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Co Down Games

04/01/2015Posted by Darren Hamill

First Year County Down Games
Venue: Eddie Irvine Centre
Date: 4th January 2015

It is only the 4th January and Brid Og's first year hurlers have already competed in the first series of games.  Such was the numbers we were able to field 2 teams with our second team consisting of some P6 and P7s.

Our first team were drawn against County Down teams Bredagh, Carryduff and Portaferry as well as Belfast side Rossa.

All our players positions were rotated during the games and in two of the matches our opponents only had 5 players so we had to make continual changes to give all the players game time. At the end of the 4 matches all our players had put in a shift with defeats to Bredagh, Portaferry and Rossa and a high scoring draw against Carryduff. Although there were several defeats on the day these games are an excellent way to get our players back into competitive action and can only help their progress.

Brid Og 1: Diarmaid, Gerard, JP, Oisin, Padraig, Shane

Draco Cup

25/10/2014Posted by Darren Hamill

U12 Draco Cup and Shield Hurling Tournament

Date: 25th October 2014

Venue: Musgrave

Brid Og hurling team resurrected the Draco Cup for an U12 blitz at Musgrave Park. This trophy had been in our possession for several years and it was decided by the mentors to organise an U12 tournament due to the remarkable year we have had at this age group this season.

The clubs competing were Brid Og, South West Antrim sides Saint Enda's and Sean Stinsons, North Antrim side Ruairi Og's Cushendall, County Down side Ballygalget and Armagh side Keady.

The preliminary structure of the tournament was a league format containing 2 groups of 3 teams with the top 2 teams in each group competing in the Cup semi final and the third placed teams contesting the Draco shield. Each team drew a number before the games began and this was the way the groups were selected. Cushendall, Keady and Saint Enda's were drawn in Group A with Ballygalget, Sean Stinsons and ourselves competing in Group B.

Group B's first game was contested between Sean Stinsons and Ballygalget and the SW Antrim side took a narrow victory 1-0 to 0-1

The Og's first game was against Sean Stinsons a team who had beaten us under the floodlights at their pitch several weeks ago but we were able to reverse this form with a 3:1 to 0:0 scoreline.

Our next game was against County Down side Ballygalget. We had faced this team several years ago and we knew their skill levels would be very high. Although the Og's did take an early lead we found the Ballygalget keeper in fantastic form and they got a couple of goals to take the victory 2:0 to 1:1

After the group stages the players and mentors were lead to the bowling club for lunch and a break. When all the results were checked every team had recorded 1 Win and 1 Defeat so it went down to scores to decide who would feature in the Cup and Shield. Ruairi Og's topped Group A and would play Ballygalget in the semi final. Brid Og topped Group B and would have to overcome Keady to get to the final. The teams playing in the shield final were Sean Stinsons and Saint Enda's.

There is a bit of history between Brid Og and Keady and these games are always keenly contested. Again the Og's got off to a flier and got several goals but  Keady came back with scores of their own. After a very nervous period in the game were no team could get control of the sliotar we began to do the basics well and this composure lead to several scores to get the victory and seal our place in the final.

On the other pitch Ballygalget had beaten Ruairi Og's to set up a replay of our early game. The players were told that we had seen enough from our performance in the first game to know we had a chance to retain this trophy but they had to believe they could do it. Similar to the first game the Og's took a 1:2 to 0:0 lead in at half time but Paddy's team talk at must have worked as they got the same amount of scores to level game. Ballygalget at this stage were showing their best form in the final but a great save from Joe and several pin point blocks and hooks from Shane, Brian, Sean and Toirealach give our players the confidence  and we got two late scores from Connla and Brendan to win the final on a scoreline of 1:4 to 1:2 with the final whistle initiating a pitch invasion from the sideline to herald our great victory. Joint Captains Connla and Shane then received the Draco Cup from a proud mother Caroline to the delight of the home support.

Thanks

Tournaments like today take a lot of organising and there was great teamwork both on and off the pitch. Firstly I would like to thank Caroline, Gerard,Marie, Nuala, Tara and Una for putting together an excellent lunch for the players and mentors. Thanks also to all the parents who provided sandwiches and snacks. Thanks to the bowling for letting us use their facilities today for lunch. Thanks to our referees John D and Oliver who had faultless displays in the middle. Thanks to Gerard and John R for helping with the team and Ciaran, Frank Gavin and Gerry for umpiring and helping with the blitz. Special mention also to Gavin who supplied the shield and medals for the tournament.

Next I would like to thank Dessie,JJ, both Paddy's and Phil for travelling to this tournament and congratulations to Sean Stinsons on winning the Shield. I hope this helps with the disappointment of losing the North Antrim B Championship last week. Ballygalget's goal keeper was named player of the tournament but I think Joe in nets pulled off the save of the day when we needed him. Finally well done to our players who played some excellent hurling today against some of the best hurling teams in Ulster. All 20 players contributed to this victory today and the future is bright for this bunch of talented players.

Brid Og Abu

Panel: Andrew, Brendan, Brian, Connla, David, Diarmaid, Dylan, Fintan, Gerard, Jack, Joe, JP, Luke, 

Niall, Oisin, Paudraig, Pearse, Sean, Shane, Toirealach

Croke Park Blitz

12/10/2014Posted by Darren Hamill

U12 Trip to Croke Park

Date:12th October 2014

Both Eire Og and Saint Brigids were chosen to play go games at Head Quarters and this meant we were able to bring a grand total of 26 juvenile players to the hallowed turf of Croke Park.

Gerard's carefully planned itinerary was almost put in jeopardy when one family who will remain nameless arrived with seconds to spare!. After this close shave the coaches doors were closed and we started the drive towards head quarters. Toirealach Sean and JP lead the way with the singing from the back rows and the levels began to rise when the players seen the first glimpses of the magnificent stadium that is Croke Park.

On arrival both teams were registered and Gerard and John finalised the team lists. The players were then brought into the changing rooms and warm up areas in the Cusack Stand and several photos were taken off the nervous but excited players. Then came the signal that every player who has ever played gaelic sports wants to hear when the doors were opened and the players were allowed to run onto the pitch with the sound effects of 80,000 supporters ringing in our ears.

Eire Og's schedule was to play 2 games against Loch Mor Dal Gcais and Belfast side Sarsfields with Saint Brigids due to play North Antrim sides Glenravel and Rasharkin. Both teams played brilliant hurling over the course of the 4 games and there was some fantastic hooking and blocking similar to the All Ireland Final which had played on the same turf several weeks earlier. There were also several excellent scores including 2 side line cuts  from Connla and Shane and goals and points from Andrew, Brendan, Connla, Jack, Ronan, Sean, Shane and Toirealach but special mention must go to Brian, David, Fintan, Niall, Pearse and Zack who all got scores today and are still U10. Other U10s who played brilliantly today were Conlan, Oran and Owen and did not look out of place which is reassuring for the future of Brid Og hurling. At the end of the games the players had recorded 4 victories from the 4 games played.

After the games the players were given a tour of this great stadium and they were brought to the seats at the very top of the Hogan Stand close to the where myself and Pearse had watched the All Ireland hurling replay several weeks earlier and it brought back great memories. There was also time for the players and mentors to walk around the museum and take part in the various fun activities. After the museum visit our time at Headquarters was over but Gerard's itinerary included a stop off at the Apple Green just outside Dublin for a well earned burger or snack to round off a perfect day.

Thanks
I would like to thank both Kieran and Paul for organising these games at the home of the GAA. Thanks to Gerard, John and Oliver for organising the coach, squads and itinerary. Thanks to both John's, Ciaran Gavin, Gerard , Tara and Brian's Dad for helping with the teams and tour of the stadium. Thanks to our players parents and family who travelled to the games and I hope they were impressed and entertained by the spectacle of hurling performed by the players. Finally I hope the players enjoyed their time on the hallowed turf. For several of our younger players this was there first time in the stadium so hopefully the squad will all have some great memories of their visit. It must also be mentioned that for some of our older players this will be their last time to play at Croke Park at Under 12 level but I am sure this will not be the last time they will play at HQ.

Eire Og Squad: Andrew, Brendan, Conlan, Connla, Daire, David, Diarmaid, Jack, Luke, Martin, Oran, Paudraig, Sean
Saint Brigids Squad: Brian, Chris, Dylan, Fintan, JP, Niall, Oisin, Owen, Pearse, Ronan, Shane, Toirealach, Zack

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