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A New Beginning!!

Posted by on May 16, 2010 at 3:19 PM Comments comments (4)

(No! This is not Star Wars Episode 4 - It's Colin Valley Football Club: Season 2009/10)


What a Season! What a Year! What a Squad! What a Team(Management)! What a Pitch! What a Ground! What pure f***ing joy to be at a club finally moving in the right direction! That's right - make no mistake about it - this was a Great Season for our emerging Football Club - and i'll tell you why.

A New Beginning

It was a season of growth, a season of learning, a season of making mistakes - more importantly of correcting them and learning from them. It was a season of fitness, of new blood, a season of fresh ideas, a season of excitement but maybe most importantly of all - as our Treasurer Mr Fay likes to put it, it was a season of Progression.


That's what this season has been for Colin Valley FC and it's players. It's been the dawn of a new era for us all, one where we've had to learn and grow, shape and build, fail and rise to try again - and to echo the opening words of Episode 4 of George Lucas' most famous works, it was indeed without a shadow of a doubt - A New Beginning!


From for once having a proper belly-busting, sick inducing pre-season (ask Bensy lol) - to taking Kilmore Rec (this season Steel and Sons Cup Winners) all the way to extra time in an Epic 4-3 Clarence Cup tie; From taking part in gruelling tuesday and thursday night training sessions on our new state of the art 3g pitch - to seeing 30 yard screamers flying into the net from all areas of the pitch from the likes of Gavin McArdle and John Burns throughout the season; From slugging out a bruising and enthralling 4-4 opening day draw away to Portavogie Rangers down in the aptly named "fish bowl" - to hammering 5 past a hapless Iveagh UTD team in the Quarters Finals of the Cochrane and Corry Cup on home soil: From having our squad grow by over 30 new players at the start of the campaign - to seeing our newly formed reserve team clinch promotion on the last day of the season against hated rivals St Pats; From witnessing the opening of our pride and joy, New Valley Park - to seeing us thump 9 past Co. Down Rangers on the last day of the league - this was a season not to be forgotten or slighted at in the least. In the words one Ciaran Quinn - "No Doubt"- this was a resurgent season in the Clubs history, and now it's everybodys responsibility to keep that resurgence going!

Just missed out!


The only thing missing from our season in the end was indeed that ellusive piece of silverware that we had all been craving so bad. Yet with all the new talent emerging into the Amateur League 2c Division this season it was always going to be a big ask! Still - but for some injuries to key players at bad times and some profligate waste in front of goals, we could have made the season even better.If the reserves had been able to just scrape one more win in 3F then we would have had a Championship Trophy to celebrate - hopefully next season we can go one better than Runners Up medals!!

People will look back on the games against St Theresa's, Plunkett and Ballynahinch for the first team - and for the Reserves, points lost against Kelvin and Portavogie and think "What If....", "If only...." or "thats the one that got away",... and although they'd be correct in their thinking - well there were other points gained and matches won in similar circumstances weren't there??? Think of the 1st teams terrific 1-0 away win against Suffolk swifts in the heart of the season when the whole team fought like demons against a wind assisted 45 mins of severe and butal pressure. Think of the stirring "no surrender" style home wins against Ballynahinch and St Theresa's when we had to play with 10 or even 9 men for most of the match. Or for the reserves think of the character building comeback against Portavogie on our own pitch when we came back from an early goal to hold out for a telling 2-1 win, or the fantastic away win against St Theresa's first team when they threw all and the kitchen sink at us in the 2nd half trying to cancel out Damian McNama's 5th minute opener. It was results and performances like these that we need to remember and focus on, we need to allow these experiences and not the bad ones to define our season - it's results like these which could see us finally become the club we all aspire to be next season, one celebrating silverware at the end of a long and hard, yet rewarding season. If we take the positives from this season - and there are a lot to take - then it can and will hold us all in good stead for an even better campaign next time around!!

Bright Future

You only have to look around the club and what we now have to offer to see the true potential here. We have the set up and the tools to make it work - a great pitch, our own training facility, a hard working back bone to the club, enough loyal and experienced older players to guide us through hard games and tough periods. A management team who eat and breathe Colin Valley FC so much that they have it bleeding through their very pores!! With established players like Dunlop, Mallon, Fay, Duff and Judge we have enough quality and strength in depth in our squad to hold us in good stead for the next 5 years to continue our current progress in the Amateur League. Then we have those younger players like Quinn, Benson, McArdle, McClenaghan, Mallon and McGonnell all pushing for 1st team places and vying to replace those established players. Even more importantly though we now have the potential to start bringing youth teams through our club so that in future years we have the players to replace those ending their careers.

But one huge thing we all need to realise is that just having the means and potential does not mean what you want comes easy. There is some very tough work ahead if we are to achieve all that we aim to. So with that in mind we must also face facts and see this for what it really is -  just the beginning! The hardest work begins now - to keep the progression going year after year and buld on what we made real this season is going to be the hard part! We need commitment from those established players who want to still be here in 5 years time - we need people to step forward and say "hell yes - i'll do my part" so that others can follow in our steps and have the chance we had. If we can all aim to do that at least once for next season then young Quinn is again correct in his asessment: The Future is Bright - The Future is Valley!!!!

Valley 3-4 Kilmore

Posted by Kev on February 23, 2010 at 7:49 AM Comments comments (0)

Colin Valley came up against this years Steel and Son’s Cup Winners in the 2nd round of the Clarence Cup and very nearly came away with the tag “Giant Killers”. For a team playing 5 Divisions above them Valley certainly gave the intermediate club a fright they wont soon forget!


Buoyed by 7 wins out of their last 8 games Valley started the game the brighter and almost took the lead when a neat one-two between McDonnell and Murphy on the edge of the Kilmore box got their new winger clear of his defender. McDonnell hesitated before shooting though and the keeper managed to steer the ball wide when a pull back might have opened the scoring for the up and coming team from Poleglass. Kilmore weren’t long causing Valley problems of their own and on 15 mins a rash challenge at the back from a defender allowed the Referee to gift Kilmore their first penalty of the day. Their striker coolly put the chance away and Valley were forced to play catch up from here on in.


The home supporters weren’t made to wait long for a response from their team though and they forced their own penalty on 20 mins when McDonnell made up for his earlier miss by expertly drawing a foul in the box. Valleys main man up front Martin Kelly finished the penalty with his natural ease and the team from 2C were back on level terms. The game flowed superbly with some great football by both sides and Kilmore’s 2nd goal personified the spirit and attitude the tie was being played in. They pressed on the counter attack and a superb back heel through a Valley defenders legs played in one of their midfielders who had broke from deep to slot the ball home. Valleys reply? A 25-yard thunder bolt from right back John Benson into the keeper’s top left corner to force Kilmore into once again re-assessing their opinions of the junior side. The half time whistle blew soon after this to bring to an end the first 45 mins of what was an enthralling cup-tie.


Valley started the 2nd half knowing they were in with a great chance of causing an upset andthe 2nd half was hotly contested. The tie swung one way and then back again as both side had periods of domintaion. Collins was playing well in nets and snuffed out a one on one chance when a Kilmore striker raced clear. Back up the other end Quinn, Dunlop and then McDonald (on as a 2nd half sub) went achingly close for the home team. As it was no one was able to force the killing goal and extra time beckoned. Full-time 2-2

Extra time kicked off and despite numerous warnings from their manager to keep things tight Valley conceded early. Kilmore thought they had the winning goal inside the first 5 min as their right-winger burst through Valleys centre backs to Volley an unstoppable shot past Collins in nets. Once again Valley burst back into the game though – this time their response even swifter than before as captain Paul McDonnell stole in at the back post to drill the ball into the bottom corner. Collins in the Valley net then became their saviour with a double save in the dying minutes of the first period to cap what was another wonderful display from the returning goalie.


Sadly the fairytale was not to have a happy ending this time for for Valley as yet another soft penalty award by the referee saw them go behind once again in the 2nd half of extra time. Although the boys from Poleglass pushed themselves to the limit they were not able to find the equaliser they craved this time as Kilmore held out for the toughest of wins. Man of the match on the day for Valley was Club Captain Kevin Murphy for an all round display. Good luck to Kilmore in their search for more silverware!

Plunkett 2 - 3 Valley

Posted by Kev on February 15, 2010 at 3:41 PM Comments comments (0)



Revenge was the mood in the Valley camp on Saturday as a surprise 2-0 defeat at home to Oliver Plunkett earlier in the season was still very fresh in the managers memory. Mc Mullans team-talk centred on recent good form and the need to climb up the 2c Amateur League table with 3 precious points - and to start putting pressure on the other teams vying for the promotion places.


Valley started the game as they finished off last week against Iveagh with flowing football causing the home side no end of problems.The left side of the pitch was proving particularly hard for Plunkett to handle as Mc Ardle and Mc Donald were once again linking up well, causing the Plunkett right back at one stage to plead for help from his team-mates - and with Quinn joining in from the front line it was not long before Valley were creating goal scoring chances. M.O.M Paddy McDonald has been a revelation so far in a Valley shirt and againt oday he showed his class as he set up the first chance of the game for Murphy who hit the post after breaking from deep in midfield.


This was a sign of things to come and next it was O’Reilly who narrowly missed the target after a deep cross from Quinn to the back post was headed narrowly wide. The first goal duly arrived on 15 mins and what a goal it was! A definite contender for goal of the season, left back Mc Ardle aided once again by McDonald from left wing cut inside and drilled a pile driver from all of 25 yards which screamed into the keepers top right hand corner to set Valley on their way to a fabulous first half performance. Quinn who has been deputising for the missing Liam Judge up front for the last two games once again added weight tothe argument he should keep his place in the team by creating the 2nd of Valleys goals. He turned the Plunkett defender inside-out on the edge of the box and drilled a dangerous ball across the opposition line – only for it to be deflected into the net by one for the central defenders. Although Quinn tried to claim it the dubious goals panel have given it as an own goal. Hard luck Ciaran!


Valley pressed on, not happy with the two-Goal lead and M.O.M McDonald hit the post for the 2nd time for the visitors on 30mins as he once again cut in expertly from the left wing, curling a shot just beyond the keeper onto the left post – with Dunlop just failing to convert the rebound as the Plunkett defence desperately cleared their lines. Dunlop has been truly impressive this side of Christmas though and he made up for his miss 5mins later. He deftly flicked the ball over a Plunkett head, turned another and thumped the ball from 20 yards with his left foot into keepers top right-hand corner to put Valley 3nil up and cruising. Plunkett tried to put up some resistance for the last 10mins but found it hard going as Gavin Mallon – emerging as a contender for player of the season– was proving too hard a nut to crack at the back for Plunkett’s main dangerman up front.


Half time 3-0


The 2nd half understandably saw Plunkett make changes and after a tongue lashing at half time they seemed eager to prove themselves against an on-form Valley team. Plunkett no doubt did better the second half but it was laboured as Valley sat comfortably playing their passing game and trying to pick them off on the break. They thought they had sprung the trap on 70 mins when McDonald fed off a Dunlop strike to put Valley into a seemingly unassailable lead. The referee had different ideas though as he wrongly disallowed the goal for off-side – ruining a near perfect performance for Valleys new signing. This almost had dire consequences for Valley as Plunkett got two late consolation goals – almost stealing a point out of a game they should have been well out of. They peppered the Valley box with corner after corner for the final 5 mins but the boys from Poleglass held strong with captain Paul McDonald  “inspirational” and returning keeper Michael Collins keeping the points safe. M.O.M Patrick McDonald – Colin Valley play Steel and Sons Cup winners Kilmore Rec next Saturday at Valley Park, all support welcome for this big fixture!!


Off with a BANG

Posted by on February 7, 2010 at 5:06 PM Comments comments (5)

With a Bang

2010 has started with a bang! With both teams recording impressive wins in their first games of the new year Colin Valley FC has been provided with a great platform on which to build from for the 2nd half of the season. And with numbers still high in training and more players coming in – could we be looking at something of a hallmark year for C.V.F.C?

Goodbye yester-years!! That’s right - long gone are the days of having to cancel a Tuesday night training session because of low numbers. Loong gone are the days of scraping together a squad for proper training  sessions on wet and cold Thursday evenings. Looong gone are the days of Dutta and Spud worrying whether they’ll have enough players come Saturday to put out an effective team. And even loooonger gone, are the days of Dutta and Spud being forced to play people who did not attend those training sessions during the week - for whatever number of worthless reasons.


As said before this is a different Club we are all now attached to (and the quicker people start to realise that the better). A more  progressive and forward-looking club: A more ambitious and resourceful club. A more dedicated and talented club: But most importantly – a more Disciplined club. And isn’t it about f***ing time too! Finally, Poleglass has a club that just might be going places...  


Goals Galore


With a resounding 8-2 win for the first team in their opening game of the year against a tough and football oriented Rosario second  string in the Junior Shield, Colin Valley really laid down a marker for the months ahead. A statement that proclaimed: “Yes! We can win big..” and “Yes! We can score goals..” has had heads turning in the ranks of the Junior Divisions. And although a defeat to Crumlin Star in the next round soured things a little, the team bounced back with a resounding victory against a team 2 tiers above us in the Clarence Cup. 5-1 against a team that put St Pats out of the Cochrane & Corry Cup is another ringing endorsement of the quality within the club.


Iveagh Utd presented what many thought would be a tough test for the 1st team, and with 4 mainstream players out for various reasons you could have been forgiven for believing it. But once more Valley showed that on our home turf we are a force not to be slighted at. Power play is the term that comes to mind as the Valley elite literally tore chunks out of an Iveagh team that by the end of the game looked like it had been eaten up,chewed to mulch and spat back out onto the Valley Park soil. From a 25 yard screamer by Paul McDonald to a deft lob by Ciaran Quinn after a sublime one-touch passing move across and back across the pitch it really was a vintage and destructive display by the 1st team. Long may this form continue!


Ye Oldé Guard


For the Reserves they had to wait a little longer to get their first win of the year. It wasn’t that they got beaten – hell no!! It’s just that with the damn snow and rain, and the 1st team still being involved in so many Cup Competitions they had to wait to play at home. Even then it was an early kick off as St Theresa’s visited Valley Park looking to upset the odds and take away some of the spoils on offer. Again Valley went into the match with several of their regular starters missing. But once again the players who came in, like Michael McClinton and Liam Skelly are all talented in their own right and were not just there to make up the numbers – rather they were there to stake their own claim for a right to start and even keep that place when the next fixture comes about.


As it was both set of players looked a little short of match practice throughout as the long 9-week period without a game took its toll on the quality of the match. But like in some of the other games the reserves have played this year it was the experience of the Oldé Guard that served them well. The mantra of an old but lasting television series comes to mind, it goes something like this: “If you have a problem, if no-one else can help, and if you can find them, then maybe you can hire ….”.

That’s right Mark O’Rawe, John Burns, Jimmy McCabe and Tom Hall became Valley’s very own version of the A-Team on Saturday afternoon as they drove the team to what had previously seemed an unachievable task. After stubbornly clinging to their jobs for the first hour of the match the Valley team began to grow in stature and from there the experience began to show. With Hall and Fennell marshalling well at the back, McCabe applying the pressure in midfield and Burns’ and O’Rawe’s relentless pressure from long-throws causing havoc in their box, the St Theresa’s team seemed to have the desire and belief visibly sucked out of them during that last half hour. And although eventually it was Brendan Mallon who got the telling contribution and was able to bundle the ball home for the only goal of the game - without the effort of the aptly named Oldé Guard no win would have been possible. It was strangely fitting though for young Mallon to get the goal as he had just returned from a bad illness which had kept him out for several weeks – and with him being one of the young success stories of Valleys season so far, it couldn’t have fallen to a better man. With Portavogie dropping their first home points of the season also it could just turn out be the telling contribution of the season as Valley now hold the fate of their title aspirations in their own hands – of course with a long way to go no-one should be counting their chickens just yet!!




Aside from the promising results we also have other reasons to be excited with the way 2010 has begun. It was especially nice to see two new players make their debuts for Valley teams this week. Patrick McDonald – brother to Paul - made his full home debut for the 1st team and acquitted himself very well, scoring the 3rd goal against Iveagh Utd and putting in a faultless performance. Another new comer Paddy Moore came on as sub for the reserves to grab his first minutes as a Valley player against St Theresa’s and played a telling part in changing the game at a time when the visitors had seemed to be on top.


With Kelly, Dunlop, Mallon and McDonald all being in imperious form of late, the spine of the 1st team is looking strong indeed – and with the above mentioned Oldé Guard in the reserves fulfilling the same role there, then things are definitely looking promising.




A Long time coming ....

Posted by on December 22, 2009 at 3:51 PM Comments comments (6)

Yes I know - it's been a while, so shoot me!! :tongue:


Sooo Christmas is finally upon us – and as usual at this time of the year I think it only right that we sit back and take stock of the 12 months that just passed. However just before we do that - there’s a little (oh ok then, a lot :D) to catch up on!


Since the last blog the Club have seen some very topsy-turvey periods in terms of performances and results – so I feel it only fair to everyone to have a quick reminder of the months we’ve had before we go summing up the year as a whole. Lets start with ….




After bouncing back from the clubs disastrous last week in September with two great wins against Suffolk Swifts (1st 1-0) and Kelvin OBs (reserves 4-2) the club went on to have what can only be described as a very "up and down" month. Great wins for the 1st team in the Junior shield against Dunmurry Young Men II (5-2) and Nortel II (2-0) were tempered with poor results against Lurgan Utd (pens) - which saw us bow out of the Junior Cup and St Pats (4-nil) in the league, a crushing home defeat which was never deserved but only highlights what we maybe lack in our own game - ruthlessness??

Whilst the reserves faired no better getting themselves back on track with good wins against Whitehead (5-1) and Plunkett (2-0) – but then having these results overshadowed by a second loss to fellow title contenders Woodvale, who beat us 3-0 at home - and this with three 1st team players being dropped down (Dunlop, O'Reilly, Murphy) to get some minutes and add extra steel!


So as we said before an "up and down" month – something that no doubt will happen from time to time at the club. But the real story of October, it has to be said, was not the results or performances on the pitch, it was more about the management team getting things right off it – as some hard decisions were made and new rules introduced. It was felt a shake-up was needed within the club  and it duly arrived in the shape of some tough rules being enforced - I’m sure we all know what i'm referring to? Thats right - The new Rules ...

New Rules

For the players it meant no more leniencies or bending of the rules that had been laid down at the very start of the season - and for the management, it meant needing to take a stepback from the players and showing a firmer hand on occasion. Looking at it now, I’m sure most would agree that things have settled down since those tough decisions – and I for one feel that the actions taken were the correct ones at the time …… even if it did leave the 1st team short of playing staff for the St Pats game.

Sometimes in a club - especially one making a new beginning - it’s more important to deal with the internal club issues of the moment than worry about what it will mean regarding the team selection come Saturday. Certainly no one has “forgotten” to bring their £5 on a Tuesday night in a while, and there has been a noticeable drop in players missing training on a Tuesday night with “phantom” injuries - that miraculously seem to disappear come football night on Thursday or match day on Saturday (you listening Foster? or how about you Bensy? lol).




Six games, Six wins! If October failed to live up to expectations - or put simply “Sucked” - then November it has to be said quite literally “Rocked” – as the Club seemed to take a huge breath of fresh air and rejuvenate itself for the push to Christmas. All comers were despatched with consummate ease – which was all the more amazing seeing as the first team kept shooting themselves in the foot. First they went to nine men against St Theresa’s in the Cochrane & Corry Cup with Foster and Fay being dismissed by a comic of a referee – then Liam McGreevy saw red a week later against Ballynahinch Olympic for a professional foul on their striker, prompting a man-of-the-match perfomance from our clubs very own all rounder John Benson, who showed yet again he really is a Jack-of-all-trades! The fact that the team went on to win both these contests shows just what a tough pre-season can do for the fitness and stamina as the players chased and harried all over our mammoth pitch to get the results they needed! They finished the month on a high - a tremendous Hat-Trick from Marty Kelly helping them to a great 3-1 win over a decent All Saints OB in the Junior Shield.


The reserves weren’t to be out-done though as they went one better managing to grab top spot in the league for the first time during the season pulling off a great 1-0 away win against St Theresa’s on the 21st of the month. This was made all the more satisfying seeing as it proved to be most of the St Theresa’s first team that were beaten on the day - a task the 1sts failed to do a month later. A week after this a certain Mr McNama was not allowing M.Kelly in the 1sts to upstage him as he grabbed a Hat--trick as well (Whitehead Eagles 3nil) helping to cement his teams place at the top of 3F. These results showed us all just how even and balanced our squad really had become and it is now apparent that there is not much in it between the reserve and 1st team players in terms of quality - something which should help the club no end as we all continue to move forward together.




To round off – December saw a pretty similar month for both teams. A very good win, being tempered by a shock loss away from home to mid-table opponents - the only thing that differed was the order it happened in. For the first team they saw a morale boosting 8 nil win over Carryduff (which included another Hat-trick on home soil, this time for an ever-improving P.Duff) followed by a 3-1 win over Crumlin Rec in the Cochrane and Corry Cup, all being spoiled by a shock loss to St Theresa’s (2-0) to end the year. And even though the venue and conditions played a big part in the defeat – it has to go down as 3 precious points sorely lost.


Whilst the reserves temporarily lost top spot in the league to Portavogie after a disastrous loss to Kelvin Old Boys - only to regain it again a week later with a tremendous win on home soil over title rivals Portavogie themselves. That win leapfrogged the team back over the fishermen and into the driving seat and also inflicted upon them their only defeat of the season – surely giving Valley the psychological edge if it ever comes to a run in between the two teams in the title race!

So all in all a pretty eventful 3 months for Colin Valley FC to end what has been an absolutely magnificent year for the club - and although there are a few results that could have gone better for us in the first half of the season - i think you'd have to agree that it's been pretty damn fulfilling just to be where we are. Now the players need to take a little 10 day break to kick back and enjoy Christmas then realise that the season IS only halfway through and that we could do even more in the 2nd half if we all just believe it!

Now  - for a little thoughtful insight on the year as a whole you’ll just have to wait a little longer ……..



Step Up! Be Counted!

Posted by on October 6, 2009 at 12:43 PM Comments comments (4)

Step Up!

That was the cry of the Valley Management team going into the weekends crucial League games against Suffolk Swifts and Kelvin OB IIs. After the nightmare of the week before, Colin Valley FC badly needed their more experienced players to step up and show the club and the younger players the way forward for the rest of the season. And step up is exactly what they did!

In all walks of life - and especially in sport! - people face trials and tribulations. It's the way of life, the way of sport - and whether or not you know it, it's the main reason why sport has become the biggest pass time in the modern day. It provides people with the setting and the opportunity to overcome obstacles, win a sense of achievement, be a part of something bigger than themselves, to face the odds and to go up against others who want and crave these same things. It also opens the door for people to fail, crash, lose or embarass themselves ... but then as I said earlier - to meet these trials and tribulations head on and even triumph over them.

Make no mistake, Colin Valley FC faced a mighty trial this past weekend - that is for certain.

The management felt it, the players felt it, everybody at the club felt it, and with two games that were going to be no walkovers in any shape or form, it was to be a difficult trial at that. Suffolk Swifts have always presented a tough test to the Valley top brass and would no doubt have been gearing themselves up for another physical and trying local derby. Kelvin IIs coming off the back of a 10-nil win the week before were sure to be a team brimming with confidence and would present just as tough a test for the reserve team. Add to this a few missing 1st team players and a couple of injuries and all of a sudden Colin Valley FC were not just facing a trial - they were facing nothing less than an inquisition!

In light of the above it would have been very easy for players to hide or go missing last week but that turned out not to be the case at all. It was a case of cometh the hour - cometh the men for Colin Valley - and you've got to feel the whole club can now breathe a sigh of relief in the knowing that everyone involved this year can and will stand up to be counted when it's asked of them!

Be Counted!

Among the outstanding performers and the men who made a difference were M.Kelly and J.McCabe, two players who would probably have told you - for whatever reasons - that they had not done themselves justice the week before. Whether that be right or wrong is down to themselves to judge but if indeed that was the case then they certainly made up for any previous shortcomings on their part. With Kelly scoring a smashing header of a goal that may not be matched for importance all season and McCabe more than matching that with a M.O.M display on home soil, Valley were being well served by the very players they had asked extra of.

Of course it was not just these two who made telling contributions on the day. Other big performances came from players such as O'Rawe, Skelly, McNama and captain of the day Tom Hall from the reserves, who helped break the Kelvin resistance and provided Valley with their first win on home soil, getting the Murphy bandwagon back on the road again in the process. Yet more contributions came from players in the first team, like P.McDonnell, J.Benson, G.Kelly and P.Duff who all stood firm in the face of a crazy wind-assisted 2nd half onslaught from suffolk Swifts at Trench Park. A better defensive display you wont see all season as Suffolk literally threw all - AND the Kitchen sink at the Valley backline. A real backs-to-the-wall performance that had McMullan and Fay smiling from ear to ear at the final whistle - although their hearts could surely not have welcomed the tension of those final few minutes.

With questions being answered, trials being passed and tribulations forgotten it had been one more frantic and exciting weekend in the life that is now Colin Valley FC. The first real test of the Club in it's new format had been well and truly Aced- even if it did leave us all a bit exhausted at the end. And yet, were you to ask the question of anyone within the club - be it players or management:

"What next for Colin Valley?"

Then the only reply you're sure to get is:

"Please sir, can we have some more!!!"

The Blame Game

Posted by on October 1, 2009 at 9:43 AM Comments comments (3)

Colin Valley Football Club came crashing back to earth with a proverbial *Bang* this week as they had to contend with their first defeats of the season. The first string had a surprising 2-0 loss at home to Plunkett as the Reserves were being thrashed 6 nil across the city at championship rivals Woodvale.

"Football is a funny old game" - a famous quote by a footballing legend - Jimmy greaves had it spot on when he made those comments on his Radio show all those years ago. Just when you think things are going so well - everything is clicking together, the results are there, the players are happy, the goals are flying, the football is dazzling.... then Bam!! Out of nowhere comes an absolute bastard of a sucker punch to knock you flat on your ass.

This is exactly what happened to CVFC last weekend as the Club's opening day celebrations on the new pitch turned into a lesson in experience for the vaunted first teamers. Complacency (yes - that old bitch!!) crept back into the ranks of the Valley 1st tier as they let their grandiose opinions of themselves get the better of them. It didn't take manager Danny McMullan to tell them "you aren't F***ing superstars you know that now" at the end of the game as it had been blatantly plain for all to see. The paucity of the performance will rest heavily on McMullans mind this week as he picks his team - and no doubt some changes could be ringing in his head come the weekend.

If things went "not-according-to-plan" for the firsts then they went even worse for the reserve team as they completetly failed to show for their top of the table clash against Woodvale FC. Billed as a match between the form teams in the division Valley erupted spectacularly ..... against themselves that is - as they gave new meaning to the word "Implode". They sacrificed their status as joint leaders of the division within the first 30 mins of the match and by the end, the old Blame Game was on view as players turned on each other in the changing room like a wild pack of dogs. "A Bad Old Day" was the phrase that was on everyone's lips as they drowned their sorrows in the Olde MIll afterwards.

But a Club is said to be only as strong as their last match - and the great thing about this "funny old game" (to steal Greavesies words once again) is that one good performance can be just around the corner - and that good performance could be just the thing to set things back on track for the Poleglass club.

With some players picking up injuries in Valley's nightmare week and another few on holidays then this weekends perfromances could be a potential barometer on how Valley's season might palm out. The Strength in depth that has been previously discussed needs to be called upon sooner than we all thought and it's time for the more experienced players in the team to stand up and show the way forward for the younger lads. The next two weeks of the season could just be the most crucial for this aspiring club as a reaction is surely needed!

Maybe the one positive to come from last weeks nightmare was the attitude shown by some of the offending players at training on Tuesday night as those who had been at loggerheads immediately buried the hatchet and made sure that morale within the team stayed strong and upbeat. In recent years these things could have been left to stew and simmer but hopefully that's no longer the case.  As for now - well it's time to show that same attitude on the pitch and forget the Blame Game that has haunted so many of our previous teams down the years. As a club we must all remember that we either succeed together or die together - I for one know which i'd rather choose!!!

The Awakening ....

Posted by on September 20, 2009 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (5)

Another two games in the busy schedule of Colin Valley FC - and another two wins to add to a mounting tally. Already this season there seems to be a mood or feeling emerging within the ranks of the Valley elite that this group of payers could just be good enough and strong enough to achieve something special!

With the 1st team winning 4-2 at Green Island last week to pick up their first league win of the season and the Reserve team recording a fantastic 6-1 away win at St Pats everybody involved with the club should have been feeling pretty damn good about themselves. The only worry at present for the Valley management is who they are going to choose for the games come saturday, as they now have a massive pool of very talented players to choose from. The strength in depth the club now posseses is glaringly obvious to any trained eye - and it is allowing a measure of confidence and assurance to seep into the bones of an excited Patrick Fay & co.

Indeed this weeks opening Junior Cup game against Magherafelt Reds provided yet more evidence to the Valley hierarchy that players like Mc Cabe, and PM Kelly are now ready and able to push for first team places when the opportunity presents itself. Having that added experience in the 1st team can at times add some much needed steel and Kelly in particular gave no ground in the centre of defence against two time league champions Magherafelt. With Mc Cabe also proving he is more than capable of holding a central midfield role Dutta McMullan will feel vindicated in his selection of the two more experienced players. If he was happy about the older lads though he'll be even more satisfied about the display of one of the emerging younger players who played on Saturday.

It was the younger brother to another Valley stalwart who pushed Liam Murphy all the way for the Man of the Match award on Saturday. Gerard Kelly - brother to Martin - showed just what he is capable of with a solid and commanding performance at right back. After coming on for a late cameo the week before, he was handed the full reigns this time around and boy he didn't dissapoint. Crunching tackles, strength, and endurance are only to name a few of the attributes that Kelly has in his locker - and if yesterdays performance is anything to go by he will certainly be getting more opportunities to show them off during the season. On top of all this he is also the proud owner of a thunderous right foot piledriver and came close at one point with a daisy cutter in the first half of the game - watch this space!!

Another fantastic 4-1 away win at Suffolk Swifts for the Reserves this week shows that the players selected to play in the Junior Cup game weren't missed there in the slightest and once again come thursday night, the selection meeting in Angie's kitchen should be a hot-bed of opinion and debate. With players like Skelly(2 goals), Mc Nama(goal), Farrell and O'Rawe still to be called upon from the reserves, things are looking decidedly healthy. Mc Mullan and his counterpart Murphy will be licking their lips at the prospect of yet more points next weekend as Colin Valley continue to rise from their slumber that was the Belfast and District League.

The message from Poleglass is clear: A club with huge potential this side of the Colin area is finally ripping itself free from it's slumber of recent years - and now the shackles are being well and truly shaken off.

The awakening continues ....

Fitness & Character!!

Posted by on September 8, 2009 at 9:17 AM Comments comments (3)

What a week!!

Colin Valley's first week in the Northern Amateur Football League could not have gone much better as the Reserves recorded a magnificent 5-1 away win to Green Island (goals courtesy of McNama2, Wilson2 and Mallon) and the 1st team a very creditable 4-4 draw at the home of a much fancied Portavogie Rangers team.

Spud, Paddy and Dutta couldn't wipe the smarmy grins from their faces all saturday evening :D - and who could begrudge them?? The management team of Colin Valley had waited a long time for this day and it was plain for all to see the delight on their faces at having finally got the season underway.

With Dutta keeping the gruelling pre-season sprints and ball work going all week in training you could have been forgiven for thinking "we'll all be knackered come saturday if this keeps up" - but that wasn't to be the case at all as the players showed some grit - and something else - that had been missing in recent times. The stamina training introduced by JP Donaldson in pre-season certainly seems to have added something new to this Club and already it was in evidence this week as the 1st team had to draw on all their reserves of energy to escape from Portavogie with a good result.

With a very strong Reserve team loaded with potential 1st teamers playing up at Green Island in their opening game, it was always going to be the 1st team playing down at Portavogie who were to have the harder of the two fixtures - and this certainly turned out to be the case.

Leading 3-1 at half time against any of your rivals you will always expect a certain amount of pressure to be coming your way and Valley almost capitulated under the relentless attacks thrown at them by the big country side. The defence was left reeling in the 2nd half as they saw Portavogie rip their 2-goal lead to shreds within 15 minutes. Things were to get even worse again for them 10 mins later as the physical and aerial onslaught continued gaining the hosts a 4-3 lead and leaving the Valley lads looking like a bunch of Zombies with nothing left in the tank.

In previous seasons this would have been the queue for Valley to wilt and die - letting much needed points against big rivals go without even a hint of a fight - NOT THIS YEAR!!! Something long since dead in a Valley team seemed to regain life on saturday afternoon - call it defiance, call it stubborness, call it FITNESS - but this season things seem to be very different, we saw a hint of it against Soffolk FC in pre-season when down 3-0 and against Portavogie we saw it manifest itself in full.

Instead of failing Valley lifted themselves mentally and physically to claw back the momentum they had lost in the first half, led by MOM McDonald and new signing McDonnell at the back, and aided by the impressive Foster, Skelly and Fennell all coming on from the bench - Valley were able to win back control of the game. A magnificent equalizer by Dunlop late on was almost trumped by Skelly who but for a bigger forehead/nut/dome/nose/eyebrow could have won all 3 points for the visiting team. The evidence was there for all to see though - this Colin Valley team showed there is some long lost character finally finding it's way back into the squad.

With the 1st team looking so strong and players like McNama, McCabe, Farrell, Kelly, O'Rawe and Wilson all doing well and pushing for promotion from the Reserves - and still others such as Fay and Duff returning to the squad, the season is looking very promising indeed for Colin Valley.

The BIG Kick-Off!!!

Posted by on September 2, 2009 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (3)

A truly amazing year for Colin Valley Football Club continues this saturday 5th September when they take their first steps in the Northern Amateur Football League.

The first game of what is being seen as a new era for the club will be played out against the backdrop of the Irish Sea - as Valleys emerging stars travel to the fishing village of Portavogie to open their league campaign. A team that is being tipped as potential winners of this years very difficult 2c Division, Portavogie Rangers pose a signifigant threat in Valleys first match - and to this years promotion/title hopes in general.

Valley Manager Danny (Dutta) Mc Mullan would have it no other way though and is seeing this tough opener as a great chance to lay down a marker for the season ahead. It's said he's been walking around with a dazed smile on his face since he heard who the opening game was against - is this just simple eagerness to get the game underway or has the Valley manager been smoking something we dont know about???

The Reserve team will open to a well established Green Island side who play just out past the Jordanstown area and Kevin (Spud) Murphy will be looking to see what promising players he can potentially put forward for selection for the Junior Cup match against Magherafelt Reds in 3 weeks time.

All players at Colin Valley FC have been asked to take the opportunity on hand this weekend to show just what they can offer the Northern Amateur Football League - and also the club itself - over the next few seasons. Goodluck for the weekend and the season ahead boys!!