Not the start Ellen's or the new system which promised goals wanted. What has become clear from the exercise is that Ellen's need a much stronger bench from what was there on Saturday. The new crop must start putting pressure on the 40+ players to move aside. Ellen's have been known to pass like Arsenal, and just like their great London rivals they too need to look to the transfer market in their pursuit for Champions League glory. The dark clouds are now a permanent fixture around Cahertymore and the outlook is bleak!