Last month 69 kids and 49 adults, from Bellurgan United, travelled by bus and ferry to Prestatyn in North Wales to compete in the SCI Schoolboys Soccer Tournament.
After the settling into the accommodation in Pontins Prestatyn the teams from the age groups u10’s, u11’s, u12’s & u13’s kicked of 2 days of competition in glorious sunshine.
Considering the difference in ages, as the UK use September to September to categorise kids age groups, all the teams did exceptionally well, with teams winning matches in all age groups. And with the large travelling support group each team received massive encouragement from the side-lines. Notable highlights were the under 11 age group where Bellurgan Celtic received the referees nominated Fair Play Award for excellence in Sportsmanship over the whole weekend. Bellurgan United u11’s who finished 2 points clear and top of their league table and keeping 7 straight clean sheets over the 2 days and progressing to the under 11 final. They conceded their only goal of the weekend in the final minute of the final but both players and coaches were delighted with the outstanding performance.
The under 13’s also had a significant performance over the weekend narrowly missing out on silverware by just one point, again taking the age difference into account this was a fantastic and very encouraging performance.
However, the more important aspect of the weekend was the significant bonding experience, not just of the kids but also the adults. The kids had a wonderful time outside of the football enjoying the facilities at Pontins Prestatyn and the experience of travelling, rooming and eating together for four days. From first leaving Bellurgan at 6.00am on Friday morning to the return at 7.00pm on Monday evening it was non-stop fun and an experience that will live long in the memory for everyone who was involved.
The final highlight of the weekend came with the awards ceremony on the Sunday evening. A gala show, hosted by former Liverpool player Gary McAllister, was put on with superb music and lighting effects and an electric atmosphere. There were some very proud parents and coaches in the venue as the kids took to the stage, to the sound of the Champions League themed music, to accepted trophies from the Liverpool Legend. Bearing in mind there was a large proportion of Liverpool fans in the Bellurgan delegation it was doubly sweet. The biggest cheer of the night went to the u11’s when presented with their Fair Play trophy.
This was a fantastic way to finish of the sporting weekend and a great memory to cherish. The other highlight of the weekend was to witness how the kids handled themselves. Throughout the journey over and back and while in Prestatyn, always turned out in the new travelling club gear, the kids represented themselves, their families, the club and the area with impeccable behaviour. Before arriving back in Bellurgan talk had already turned to planning the next adventure.
Finally, there is a group of people to whom the club would like to give special thanks to because without their support this trip would not have been possible. We are referring to our coaches and just when they thought they were getting a well-earned break with the season finished we asked them to give up another weekend of their time. They did so without hesitation which shows their commitment to the club and to the kids.
“So we would like to say thanks very much to Richie, Sean, Declan, Michael, Paddy, Gavin, Tiernan, Pat, Niall, Neil, and Alec for your work over the weekend.
“We would also like to thank the Carrickdale Hotel for generous sponsorship towards the travelling kit for the kids, parents for their fundraising activities and support and the Magic Hill Brewery for their sponsorship of the new u10 kit.
“I would also like to thank John Cotter who was hopping in and out of taxis to get to the different venues for photos and comments to keep everyone back home up to speed through Facebook.
“Finally, a big thank you to the kids, who were brilliant, a credit to the club and a credit to their parents.”