St Comgalls PS Double Success at St Pauls Primary School Hurling Blitz
On Saturday 14th January St Paul’s ran their 2nd annual Primary School Hurling Blitz at the indoor venue of Eddie Irvine’s Sport Centre in Bangor, providing a most enjoyable afternoon for 50+ children and the many parents who stayed to enjoy the spectacle.
As with last year, three schools were represented – St Comgalls Bangor, St Patricks Holywood and Glencraig Primary School.
However, such was the interest within the schools generated by coaches Ryan McQuillan (North Down Borough Council) and Karol Keating (Down GAA Coach) that the competition had to be structured this year into two separate age groups – P4/P5 and P6/P7 – with good representation from players within the St Paul’s club as well as significant non-club members partaking in the game for the first time.
4 teams took part in this competition, with St Comgalls fielding in their traditional blue strip and a also a team in white.
In the group stage, St Comgalls Blue, with a few St Paul’s regulars on board, set out their stall early with a solid victory over a gallant Glencraig team. St Comgall’s White faired less well against St Patricks, losing narrowly in their opening game, with a number of St Paul’s regulars in each team coming face to face in a very competitive encounter.
Spurred on by the opening salvo’s, St Comgall’s Blue overcame St Patricks in another encounter that served up some cracking goals from both teams. Meanwhile the St Comgall’s Whites found a defiant Glencraig a tough nut to crack, with the Glencraig boys and girls unable to put away a few opportunities in front of goal, whilst St Comgall’s made better use of their opportunities in front of the nets.
In the last of the round robin encounters St Patricks struggled to shake off a confidently growing Glencraig team, whilst the All St Comgalls derby was so competitive that it ended in a goalless draw - not surprisingly.
All set for the semi-finals then, with pundits predicting a St Comgall’s Blue v St Patricks final.
However, the form went out the window when an inspired comeback from St Comgall’s White left St Patricks shell shocked in the semi. Trailing by a goal with only minutes left, St Comgalls White threw the proverbial kitchen sink at their opponents, who just couldn’t hold their defensive line. In scenes reminiscent of the 1994 All Ireland Hurling Final, the green shirted St Patrick’s couldn’t believe their swift departure from the competition in the dying moments.
In the other semi-final Glencraig finally broke their scoring duck to the delight of the huge school following on the sidelines, but the result was rarely in doubt despite what could only be described as exemplar goalkeeping from the Glencraig net minder with some committed saves.
And so an eagerly anticipated all St Comgall’s final was the order of the day. Despite being deadlocked for much of the game, it was the Blues who finally broke the hearts of their White classmates to lift the ‘crown’ in a ‘full bore’ encounter which was a credit to all Mr Wall’s pupils.
Congratulations to St Comgalls. A great days hurling where a lot of skill was mixed in with some passion and strong teamwork throughout all four competing schools - Glencraig’s never-say-die attitiude being a talking point amongst the fans.
Teams from St Patricks and St Comgalls were joined by a excellent turnout from Glencraig. With four teams in total there was three group matches followed by semi-finals and a final.
The afternoon started with a match between the two Glencraig teams and quickly showed there was a number of athletes and perhaps natural hurlers between the teams. It was great to see the kids applying the skills learnt from schools coach Ryan mc Quillan over the previous few weeks. After a great game Glencraig 1 narrowly came out on top by 3 goals. Next was the turn of St Patricks and St Comgall who with a number of experienced hurlers were allowed to pick the ball and strike from the hand. The competition was fierce as St Paul's club mates faced up to each other and resulted in a good win for St Comgalls (6-2). After this defeat St Patricks got back on track with a win over Glencraig 2 (4-0) and going into a match with Glencraig 1 were expecting a similar result. However Glencraig 1 were outstanding with great hurling/hockey skill and excellent finishing to pull off the shock of the day with a 6-1 win.
After all teams had finished there matchs the semi-final pairings drew St Comgalls versus Glencraig 2 and Glencraig 1 versus St Patricks. Again Glencraig 1 produced a smashing performance to reach the final where they met the undefeated St Comgalls.
In a close final with great skill and passion Glencraig 1 were narrowly beaten by a single goal (3-2) and St Comgalls were crowned champions.
Again great credit must go to all Glencraig players who adapted very well to the game and were very impressive in terms of courage, determination and athletic ability. We hope to see some of these players continue at St Pauls in the near future.
Many thanks to Ryan and Karol for their preparation of the pupils over the past months (and for attending on the day to support and equip the teams), to the teachers who organised their teams and to the St Paul’s mentors for refereeing and mentoring throughout. Finally to the kids who took part and gave of their all, supported by the loyal band of parents who stayed to watch the proceedings.