29th July 2017

Geoff the Ref Memorial Tournament

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Geoff the Ref Memorial 2017

Geoff the Ref OVER 35s Tournament
Only three teams competed in the over 35s event in the morning and so each team played each other twice so that everyone had plenty of playing time - following the group stage, the top two then played a final match to decide on who would carry the trophy back home. In humid conditions, favourites FC Miracle comfortably notched up two victories in the opening matches against Shankill Shakers and Harlequins winning 3-0 and 5-1 with Zoltan Toth scoring most of the goals; Shankill and Harlequins then played off against each other and as Darren Murphy scored for Harlequins in what was a tense even tie, Niall Carey dispatched to bring the game back level. In the dying moments, Al Robinson in goal stopped an effort on goal but then spilled the ball as it dropped to a forward and with the goalie out of position, Shankill were relieved to see the forward's effort on goal fly inches over the bar with the goal was gaping - the match finished 1-1. In the second round of matches, Shankill defied the odds and went ahead 1-0 as a change in formation saw Robinson come out of goal as Derek Purcell donned the goalie gloves. This switch proved key as it was Robinson who got on the end of a Laurence Smith cross to head in to give Shankill a surprise lead. Purcell was kept very busy in goal and denied the Hungarians countless chances to get back into the game, however, continued pressure finally paid off and Zoltan Kedves scored to equalise with 1 minute on the clock. The score finished 1-1 and Shankill certiainly felt they had snatched a point despite leading for the majority of the match. FC Miracle stepped it up again for their last group match and led comfortably 4-0 at one stage before goals from John O'Rourke halved the deficit; Gabor Farkas then added a final goal to add to goals from Jani Gal, Zoltan Toth (2) and Zsolt Laszlo. In the final group game, the winner would take on FC Miracle in the Cup Final and yet again it was a very tight match between the two sides. Niall Carey opened the scoring for Shankill mid-way through and Al Robinson added another with a header shortly after. Harlequins pulled one back as Vinny Lang's effort ricocheted off the goalie hit a player and looped into the top corner! However Laurence Smith added the team's third to seal the win late on. In the Cup Final, despite an unbeaten run of three games for Shankill, their final opponents FC Miracle's run of 4 games was to continue as they bagged five as Shankill simply ran out of steam; goals from Jani Gal, Zsolt Laszlo and a hat-trick from Zoltan Toth showed the difference in class between the sides.

OPEN Tournament
In the afternoon, the main event featured new side FC Portlaoise along with the Geofferees and other returning sides: Stewart's Team, Special Olympiacos, Latin Kings and FC Miracle; the latter were in search of an unprecedented treble. Despite interest from other teams, only 6 entrants completed registration for this year's event and all teams were added to one group and each played each other. The top two played for the Cup while 3rd and 4th in the group competed for bronze medals. 5th and 6th had the honour of battling for the Shield. After the first round of matches, the Latin Kings got off to the ideal start winning 3-0 against Stewart's Team while the other four sides drew 2-2. The tournament favourites began to emerge after round 2 as FC Miracle, Latin Kings and FC Portlaoise all won comfortably; the latter won 9-1 with captain Kamil Janas scoring 5 goals. In round 3 of the group matches, Special Olympiacos edged out Stewart's Team by the odd goal winning 3-2 while FC Portlaoise hammered the Geofferees 8-2; the Latin Kings produced a fine performance against last year's winners FC Miracle bagging a vital 2-0 win. Round 4 matches continued in a similar fashion as round 2 with wins for the three favourites all scoring 5 in the process! In round 5, FC Miracle needed a big win and results to go their way to book their spot in the final; despite an impressive 4-0 win against Special Olympiacos, FC Portlaoise had a far more superior goal difference. Latin Kings confirmed their spot as group winners with a 2-0 win against FC Portlaoise and with Portlaoise and FC Miracle both level on points, deciding who finished second had to be determined. FC Portlaoise were confirmed as group runners-up and would take on Latin Kings in the Cup Final due to having scored more goals in the group. Although Stewart's Team beat the Geofferees 6-1 in the group phase, they would play them again in the Plate competition and this time it would be a lot closer; the Geofferees gave everything and the sides this time played out a 2-2 draw in the Plate Final and with no goals in the Golden goal - the match went to penalties!! There were some cracking spot kicks and superb saves and the score finally ended 6-5 to Stewart's Team. The third place match between Special Olympiacos and FC Miracle ended in similar style to the previous group match with FC Miracle claiming bronze with goals from Tibor Mora, Janos Gal, Shane Burke and Declan O'Riordan while Pedro Paulo got a consolation. In the Cup Final, Latin Kings had previously beanten FC Portlaoise in the group stage 2-0, however, it was Portlaoise who went ahead through a cracking volley from Tomasz Swierski from a set piece. Alan White levelled for Latin Kings but the celebrations didn't last long as Lukasz Gdowski scored again for Portlaoise. However, White came to the rescue in the dying moments to level again and as the match went into Golden goal Bojula Torao had a gilt-edged chance to win it but his effort was saved. The match went to penalties which FC Portlaoise won 3-2.

Individual awards were awarded for best goalkeeper which went to Mateusz Cwienk of FC Portlaoise for some excellent saves throughout the day; although it must be pointed out that Marcio of Latin Kings only conceded 3 goals all tournament! The top goal scorer was Kamil Janas from FC Portlaoise who scored 11 goals in 6 matches while the Player of the Tournament was voted as Latin Kings' Daniel Breen. A massive thank you to the trio of umpires (Arturs, Butch and Chris) who teamed up again for another year - without the referees, it really would be a mammoth task to run the show without them. Absolutely fantastic to see such support at the event especially the youngsters being brought along to help cheer on their team! See you all next year if not sooner...

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