SPC Tour of Ireland – Day 8
March 31, 2016
SPC Tour of Ireland -“ Day 8
Our convoy (well, one bus and a car) moved from Derry to the smaller regional city of Maghera this morning where the students were introduced to their host families who will provide lodging for them over the next two days.
After a couple of hours of familiarisation the host families then dropped the boys off at the local footy pitch for the clash between the St Patrick’s boys from Ballarat and the boys from St Patrick’s College, Maghera.
On the previous tour the local boys have proved too strong for the visitors on their way to competing in the grand final of the All Ireland Schoolboy Championships.
History has a way of repeating itself and now, three years later, the boys from Maghera were once again preparing to compete in the deciding match of the All Ireland final this weekend at Croke Park in Dublin.
The locals said that every year the boys from Ballarat visit, the boys from Maghera make the grand final so we were invited to come back as often as we like.
With the decider being held this weekend, many of the best players from the local side were rested ahead of their big match.
We also fielded a younger team than expected and our boys played a terrific brand of fast-moving footy to completely overwhelm the hosts.
The likes of Joe Dodd and Aiden Domic were dominant throughout the middle of the ground, providing our forward line including Fletcher Loader, Kali Dawborn and Sam Canny with plenty of scoring opportunities.
In defence Nick Canny in the key central post of centre half back, and Jack Lalor as goalkeeper were virtually impenetrable. A highlight came in the last term when Jack ventured further up the field to take a hanger on the wing.
Our attack on the ball was again top-notch characterized by the intensity of Will Garner and Seamus Hoffmann.
Worth mentioning too that Tom Lyons, in the role as sole referee did an outstanding job controlling the play.
Post-match the boys were thrilled to be involved in a hurling clinic with some of the local boys (and girls’ teams) before heading back to their host families for dinner.
After dinner we were fortunate to be able to witness a first class hurling match in a nearby town before heading back into Maghera for a social evening at a local hotel.