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U12 Hurlers Play Croke Park

11/04/2012Posted by Darren Hamill

Eire Og together with Naomh Brid under the combined name of Brid Og were one of only 12 Antrim hurling teams who were chosen to play matches on Croke Park's hallowed turf. It was a great day for both clubs as their footballers were also selected and it was decided that both clubs would travel to headquarters in style on board a luxury coach.

On the coach you could feel the nervous but excited atmosphere of not only the players but all the mentors and parents who were present.

After a brief glimpse at the footballers games we were summoned downstairs for registration and we were allowed to use the facilities and warm up area in dressing room number 3. Then the knock on the door signalled that it was time to move onto the pitch. The artificial atmosphere which met us in the tunnel was replaced by the loud vocal support of the Eire Og / St Brid's parents who again travelled in large numbers to witness this exciting day for their children and the clubs.

Our first match was scheduled to be against Saint Joseph's Glenavy but as they were not ready on time we played Ardoyne instead. From number 1 to 11 our players were sharper to the ball and our midfield pairing of Mark and Tom were superior from the start and they were rewarded with some great scores. Our forward line of Ciara, Darragh, Diarmaid and Thomas moved their opponents around the pitch and added to the score sheet and a goal from Ciara was a very emotional moment for one mentor and mother on the sidelines. Our back lines of Connla, Dylan, Ciaran and Rory were strong in the tackle and Brendan in nets was a virtual spectator for the 15 minutes.

As only eleven teams played on the day we were given the opportunity of an extra match against the Pearse's which we gratefully accepted. Again our players rose to the occasion and the team dominated the 15 minutes of play. There was great scores from midfield and our forwards but the highlight was the puck out that went straight over the bar. Brid Og ran out easy winners.

The confusion continued again when our final match due to be against St Joseph's Glenavy was changed to a re-match against Ardoyne. Sean who had been the twelfth man replaced Ciara up front. Unfortunately due to time restrictions the match was reduced to 5 minutes only.

Ardoyne got off to a flyer when a puck out from their keeper evaded our defensive lines and flew over Brendan in goals to hit the back of the net (Brendan later claimed someone had tied his bootlaces together and that as he rose struggling to clear the ball that he was stung by a bee and blinded by the bright spring sunshine…!). This woke the team up and their urgency was again rewarded with some great scores. Our back lines of Connla, Dylan and Ciaran tried to get onto the score sheet with some great pucks of the sliotar (defence was not in their minds) but the highlight of the game was the goal scored by Rory from a very difficult angle after breaking a few tackles, solo’ing down the sideline and calmly hitting the ball beyond the keeper. (Lars Corbett take note !)

After this score the referee blew the final whistle and our time on Croke Park’s pitch was over.

The team were then assembled together for a group photograph as a memento of their day out at Headquarters. Our time at Croke Park was rounded off with a tour of the stadium and the museum. Unfortunately there was not a lot of time to see everything in the extensive museum as the club was on a tight schedule but hopefully everyone enjoyed themselves. I also think we won the quiz with the help of Pearse!

Our day was rounded off with a trip to "Burger King" just outside Dundalk. All the clubs visiting Croke Park must have had the same bright idea looking at the queue but the players didn't seem to mind. 

THANKS

Firstly I would like to thank the organisers of the event for an memorable day. Thanks must also go to both clubs for entering the team and organising the transport / Burger King (Niall and Oliver of Naomh Brid). Thanks to the parents again for the continued vocal support and to John and Darren for guiding the team to 3 victories on the day. Finally I hope all the players involved had one of them "Never to forget days" as they have stepped onto the pitch reserved for the country’s finest players. Hopefully this will be the first of many times for some if not all of the players.

Brid Og:  Brendan, Ciara, Ciaran, Connla, Darragh, Diarmaid, Dylan, Mark, Rory, Sean, Thomas, Tom

 

Championship Final

09/10/2011Posted by Mark Hamill

Match Report: Lamh Dhearg  0-1 -v- 3-3 Eire Og/St Brigid’s

Sunday 9th October, 2011

Venue: Rossa Park

Competition: Nipper Quinn B Championship Final

 

“Do you want to win?” coach Oliver Lennon bellowed at his players in the changing room before the start of this long awaited final and to which they all responded with a resounding “yessssssssssss” both in the changing room and then on the pitch, much to the delight of the large contingent of vocal EO/SB supporters.  In fact, so driven and determined were his players in the build up to the final that even the jack in the box himself, Alan Gordon, was telling his team mates to “focus”!

 

Old rivals Lamh Dhearg were the adversaries and the players were faced with driving rain and a strong wind which blew straight down the large Rossa pitch.  After losing the toss, the consensus among the EO/SB supporters was that, playing into the driving wind, if we could just keep the deficit to a couple of points at half-time then we were in with a real chance of taking the trophy home.  However, the young EO/SB simply turned the wind disadvantage on its head with a storming and aggressive first half performance.  The impressive John Toner set the benchmark in the very first minute by driving in to break up a dangerous Lamh Dhearg attack and launch the ball upfield and the rest of the team took their cue from this.

 

Lamh Dhearg had taken the lead with what turned out to be their only point of the game and, at that stage, the signs were ominous.  However, roared on by their supporters and the WAGS (Jackie, Caroline and Deborah to the fore as usual in orchestrating the cheerleading) EO/SB fought their way brilliantly back into the match.  Ethan Carleton was leading by example with a powerful performance in midfield and levelled with an excellent point.  The brave Phelim Lennon and the rest of the team were battling for everything and fought for every loose ball as if their lives depended on it and at the back the keeper, Rory Brolly, had an excellent game and pulled off a couple of great saves to keep EO/SB in it.  It was just reward, therefore, when the excellent Ewan Rush (“just like his Dad” beamed his Mum Stella) capped a committed display when he scrambled in a critical goal well assisted by young Sean Murray-Lopez just before half-time and at a crucial time in the contest.

 

A superb, aggressive and committed all round team display into the wind saw EO/SB leave the pitch at half-time with the advantage.

 

Half-time: Lamh Dhearg 0-1 –v- 1-1 Eire Og/St Brigid’s

 

The boys carried on in a similar vein after the break.  Connla “Titanium Man” McCarthy was determined that no-one was going to get past him;  Conor Erskine was everywhere, as usual, with another great display and was obviously determined to show watching big brother Stephen just how to go about bringing some silverware home; Tom Dunford was showing a relish for the physical challenge and,   in the midfield, big Jack Robinson was absolutely revelling in the physical duels and playing like a new man since he somehow persuaded Ged to part with a few shillings and buy him a new pair of boots that actually fitted! 

 

EO/SB began to dominate possession and Ethan Carleton weighed in with 2 further points and then a well taken goal, scores which were well deserved reward for a courageous display.

 

However, the goal of the final came from the diminutive Ronan Crossed who showed all afternoon what a superb and brave player he is.  He seemed to weave through about 4 Lamh Dhearg players on the right wing before taking aim and rifling the ball into the roof of the net!  What a score and the roar from the crowd confirmed that they knew that that meant that the trophy was going to EO/SB.

 

There was still time, however, for Ciara Hamill and Eunan to enter the fray and that was appropriate recognition for al their efforts throughout the season.  Mention also must be made of all the other young substitutes who all played their part throughout the season in one way or another and saw today just what they have to live up to in the seasons ahead when they all move up to this level on a permanent basis.

 

Congratulations to all of the players today for a magnificent, brave and sportsmanlike performance which was rewarded at the final whistle with the presentation of the trophy.  Thanks must also go to all the coaching staff including Gerard Murray and Darren Hamill for all their efforts but especially to Oliver Lennon and John Rush for all their work and sacrifice, not just over the last few weeks but over the course of the entire season.  The preparation for this final was second to none as the team, over the last few weeks, faced a series of matches against North Antrim and Division One sides which were tough and time consuming but ultimately rewarding as the young EO/SB players have been able to demonstrate just how much they have developed and will continue with such dedicated mentoring.

 

Victorious EO/SB line-up: Rory Brolly; Connla McCarthy; Peter Heaney; John Toner; Peter Henvey (Niall Agnew); Tom Dunford; Mark Hamill; Ewan Rush; Alan Gordon; Phelim Lennon; Ethan Carleton; Ronan Crossen; Conor Erskine; Jack Robinson; Sean Murray-Lopez.

Éire Óg/St Brigids vs Lamh Dhearg

20/06/2011Posted by Mark Hamill

Match Report: Lamh Dhearg  2-3 -v- 2-3 Eire Og/St Brigid’s

Monday 20th June, 2011

Venue: Hannahstown

Competition: Not known

 

This young Eire Og/St Brigid’s produced one of their best performances of the season to date in fighting back to earn a hard fought draw against  Lamh Dhearg in Hannahstown, but in truth walked away as moral victors with heads held high.

 

The status of the match was not clear to the EO/SB contingent, as 2 matches (home and away) have already been played against this evening’s opponents and it was not clear why a third had been arranged.

 

Ronan Crossen opened the scoring with another fine point, but the young EO/SB team were finding the going tough playing into the breeze and against a physically large Lamh Dhearg side. However, the most pleasing aspect of the match and of their progress this season to date was the fact that they simply refused to be physically intimidated and continued to battle for every loose ball.  After conceding two goals and a point without reply, Sean Murray-Lopez capped a battling performance by all of this young team when he scored a fine goal to narrow the difference at the interval. Special mention should also go to Peter Henvey for a solid performance in nets, which gave confidence to his defenders around him, particularly the ever dependable John Toner.

 

Half-time: Lamh Dhearg 2-1 –v- 1-1 Eire Og/St Brigid’s

 

Tempers became frayed in the second half and matters were not helped when the outstanding Ronan Crossen, who had a fantastic match, was blatantly chopped in the back but his opponent somehow remained on the pitch, despite the protestations from the justifiably annoyed away support

 

However, this injustice only seemed to spur the EO/SB boys on. The terrier like Phelim Lennon, who had another fine match ably assisted by his midfield sidekick Ethan Carleton, slotted over a couple of points and Lamh Dhearg landed one of their own, to leave the deficit just 2 points.  By this stage the adrenalin was really flowing in the EO/SB boys. Conor Erskine and Connla McCarthy seemed to be everywhere on the pitch and EO/SB appeared to have capped a storming comeback when Phelim Lennon slammed in a fine goal to put them 1 point ahead.  Credit to Lamh Dhearg though for fighting back at this stage and a concerted spell of possession and pressure ended with a fine point being slotted over to leave the scores level.

 

However, the drama wasn’t over yet.  After winning yet another 50/50 ball in the last minute, the EO/SB defence launched the ball forward for what seemed like the match winning score, with the Lamh Dhearg defence wide open.  However, as the EO/SB forward bore down on the keeper for a one on one goal chance, the ref then blew his whistle to end the match, to the disbelief of the entire away support.  

 

Initial disappointment at not winning the match quickly gave way to pride in what was yet another outstanding battling performance.  This week every player stood up and was counted and no-one shirked his or her individual duel or battle and with this sort of attitude and commitment this young team while continue to progress in the manner which it has so far.

 

Well done to all of the players and also to coach Oliver Lennon in ensuring that his team stood up to a strong physical challenge and produced a determined but disciplined performance.

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