Oulart boys enjoy U12 Roscrea blitz
Boarding school opens its gates
One of Ireland's top boarding schools opened its gates to young hurlers from 32 clubs representing eight different counties recently, and a Wexford club was involved in what proved to be an exceptionally enjoyable event.
Under-12 stars from Oulart-The Ballagh G.A.A. club made the trip to Cisterican College in Roscrea where they were given a warm welcome and a wonderful day's hurling as part of a blitz that involved over 500 boys.
On arrival, teams were greeted by college pupils, staff and parents as well as All-Ireland winning stars Patrick 'Bonner' Maher and college past pupil Hugh Moloney.
Each club received a tour of the college by their designated ambassador and they were then brought for team and group photos in their club colours. The blitz was run with remarkable efficiency thanks to the large number of organisers, ambassadors and young whistlers.
Each team played three games in round robin groups with Borris-Kilcotton of Laois, St. Rynagh's of Offaly, and Ballinamere-Durrow (also Offaly) joining the Wexford side in one of the afternoon groups.
With eight pitches at their disposal, organisers had no issues with space and so the event flowed with only short breaks between games.
There was a wonderful atmosphere on the sidelines and games were played in a fantastic sporting spirit.
Everyone agreed that the unique opportunity for teams to compare their skills with those of sides from other counties provided a unique and exciting experience for both players and coaches alike, and as the sun shone down on the Cistercian College pitches those skill levels proved to be extremely impressive all around.
When the games had been completed, players, coaches and parents were treated to a hot meal in the school's canteen where all participants were given a goodie bag as a memento of the day.
The college's sporting director, Brendan McKeogh, was pleased with how the day had gone. 'Our success in the Leinster Rugby Schools Cup means that we have a strong reputation as a rugby school, but hurling is just as important to us and today provided a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our commitment to hurling,' he said.
'We offer scholarships for excellence in hurling as well as academics, rugby and music and we are hoping that some of the boys here today might apply for these, become a part of the CCR family and hopefully go on to hurl for their counties as so many past pupils have.'
The events were captured by photographers and those high-quality photos are available on the college's website (www.ccr.ie) along with information about scholarships and enrolment opportunities.
The success of this blitz means that it will now become an annual event and it will surely be seen as one of the prestige under-age occasions on the hurling calendar.