Well done to the SA Gaels the first Major International Trophy !!

 Hi Guys,

Thanks for all your wishes and congratulations. The guys played amazingly and showed great spirit and heart. They were true ambassadors for South Africa over the course of the weekend and showed the 58 teams who attended the GGG tournament that South Africa is a force to be reckoned with. I can’t describe how proud I am that after 4 years of trying we finally won the Social Competition, and we did it in style, proving that we will not only hold our own in the B Tournament next year, but we will be serious contenders and a team that is feared.

Thanks goes to Tomas Burke who was a true rock at the back keeping the lads in order, and keeping Brian Sweeney out of trouble (Brian, being one of the longest serving SA Gaels players, despite being a Dubai resident!). Brian’s stellar save against the professional soccer players from Oman, despite having knackered his finger in the warm up, kept us alive at a critical time in a must-win game. Tomas’s commitment to the cause was demonstrated in the 4-10 to 0-1 drumming of Kuwait when all he could talk about was that Kuwait had scored their one and only point from his side of the field! A true perfectionist.

Despite nearly taking my head off at the shoulders in the final Shane Heraty (the most senior of the Heraty clan) had a great tournament at full back. You know you have a solid defence when one of the opposition players breaks his hand because he “ran into Shane”! One of the quotes of the tournament came from Shane when he cleaned a ball up from the back corner and was about to deliver it down the line to his brother Greg Heraty, only to see Greg running into the middle of the park instead. He soon corrected this indiscretion by shouting “Not that way – the other way” (clean version) and booted it down the line as intended, causing Greg to scamper back where he had just come from!

Sbonelo Mhlongo (Scelo), was an energetic cornerback. His moment of glory came in the dying minutes of the final when he picked up a ball on the far right of the field around the 45 line (we will not mention that he was playing left corner back at the time!!) and proceeded to attempt a point into the strong cross wind much to everyone’s dismay. We are not sure how, but the ball sailed over the keepers head and into the back of the net for 3pts and sealed victory for the Gaels. His celebrations and jubilation were swiftly muted by Tomas who didn’t hold anything back reminding him to “Mark the ***k up” as Scelo promptly forgot everything he had been told about not celebrating goals and points, in this quick 9-a-side game!

Kagisho Gaonose (KG) didn’t leave anything on the pitch, and was a true warrior for the Gaels all day. KG managed roles in the back line and the midfield and brought a tenacious never give up attitude to the game. On a couple of occasions the opposition took offence to his “style” but it soon backed off as they got up from the ground, looked him in the eye, saw an uncompromising Tshwane looking back at them and thought better of it!

Greg Heraty, “The baby” as his mammy called him, won every tip off of the day (expect the 4 against India, hey Greg!). Greg gave the team a calm head in the early group games taking his points well and keeping us ahead of the opposition. He had only landed at 3am that morning, so his metronomic point scoring was all the more impressive!

Tumisang Leacwe, was easily a contender for player of the tournament and was the SA Gaels speedster. Sometimes he went so fast the ball couldn’t keep up with him (need to work on that!). He was unfortunate to take a knock on the knee that would send most people home, but for Tumisang it just slowed him down to “normal pace”. Tumisang took his goals well, and when he got a “buzz” on, he was slicing through defences like a knife through butter. Great to watch and sole destroying for the opposition.

Tshegofatso Letsoalo, the youngest player on the team, but almost the tallest, was an able substitute in the forward line. Thego took the rule of getting off the pitch quickly so much to heart, that on one occasion Tomas recalled the opposition jealously remarking that their players couldn’t run after a ball as fast as Thego could get himself off the pitch! His tall frame served him well when an ambitious high ball had been rather desperately kicked into the box, Thego rose 2ft above the crowd of players to take a wonderful catch and pass it off to one of the lads for a point.

Leonard Tladi kept the defence busy and confused all day with his quick feet, sharp turns and energy. Leonard was a true team player and contributed in all aspects of the game. He covered well when the defence broke forward and was then back supporting the point takers when the next phase of play came round. He was unlucky not to score more points himself, but someone has to do the work!

Gerrant Heraty, the middle one of the Heraty brotherhood, took a while to find his kicking boots (let’s not remember the free from the 22m in front of the posts shall we! ). But when he found them, the points and goals came a plenty. After finally breaking his duck through a 1m tap in to the net, the comment from the backline (can’t tell you who!) was “Gerrant needs to be that close if he is going to score!”. As vocal off the pitch as he was on it, Gerrant was a good motivator and made sure the lads knew what they were playing for. Not sure if I have ever seen an Irishman so fired up after a chorus of “Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika”

Papy Malinga, our dreadlocked superstar forward; definitely the SA Gaels player of the tournament and great footballing talent. A deathly silence settled over the team when in the warm up before the final Papy was cramping up badly. Thanks be to the Gaelic Gods when after a bit of TLC from Shane, Papy was back on his feet running amuck in the front line taking some great scores showing Dubai what talent we have in South Africa. Along with Gerrant, Papy scored the lion’s share of the SA Gaels points and was practically kicking them for fun by the end of the day. Well done Papy, a thoroughly deserved MVP award in my eyes.

Thanks again lads for making this weekend so memorable! It was an absolute pleasure to coach, play, and generally scream at you all! Take a break, next event will be a mini blitz at the Celtic Weekend on 10-12th May.

Onward and Upward!

Coach PC

Posted by Maryna Warren on 25/03/2013 14:58:56 |

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