The under 15 and 17 footballers from Uist and Barra recently went on the road when they travelled to Ireland to take part in the Galway Cup Final.
A contingent of 31 boys and six adults left the Isles on July 31st, had an overnight stop in Glasgow, before heading to Cairnryan and the ferry over to Larne before travelling on to Dublin.
The group arrived at the Clarion Hotel at Dublin Airport - 4 star luxury – and met up with other teams from Finland, Sweden and other parts of Ireland. The Tournament itself was over three days and both teams got off to a rather poor start on the first day with performances below the standard.
But the performances on the second and third days produced far better results and although the under 15s failed to register any significant results the performances were encouraging to say the least.
There was also the challenge of the Islands lads – aged between 13 and 14 – playing against lads of 16 (eligible in Ireland to play under 15).
and at that age the physical side of the game is significant.
A huge learning curve and experience which the lads will take into the next few years of competition.
The under 17 team on the other hand performed pretty well, especially on the last day and took four points out of six to give them a third place finish.
The eventual winners were ESP Academy who are an U18 side (again in Ireland 18 year olds are eligible to play at U17 level) and although they beat the Island lads 3-1 on the first day, the game itself was very tight, with Taylor Linich firing the Uist and Barra boys ahead only to have the game taken away from them by two offside decisions which went in favour of the home side.
ESP Academy pipped Athlone Town to the title and after playing Athlone Town on day two. Thanks to the people who helped make the trip happen: Stuart Menzies, Damie Steele (Hebridean Smolts); Qinetic (Joan MacIsaac); Donald Manford; David Blaney; Uisdean Robertson; Archie Campbell; Neil Beaton, Shearwater; MacInnes Brothers; Margaret and Morag at the Polochar Inn; Hector MacLeod at Third Sector Hebrides; Katie MacNeil in Barra; Barra Football Club; Caledonian MacBrayne and the adults on the trip: Roddy (Jinky) MacIsaac; Willie McaAulay; Martin Sloss; Matthew MacDonald; Ross Sutherland and Craig Cooper. The invitations for next year are already flooding in with Galway (again), Liverpool, Holland, Loch Lomond International, Italy, Spain and Germany offering us places, so thinking caps are at the ready!