Overseas visitors add spice to special experience
Published 23/06/2015 | 00:00
Part of the beauty of the Féile Peil na nOg competition is that some lucky teams get to host visitors from further away than the island of Ireland. It's great for clubs to get the different accents in, with all 29 visiting counties represented, but there's something extra special about teams arriving from overseas.
St. Mary's (Rosslare) are one of those lucky clubs that gets to host an 'exotic' visitor. The Tagoat boys welcome Philadelphia representatives Delaware Gaels into their community and into their homes and they have plenty in store for their new American friends.
The club from the far side of the Atlantic are bringing as many as 75 visitors with them including 25 players, plus mentors and family. They arrived in Wexford yesterday (Monday) and are staying in self-catering accommodation in the beautiful Rosslare Strand.
Included in their itinerary are a few practice matches during the week and the obligatory trip to the beach.
They'll have a meet and greet with their host families on Friday evening after the boys play their games in Division 9, Group C.
Their game against their hosts Rosslare follows Saturday morning before they have a barbeque at the club and finish up the evening with a trip in to Innovate Wexford Park to see the All-Ireland qualifier between Wexford and Down. Also in that division are Kilmore and San Francisco.
The West Coasters are already in the country and will travel to Louth and Clare before heading to Wexford on Thursday. They are bringing 24 players and approximately 50 adults as part of their travelling party.
Because Kilmore are hosting Dunshaughlin in the girls' event, 24 host families are needed. The Californians will visit the local school on Friday before playing their games in the evening.
The hosts face the visitors in Kilmore on Saturday morning and then bring the day to an end with dinner in the Stella Maris Community Centre, which will be followed by a disco for the four teams. Sunday will hopefully see one or both heading to semi-finals and on to title deciders.
South London don't have quite as far to travel as their American counterparts but they are going to the equally beautiful location of Ferns to stay with their hosts. The Cockneys are travelling to the south-east with at least 20 players and four mentors.
There's a great buzz already building in Ferns for their arrival on Friday where they will be greeted by twelve host families, with many of them taking two children in for the couple of nights of the Féile competition.
They will play Ferns in the hosts' own facility on Saturday morning but will then travel for the knockout stages. There's sure to be plenty of excitement later in the day when the village hosts a parade of both Ferns and South London teams through the streets.
The hosts have then organised a barbeque Saturday night for the players, mentors and parents to mingle and discuss the weekend's action ahead of a big day of semi-finals and finals on Sunday.
Finally, Fethard red will be mixed with Scottish blue as a mixed group of boys from Glasgow and Edinburgh descend on the seaside village.
The visitors, who are expected to bring 22 players and at least ten adults, will arrive on Friday afternoon and will be greeted with some fun games to get them acquainted with their hosts.
After the evening matches are played in Fethard, both Scotland and their new friends head over to the local Chinese restaurant to get dinner together before retiring for the night.
The teams play each other Saturday morning in the final group game before heading to Piercestown for the start of the knockouts.
An exciting afternoon and evening is in store for the teams when they return to Fethard late in the day, with a trip to Hook Head organised.
The sides will have activities on the grass area, have a tour around the facilities and feast on a buffet barbecue while enjoying the evening.
Sunday sees the clubs head to Wicklow for semi-finals and finals with Scotland heading home after.
All in all there's a real sense of excitement around the county with the Féile just days away. The level of anticipation is particularly strong in those villages lucky enough to host different clubs from further afield and the weekend is sure to be a memorable one.
Check out our full fixtures guide over the next three pages and make sure to sample the action.