THEY remembered Nigel Monaghan. He managed many, many teams. He gave so much to football.
The Nigel Monaghan Memorial Cup did him proud. A perfect celebration of his contribution to the beautiful game.
By NIALL SCULLY
The sun came out at the Celbridge Football Park. Lucan United hosted the Under-12 tournament. Lucan – going for over half a century. And going stronger than ever.
The music was playing. There was the scent of the barbeque. And the crowds arrived.
Conor Masterson dropped in the footballs. Uhlsport the kind sponsors. Two pitches were used. They had got the short, back and sides.
It was the 9-a-side format. And how the teams could get it down and play. If they had a yard of space, they made hay.
Mark Clohessy was at ringside. Last week he brought the Kennedy Cup home from Limerick.
Tommy Carberry was also in the building. Knows his football onions. And there was Martin Russell. A footballer who could thread a pass.
Paddy Dempsey looked on. And he had much to be happy about.
Among the highlights were wingers using the express lane to get to the end-line and whip over a 99.
The spectators were enjoying the flavour. “It’s brilliant to see them passing the ball to feet,” said one.
A dart of pace from a winger inspired the comment: “He’s never going to miss a bus.”
Two teams travelled from Liverpool – Liverpool Schools and the Liverpool Schools Academy. Also taking part were the Wexford and District League, Sligo/Leitrim League, DDSL, Westport United, Finn Harps and the combined Lucan United/Shamrock Rovers side. The clubs have a partnership agreement.
“The tournament went very well,” remarked Lucan’s Joe Costigan. “A lot of organisation went into it. So many people at Lucan United worked hard to make it happen.
“Paddy Dempsey has been very good to us, and so has Mark Clohessy and all of his management.
“It was great to get teams from all over the country. And the two sides from Liverpool added even more prestige to the event.
“It was a lovely tribute to Nigel. And a big thanks to his family and friends for all their support.”
One of the showcase games was the DDSL against a very fine Wexford team. So much quality to admire.
But even when the DDSL went one-down, they still kept playing their football. Picking their passes. Thinking not of the result. But the big picture. And that was the most pleasing thing of all.
It’s an approach that certainly would have found favour with the man himself – Nigel Monaghan.
The final pitted the DDSL against Liverpool Schools A squad and it was the men from Merseyside who took home the impressive trophy on a 2-1 scoreline. It was a thrilling spectacle and a fitting climax to a wonderful day of football for players and spectators.