Trials and tribulations of the young player

11.40 PM - BEDROOM OF MATT - 15 YEAR OLD FOOTBALLER

Dear Diary,

It is Friday night. I am absolutely shattered tired. I was to go to Ffrenchies tonight but I couldn’t wag. The beure (Tuam slang for de girlfriend ) was wrecking my head all night on de texts.

“Where are you? You promised you would come out for my birthday. You’re always putting football ahead of me. I don’t know why I bother.”

To be honest I am genuinely p**sed off with sport. I thought I’d never think this or write it, but I’m sick to my teeth of it.

I think I’ll pack it in and take up something else. The guitar, maybe.

It’s not just Gaelic and hurling either, but all sport and most of all my egotistical egg-headed managers who think they are mini Alex Fergusons or Brian Codys. The plonkers.

Talk about taking the fun and bit of craic out of the games. They have all got soooooooooo serious and full of themselves with their diet sheets and clip-charts. You’d swear Micky Harte was phoning them looking for a few tips. And dad said that the boys over the club teams couldn’t kick snow off a rope themselves when they were playing. The number of breakdowns collected and tackle count my arse.

The other problem is that the games just seem to be coming so fast. Day in, day out. It is becoming so tedious that I am losing all my interest in them. I even found myself thinking of skipping a few games and doing some extra study awhile ago. Highly unlikely I know, but that’s how browned off I am.

This week was the last straw for me. We trained on Saturday and Sunday and then we had the u-16 game on Tuesday evening in the wind and rain.

I started at full-forward, but when there was no ball coming in, TJ (manager ) and PJ (selector ) decided to pull me back out to midfield. Jaysus, to hear the screaming of them on the side-line - they were like the un-believables. Only worse.

“Matt, win the next kick-out. Matt, you have to win it. Matt, catch it. Matt, let it in. We need you Matt. The team needs you.”

Christ, you’d swear it was the All-Ireland final instead of an hopeless league game that would be forgotten the next day.

Then once we got a bit of ball, they put me back in to the forward line and started screaming at me to take my points and that the goals would come.

They should take their Valium and the chillax would come.

Sure no ball came in then either, which drove them crack. And we lost by a point to a late goal, just to ice their cake of misery.

Bet-ya they don’t give two damns for my junior cert exams next month or whether I’m falling behind in my honours maths and English classes. I suppose, I don’t either for that matter. Just a random though. Whatever.

Then on Wednesday, we had the minor game against Tarmen-Feckin, and they are hardy hoors. My savage, sorry corner back, looked like he would eat hairy bacon and it only boiled for twenty minutes.

He was definitely shaving for a few years and when I saw him having a drag off their umpire’s Benson & Hedges and the ball up the other end in the first half, I said to myself “Shag this. I’m only 15, and 11 stone. And this muppet looks closer to 20 years old than 18. I can’t see him logging onto MENSA.ie after the game either. In fact he could burst me in two by pure accident due to his complete lack of co-ordination and sheer awkwardness. I don’t want the ball. No-siree.”

Of course PJ and TJ were pure cranky due to the u-16 defeat and when they started shouting, “Matt, Matt, get stuck into him.” I knew that they had lost the plot and wanted me dead, or badly hurt, at least.

It’s not like I was going to tell them I was afraid of the brute, so I decided to take him away from the play and just run away from the action. Well let’s be honest, it’s better to run and live to fight another day and I have three more years at minor level, so why take any unnecessary risks?

We drew, but I managed to get home for the last of the Champions League highlights.

Thursday evening was u-18 soccer in the Connacht Cup. I was centre mid and the game was a dinger. It was 3-3 at the end of full-time and the same after extra time. It went to penalties and I took one and stuck it. We still lost and I was so tired, that I just went home and fell into bed. When the alarm went the next morning for school I almost cried. School would have been bad, but this was worse - we had a schools’ final and I was team captain.

I had told the team manager that I’d try to come off early in the soccer, instead I’d played 100 minutes and was wiped out.

He was sound enough about it, but he looked awful sad when I told him.

Of course, I just couldn’t raise a gallop in the second half. Four games in four days had left me out on my feet and my hamstrings felt like they could pop any minute. I just felt absolutely murdered and with the combined u-16 and minor training down for tomorrow morning at noon….

I think I’ll just jack it in for a few months. I’m not enjoying it and every manager just seems to want their team to win no matter what and they don’t seem to give a jot for me. Two can play that game.

The exams are starting in three weeks and I’ve nothing done, not that they care. Better text de beure back, or she’ll go off and snog one of the lads!

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