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Dublin: 7°C Thursday 22 October 2020

Between Hackers and Hoggers, life in the AUL

It’s the glamour of the cup for Paul Ring this week – but there’s no dressing-rooms in Millstreet.

UP FOR THE CUP? Our league campaign took a back seat to cup commitments last week as we contested the third round of the Cork County Cup.

Buttevant have been starved of cup success in recent years having once feasted on silverware. As recently as 1992 we were the FAI Junior Cup Cork area winners and reached the semi-finals of the national competition. An achievement made all the more remarkable when considering the town’s playing resources back then and the fact that at 503 teams, the FAI Junior Cup remains one of the biggest amateur cup competitions in Europe.

I still have the medal at home as a result of being a child prodigy and starting the final at age seven. That or it’s my old man’s. The important thing is I have it.

Being a third division team in any cup competition has its pros and cons. Teams higher than you tend to underestimate you, but teams higher than you also tend to be much better than you. We set out to take advantage of the first part and smash the second.

A Division One team were toppled at home 2-1 in the second round after we had received a bye in the first. We drew Milstreet Celtic away in the third round and given they were just the one division higher than us, we fancied our chances as we rolled out on a particularly frosty morning last Sunday.

The day started with a season first. No dressing rooms. Car doors were flung open and we balanced boots and togs while trying to change and retain our dignity in the presence of those out for a Sunday morning stroll.

After everyone was passed fit we took to the field and immediately realised we would be well in this. The first half ended goalless but despite one astounding save from our goalkeeper after a defensive howler (I instantly identified the culprit as not me) we were well in it after carving out a number of chances of our own.

The breakthrough came with 25 minutes to go. Our winger Alan floated a cross that appeared to move in slow motion. The goalkeeper seemed at first to be doing some version of the Macarena as he took two steps forward and then one back. He took another fateful step forward before flapping at nothing but air as the ball regretfully nestled in the corner.

We weathered their fight back and had all but sealed the win with a second goal with five minutes to go. In case you are wondering about how I keep track of the time, I am the guy who harasses the referee begging to know what’s left. Five to go. Two up. Close it out.

The term “switched off” is a common one when describing a defender’s mistake. Some of my teammates would say that I have never been switched on but I and others most definitely switched off as a quick free was taken and a header dispatched into the net. How long ref? How long? Blow the damn whistle! Relief.

Up for the cup? The heady heights of the quarter finals have been reached. Two games from Turner’s Cross.

Bet they have dressing rooms.

About the author:

Paul Ring

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