Local game still vital even in a world with Messi and Mbappe

Local game still vital even in a world with Messi and Mbappe

Pic Left to right: Kevin Mullane, Eddie “The Cat” Walsh, Referee Mark O’Connell and Con O’Driscoll.

LAST Sunday’s World Cup final between eventual winners Argentina, and France will go down as one of the all time great finals.

While many fancied France as favourites, I think in most people’s hearts they were hoping Argentina, Messi in particular, would lift the trophy.

It didn’t start as we expected and for the majority of the game it was very one sided, in favour of Argentina. 

Not as an exciting start to a final as we would have liked. But oh how differently that turned out to be.

Argentina had looked to be cruising to victory after Messi's penalty and a superb goal by Di Maria in the first half which had them in total control of the game with a two goal lead until the 80th minute when Mbappe scored his first of three. Game on. 

Mbappe's first and second goal within a minute brought the game to extra time and although Messi put Argentina ahead in this period, Mbappe levelled once again, completing his hat trick to bring the decider into a penalty shoot out.

Messi finally claimed the trophy that was missing from his collection. I was so happy for him. A fantastic end to the tournament.

So while all eyes were on the bigger stage, my Sunday morning began watching local football. 

First it was to watch the talented underage Wilton United girls and then on to my local pitch in Carrigaline’s Ballea Park which was a hive of activity as usual and not too far up the road another big game was taking place.

So while I wishing the day away until it came the time to watch the World Cup final, Sunday’s curtain raiser to the final was at Avondale Park.

Avondale Park was the place to be on Sunday morning as Avondale United celebrated its final event in their 50th anniversary celebration year with a special tribute to the late Jim Hennerby with a charity memorial game in his name between Longboats and an Avondale selection. 

It was a great game enjoyed by players and spectators. Like all charity games, it brought a great atmosphere with a nice crowd, and all for a good cause.

Like most clubs across the country, Avondale were eager to do their bit for charity, in particular at this time of year and they chose to honour the late Hennebry. 

Jim’s name was synonymous with Avondale as he was the driving force in the early years of the club along with the late Chris Herlihy, both of whom set the standards for Avondale.

Groundsman and social media Manager Paddy Scannell was thrilled with the turn out and said it was a superb and fitting tribute to a great Cork footballing man, to end their 50th year anniversary celebrations.

“It was a superb day from start to finish,” said Scannell.

“There were very emotional tributes made before the game by Barry Hennerbry and Ken Bruton and a presentation was made to Jim’s wife Breda and it was great to see Jim’s extended family in attendance.

“It was a superb start of what turned out to be an excellent Sunday in terms of football. It was great to have a day like today to remember a great man such as Jim. 

"Jim was instrumental in setting such high standards at Avondale and he is sorely missed by all involved in the game.

“We we’re delighted to be able to hold such an event to honour and remember Jim and a huge thanks to all the players who took part and a special mention to referee Mark O’Connell and Adrian Ryan of Sportsgear Direct our match ball sponsor. 

"All proceeds from the game will go to Marymount Hospice and Beaumont Development Park.

“It truly was a wonderful afternoon which ended in Longboats Bar in Ballintemple which saw a huge crowd watch the World Cup final. 

"A game I believe that will be remembered by us all for a very long time. A massive thanks to Billy, May, Con, Robert and all the staff of Longboats for their continued support and great hospitality. 

"It was a great way for us to finish the year and now we hope everyone can have a great Christmas and we look forward to returning in the New year.” 

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