|February 2, 2019||6:00 pm||Men's Football Superleague||Winter 2019|
Report by: Heamus Sheany
February 2nd, Groundhog Day, saw the Verdun Vikings against the Concordia Warriors in the second game of the Winter Season for both teams. The Warriors came into this game fresh from the previous week’s victory over an underperforming Gaels side, and the Vikings were looking to bag their first win of the season. Would it be a case of one more week of winter for the Vikings? Or would spring be coming early for the reigning summer league champs? Time- and a Warriors side brimming with confidence- would tell.
An almost full-strength Vikings squad were coming into the game hungry for a win. Midfield stalwart “Dangerous” Damien Conneelly was back, as was Chris “Stellar” Cuellar for his first game after injury last year. Sam “Big River” St-Laurent was back also playing his first game in some time. As for Concordia, their confidence was lifted by the return of two key players missing from the last game. Key players? Tony “Top Cat” Cunningham and Paddy “Falcao” Burke are more than key players- they are two of the finest to ever grace the hallowed Astroturf of the Stinger Dome, and their reappearance was a huge boost to an already buoyant Warrior squad. On the downside, the Concordians were missing several of their new draftees who had helped them to victory against the Gaels. This had all the makings of a tight encounter.
The first half began in furious fashion. The Warrior’s Thomas “Day off” Dayon was impressive from the word go, linking nicely with Burke and Cunningham and getting his name on the scoresheet more than once. The upstart Warriors had the better of the Verdun Glamour team in the first 25 minutes, with the ever impressive Cunningham seemingly unstoppable through the middle. Aidan “Liam and Noel” Gallagher was doing a fine job in the goals, and it wasn’t until 20 or so minutes in that the Verdun men got their act together. After a fine point from Brandon “Motor Oil” Doyle for Concordia, the Vikings began to step their game up. Lovely link up play from Ronan “Ronnie” Corbett in the middle led to a goals from Simon “Neville” Chamberland, Ronan “Electric” Shaughnessy and newcomer Mo, with Chamberland’s relentless attacking play a major driver in the Viking’s resurgence. The Vikings were ahead at half time.
The second half began much like the first- Dayon tenacious at the heart of the Concordia defence, playing through Burke and Cunningham and on through to Kelly, Doyle and Pine, with “Lexus” Kelly instrumental in some intelligent lay-offs and passing play. Both sides were giving it their all, with the midfield being the most important battleground. Conneely, Cuellar and Corbett, the 3 C’s worked tirelessly, and with Jacob “Lazer” Meza aggressively intercepting loose balls and playing them on, they kept feeding the ball through to the lethal partnership of Chamberland and Shaughnessy. The Vikings were gaining the advantage through the clinical finishing of their moustachioed Mayo marksman. But this was by no means a one-sided encounter. The Warriors counter-attacked relentlessly, with “Chief” Keith Pine scoring a well-taken goal mid-way through the half, as well as numerous points from Burke and Cunningham. Yet, the Vikings clung to their lead, with Clement “Stock” Broca getting a well-earned goal late on. Olivier “Tabernakle” Sakr was forced some impressive stops, saving the Viking’s skin on more than one occasion.
In the end, victory was to be for the Vikings. It was a close fought thing, with fine performances all round. It is lovely to see newcomers making such an impressive mark on the game, alongside grizzled veterans with many games under their belts. A great evening of top-class football.