RISSC (London) Football Team - Review 2007
Following the excitement of winning the First Division Championship and gaining promotion to the Premier Division, manager Paul Franklin indicated that the 2006/2007 season would provide a considerable challenge and the team would seek to consolidate their position in the top division. The observations proved to be correct as the team endured a difficult and often problematic season but ultimately did maintain their position in the Premier Division.
The start of the season was far from auspicious, as two crushing defeats by Norwich City SC and Stoke City SC provided the team with a harsh introduction to Premier Division life. September 2006 was indeed a month to forget.
Jolted in the extreme, by these early set-backs, the team re-grouped and with steely determination set about redressing the balance. An emphatic 7-1 thrashing of Exeter City SC on the first day of October 2006 set the tone. The following week, a visit to the home of Birmingham City SC garnered another three valuable league points. The four goal success also bred more confidence in the side. Revenge for the early defeat by Stoke City SC came courtesy of a hard fought 3-2 victory. Yes, October was a much, much better month.
Enter November 2006 and the first round of the cup. A 4-2 win, over Middlesbrough SC and through to the next round, this is the way it should be. League leaders and eventual champions Aberdeen SC travelled to the LPR Sports Ground. A titanic battle ensued, a 4-3 defeat but, what a noble effort. Middlesbrough SC again, this time in the league. A little closer on this occasion, just 3-2, but nevertheless another three points. There was nothing to really complain about in November 2006.
The year end approaches, it is December 2006. The weather deteriorates and action is limited to one encounter in the second round of the cup. A visit to London Scottish SC, three unanswered goals. next please.
The new year, January 2007 and a trip to meet Crewe Alexandra SC. My, that was a tough one, but three points from a 2-1 victory is satisfactory reward. Next up are Norwich City SC at home, the opportunity to gain retribution for the early season trouncing. A double catastrophe, Mauricio incurs a serious injury which has a hugely deflating effect on the rest of the team and then Norwich run riot again, an even greater mauling. ‘Canaries’ becomes a forbidden word.
February 2007 and a 1-1 draw with old rivals Middlesbrough SC earns another league point. A league visit to the formidable Aberdeen SC ends in a two nil defeat, a very worthy effort against the future champions.
The first Sunday of March 2007 brings the visit of perennial rivals Glasgow Rangers SC. A two all draw means honours even and another valuable league point. The quarter-final cup draw has not been kind. Drawn away to Aberdeen SC was always going to be a monumental task and so it proved. A battling performance, but a three nil defeat and farewell to the cup for this season. March 2007 ended with another one all home draw, this time Birmingham City SC were the visitors.
As the season end approaches, we enter April 2007. The fatigue of the campaign is beginning to show, there are fewer bodies appearing and the pulses are not beating as fervently as they ought to be. Exeter City SC score four, the two goal response is not enough, A disappointing defeat. The fixture backlog means there will be double headers, far from ideal when the squad is stretched as it now is. Manchester United SC twice on the same afternoon. A magnificent first game effort brings a 3-2 success, but drained, the team succumb in the second encounter.
It is almost done now, another scheduled double header, London Hibs SC this time. There is little left in the tank now and demoralising defeat is endured.
And so the season ends in a mixed cocktail of emotions. The nightmare beginning, followed by the sunshine of October. The highs and lows, ups and downs of subsequent months and in the latter stages the dull ache of disappointment and disenchantment. It was always going to be tough and in the end, given all the traumas of the season, perhaps the mid-table finish was not so bad after all.
Difficult though the season was, there were some positives and moments of enjoyment. The visit of Snugboro United from Castlebar continued the splendid relationship built up between the two Clubs following last season’s visit to Mayo. There were some stalwart performances delivered from time to time, not least the exploits of thirteen goal Richie Dempsey, during his short period with the Club before his return to Ireland. Some new players were introduced during the season and they showed promise for the future.
Summer is upon us now, A few chats, a whisper here, a new player there, the work continues. Soon, early season training beckons, some five-a-side competitions perhaps. It will start again in September 2007. A new season, fresh challenges, revived spirits and renewed ambitions to pursue.
2006/2007 Player Awards
Player of the Year - Mick Cusack
Twenty eight year old Mick, whose parents both hail from Mayo, joined the Club in September 2006 and was a commanding presence in the centre of defence throughout the season. Mick, who had been out of the game for a while, previously played Sunday morning football in and around the North West London area.
Player of the Year Runner-up - Jon Carey
The long serving full back turned thirty six during the season, but shows no signs of losing the pace and poise which have marked his performance for several years. Jon, who joined the Club under the stewardship of Paul McDowell some eleven years ago, also managed to contribute a couple of goals during the season.
Manager’s Player of the Year - Fintan McKeon
A native of Roscommon, Fintan joined the Club at the start of the season, having arrived in London in June 2005. Fintan played youth soccer at home with Carrick Town and is also an able exponent of Gaelic Football with the Parnells Club. Currently sidelined with a broken arm, he hopes to resume training in about four weeks time.
Leading Goalscorer and Joanie Gallagher Memorial Trophy - Mick Coffey
Mick is a six year servant of the Club and, not for the first time, emerged as the leading goalscorer with 16 strikes during the season. Mick, whose father emigrated from Tipperary in the early seventies and married his mother, a young woman of Mayo heritage, played schoolboy football for Middlesex County.
The Joanie Gallagher Memorial Trophy is awarded to a player whose contribution to the team is considered particularly significant and few, if any, can doubt the merits of this year's recipient