11th May 2003 - Fettercairn Celtic (H)


27th April 2003 - St. Gabriels (H)


5th April 2003 - Sporting Sauzee (A)

Our game on Sunday against Sporting Sauzee was billed as a clash for the Division 1A wooden spoon and as such was a tense affair for 90 mins.

Despite our good start it was Sauzee who drew first blood. A cross from the right was not cleared and a neat over head kick from their No.10 beat stand in goalkeeper Dave Peate. But like in recent games our heads did not drop and went straight on the attack. Sauzee conceded a free-kick about 25 yards from goal. The Doc stepped up and hit a right footed shot just wide of the post.

Within a few minutes we were level. Good Villa pressure led to a corner. The Doc sent the ball in, it was cleared but only back out to the corner taker who sent a curling cross into the six yard box and John O'Reilly rose highest to nod in the equaliser. At this point we were starting to play some nice football and our passing game was playing dividend. Unfortunately, slack defending was to cost us again. A weak clearance was quickly pounced upon by their No.6 who sent an unstoppable shot past Dave Peate.

That goal once again spurred us into action. Good Villa pressure saw the ball fall at the feet of the Doc about 20 yards from goal who turned and shot. However, the ball hit the inside of the post via a slight deflection from a defender, fort unately, like any good centre forward John O'Reilly was there to knock the ball into the net from the rebound. So at half-time the game was deadlocked at 2-2.

The second half saw us exert good pressure on the Sauzee defence. A panicked clearance from a Sauzee defender was picked up by their 'keeper. An indirect free kick about 8 yards from goal was the result. Alan Arkins touched the ball to the Doc who went for the top right angle but unfortunately the ball cleared the bar by inches.

Sauzee were starting to put some nice moves together, but make shift ' keeper Dave Peate and defence of Garreth, Stretch, Alan and stand-in left back Billy stood firm. Our hearts were in our mouths when their big No.6 fell over himself in the box and started yelling for a penalty kick. Fortunately, the ref did not buy the dive and waved play on.

If we had taken our chances we would have won comfortably. One such chance fell to Hugh after a melee in the penalty area, but the ball flashed just wide of the far post. To compound our lack of luck from dead ball situations we got a third free kick within striking distance, but like the previous two the Doc curled it around the wall but just past the far post.

As the time ran down, so too did the chances and a competitive game ended with honours even. To be honest, it was one of our better performances this season, a bit more luck would have seen us take the three points that our play deserved.

30th March 2003 - St. Gabriels (A)

If I am starting to sound like a stuck record, well I am begining to feel like one writing postmortem after postmortem where we play bravely but still get beaten, the whole thing is starting to get a bit tiresome.

We had the closest attempt on goal in the early stages. Gabriels conceeded a free kick about 25 yards out. The Docs resulting free kick cleared the wall, beat the goalkeeper but hit the side netting. Gabriels opener came soon after. A wayward throw by our left back resulted in their number 8 running clean through on goal and he made no mistake with the finish. Once again we battled bravely and contested everything but did not have the firepower or the supply to see us put their defence under too much pressure.

Their second had more than a hint of controversy about it. They got a break on the right side of midfield, their winger knocked the ball across our goal mouth, however, their centre foward was standing inches from the ball as it crossed the goal line. How the ref deemed that he was not interfering with play I will never know, but what is the point in arguing they never change their minds..!

Gabriels got a third before the end, but by then I think we had all resigned ourselves to yet another defeat.

2nd March 2003 - Darndale (H)

With our usual half a team we gave it our best shot. Defended well, tackled and got stuck in - unfortunately their 'keeper had virtually nothing to do all game and they got the lead they deserved through a defensive slip. Even still Hylo was unfortunate not to save the shot. Their second came in the second half, their number 9 outpacing both defensive and ultimately midfield and stuck a confident shot past Hylo.

23rd February 2003 - Rivermeade Celtic (A)

It is becoming a bit of a theme - having to play games with the very bare 11 players. This Sunday was no exception. Up against the league leaders coming off the back of some very poor recent form we again scraped the minimum number required.

To be fair, the eleven who played did the club proud. We got stuck in, didn't let them dictate the game the way the way that Rivermeade think that they can do. We carved out a few chances, and thanks to some great goalkeeping we went in at half time scoreless. The second half was no different - stout defending and tough tackling meant that Rivermeade were getting frustrated. The main turning point came when they made a substitution and within about 10 minutes of his arrival onto the pitch the Rivermeade sub sent and unstopable shot into the far corner of the net from about 20 yards.

We kept battling and were denied a clear penalty when Gerry Nolan was pushed to the ground in the area near the end of the game. If we put as much heart and effort into all of our games we would be much further up the league.

16th February 2003 - Sporting Sauzee (H)

Kick off 11:00, at 10:54 we had 9 players kitted out and ready to play. We eventually started the game with 10 men! Believe it or not we played better with 10 men than we have in the last few weeks when we have had the full compliment. We pressurised the opposition, played the passing game, and there was plenty of off the ball movement too.

We took a deserved lead when Gerry Shanley took a quick throw, the Doc knocked the ball back to him and he floated a beautiful cross to the back post where Logie rose to head home. We continued to pressure them, although with confidence a bit shaky after recent poor performances we did concede a few chances but nothing to trouble Hylo. Another nice passing move, again started by Gerry Shanley in midfield played Logie through, their 'keeper committed himself and Logie slipped the ball through to Gerry Nolan who had an open goal 18 yards out. Rather than doing a Ryan Giggs, Gerry took the ball into the box and slammed the ball home making no mistake with the finish. 2-0 up at half time and confidence was growing.

Unfortunately, the second half was not up to the standard of the first with defending being the order of the day. Sporting had a 5 minute period of sustained pressure, but determined defending meant the score remained 2-0. We had lost a lot of the composure that we had in the first half and a lot of our passing was going astray. Garreth came on after an hour in an attempt to shore up the defence. Sauzee kept battling and with about 15 minutes to go they got a deserved goal. Luckily the Villa heads did not drop and we kept working hard and defending well. With about 5 minutes remaining we got a break. Robbie O'Boyle received the ball on the right, ran half the length of the pitch before squaring the ball to Gerry Nolan who netted his second of the game. To be honest I missed the goal as I was busy "keeping the peace" at the other end of the pitch where a minor scuffle had broken out...!

So a win in the league at last. It was definately deserved, the whole team worked hard and never let the heads drop, even when we weren't getting everything our own way. Also, thanks to those who turned up in our hour of need and managed to get a few hours off work to help us out.

9th February 2003 - St. Gabriels (A) - Harding Cup

We went into this game knowing that if we were knocked out all we would have left to play for this season was pride - so pride it is then!

To be fair we did play an awful lot better than we have been. Our passing game, which had brought us so much success began to return and we had plenty of good movement - something we had been missing recently.

Unfortunately we were hit with an early sucker punch, the concession of an early goal, but we continued to battle on and got the chance of an equaliser when Ciaran Kearney (who was playing his last game in Villa colours today) was bundled over in the box. The Doc stepped up and tucked it into the bottom corner of the net. It was no more than we deserved. We continued to attack and not long after were awarded another penalty with the 'keeper scything down the ever threatening Kearney. Up stepped the Doc again, went for the same side but tried for the top instead of the bottom corner and the 'keeper made a fine one handed save to push the ball round the post for a corner. But we did not let our heads drop and continued to press. Gabriels were playing some good football and the high ball to the centre forwards was causing us problems as our centre halves were losing the ball in a strong sun. Shortly before half time a Gabriels break saw the ball crossed in and finished from 3 yards by their No.8. 2-1 down at half-time, and we really did not deserve to be behind.

We began the second half well and amazingly were awarded a third penalty early in the second half. With his heart in his mouth and quite a few discouraging comments from the opposition ringing in his ears the Doc shouldered the responsibility again. A very sticky slippery surface did not aid the run up but the ball was struck under the body of the 'keeper into the net, 2-2 and this was more like the Villa heart of old. But as is our way this season the lead did not last long, a long Gabriels ball saw their right winger step inside Alan and fire the ball across the six yard box where it was easily converted. We kept pushing for the equaliser, but it was Gabriels who got the next and decisive goal. Their No.9 was taken off for missing an open goal from literally 5 yards, his replacement was unfortunately more accurate with a deft chip over Hylo. That put us 4-2 down - we did however keep the fight going until the end. Brilliant work from Gerry Nolan saw the ball crossed from the right and there was the Doc to complete his hat-trick (with his left foot). Now we really believed we could get something from the game. A great corner from Gerry Shanley onto the forehead of Mark McCormack brought a save from their 'keeper and a scramble in their penalty area. The final chance of the game fell to Logie, but once again the 'keeper foiled him with a fine save.

We deserved to get the game to extra time. But more importantly our form is returning and with it our fighting spirit. Lets hope we can carry that to the rest of our league programme.

2nd February 2003 - Belclare (H)

Unfortunately, still nothing positive to write after this weekends game. The whole thing is just becoming a joke, every weekend it is the same - 11 players turn up, hence no substitutes, this week the manager wasn't there neither were a number of others who just couldn't have been bothered.

Belclare, the only team we have beaten in the league this season turned up looking for revenge and that is what they exacted in no uncertain terms. They tore into us from the start, but to be fair we did manage to keep them at bay and even managed to take the lead. Some good pressure on the edge of their penalty area saw the Doc flick a ball over his shoulder into the path of the on-running Kieran Maher who was unceremoniously upended by the Belclare 'keeper. The ref deemed the offence as only worthy of a yellow card. Up stepped the Doc and stuck the penalty away into his favourite bottom left hand corner - rocketing him to the top of the Villa scoring charts for this season with a magnificant 3 goals...! It was a lead we scarcely deserved, but it did fill us with a bit more confidence and managed to keep the Belclare attack quiet for a time. Unfortunately, it didn't last long and a ball over the top saw their centre forward beat Hylo to the ball and it was 1-1. Their second wasn't far behind, some dogged work by them saw the ball hit the back of our net on the second attempt. Suddenly the Villa heads dropped, it was if we were just expecting to be beaten and now we were behind we need not try anymore.

The second half saw Belclare get 2 goals in close succession and that was us well and truly finished. But in a good 10 minute spell we actually could have got 3 goals, unfortunately the front men did not have their shooting boots on. After that brief spell of pressure Belclare created more opportunities than I can even remember and could have had 3 or 4 more.

Mercifully the ref finished the game and we trudged off - beaten again. Something really needs to be done about the state of the club, or we will not make it to the end of the season.


26th January 2003 - Fettercairn FC (A) - Amateur Cup

We were hoping to have a decent run in 2 cups, but yesterdays game in Fettercairn put paid to that hope - in one cup at least.

We played Fettercairn FC who are currently 4th in Division 2 and to be honest should really have had the beating of them. The pi tch was big and there was a strong breeze blowing so it should have been the proverbial game of 2 halves. We played into the wind in the first and defended well and limited Fettercairn to a few shots from long range, but nothing that troubled Hylo. There was one moment of controversy when Billy pulled back their No.9 when he was running through on goal - but luckily the ref deemed there were enough defenders getting back for the offence to warrant a yellow card. The subsequent free kick hit Gerry Nolan in the wall and was cleared. We didn't have too many chances in the first half; a corner almost on half time was the closest we came to scoring when a header from Billy went close.

We had the advantage of the breeze in the second half but not for the first time could use it to our advantage. They started well and had a number of threatening moves before they made one count. A breakaway move saw the ball at the centre forwards feet and he trickled the ball into the net. We then woke ourselves up a bit and put them under some pressure. Their keeper made a good save from a lovely lob by Logie. We had a number of corners and long throws that saw us continue the pressure. But once again we were caught by a sucker break and we were 2-0 down. The goal was hotly disputed as it looked like their attacker was in an offside position when he got the ball, but the ref decided he was onside. In the ensuing arguments Dave O'Reilly got himself sent off for dissent - a really needless red card which put us under even more pressure. Their confidence grew and they made it 3-0 soon after. It was only at this point that we decided to show a bit of fight to restore some pride. With about 12 mins left we got a free about 25 yards out, Logie struck it into the wall but t he ball broke to Doc who hit it first time on the volley from the edge of the area, 3-1 and we believed we might get something from the game afterall. But the more pressure we applied the dirtier the tactics Fettercairn employed. In the closing 15 mins they had 3 players sent off for late and dangerous tackles - 2 on Gerry Nolan and one on Hylo.

I spoke to the ref briefly after the game he said to me that he was sure that we could have done without that sort of a game on a Sunday afternoon, I couldn't have put it better myself. We played badly and did not deserve to win the game but at the same time we did not deserve to have a bunch of scumbags try to kick us off the pitch either.


19th January 2003 - Darndale (A)

Our first game of the new year, but unfortunately the same old Clontarf Villa. Darndale, the so far unbeaten league leaders started the better played by far the better football and deserved the win.

Just before the game it was remarked that we should "ease ourselves into the game", well we certainly did that. And by the time we had eased ourselves into the game we were 4-0 down. Darndale went about playing as if they believed they would win the game, on the other hand we looked as if we were waiting for them to score - which they duly did after about 20 minutes. To be fair we did play a bit better for a spell after they got their opener, but then in a terrible 10 minute period shortly before half-time they got three goals and that was the game over.

We decided at half -time to try to win the second half and at least salvage a bit of pride. But a shot after about 5 minutes of the second half was (as far as I can recall) our only serious attempt on goal in either half. By the end of the game Darndale were just passing the ball around at will and we were chasing shadows.

It was a really poor performance. Our lack of training and fitness was very apparent. If we are going to compete seriously in this league or any cup competition this season we are really going to have to improve our committment to the cause or forget about it.


15th December 2002 - Orchardville (H) - Amateur Cup

Another cold and wet day saw us take on Orchardville in the Amateur Cup. This match had been postponed 2 or 3 times recently due to the weather so it was nice to get the go ahead to play it on Friday.

The day started with the unveiling of our very impressive new gear (a big thanks to John O'Reilly for that one), although the muddy pitch was probably not the best christening for our new white shirts! We started the game well and much of the first half was played in the Orchardville half. We created a number of decent chances and should have scored a couple early on. Finally our pressure told. We won a free kick on the left hand side, Dave Peate floated a lovely ball into Gerry Nolan who controlled it beautifully, turned one way and then the other before beating the keeper - it was no more than we deserved.

With our defence playing well, Hylo was fairly quiet for the remainder of the first half.

The second half saw Orchardville up the tempo and we began to struggle - our lack of training was showing even with 35 or 40 minutes still to play. Our shape began to disappear as they began to create chances. Inevitably they took one - after an unchallenged run from the right had side the ball fell to their number 3 who cooly lobbed the ball over Hylo, nothing he could have done but in truth the ball should never have reached the goal scorer. The Villa heads dropped slightly. Dessie decided to change the shape of the team moving Kieran from centre half to make a third midfielder, a decision which was to prove very astute. With about 5 minutes to go Kieran picked the ball up in midfield, ran forward, he ignored Logie who was calling for the pass and instead sent a left footed daisy cutter into the keepers bottom left hand corner. It burst through the side of the net - luckily the ref was eagle eyed enough to see it as a goal.

Done and dusted you would think - not the Villa style!! Hylo had to save his best until last tipping over brilliantly from a header from a corner. That was the last of the action - we were saved from extra time, golden goal and possibly penalties. Not our best ever performance, but if we can win when not playing at our best that is not a bad sign.


22nd October 2002 - Fettercairn Celtic (A)

"There is a permanent cloud over Tallaght" one of the home team quipped before we took on Fettercairn Celtic at Butler McGee Park yesterday. Unfortunately, both weather-wise and result-wise this seems to be the case for us. Even the referee wasn't brave enough to abandon his black raincoat, however, Hylo did decide to wear shorts for the first time in ten years!!

The match took place in near arctic conditions; a driving, icy wind and freezing rain persevered throughout the 90 minutes. Fettercairn won the toss, but decided to play into the strong breeze in the first half. Conditions were difficult for both teams, but we didn't help ourselves by ignoring the passing game, and playing hopeful balls over the top for the forwards to chase. This proved a near impossible task as the wind and slippy pitch took the majority out of play handing easy possession back to Fettercairn.

We were beginning to get a good foot-hold in the game, and were creating the better chances, when some sloppy play gifted the ball to their number 8 wide on the left, he whipped over an inch perfect cross for their number 6 to give Hylo no chance from 6 yards, one nil down and we did not deserve to be behind.

Shortly after, a delicate lob from Billy was inches from finding the net but the mud and wind conspired to hold the ball up and the 'keeper made it back just in time.

And then more bad news, they followed their opener with a second just before half time. So we were 2-0 down at the break and not a cup of tea in sight to thaw out frozen muscles.

We started the second half brightly, even though we were facing an uphill task, and attacking into that very strong breeze. At least the conditions prevented our long ball tactics, and we did play better football after the break - all of which resulted in a very presentable chance being blazed over by the doc. After great approach play on the right, Logie laid a ball off and from 18 yards the ball was sent over the angle of post and crossbar. Once again we were made pay for our profligacy in f ront of goal, as soon after they went down the other end and made it 3-0.

In true Villa style we never gave up and a lovely through ball from Stretch and a delicate finish from Logie cut the deficit to two goals. Great work by Robbie on the right wing set up Gerry Nolan and he finished well - there was only a goal in it and Fettercairn weren' t looking quite so comfortable. We almost got the equaliser when a scramble in their penalty area resulted in the ball looping over the \lquote keeper and almost finding the net.

The last 5 minutes saw Hylo "controversially" dismissed for carrying the ball out of a non-existent penalty area, but the referee was never going to change his mind and Dave McCann had to don the gloves. Predictably with us pushing for the equaliser we were left exposed at the back and the stand in ' keeper could do nothing about their fourth goal.

It was a brave performance and what is more annoying, had we taken even half of our chances would have come out of the game with at least a draw - it would have been no more than we deserved.