Last weekend the U18 Girls travelled to St. Rapahela's to participate in Genesis Hockey Club annual All Ireland U18 Tournament. Alongside the home team Genesis, Avoca, Corinthians, Harlequins, Portadown, Railway Union and Wexford, the Bray girls were keen to play some good hockey over the weekend.
Managed by Sharon Burke and assisted by Ruth McDonagh the first match of the weekend was against the home team Genesis. With little time to warm up, the hooter was off and the game was on. Genesis took the lead but Bray were not ready to give up and fought back to draw 1-1. Ali Kavanagh scoring with a powerful push at goal and on a crazy angle.
A short while later the girls were back on again, this time against Avoca. Avoca controlled much of the game but a resilient Bray defence and some spectacular saves from Louise Pert kept them at bay with a 0-0 result. Inspired by their improving performance, the girls took to the hall for some lovely ham sambos (thanks to Genesis), the hokey pokey courtesy of Ruth and Louise Pert showed off her piano skills.
A fired up side were ready to take on Corinthians just after mid-day. Despite some excellent saves from Louise and brilliant defending from Emma, Orla, Caoimhe and Saoirse, the Reds took the lead, however Bray were not ready to give up and came back to 1-1 with a lovely touch in from Mia Halili on the P spot. Corinthians clawed one back and the game ended up 1-2.
It was lunchtime, and as Ruth says "Eat well, train well, play well", so off she went with Eimear, Louise, Morgan and Emma to pick up a monstrous order of McD's for the squad. After more banter, grub and McFlurry's, a tired but enthusiastic Bray were ready for the 4th and last match of the day against Northerners Portadown. Sadly the day ended with a 0-1 loss but the girls had a great day of hockey, and were looking forward to the dinner and table quiz later that night
Mushroom pasta, some questionable quiz team names and it was time for bed and preparation for Sunday. One more round robin match to play and then the play-offs were still ahead. Shout out to Eithne and Ronan for helping Sharon with the lifts to and from Stillorgan!
Cork Harlequins were up first for Bray on Sunday morning and proved to be too strong, winning 2-0 which meant the girls were in a placement match against Wexford. Again, 'fuelling' was required and the girls ventured down to Eddie Rockets (shout out to Rachel Paul for the lifts).
After lunch, a car pool and taxi ride back to the club, the final match of the day started with some confusion when a goal was awarded to Bray after crossing the line. Bray's management were too busy chatting to see what had happened and whilst the girls looked confused, and calls of the ball being outside the circle went awry, the umpires stood their ground and Bray went 1-0 up. The Bray girls controlled much of the game but could not convert to increase their lead and whilst Louise didn't have much to do in goals Wexford pushed throughout the 30 minutes. The final score was 1-0 and Bray equalled their standings to last year.
A huge thank you to Genesis for hosting such an excellent tournament, to all the parents for the lifts and support, the umpires and opposition throughout the weekend for some great hockey, the caterers, Eimear Martin and Aisling Dalby for captaining over the weekend, Ruth for umpiring and some 'wise' words and of course Sharon for her endless hard work in ensuring weekends like this happen.
Friendships were made, goals were scored, the hokey pokey was danced and memories were made. Hockey at it's best.
For more photos of the weekend, click here.