Thursday, April 14, 2022

 THERE are seasons in your career that go very quickly and some that drag along and feel like they are never going to end. When things are going well for you it is easy to enjoy the ride and before you know it, it is nearly over, and you probably don’t want it to be over either. Likewise, when I was at Hartlepool it wasn’t as enjoyable. Things were very poor on and off the pitch and there was a sense at the club that the season couldn’t end quick enough for some people. In fact, some players ruled themselves out injured with a few games left in the season and the general consensus (even from the physio department) was that the players were okay but weren’t willing to risk things with potential moves in the pipeline for themselves. Obviously, that is wrong, and players were called out on it, but it is never nice to see.

Amazingly we are into the final four weeks of the season with just six games remaining. The season has flown along, and I can’t believe that we are already at this juncture. We have put ourselves into a fantastic position both in league position and points tally and we have a brilliant chance to gain promotion now. That being said we aren’t getting carried away one bit and we know we face a real fight to try and get automatic promotion.

There is a brilliant never say die attitude at Exeter this season and we have fought until the end of every game this season, regardless of whether we were winning comfortably or losing comfortably because goal difference can be massive. Last Saturday was another in a long line of last-minute winners that we have had this season and there is no fluke about it. We beat Carlisle 1-0 away from home and it was a deserved victory too. We probably should have had the game won very easily in the first half alone as we missed gilt-edged chances, but we keep persevering and duly got what we deserved in the final minute of the game.

I got the winning goal, and it was a brilliant moment for myself and everyone who made the mammoth journey north. It is usually about a twelve hour round trip to Carlisle but on Friday we endured a shocker of a journey with motorways closed so Friday’s journey alone was twelve and a half hours, so we were all delighted to be heading back down south with all three points.

Padraig Amond celebrates his crucial late winner against Carlisle Utd last Saturday

Stuff like that doesn’t seem to affect this group of players. They all just seem to get on with things and never have an excuse and that goes a long way with our team spirit and how much we fight for each other on the pitch.

Like I said, it was personally a great moment. The last few months have been frustrating in terms of missing that little bit of time with my injury and then the stop-start nature of not being allowed to play against Newport the previous week after coming back from injury. I have always been ready, though, and waiting for my opportunity, and trying to set a good example to all the players around the training ground each day, and it paid off.

Easter weekend is going to go a long way in saying what we do this season. We have two massive games, starting with a home game on Good Friday against Colchester United. The game is already a sell-out which shows just how well we have been doing and hopefully we can put on a show for the supporters, and most importantly get all three points.

Our Easter Sunday will consist of no easter eggs and instead we be travelling to Merseyside to prepare to face Tranmere Rovers on Easter Monday in what will be a massive game. They have promotion ambitions themselves and Tranmere is always a really tough place to go to.

Their stadium Prenton Park will always hold a special memory for me as it was the first ground in the UK where I watched a live game. I had travelled to play in a tournament over in Liverpool and we somehow ended up watching John Aldridge’s Tranmere play Queens Park Rangers and I loved every minute in the Cow Shed stand. Former Irish international Alan Mahon scored a screamer of a goal that day, on Monday I will take scoring a tap in if needs be to hopefully keep our brilliant run going and to keep us in pole position with just four games remaining.

The Pádraig Amond column appears every Tuesday in the Carlow Nationalist

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