The Llyod Cole and The Commotions song ‘Lost Weekend’ came to mind this weekend gone. I know the song is about a weekend in a hotel in Amsterdam and not soccer, but it’s what came to mind. When you’re already out of the Cup and there’s no League game, it sure feels like there’s something missing from the weekend!
Bray Wanderers weren’t entirely idle. The 3-1 friendly win over Wexford FC was a decent work out. It was nice to see Ger Pender get back on the scoresheet. I was working on Friday night so missed the game. If I’d been off I might have opted instead to stay local and go to the Shelbourne versus Shamrock Rovers Cup encounter at Tolka Park. Or I might have taken in the Bluebell United versus Cabinteely Cup game at Stradbrook. The bottom line though was that there was no competitive game for Bray.
Incredibly, given the restructuring of the FAI Cup and our involvement in the Irn Bru Scottish Challenge Cup, we have no League game for a month. Having beaten Drogheda last week in the Carlisle Grounds, we have no League action until the visit of Limerick in mid-September. A long fallow period – twice as long as the official mid-season break! At least one more lost weekend.
When your team aren’t playing a competitive game you focus more on looking out for other results. The first ‘M66’ derby of 2017-2018 in League One in England between my side Rochdale and Bury became invested with more significance. A 0-0 draw didn’t entirely satisfy, even though it was a decent enough result.
I had a look down through the divisions to see how Elgin City, our opponents this week in the Irn Bru, did. They had a decent 3-0 away win over Edinburgh City. This piqued my interest. Elgin came into the Scottish League via and the Highland League and Edinburgh City via the Lowland League, when they replaced East Striling, who were Sir Alex Ferguson’s first managerial appointment. But I digress.
Back to the Cup. There are only eight sides left standing. Progression through the rounds is a winnowing process, a whittling down. The big guns are still there – Cork, Dundalk and Rovers. Bluebell United are through, flying the non-league flag, always a pleasure to see for the Cup romantics. Apart from Bluebell, Shamrock Rovers are the only other Dublin side left.
Longford are flying the First Division flag. Drogheda United’s progression will provide some relief from what looks like certain relegation.
I thought Crumlin United might pull off a shock against Dundalk on Saturday evening. It would have set things up nicely for Conor McGregor later that night. As it turned out, Crumlin was disappointed twice in one night but did itself proud on both occasions.
So after a lost weekend all roads lead to Elgin for Bray Wanderers. A new departure, a novel adventure, a welcome challenge. Bring it on!