A weekend Dwyers will never forget!
Wonderful memories made
WE set off on our journey on Billy’s Bus at 10am from Kiltegan GAA pitch on Friday morning.
After a few pick-ups we had time for quick snack in Blessington GAA grounds before departing for Cork. There was one pit stop enroute in Circle K where we ate our packed lunch.
At around 4pm we arrived in Riverstick in Cork to our host club of Sliabh Rua (a combined club of Belgooly and Riverstick).
Our first match was at 5.30pm against a fancied Cork team, Courcey Rovers. It was a tight match; we were two points up at half-time. In the second half the referee incorrectly gave us a 14-yard free (they make mistakes in Cork, too!) so I took my chance and it hit the back of the net, that put us six points up so we were home and dry. We won by eight points.
Our second match was against a Donegal team; Aodh Rua. They were poor opposition; we won this game by 25 points with Jimmy Mallin getting a hat-trick of goals.
After refreshments in the clubhouse we met our host families and headed home for the night. I was sharing with James Boland and Ivor Fenton and the host family lived across the road from the pitch. Ryan, the number eight for Sliabh Rua, was a son of the host family.
We played our hosts Saturday morning winning on a scoreline of 2-7 to 0-6. This put us in the Cup quarter final against Cork team Ballinhassig in the afternoon.
We hit the beach in Kinsale to cool down and have lunch. Sean Darker was the only lad who involuntarily went for a swim. We travelled back to Riverstick for our 3pm quarter final match. We had a parade with the other three teams who were playing in the quarter-finals before our game. The host team had warned us that Ballinhassig were a tough team and that they were. It was a tough physical match with the Cork referee doing us no favours.
We got off to a good start with two goals, but they got two goals back in quick succession. At halftime we went in three points up. We didn’t score in the second half but held on for a hard fought one-point win.
Everyone was delighted and there was great excitement that we were in the semi-finals of the Cup. There were a lot of injuries after this game with bangs to the hands and legs, so our first aid team of Miriam Manifold and Anne Sheridan recommended some hydrotherapy at the beach. There was no hesitation from the players, so we boarded Billy’s bus again along with some of the Sliabh Rua lads and headed back to the beach for a recovery session.
The sea was cold, but it was great craic. We returned to the clubhouse where the hosts provided a barbeque and music for us. There was even an ice-cream van with free ice-cream which was proved very popular. I think James Boland got the biggest ice-cream of us all.
The weather was good, and we hurled a little more with our hosts before heading into the clubhouse to watch Cork versus Waterford on the big screen. At half-time of this match one of our coaches; Matt Byrne made a presentation to the host club’s chairman in appreciation of their kindness to the team and being super hosts for the weekend.
After a short puck around outside again we headed home for the night wrecked but looking forward to our match in Clonakilty the next morning.
We departed from Riverstick at 11am on Sunday morning after a few more pictures with our hosts and some goodbyes and thanks. It was great to see the Wicklow flag flying high in Clonakilty.
Our match was against Four Roads from Roscommon at 1pm. We had the wind in the first half, but they started with a flurry of points and were up three points to no score after eight minutes.
We got going then and scored three points to leave it level at half time.
The referee gave them a penalty early in the second half after one of our lads had been pushed in the back with no free given. They scored it and we had an uphill battle.
Unfortunately, they got a free and converted it and we tried hard to get a goal, but their backs were too strong for us. We lost in the end by four points and were devastated.
All of the 24 lads had given it everything, but we just met better opposition on the day. We were very disappointed but proud we had got this far. Homeward bound and weary we boarded Billy’s bus to head for Wicklow.
Thanks to Rob Murtagh and Matthew Doyle who provided the entertainment on the bus for the weekend. Richie Kavanagh never sounded so good!
Mother Hubbard’s in Cashel was our final pitstop where we were treated to dinner.
We hit Kiltegan at 8pm Sunday night. It was a weekend we will never forget and hopefully some of the lads who are still under 14 will get there again next year.
James Boland, Ryan Deasy, Jack O’Toole and Ivor Fenton.
The Michael Dwyers squad on the beach.