Colts Training
The final Colts session of the season is next Sunday (30/06/19) and unlike some Clubs who charge 4 times as much and finish their season in late March/early April, we keep going as long as the kids and coaches are willing. Next Sunday will see fun & games/tea & coffee & some surprises. It will start at 11am for Secondary School kids and 12 noon for Primary School kids.

Armagh’s Under 14 Extreme 8’s
~Chairman’s Cup~

Mullingar were the only Southern Ireland representative at a Tournament marking the 25th celebrations of Armagh Hockey Club. Mullingar’s senior Men’s side knocked Armagh out of last season’s Irish Challenge Cup, but their visit to the Midlands had such an impact, that our under 14 Boys side were invited to compete against some very illustrious opposition.

This was a day out that will stay with the eleven lads that travelled up to Ulster for a long time. Starting out from the Loreto at 7:30am, the trip up was very enjoyable, on the Christy Salmon party bus. Match 1 was against Banbridge, who would have been among the favourites for the tournament. We gave as good as we got, but went down to two late goals. In truth we never troubled their keeper, but we were only finding our feet, so it was all good.

Match 2 was against the home side Armagh and we were extremely unlucky to come away on the wrong side of a 1-0 score line-line. The lads were now starting to find their feet and were starting to express themselves on the pitch. Match 3 was against the eventual winners and although we lost 3-0, we weren’t anyway disgraced by the effort put in, as John Fry and Owen Wiltshire were every bit as good as their illustrious opponents.

Match 4 against Bangor was the only game where we dropped our heads and fell out of the game to 3 early goals. Saying that, this game produced a moment of magic, that had the vast number of spectators talking about and for under 14’s it was pretty amazing. A shot by Rian O’Neill was well saved by the Bangor keeper, but the ball rebounded up in the air, over Darragh Clarke’s head, only for him to swivel around and with his back facing the goal, gave the equivalent of an overhead bicycle-kick, as he pulled on the ball and brought another great save out of the keeper. If he had scored, it would have been one of the best goals this Hockey follower had ever seen.

Match 5 was against Antrim and it could have went either way, but ended in stalemate, with neither side finding a way past some in form keepers. One downer in this game, was a nasty injury to Hugh O’Sullivan-Sexton, after he came off worse for wear after a collision, which put him out of the tournament. But his injury turned out to be a bad sprain, so he’ll be back in no time.

The play-off game for 5th/6th spot was again between us and Antrim. This was a cracker of a game, with neither side wanting the wooden spoon. We were outstanding in this game and a bullet of a shot by John Fry, saw us take a 1-0 lead, which we looked like maintaining, until the final minute, when Antrim scored a controversial goal. As the game entered extra-time, the Antrim discipline evaporated and with Mullingar maintaining their composure, it saw two Antrim players taken off for unsavoury incidents, which never affected Mullingar in the slightest. On to a penalty shoot-out competition to decide the winner and with Antrim up first, Mullingar’s in-form keeper, only narrowly failed to keep it out. Rian O’Neill made no mistake with Mullingar’s opener. Antrim’s second effort was brilliantly saved by Joshua Matthews. The coolest lad in Armagh in the guise of Keenagh’s Owen Wiltshire, who scored what looked like an extremely well taken goal. So up stepped the Antrim forward, who knew he had to score to keep the game alive, but with Matthew’s in the Mullingar goal sprinting out, to put him under pressure, the Antrim player went with a lob over young Joshua, but the ball drifted wide and Mullingar had claimed a well earned 5th place.

Mullingar squad:
Joshua Matthews, Hugh O’Sullivan-Sexton, David Trower, Michael Fry, Darragh Clarke, Cameron Wiltshire, Ronan O’Neill, Alex Lynch, Owen Wiltshire, John Fry and Rian O’Neill.
Coaching team:
Stephen Wiltshire, Stephen O’Neill and Colin Watters.

With the awards in progress on the side of the pitch, to the eventual winners Portadown, who beat Banbridge in the final, it was a Portadown player, Spencer Collie who won player of the tournament, which was very much deserved. On to goalkeeper of the tournament, which was voted on, by all the other coaches and who won it, only Mullingar Hockey Club’s Joshua Matthew’s, who thanked his defenders for giving him so much work to do, which was said with tongue firmly in cheek. An award that was richly deserved and Joshua like his team mates, have a bright future in the game, hopefully with Mullingar HC.