The Ireland U18s travelled to Scotland to play a 3 match series in Stirling (and under threat of snow!!) I was up at 5am to be at Dublin airport for 6.30! we arrived and as we travelled in the bus, we cam across SNOW covered fields :( things weren’t looking great for hockey. However as I dozed off the snow disappeared and we arrived at Stirling Albion centre and saw that the pitch was in a lovely setting of snow capped mountains in the background!
We were barely in the changing rooms 30mins when we had to get ready for our first game. We got out and the weather left something to be desired. 18 had travelled to Scotland and I was one of 2 goalkeepers. As we were warming up our coach was chatting to us and said, “… and today leading the team out is Jenna” and handed me the captains armband!! It was a huge honour and I hope I get to experience it again!
We won that game 3-1, after a slow start and letting the Scottish score first?! we then went back to the hotel for a well needed lie down and snacking on some lunch.
The second game was that night and again we experienced a slow start but we pulled it out and won 4-1! A successful but long day. We got some much needed dinner after a pool recovery session and then to bed for another busy day.
On the sunday we got up and trained, working on set pieces such as short corners. When it came to our third and last match we were right up for it and started the scoring early going 4-0 in the 1st half! we finished the second half off convincingly as well with 2 more goals but letting the scottish get one back. 6-1 final score.
Our coaches then broke it to us that we would be trying out the new penalties which we will come up against in the europeans in july. These were “interesting” for want of a better word. They involve the attacker starting with the ball on the 25yard line and they have 8 seconds to score. The keeper (me) starts in the goal and basically does everything (within the rules) to keep the ball out. This didn’t matter in terms of the series but we ended up drawing 3-3.
I had a great experience and I think the team bonded really well and everyone played brilliantly! I’m just glad I don’t have to pick the team!