The Big V were unable to complete back-to-back victories to open up their 2015 Ireland tour when they went down to the Tuam Stars by six points in a physical Game Two encounter over the weekend.
A 31-19 opening term put the Big V behind the eight ball early as the Stars dominated possession and made the most of their multitude of scoring opportunities up forward.
Despite their slow start, the tight-knit VAFA unit were able to stay within striking distance via the soft touch of Luke Stubbs, who was able to tap an under against the flow of play.
Spirit of the Big V recipient, Marshall Rippon, continued his red-hot form from Game One as he hit each contest with ferocity, throwing his athletic frame around and standing tall in the face of a potential Stars walkover.
The game noticeably increased in intensity as it wore on, with Michael Barnes, Sam Williams and Josh Cowan providing plenty of run and clean disposal from the back half.
An improved and sustained effort during the second term helped the Big V reduce the margin to just nine points at the half, with Matt Handley providing a reliable target up forward and getting on the receiving end of numerous forward entries.
The second half played similarly to the second quarter, with the Stars trying to hold on in the face of a much-improved Big V outfit. Sam Barnett and Jeremy Mugavin were the main recipients of the hard running midfield as they got on the end of a number of key plays and hit the scoreboard.
Unfortunately, a number of minor soft tissue injuries to Big V players meant they were unable to overrun the Stars in the end, going down 54-48.
Away from the action of the football field, the Tuam Stars put on a spectacle for the visitors and the incredible crowd, with the Big V arriving to the ground to the sound of Men at Work cult classic, Down Under, roaring over the sound system.
Face painting and a half time gymnastics show provided the crowd with plenty of activities to indulge in and the VAFA could not thank the Tuam Stars enough for their hospitality.
The VAFA would like to extend a special thank you to Michael Barnes’ mother, Judy, for running the water throughout the match.
The boys will look to return to the winners’ column when they face Combined Universities on Wednesday.
Goals: Unders: Stubbs 2 Overs: Barnes 2, Confait 1, Stubbs 1, Barnett 1, Jamie Mugavin 1, Jeremy Mugavin 1, Whitty 1, Grigg 1, Rippon 1