Thursday, October 20, 2011
City of Sports Welcomes Euro G.A.A.
The season end is approaching quickly and we’ve entered the final phase of training. This year, as part of Limerick being the European City of Sport, the final round of the Pan-European Championship & Shield will be hosted by UL.
We avoided the usual post-tournament dip last week and lads showed great eagerness to get straight back to work after Guernsey. The only hiccup was Friday night. I was back in Ireland but Conan was keeping me in the loop. The above picture was the scene at the appointed start time. Apparently there are three lads somewhere in the dark.
Everyone eventually arrived, citing a bomb scare for the delay. This is the second time they’ve pulled this one. The last time I bit my tongue and went home to check the internet and found nothing about it. I’m not sure I’d have been so gullible this time.
Conan is back on board full-time with the training. When he is ‘in’, you can barely buy five minutes of time at training to do stuff!! The chemistry has the right balance now though as we have two trainers hungry to take sessions and that should benefit all. Looking further ahead, it may also solve any potential trainer issues next year.
We have six sessions left and its clear guys are up for the last trip of the year. Darragh is back after a shoulder injury and looked like a man feeling the heat for his place after Olof and Griff’s performances in Guernsey. I thought he’d drifted into the periphery in training before he got injured but he was much more engaged on Tuesday night.
Practically all the regular trainers have got a shot on the Championship panel this year and it leaves us with a lot of options . We finished third in both the last two tournaments using over twenty players. The perception would have been that the team for the Belgian tournament was stronger than the one for Guernsey. However, with both groups achieving the same placings, it knocks that idea on its head a bit. There is great competition and the key thing in two weeks time will be getting the blend right to improve on the previous results.
The Championship has been the most competitive since we started playing in 2008. The amount of games which have been won by a point in the last two tournaments is unreal. The Hague and Guernsey have been a step ahead but ourselves and Lux have been there or there abouts. Jersey have been slightly further back while it’s difficult to judge where Stockholm are at. They missed the Guernsey tournament and were pitted in a tough group in Belgium against The Hague and Guernsey. Amazingly, we’ve yet to play them since they joined the ‘circuit’ so we’d look forward to the challenge of testing ourselves against them.
So, three sessions left in the British School and hopefully we will never have to return there again. It’s a pain in the ass to get to and the surface wrecks havoc on the body. In the week preceding Limerick, we move back to the VUB who have just laid a new astro. It will ensure we start the final week of the season on a good note.