So after months of anticipation, the 2017/18 Singapore Cosmo League finally kicked off under the Friday Night Lights at Turf City as the Monkeys took on the Lions. Quite a new look team for the re-named AMFC, with 3 cosmo debutants in the starting XI and 3 more lining the bench. The game got off to a fairly timid start, the boys were working to try and knock the ball around but struggled to break down the Gaelic defence, which we knew would be no easy task. Fairly uneventful first 15, but the Lions continued to press us and a bit of early-season nerves nearly got the better of us. Eventually we were caught out perhaps trying to do too much passing around the back, as the Lions winger picked up the ball deep in the Monkeys half, carrying the ball on and driving a strong shot which Daniele could only parry into the path of the onrushing McHugh whom had an empty net glaring at him. Fortunately out of nowhere came a Malak-attack leg which just managed to clip the ball behind, denying a certain goal. This wake up call breathed some life into us and midway through the half, not long after Joel nearly scored the goal of the century with a chest, spin & volley, our own pressing, lead by Mark & Peter, forced a misplaced pass from the opposition keeper. Ichi managed to latch onto it and curl the ball beautifully into the goal from about 20 yards out on the angle. Classic Ichi. We felt we got a good hold on the game after this and managed to keep a good chunk of the possession, limiting Lions' options. Unfortunately with not long left in the first half, a skier of a goal kick was allowed to bounce just outside our area and this resulted in a scramble inside the box. After at least 7 failed clearances Daniele decided to handle the problem himself, acrobatically leaping out, taking ball, man, teammate, linesman, spectators and everything else with him. Penalty awarded... One of those you'd like to see back in slow-motion, even if for just for comedic value. Just as was the case in last season's 2-2 draw, McHugh stepped up to try and equalise from the spot, putting the ball the exact same way he did last time. Daniele had clearly down his research, going the correct way and saving it beautifully with his face. Unfortunately he was now adjudged to have come off his line, and despite the linesman being unmoved, the penalty was retaken and this time converted. This angered a lot of the boys, none more so than Tito whom received a very stern word from the referee was asking him if he was Irish. Apparently of all the things said on the football pitch, that was the most offensive. Lol. The 2nd half we came out determined to 'Get the W' (G. Sturm, 2017) and managed to keep pushing to pace for 90 minutes, showing better fitness than I at least expected. Best chance of the 2nd half came to Mark (shock), who rounded the keeper 20 yards out and skied it over the bar (shock). Peter also had to chance to get through one-on-one but mis-controlled, and was quickly subbed off by Pablito, ruthless. Mark once again had a chance, breaking through one-on-one and smashing the ball straight at the keeper (shock), only for it to be pulled back for a Monkeys freekick on the edge of the box for handball. Big summer signing Joel put the chance well wide and received an uncharacteristic barrage of abuse from Ichi. As the second half pushed on we looked for a winner and probably deserved it by a slither, but couldn't quite get the breakthrough. 1-1 it finished, plenty of positives to take to Dempsey next week. Special mention to the other funny moments during the game, which included Mark's girly scream of 'HE PUNCHED MEEEE!!', Pablo nearly getting sent to the stands, and Lions' (hopefully) boozed up supporter who came up with some gems, 'I can't hear you because of that chip on your shoulder' probably taking the biscuit. Cheers to the Gaelic Lions boys. Another competitive, physical game, all hugs and handshakes at FT at per.
A new season. New beginnings. Reset goals. Lost body fat. My players being embezzled by SCC. Yes, it could only be a new season in the Cosmo. Oh my lord, the excitement. And, as if that wasn't enough, we only had the opportunity of kicking off the season on the FRIDAY night against our old pals Aioli Purple Monkeys Incorporated PTE Limited. At least somebody around here is able to complete a merger, yeh? I don't think I can actually handle much more of this malarkey. And it's only started! And I was even at this match FFS. You know exactly who you are playing when the smell of straight Cantueso, the smoke from a thousand Fortunas and appalling BO comes wafting into Turf City and after we say hello to Andy Storan we again wonder why he doesn't play for the Lions, weird! The rest of the lads smelled terrific, in fairness. There's quite a few Irish renegades hanging around the Aioli PM lads but at least we got to show them who's boss with a resounding draw. Fuck the system! Oli Wright is so mad paranoid that i am gonna ride his missus that he actually moved back to Ireland knowing I would be in Singapore for another little while. How pathetic! I am about twice his age. That has nothing to do with the game by the way. Just throwin' it out there........... The Lions were sporting their absolutely magnificent new white away kit which will soon be our home kit as I decide what happens around here and I am telling you now that will be the case from now on. Aioli wore the same old kit they have had for the past six seasons and frankly if this was my league I would be reconsidering their membership. The game started with a flurry of yellow cards for Aioli. Some utterly gruesome tackling going on trying to get the ball of the swashbuckling Lions. It's sad to see teams resort to this type of behavior and at one point Rob actually asked for a spare yellow card as his original had worn down so much. Aioli scored a goal when Brian Twomey shone one of the floodlights into my goalkeepers eyes, blinding and distracting him before running back into the forest where he lives. Yet, the goal was given. The Lions rallied after this injustice and equalized through a magnificent penalty by my favorite striker, Conor McHugh. I love him. The game petered out with little or no incident apart from Mark Addy getting a man of the match award for not really doing anything but he always gets it against us so why change now? Exactly. Next up for the Lions is Dan Martin and some other lads that nobody knows. Time to drag that points tally up from 1 to 2. Bring it.