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Between hackers and hoggers, life in the AUL: the six-goal thriller

Paul Ring sends one more dispatch from the bottom of the football pyramid. This week his Division Three side are involved in a goal-fest.
Nov 24th 2010, 9:46 AM 394 0

PERHAPS THAT TITLE needs explaining before I regal you with the tale of Saturday’s six-goal thriller.

It is a little theory of mine. I have crudely divided division three players into two categories. Hackers are mostly, self-explanatory. Be it ankles or the football we are the beautiful game’s answer to the Junior B corner-back. Thou shalt not pass and if thou should, thy shins will be slain. The pass part works both ways.

Hoggers are the players who can play. They don’t really trust the hackers with the ball and just hope that one of our random whacks falls to their feet so that they can get on with it. A perfect example was Saturday.

I had somehow crossed the halfway line without suffering a nosebleed and noticed the ball trickling towards me. Despite the fact I had a 10-yard radius of space around me my right foot acted with muscle memory and you guessed it… hacked it.

It pelted off a hogger’s chest who promptly controlled it and laid it off.

I jogged back to my station with the stat, passes attempted: none. Passes completed: one.

Saturday was a test. Our opponents, Ballincollig, had destroyed us earlier in the season 6-3 at their place. This was a chance to show just how far we had come. We knew we had improved based on results and the fact we all knew each other’s name this time.

They started well. They were slick on the ball and constantly interchanged. They took the lead with us down to 10-men. Our libero was sick most of the week and had to go off to be let back on despite the fact we had a corner and the ball was out of play. A senseless FAI directive possibly conjured from a train in Bratislava.

Our recovery was tremendous. Three excellent goals in the space of 20 minutes. They dragged one back with 20 to go. It was clearly offside. I know this because I was stood there with my arm up. The equaliser promptly arrived.

Stoppage time. Corner. Cleared. I stayed up. A hogger zipped down the line and spotted me. Everything slowed. I adopted my Paul Merson accent in my head. “I’m avin this”. The connection was sweet. I am peeling away. The keeper arcs acrobatically. Saved.  It finished 3-3.

Shots attempted: one. Goals scored: none.

Now read Paul Ring’s first column on life in the AUL.

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