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SW Antrim P3/P4 Blitz

31/08/2013Posted by Ciaran Grant

SW Antrim P3/P4 Blitz
Venue: Tir Na Nog, Randalstown
Date: 31/08/2013

Eire Og travelled to Randalstown to play in a P3/P4 blitz hosted by Tir Na Nog. Along with the Ogs and the hosts, there were teams from St Enda’s, Creggan and Moneyglass. Ahoghill were also represented, but unfortunately they had to leave before Eire Og had a chance to play them.
Antrim U21 captain, Connor McCann, took time off from his preparations for the All-Ireland final to come along to show off some of his skills and give some words of encouragement to all the young hurlers. There was also a photo
shoot for each team with Connor and the kids wished him good luck for the final against Clare in a fortnights time.

The first game was a tight affair against St Enda’s. Possession was pretty even throughout and chances were few and far between. However, a long puck from Pearse dropped into the goal, just when it looked like it was going over the bar for a point, for the only score of the game.
The hosts, Tir Na Nog, were the next opponents. They had some skilful players and started the game on top. Tir Na Nog wasted some chances before Eire Og grabbed a goal, from Liam (or maybe Jack), against the run or play. Tir Na Nog began taking their chances and grabbed a couple of goals and added a pointed free to this. Pearse struck a long range goal in reply, but the home team held on for a narrow win.
Eire Og responded well to this setback in the next match against Creggan. The Ogs had the majority of possession and Oran in goals had very little to do. Points by Zack and Pearse and a goal by David were enough to give Eire Og a second victory.
Finally, Eire Og faced Moneyglass. The Ogs started well, but it looked like their luck was out as they hit both posts, had a chance cleared off the line and another couple of chances were scrambled wide by the Moneyglass defence.
This bad luck was exacerbated when Moneyglass broke up the field and scored a point. Eire Og continued to make chances though, and a long puck from Pearse just about crossed the line. He followed up with another goal soon
after to put Eire Og in control. However, Moneyglass responded and scored a goal with a rocket of a shot into the corner which gave Oran no chance. With the game on a knife-edge, Pearse produced his own rocket, driving a free
into the net through a crowded defence. He added another goal to take his tally to four in the game and give the Ogs the victory they deserved.

The players today were given specific roles and each responded well to this. Oran kept a couple of clean sheets and had good puck outs. He also used the short puck out well at times. Conlan played strongly at the heart of defence
in each game and cleared his lines very well when called upon to do so. Pearse, Zach and David rotated the other defensive position and the midfield roles. They did this very effectively, getting the ball into their hand and moving it on, or getting scores. Jack and Liam were in forwards throughout and worked very hard. One of them grabbed a goal (I thought it was Jack, but Liam claims it was him) and they had other chances as well. They also put pressure on the defenders at all times.

So, this was another successful road trip for our young hurlers. Onwards and upwards.

Eire Og: Conlan, David, Jack, Liam, Oran, Pearse, Zach

Thanks to Tom McCann for organising the blitz and to his son Connor for coming and encouraging the kids. Thanks to Tir Na Nog for hosting today and for providing drinks, sandwiches and treats after the blitz was completed.
Also, thanks to the other mentors - Tara, Darren and Gavin - for helping with the team today and to the Og supporters on the touchline.

North Antrim Blitz

25/08/2013Posted by Ciaran Grant

North Antrim U8 Hurling Blitz
Date: 25th August 2013
Venue: Glenarm
The U8 hurlers travelled, as Brid Og, to Glenarm for the final North Antrim blitz of the summer. On a beautiful sunny morning in the Glens there was a great turnout of players, mentors and parents from all the teams involved. The Ogs were well represented in this, with 11 kids on the pitch ready to play.
Some of the teams had enough for 2 teams and these were split evenly according to age and ability, so there were no easy second teams to play. This was shown when Cushendall ‘B’ were the first opponents. The two teams were evenly matched throughout and although both sides put 4 or 5 chances wide, there was no score at the end of the 10 minute match.
Next up was Dunloy ‘B’. Again there wasnt much to separate the teams for much of the match, but Sophia scored a great point and followed this with a goal to give Brid Og the lead. Dunloy hit back with a goal and it took a good turn around the post from Liam in goals to prevent them scoring again. David hit a long range shot which found its way into the net to secure a 2-1 to 1-0 win.
Liam’s exploits in goals led him to be volunteered to do goals for Cushendall ‘A’ in the next match. Possibly displeased about playing for another team, his performance in the Cushendall goals didnt match that in the Ogs goal earlier and Sophia, Zack K and Jack added to Niall’s two goals to record a comfortable victory.
Dunloy ‘A’ provided opposition in the fourth game. Their ‘B’ team was not playing at this time, so they were able to select from their full squad. This possibly was a telling factor, as the Ogs tasted defeat for the only time in the blitz. Dunloy scored two early goals, and it was then that Brid Og grew into the game. A point from Niall and a goal from Zach K were scored in reply, but the Ogs had left themselves too much to do and the final whistle went.
Brid Og faced St Enda’s in the next match and they dominated possession throughout. Niamh in goals, and the defene were virtual spectators. The forwards and midfield struggled to get scores though. Liam and Jack had efforts scrambled off the line. Jack’s may have crossed the line, but with no goalmouth technology to call on, the referee didnt give the score. Niall eased the frustrations though, flicking in a goal after a good run. He added a point to secure a 1-1 to 0-0 victory.
The games came thick and fast today and last up was the Glenariffe side, Oisins ‘A’. We knew from previous experience that Oisins were a physical side. They used their strength throughout the match and had skilful players to back this up. However, the Ogs stood up well against them and played some marvellous hurling in response. The physical side of the game led to Niall being awarded a couple of frees which he pointed from midfield to add to a goal he scored. Again the Ogs defence, with Zach W, in goals wasnt breached and Brid Og rounded a very successful blitz with a 1-2 to 0-0 win.
Onwards and upwards.
Brid Og: Alannah, Conlan, David, Jack, Liam, Niall, Niamh, Peter, Sophia, Zack K, Zach W
Thanks again to Declan for organising this and the other North Antrim during the this summer. Thanks also to Glenarm for hosting the games and for providing the kids with drinks and treats at the end of 6 tough matches. Also, thanks to Gavin, Tara and John D for their assistance during the blitz. And finally a word of gratitude to the parents. It was great to see some many kids coming to represent the club, so thanks to the parents for travelling to Glenarm (especially as it isnt the easiest pitch to find) and for their cheering and encouragement from the sidelines.

P3/P4 North Antrim Blitz

11/08/2013Posted by Ciaran Grant

P3/P4 North Antrim Blitz
Venue : Dunloy
Date: 11th August 2013

With many young Ogs away on holiday some of the Eire Og U8 hurlers travelled to Dunloy with friends from St Brigid's to play in a P3/P4 blitz.
The lack of available players meant it was a young team, with a couple of P2s having to help bolster the numbers on the team. Nevertheless, the Ogs completed very well and came away with a couple of victories in their 5 matches.

The first game against Cushendall was 12-a-side, so space was limited and  chances were always going to be hard to come by. Cushendall did manage to score a point which proved to be the only score of the game.

Brid Og rode their luck a bit against Ballycastle in the second match. Early domination by the McQuillans seen them score a couple of points. The Ogs came into the game and a long range strike from Niall ended up in the Ballycastle net for a narrow Brid Og victory.

Next up was an entertaining match against the hosts, Dunloy. Niall again, was in scoring form and grabbed a goal and a point. Dunloy battled well and scored a goal of their own, but Brid Og managed to keep out any other Dunloy efforts to record another win by the narrowest margin.

Familiar opponents in St Enda's provided the next opposition. After an early St Enda's goal, Rory scored a close-range goal to draw the Og's level. However, with the younger players tiring spaced opened up and St Enda's got a couple of further goals near the end of the game to run out winners.

The last game was against a strong Glenariffe team. Although Niall and Pearse managed to score goals, Glenariffe got enough scores throughout to keep a bit ahead of the Ogs and win the match.

Considering the team was the youngest on display today, the young Ogs performed very well. They recorded victories over a couple of very well-known names in Ulster hurling and competed well in defeat. They also played in a sporting fashion throughout the blitz. With the regular players who were missing today back in the team, I think they would be a match for any team, as previous performances in these North Antrim blitzes have shown.

Onwards and upwards!

Brid Og: Pearse, Niall, Oran, Conlan, Liam, Rory, Mael, Niamh, Alannah.

Thanks to Sean, Declan and everyone at Dunloy for organising the blitz. Thanks to the other mentors for their assistance today - Darren, Tara and John, the loillipop-man, for providing the kids with a small reward after five tough games.

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