On Saturday the fifth of October, Larkview Boys is playing against their closest rival Transport FC. The Circular enter the locker before and after the game.
Soccer is not only millions euro, beautiful way to play, stadium with extraordinary atmosphere and stars with big egos. This is the emerging part of the iceberg. The other part, the buried one, also the biggest, is full of normal persons who try to enjoy each weekend without being pay, in dirty and almost dilapidated stadium, and in their own way to play. 265 million people are playing soccer in 150 000 clubs all over the world, most of them in amateur ones. This is what’s football mostly is. Larkview Boys, based in Kimmage in Dublin, is playing in Premier 1 Saturday. Before and after the game, they open their locker room to let us discover this particular atmosphere mixing sweat smell, muddy clothes, and forward jokes.
Graham Doyler, the captain, is the first-come. He is wearing the shirt of his old team, where he used to play with the same teammates before moving to Larkview. The meeting is at 12 because the game is starting at 13. It’s a derby day against Transport FC.
Phil Cullen joins him. He is the second captain and a rock in the back four. Both have to be a minimum exemplary. That explains why there are the only two who aren’t late. Anyway, they seem to have fun while they are waiting for their teammates.
James Yendole is warming up his muscles. In amateur Leinster’s soccer, matches are physically tough and rough. Larkview boys only have 1 hour and a half training per week because there is not enough place on the pitch for all the Larview teams. Injuries are frequent.
At a quarter past 12, half of the team is here. The reasons for those delays are multiple: some were at work, other lost time in traffic jam… But being late isn’t a big deal. Today, there are 20 players available. It’s a lucky day. Those who can’t come can be replaced. Larkview won’t miss players for this game.
Preparation isn’t taking a long time. Coach Connor wash almost every week the shirts and he didn’t complain about. There is no real trainer in this team and two of the player, Connor, and Dan, take care of the training and the coaching.
Players get dressed with the matches shirts even for the warm-up. They won’t be back in the locker room before kick-off because they don’t have time. Dan will make his motivation speech on the synthetic pitch banks. It might be the only man-made field in the league. “We feel lucky”, they all say.
All the team is back at the end of the game. Faces are unhappy and arms on the knees. They lost 2-0. After a great start with 4 wins and 1 draw, this is the second game they lost without scoring a goal (the striker is actually in Japan for the world cup). Transport FC was approximatively the same level but Larkview players weren’t realistic.
The open wound on his knee shows us how Eoin Buckley, better known as Bucko, is a real warrior. But today, for his 24th birthday, the central-back fails to keep his defense strong. He will be better at night time.
All players are almost gone after 20 minutes and both coaches (Dan left and Connor right) are in real reflexions. The next game is against the invincible leader Woodhazel. Larkview boys still are in second place but what should they do to stop this bad series of two defeats? Answers next Saturday.