The excitement coming from the student/players on the RIASA programme on Sunday was palpable, as they prepared for the long awaited chance to continue playing the game they love by taking part in a 3 team tournament at former premier league stadium, Valley Parade, home of the Bradford Bantams.
The games began with RIASA Blues v Barnsley Development Team, resulting in a 1 – 0 win to Barnsley. This was followed by a RIASA v RIASA game ending in a 0 – 0 draw.
The third round saw RIASA White v Barnsley also concluding in a 0 – 0 draw, meaning that the final match was between RIASA White and Barnsley.
As the sun came out over the unusually quiet 25,000 seater stadium, RIASA staff held their breath and then it happened. Ricky McPhee striker, scored from a great 40 yard pass made by Immanuel Kinuthia which left him 1 v 1 with the Barnsley keeper and then able to calmly side foot the ball into the net. The one and only winning goal was received to an outbreak of cheers from the small but interestly loud group of RIASA staff members attending.
It was a pleasure to play against Barnsley who were worthy opponents. More importantly at this time, it was a very welcome opportunity and a fantastic way to return to playing the game that holds our students hearts and to be able to do that in a professional stadium was not only a chance of a lifetime, but the absolute icing on the proverbial cake!