Venue: TerenureCompetition: The annual U-13 tour to Terenure College
What a weekend, it all began by meeting in the train station at 9:45, after a head count and some tearful goodbyes from their mums (although some were seen opening champagne bottles and cheering when leaving the train station) we all boarded the 10:30 train bound for Dublin. There was both excitement and trepidation amongst the travelling party of sixty children and eight adults as they were heading off on the annual “U-13 Terenure Tour” they heard so much about. AT 10:30 on the dot the train started chugging its way out of the station and into the tunnel and right on queue the packed lunches were taken out of their bags, ranging from crisps, fizzy drinks and just to make sure some chocolate. By the time we were approaching Mallow they were buzzing, I knew this was going to be a long two and a half hours. On route we got the train driver to slow down going through Mallow allowing just enough time for Tony and Daniel O’Connor to jump on.
Arriving at Heuston Train Station we all hopped onto a double decker bus that drought us straight out to Terenure College. On arriving in Terenure College we were met and welcomed by Fr. Michael and went straing to our dressing rooms. The Cork Con squad were split into three teams, the Spring Boks, Stags and Lions each having their own dressing room. The Spring Boks were coached by Noel Leonard & Tony O’Connor, The stags by Fred Casey, Eoin Burke & John Boland and the lions by Mick Moloney and Paul O’Callaghan.
Onto the pitch everyone went for the first of two fixtures to be played that weekend. After a short warm up the matches kicked off, all were played in a friendly manner with great passion and were also very exciting to watch. For the first time Cork Con won all their three matches away to Terenure.
Back into the Dressing Rooms to change and clean up before the boys met their hosts for the weekend. Fr. Michael called out the name of the boy’s one by one and introduced them to the Terenure boy’s and their parents that they were staying with for the weekend and off every one went for the evening.
It was up early again the following morning as the host families dropped all the Cork Con kids off at Terenure College, this time to play St. Mary’s. With the same teams as the day before Cork Con again won all their games. So all in all six wins out of six was a pretty decent return and is credit to Fred and his team of coaches who have all put in a huge effort since they have returned to training after the summer break. After a quick change the kids went away with their host families, a lot of them met up again later that day in Dundrum Shopping Centre where they played a bit of crazy golf and did some shopping.
The Cork Con coaches were very kindly invited to lunch by Terenure College to the Terenure RFC v De La Salle Palmerston F.C.AIL LeagueDivision 2A pre match meal, the grounds of which are right next door to the college grounds. Afterwards a few of us went over to Stradbrook to watch the Blackrock College v Cork Con match, thankfully a match Con won by three points.
For the third morning in a row we were all up early as host families dropped the Cork Con kids back to Terenure College on Sunday morning. The same double decker bus that dropped us off on Friday was waiting in the College car park to bring us back to Heuston Station, Fr. Michael thanked everybody one by one has they got on the bus and said he was looking forward to seeing everybody again the following weekend. Some of the host parents were talking to me just before we left and every one of them spoke very highly of the kids saying they were great fun, mannerly and well behaved.
We are very much looking forward to the return fixture at the weekend and our boys I know are looking forward to seeing their new friends that hosted them the previous week.
A big thank you to Fr. Michael and staff of Terenure College, the families who kindly hosted our boys and the adults who gave up their weekend to travel and look after the squad.
This is the first big U-13 tour over and done with, it was hugely successful and great fun and which all the kids enjoyed. The planning for the next tour which will be to Italy in Easter is well underway and lots of fundraising events will be taking place over the coming months so keep an eye out a help in any way you can.
Words and pictures by Fergus HumphriesReferee: