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Emyvale V Toome.

On Saturday September 9th Emyvale faced Toome in Clontibret in the Intermediate Championship 2017. This was a game they needed to win to stay in the championship but one that posed a big challenge. Toome are sitting 4th in the League with 14 points while Emyvale are on the bottom with 4 points but the Emyvale team have proven that they can put it together when they defeated Corduff in the opening game of the championship. However they have failed to live up to that since then and unless they could show that form then Toome would be the winners. From early in the game Emyvale players began to contest decisions by the referee. However right they were they were shown immediately by the Referee that he would punish any dissension by moving the ball forward as the rule states. Time after time Toome were able to add easy points as the ball was moved closer to the Emyvale goal. The decisions of the referee continued to annoy and soon the angry Emyvale players had lost their composure and lost concentration on what they were supposed to be doing. This was not helped by the calls from some of the spectators. Then in the second half dissension led to a Red card for an Emyvale player and the game seemed over when Emyvale was suddenly back in it and the game would end with either a draw or a win for Emyvale. They had numerous chances to score points but sent them wide of target and some panic meant reckless shots and frustration. They lost players through injury as Toome played a very physical game and this meant that team plans went out the window with so many switches. In the end Toome won by a single point and go forward to the semi-final. Emyvale has lots to learn from this defeat and none more so than that however poor the referee is, he will make the decisions and will punish in more ways than one when he is challenged and that is an unfortunate fact of life. Discipline and concentrating on the ball is vital. Secondly the players must play as a team and this was missing too often in this game as individuals tried to take the ball too far and through a strong defence. Players seemed to be afraid to take a score from 30/40 metres out as they are capable of doing. All of the team must move - standing in the same place shouting at others does not win games. There were a few players who tried hard and moved fast but they did not get enough support from  other players and most times lost possession by running into trouble waiting for that support. Having said all that I was impressed by some of the younger players who are coming on and just need experience in order to play at this level as the experience of Toome players won the day for them. Two or three of the mainstay players had a poor day and two or three gave it all but there has to be 15 giving it all on occasions like this. I am still convinced that the Black Card is not being applied fairly and consistently. The Emyvale Black Card was deserved according to the rule but then should there not have been a black card as a result of the injury to Anthony O'Brien when he was going through for a possible goal? Finally I think there has to be more protection of players as players, and young players especially, are made to suffer too much thumping, pulling, nipping, kneeing, and general aggression but are expected to throw the ball away. It gets more like rugby every year.