Dublin - 1st June 2013

Geoff the Ref Memorial Tournament

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The Dublin 'Geoff the Ref' Memorial Tournament 2013

Geoff the Ref From this year onwards, the event is being renamed in remembrance of Geoff Hingston who tragically died on 31st July 2011 off the coast of the Algarve. Also known as 'Geoff the Ref' from the Saturday morning comedy talk show Soccer Am, Geoff was mad about the game and is sorely missed. He is fondly remembered for saying 'Ya eejit!' and 'Get up that yard!' on Soccer Am.

The tournament welcomed 8 teams to the event with 3 new teams participating; Rocco Rovers, SARI (Sport Against Racism Ireland) and Geoff's very own team called 'The Geoff-erees'. Last year's finalists Sallynoggin Pearse and Latin Kings returned along with 2011 finalists Dun Argyle and Rage Squad. Resident Team Slovakia, winners back in 2010, completed the line up.

Group I. Holders and tournament favourites Sallynoggin Pearse got off to a good start in their group by beating newcomers SARI in their opening fixture 3-1. The latter then went on to beat a new look Dun Argyle side 2-0 and having drawn against Team Slovakia, nervously awaited news of the final match between Dun Argyle and Sallynoggin Pearse. No matter what the outcome, Sallynoggin would proceed into the Cup knock-out round, however, if Sallynoggin won, SARI would snatch 2nd spot ahead of Dun Argyle who needed just a point. Dun Argyle opened the scoring but Sallynoggin soon equalised and then took the lead. The SARI team roared on the Sallynoggin side and with another flurry of goals, the game was won ending 6-3.

In the other group, Rocco Rovers made a good start by beating the Geoff-erees 2-0 but it all went wrong against Latin Kings as captain Ed Diggins was red carded for disent and the side had to play the majority of the game with 6 players. With the Latin Kings winning all of their games it meant that the Geoff-erees needed Rage Squad to beat Rocco Rovers; it ended 2-2 and Rocco Rovers finished 2nd above the Geoff-erees due to the result between the two sides.

The Plate semis saw Dun Argyle pair up against Rage Squad in a rematch of the 2011 final. This time however, it was Dun Argyle who took the win thanks to a hat-trick by Mike Hennessy winning 4-1. The Geoff-erees also won their tie beating Team Slovakia comfortably 5-1. Team Slovakia restored some pride as they finally notched their first win of the campaign cruising to win 6-1 as cramp and injuries set in for the bare bones side of Rage Squad. The Plate final was won by Geoff-erees; having led by two goals at the break, as Dun Argyle went in search of ways to get back on level terms but the Geoff-erees countered superbly and recorded the tournament's biggest win winning 8-1.

Rocco Rovers booked their place in the cup final edging out last year's winners Sallynoggin Pearse 3-0, Sallynoggin Pearse have always been able to find the net so this is the first time they've drawn a blank. The other semi was tied at 2-2 after normal time and then went into sudden death extra time. Just like last year, Latin Kings found the final touch to steal a golden goal win and book another final visit. The 3rd placed match again was a close game, Sallynoggin's Brian O'Farrell aka Brad Friedel was inspirational between the pipes; leaping to deflect balls out of the top corners. Sallynoggin claimed the 3rd spot eventually winning 3-2. Rocco Rovers defended heroically and some excellent goalkeeping by Kenneth Whelan kept the Latin Kings at bay. Rocco recorded another impressive 3-0 win to claim honours and send the Latin Kings to their successive 2nd place finish.

The individual awards went to Kenneth Whelan for top goalkeeper - 2 clean sheets in the cup semi-final and final meant his team conceeded the least over 5 games. Brian O'Farrell just missed out with some spectacular jaw-dropping flying saves to prevent countless goals. The Player of the tournament as always a tricky decision and although it is usually awarded to an outfield player - we thought Kenneth Whelan deserved the accolade. There were 3 players who had scored 8 goals a piece and so a penalty shoot-out took place to decide on who should receive the trophy. All players scored in the intial round and it was Edi Sirbu from SARI who was first to miss. Numerous more penalties later until a winner was finally decided - Sean Breen of Latin Kings eventually outshot Mike Hennessy of Dun Argyle to receive the award.

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