In which the our league teams reached the Christmas break with a win, a draw and a loss.
On Saturday, our Armstrong A travelled to Dublin, while our O’Sullivan went to Gonzaga – and indeed, when we could only get three players for the Saturday, Gonzaga very nicely travelled to Benildus on Wednesday for the last two games. Stephen moved to 3/3 after picking up an exchange and converting from there; at the end, a full rook up, he eschewed the temptation of a free piece in order to line up mate instead. Maybe one to keep an eye on in coming seasons!
There was nearly a bigger upset on board 1 where Tim was an exchange for pawn up against Pádraig Sheehy, 1500+. Unfortunately, Tim had to leave early and so rushed his attack, which ended abruptly when he got a rook trapped on the side of the board. Daniel, meanwhile, neglected to castle and got punished down the open e-file, losing rook for queen and with it, any realistic chances in the game. On the Wednesday, Richard went down to a 1200, while Diarmaid at least got to a king and pawn ending, but 8v6 was always going to be difficult to hold, even with doubled pawns for his opponent, and so it proved.
That leaves the O’Sullivan with just one match left before the split, at home to Ballinasloe in February. The post-split games will see the team get another 3/4 games against sides in the B Group who also missed out on the promotion play-offs.
The Armstrong, meanwhile, made it five wins from five, although not without some confusion as Gerry spent the following day trying to clarify what the individual game scores were! Both he and John agreed we had won 5-3, although Gerry had us down for a draw on 8, while John said we’d won. The board 8 – Odhrán, who was the As’ first sub of the season – had indeed won, and it does look like John, Brendan and Gerry are now all on 4/5 as the team builds a 4-point lead over third-place Trinity, although Gonzaga are 4½ points further ahead of us.
The third team in action was the BEA, away to Rathmines on Monday. Seán and William both won again – they’re now on 12/13 between them for the season, including sub appearances – though the other boards couldn’t quite match that and they ended up having to settle for a draw, which keeps the team just one point off second. Michael Kearney made a comeback on board 5 almost two years since his last game, though he’s understandably a little bit rusty and ended up losing to a player 100 points lower-rated.
We’ll have a full look at how all our teams are doing once the final December results are in and updated.