Under 13s Tour to Ennis
The last year and a half has been a journey for everyone in different ways, but for a bunch of young lads from Salmo it was a different experience. As U11s & U12s this team was due to travel to London Irish for what is spoken about as the finest experience in team-building that DLSP offers. Unfortunately , this now-U13 team has the unique accolade of having both tours cancelled.
With that as the backdrop to the story, discussion began about how we could, in any way possible, fill the void. Enter coach James Graham who had discussions with a work colleague who happened to be involved with Ennis rugby club. After some short discussions, it was set. The team would travel to play Ennis and stay overnight – the boys' first tour was born.
On the 9th October the group of 24 players & 24 parents departed Salmo at the early hour of 8.30am. It was evident from the beginning that team bonding was not something that would need much assistance from coaches and elders. The lads had this taken care of from the start.
The bus arrived for its first stop at Derg Isle, a few miles from Kilalloe. Derg Isle is an adventure centre and the boys spent there time canoeing/kayaking while on the assault course the groups pulled each other over the line to much encouragement. The parents, meanwhile, took the opportunity for lunch and refreshments in the sun at Kilalloe.
Back on the bus then, for the short trip to Dromoland (the Inn, not the Castle), which was our overnight venue. The boys were off the bus and in the pool before Mark Fox had his bag off. From there it was tag rugby and some time in the play area before the boys sat down for dinner. Well fed, the lads headed upstairs to the cinema room, while the parents were fed and watered (the bonding not being solely for the young ones).
The next morning was an early rise for a pre-match breakfast, which for one unnamed person, involved 19 pancakes. It was the dieticians day off. We were welcomed at Ennis Rugby club by a team that looked like they ate 19 on a regular basis. We had a tough start to the game, but finished on a high running in a couple of brilliant tries in the final minutes. This team never gives in!!
But this was about more than just a game, this was about a team. As the bus had its final stop at Barack Obama plaza on the way home, you could clearly see a different bunch of lads as they demolished their Supermacs. And as they arrived back in Salmo, there was a different team saying goodbye to each other as they left. A success in everyone's eyes.
Special thanks must go to James Graham for match and hotel planning, Mark Fox for Derg Isle and Mike Connolly for controlling the purse strings.
We’re already planning the next tour !!