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One of Ireland’s top boarding school’s opened its gates to young hurlers from thirty two clubs representing eight different counties recently
There were seven clubs from Offaly involved in what proved to be an exceptionally enjoyable event.
U-12s stars from Kilcormac/Killoughey, Shinrone, Coolderry, Ballinamere/Durrow, St. Rynaghs, Belmount and Birr made the trip to Cisterican College in Roscrea where they were given a warm welcome and a wonderful day’s hurling as part of a blitz that involved over 500 boys.
On arrival, teams were greeted by college pupils, staff and parents as well as All Ireland winning stars Patrick ‘Bonnar’ Maher and college past pupil Hugh Maloney.
Each club received a tour of the college by their designated ambassador and they were then brought for team and group photos in their club colours.
The blitz was run with remarkable efficiency thanks to the large number of organisers, ambassadors and young whistlers. Each team played three games in round robin groups with clubs participating in either the morning or afternoon sessions.
With eight pitches at their disposal organisers had no issues with space and so the event flowed with only short breaks between games.
There was a wonderful atmosphere on the side lines and games were played in a fantastic sporting spirit.
Everyone agreed that the unique opportunity for teams to compare their skills with those of sides from other counties provided a unique and exciting experience for both players and coaches and as the sun shone down on the Cistercian College pitches those skill levels proved to be extremely impressive all around.
When the games had been played players, coaches and parents were treated to a hot meal in the school’s canteen where all participants were given a goodie bag as a memento of the day. The college’s Sporting Director Brendan McKeogh was pleased with how the day had gone saying “Our success in the Leinster Rugby Schools Cup means that we have a strong reputation as a rugby school but hurling is just as important to us and today provided a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our commitment to hurling. We offer scholarships for excellence in hurling as well as academics, rugby and music and we are hoping that some of the boys here today might apply for these, become a part of the CCR family and hopefully go on to hurl for their counties as so many past pupils have.”
The events of the day were captured by photographers and those high quality photos are available on the college’s website (www.ccr.ie) along with information about scholarships and enrollment opportunities.
The success of this blitz means that it will now become an annual event and it will surely be seen as one of the prestige underage occasions in the hurling calendar.