FORTY supporters, FIVE Days and ONE team….or rather THE Team! Lille 2011 kicked off with great competition and no this was not in relation to hockey. Instead it was the supporters’ race from Dublin Airport to Lille with Team Brussels and Team Paris battling it out to be the first to walk through the hotel doors! Team Brussels took the honour by the way and this was after some managed to, no joke, crash a Mongolian Reception at the European Commission. Champers on board it was time for the swarm of maroon fleeces to head to Loreto’s premier match. A 4-1 victory in worse than Irish weather, gave the supporters an excuse to celebrate (as if we needed one).
Avoiding cheval and lapin the supporters re-fuelled with some yummy French cuisine but for one it was the fate of Spanish cucumbers* that she felt sorry for! Next it was onto a bar called (of all names) Le Galway! This coincided with the trip’s theme of putting Le in front of every word to sound more French. The remarkable language skills seemed to impress the locals, in particular a certain JB….Jean-Baptiste, pronounced John to me and you.
The next day and forty plus croissants later, the supporters were in store for some actual French-like weather for Loreto’s second tie of the tournament against homeside Lille. Loreto played some fantastic hockey and not only entertained their colourful supporters but their new number one fan…Patrick. Yes, despite the most Irish name possible this silver-haired chap was as French as could be. Our Cork gal Gemma kept him laughing along with “Stella” of course. He even joined in our post-match boules competition after Loreto’s excellent 3-0 triumph. Our Super Woman and super mascot Steph lead the Loreto chorus and we (almost) mastered our Oooh hoo ooo ooo ooo theme tune, with an emphasis on almost! The night’s antics were not quite as tame as boules, particularly if you consider the amount of bar-dives that took place. The impromptu Hen party for bride-to-be Nuala set the tone of the night and some competitive streaks resurfaced when “crutch limbo” began. Les garçons joined in but it was Ciara Dolan that was crowned the limbo champ.
Day three and with sombreros in tow it was time to support the Loreto squad for their next encounter, this time against the Swansea side. The supporters were un peu fatigué so instead of walking to the match it was crucial to arrive in style, resting our tootsies at the same time! Oui, oui Monsieur trois speedboats s’il vous plaît (note our amazing bilingual phrases). The players didn’t disappoint and added another win to their tally with a 4-2 victory over Spartans. O’Meara’s one-legged-hop celebration continued from the clubhouse to the restaurant to the bar(s)! The final hockey day proved just as successful as the previous three with Loreto continuing their winning streak and taking gold!!! The team were set to join the supporters to celebrate a fantastic hockey trip with an even more fantastic end result. The one-legged hop re-emerged with the addition of the crab dance…very amusing. The local guys (not mentioning any names!) certainly seemed to think so that night! What a trip…we couldn’t have asked for more, well done to the team from all the supporters. Can’t wait for the upcoming social tournaments! G’wan L-O-R-E-T-O!!! [*No Spanish cucumbers were harmed in the writing of this article].
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