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On Friday evening 21st October 2016 a Cherry Orchard F. C. Over 35’s Selection played an exhibition game against TromsØ IL “Legends of 96” of Norway on our new all weather pitch in Elmdale. It was a great privilege for Cherry Orchard F.C. to host a team from a Club with such an illustrious European pedigree and to have players here who have competed in UEFA’s top competitions and indeed a number of them who represented Norway at full international level.
The TromsØ IL players were celebrating the 20th anniversary of their 1996 Norwegian Cup win. 12 of the cup winning side travelled to Dublin and were supplemented on the night by a number of the FAI Masters players and Karl (the banger) Keogh. The game was dedicated to the memory of Desi Egan a long time coach at Cherry Orchard Football Club whose untimely death in 2013 shocked us all. His brother Sean captained the Cherry Orchard team on the night and a large number of Desi’s family were in attendance.
Interest in this fixture certainly captured the imagination locally, in particular with the Clubs Over 35 players who made themselves available in large numbers to take part in the game. Thanks to Dave Curley, Paul Kelly, Johnny Owens and Dave Hope our 35’s management team who despite the big numbers managed to give every player a decent run on the night. Thanks also to the members of our schoolboy and senior committees who gave the fixture their full backing and to those schoolboy players from the Club who made themselves available as mascots and ball boys for the game.
A sizeable crowd witnessed a high quality affair with the away team dominating the first half and up 1 nil at half time. The second half saw them increase their lead to 2 nil when guest Mark O’Neill finished well after a sweeping move from the back. The home side were by no means out of it and had a number of chances. The TromsØ IL goalkeeper Tor Andre making two superb saves from Gary Byrne. With 15 minutes to go the Cherry Orchard management switched formation and went to 3 at the back with immediate success when Kevin Kenna fired home after some good work through the midfield. The Orchard were right back in the game at 2-1. As full time approached Paul Clare found a bit of space on the left hand side, cut inside and curled a magnificent equaliser in to the top right hand corner with the help of the post. TromsØ IL had a great chance to win it right at the very end when the referee awarded them a free kick on the edge of the box however it was struck into the wall and the final whistle sounded.
The Egan family kindly provided a Cup, medals and a Man of the Match trophy (deservedly won by Tor Andre) and after a short presentation and an exchange of gifts, players, families, friends and supporters all headed up to the Silver Granite for food and refreshments. It turned out to be a very special occasion and something the Club can be very proud of.
A big thanks to Mark O’Neill, the match officials and our sponsors without whom the game would not have been possible.