Fillies → Loreto juniors cheer on the Girls in Green!

Loreto juniors cheer on the Girls in Green!

It may have been the day of the “All Ireland Hurling Final” and the last day of the Ryder Cup 2012, but for over 140 children from Loreto Primary School there was only one place to be on Sunday 30thSept last and that was in UCD, cheering on the Irish Ladies Hockey Team who were playing against Scotland in the Electric Ireland FIH Champion Challenge 1.

Three buses transported the 140 Pupils, twelve volunteer parents, Sr. Katriona Joyce and Sr. Maria Hyland (Principal of Loreto Primary School) from their school in Grange Road in Rathfarnham to the National Hockey Stadium in UCD.  The children were all pupils from 4th, 5th & 6th classes and a very larger portion of them were Junior Members in Loreto Hockey Club.

All the Children were brilliantly dressed up in all sorts of very imaginative Irish supporters clothing and it was very evident that the pupils themselves had put a lot of thought and effort into their supporters outfits. Indeed upon seeing the pupils in their fantastic supporters outfits, it was very clear to the Judges that trying to pick a winner of the “Best Dressed Supporter” in each class, was going to be very very difficult.

Everything about the day was so good from start to finish. Even the expected bad weather failed to materalise. Not sure if it was some “divine intervention”!!! by Sr. Maria, but miraculously just minutes before the buses arrived in UCD, all the dark clouds hovering over UCD suddenly disappeared out of the sky, and for the next two hours UCD was in glorious sunshine.

[pullquote style=”left”]”We knew from the wonderful rendition of Ireland’s Call, that the pupils of Loreto Primary School would be the Irish Team’s 12th man” – Nikki Symmons[/pullquote]Twenty two of the pupils were beautifully turned out in their very smart new school tracksuit bottoms and hoodies. These pupils were selected to be the “Official Mascots” and they got the great thrill of walking out with the Irish and the Scottish players and standing with them for both National Anthems. As “Official Mascots” the girls were simply brilliant and all performed their tasks perfectly.

A big “thanks” to all the Irish and Scottish players, who took time to say a few kind words to the children.

The week before the match, the teachers in Loreto Primary School taught the words of  ”Ireland Call” to all the children and on the Friday before the International match, Sr Maria got all the children out to the schools playing fields where “Ireland Call” was rehearsed quite a few times!!.

Loreto schoolgirls were out in force to support Ireland at the Champions Challenge

So given all the practice the children put in, it was no surprise that the singing of the Irish Anthem in the stadium was simply fantastic. The pupils sang their hearts out and all the Irish players commented later that day about how much of “a lift” it gave them. As Nikki Symmons (Ireland most capped player ever) put it-
“”We knew from the wonderful rendition of Ireland’s Call, that the pupils of Loreto Primary School would be the Irish Team’s 12th man”.

The match itself was a very intense game. Ireland started well and were very unlucky to concede a Catriona Ralph goal from a penalty corner right on the stroke of the half-time. The children of Loreto Primary School never stopped singing songs of support and encouragement, and even when the Irish team was trailing 1-nil, the children could be heard singing robust renditions of “you’ll never beat the Irish” all round the stadium. Every time Loreto’s own International Players Niamh Small and Nikki Symmons got the ball there was great excitement and enthusiastic vocal support from the children in the stands.

With 11 minutes of the match remaining and with the pupils roaring her on, Loreto’s Nikki Symmons worked a left-wing cross to the teenage Katie Mullan, who in a tight space picked up the ball on her reverse stick and slammed  home an unstoppable shot making it 1-1. With the clock counting down in the final minute there was plenty of action. Scotland were awarded a penalty corner in the 70th minute which the Irish Keeper Emma Gray saved brilliantly with her stick thus ending the match in a 1-1 draw.

It was wonderful for the children to see the fantastic skills of all the top International Players on display and to see a game of hockey played at such speed and intensity. There was no shortage of drama in this game that had everything, two goals, nineteen penalty corners, one disallowed goals, Ariel balls, Drag-flicks, superb tackling, resolute defending and incredible commitment from both sets of players. – The game really did “Showcase International Hockey” at its best.

On the day a number of Loreto Hockey Club Members volunteered to give up their Sunday afternoon in order to ensure everybody from Loreto Primary School was well looked after and had a great day out. So a massive “Thank You” to all the Hockey Club Volunteers, Gemma O’Flynn, Amy Boyd Lyons, Ciara Vincent, Kate Kirwin, SJ Kelly, Noreen O’Riordan, (our official Photographer) and the one and only Cara “don’t worry Bronnie I’ll clear absolutely everybody out of the stands to make room for all from Loreto Primary School” Brophy, as a club we are very lucky to have such great members willing to give of their time.

Many thanks also to Katie Roche and Fiona Mills and all in the Irish Hockey Association for all their fantastic support and assistance in this very successful Loreto Hockey Club / Loreto Primary School joint venture.

The day was a great success and it is one which the children of Loreto Primary School will not forget in a long time. And sure who knows, maybe this wonderful occasion will inspire some of the children who are clearly “Hockey-mad” to go on to become future Irish Hockey International Players themselves.  – So keep practicing girls!!!

“Loreto Juniors @[65640264466:274:Irish Hockey Association] Champions Challenge”

From Loreto Juniors, posted by on 9/30/2012 (5 items)

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