10:30 Saturday morning we presented the lads with their new tops with their initials on them before we got on the bus to begin our tour. The weather was good as we set out on the road to our first stop Cabra Parkside Sports & Community Center in Dublin where we were guests of St Finbarr’s GAA Club. After a slow start the lads stepped up to the mark and finished well with a late penalty ending the game nicely. We then headed off to the Club House where our hosts provided great food and drinks for everyone in their wonderful club where we were all made very welcome. After a few words of thanks we presented the club with a token of our appreciation.
Fed and found we were back on the Bus heading for the boarder and to Armagh City to watch the Ulster Semi Final in the Athletic Grounds where Down and Monaghan battled it out for a place in the final. Not being ones to miss an opportunity when Down got a penalty our boys made sure they were behind the goals so the good folks at home could see them on TV. Not to be out done head coach Eolan provided post match analysis for BBC Northern Ireland on the way out. With our television duties finished it was onto the Hotel in Belfast where that staff at the Balmoral hotel made sure we had our rooms sorted quickly and they kindly allowed us use of the function room where the lads could relax and have dinner.
After a good night’s sleep and a great breakfast at the hotel we were back on the road and headed to the city center where we were given a personal tour seeing many of the historical sights the city has to offer. At 12:00 we were in St Gall’s GAA for another game of football. It took the lads a little bit to get used to the Ulster style but once they did there were some great scores from both sides. Then up to the club house where St Gall’s provided us with great food and beverages and we were made very welcome by all the club members. Again after a few words of thanks we presented the club with a token of our appreciation.
Next stop on the tour was the Titanic center where we spent a few hours discovering all about the mighty vessel from its conception to its discovery at the bottom of the Atlantic many years later.
As always our patient bus driver Karl was waiting for us and ready to bring us home. Expecting the lads to be tired we looked forward to a quiet relaxed final leg of our tour as headed back over the border. This was not to be, kicking things of was our MC on the Mic “A.K.47” and with his rapping skills the sing song began followed by a table quiz with extra points for some of the more eclectic questions. A quick break in junction 14 where some of the lads found room for a few more chicken nuggets while others decided to broaden their culinary experience. Fed, watered and a bus full of diesel we were back on the road for the home straight arriving back at the club some 35 hours after we began.
We would like to thank the Players who were great ambassadors for the club both on and off the pitch.
A lot of work and planning went into making the trip as packed and seamless as it was. A big thank you to John Lynch who organised and managed the trip. To Eolan Ryng Head Coach for organising the tour of Belfast and the two clubs that hosted us. We would like to thank both St Finbarr’s in Cabra and St Gall’s in Belfast for great games of football and for making us feel very welcome in their clubs. We look forward to having you both visit us in Bishopstown.
Thank you to Karl our bus driver who’s good hummer helped make a great weekend even better. Finally we would like to thank the Parents and Parent mentors who gave up their weekend to help us.