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Armagh PS visit Kilkenny & Tipp

Armagh PS visit Kilkenny & Tipp

On Friday 20th April 2012, forty-two boys from eighteen primary schools across Armagh left for a brilliant weekend in Kilkenny and Tipperary. We had been training once per week together since October and we got lovely new Armagh gear at our last session before our trip away.
After a long trip on the bus with our driver Paul Slane, we got our rooms in a youth hostel in Kilkenny City before we headed off for our first games of the weekend. We visited O’Loughlin Gaels, home of recent All-Ireland winning captains Martin and Andy Comerford. Their two teams were very strong and showed typical Kilkenny hurling style in beating us (we might have had too many sweets on the way down!).
The first night away was great fun with a few heavy snorers and even more jokers in the rooms. Following breakfast we made the short trip over to Mullinahone in Tipperary were three times All-Ireland winner John Leahy was kind enough to have a chat with us before taking us for a training session. We had two teams entered in a blitz involving Mullinahone, Windgap and Killenaule. In the first game, Mullinahone proved very strong and beat us well before the managers came up with a plan for the second game with them. They asked us to give our best in the remaining games and then the best performers from both teams would be put together to play Mullinahone in our last match.
The navy team beat Windgap and drew with Killenaule while the orange team also beat Windgap. Their game against Killenaule was brilliant except it had to be blown up early because of heavy hailstones! Ronan, Ryan and Micéal then called us in to let us know who had made the team for our last game against Mullinahone. The boys that got picked were delighted but the boys that didn’t were even happier as they got in out of the cold to get changed before coming out to support us. The match was very tight and Armagh led 1.2 to 0.1 at half time. We were under pressure against the wind in the second half but our defenders were brilliant and we kept them to two points. We scored two of our own to run out eventual winners by 1.4 to 0.4 – it was a fantastic match.
Afterwards we were treated to chicken and chips before a surprise visit from Tipperary’s Eoin Kelly. It was great that he could take some time out to say a few words before his big game against Cork on Sunday. We all got autographs and pictures taken with him before heading back into Kilkenny for games against Barrow Rangers. We were divided into three teams and played away for a couple of hours in very evenly matched games. By the end of the day everyone was wrecked from all the hurling and at the youth hostel that night everyone was snoring!
We went to Mass on Sunday morning before heading off to Thurles for the two Division 1 Semi-Finals in the NHL. Kilkenny were too good for Clare in the first game while the Tipp and Cork game was unreal. Eoin Kelly came off the bench to score a goal and a point but Cork were too good towards the end and won by nine. We had a long journey home but no one even realised as we had so much to talk about on an unforgettable weekend.
On behalf of the whole squad we want to thank our managers Ronan McWilliams, Ryan Gaffney, Micéal Murphy and Niall Clifford for looking after us all year. We also want to thank Gary Hughes and Tiarnan Donnelly for helping out the whole weekend as well as our boss driver Paul – after three days he still didn’t know any of our names and just called everyone ‘Aul Hand’! A good number of parents came down to lend their support and finally, thanks to all the clubs who hosted us over the weekend.
Conor Quinn (St Malachy’s PS Camlough) and Daragh Milsom (Armagh CBS)

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