The Real Last Day

Hi all!
We have successfully made it back to the beautiful campus of Haverford College after a long day of travel! There’s not a whole lot to report today, but (as always) traveling from Dublin back to the US of A was an exciting journey. Also, a special shoutout and happy birthday to my Grammy- love you lots!
Okay, so before we all piled on the bus towards the Dublin airport this am, some squirrelz ran, some ate, some packed, and some (including myself) ran around Dublin doing some last minute souvenir shopping. We all met up and got on a HUGE bus (as compared with our other busses in Ireland thus far, in reality it wasn’t so large) with all of our luggage, sticks, and equipment to drive to the airport. Some highlights of the airport- the TSA lady checking my goalie bag caught a whiff and was horrified, some squirrelz got lost in the airport, some squirrelz got patted down, some squirrelz got croissants, and most importantly ALL the squirrelz (players, coaches, trainers, and family members) successfully made it onto the plane (and went through pre-customs) prior to departure #gofords! Also the lady who initially checked my bag later was the person who scanned my ticket as we boarded the plane and she remembered I was the “smelly girl” so that was cool.
Thankfully we boarded the plane on time and there were no apparent issues (unlike our first flight). We were all set and ready for movie marathons on the plane TVs, but three rows of (mostly) squirrelz sadly weren’t able to partake as their TVs were non-functional . No worries though, we were super resourceful and read/ did crossword puzzles/ played other games/ chatted/ slept/ ate (of course…)/ kept checking to see if the TVs started working to pass the time. Eventually we landed in Newark and luckily we had already been through customs so all the bags were retrieved quickly and successfully.
After the shock of 95+ degree weather and a joyous bus ride home filled with snacks, sleeping, chatting and reading we are back and as ready as we can be for preseason! Thank you all so much for your support and for reading our blog posts and we can’t wait to show off all our new international skills this season! Also check us out on FB and Twitter (@HCFords_FH) to stay up to date on our season!
PS Apologies on the belated posting of this final blog, I think I can speak for everyone when I say that I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

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The Last Day

Today we got to “sleep in” aka eat breakfast at 8:30 and leave by 9:30. We got on the bus and began the long trip to Northern Ireland somewhere near Belfast (like the one in the UK, not actually Ireland – very confusing). Cory was not in attendance today, and instead went to a hurling match.

After snoozing a bit on the bus and driving through some wonderful scenery, we arrived. We missed our turn to the hockey club/field we were playing at, and so our bus driver decided to back up to go back and make the turn. Unfortunately, there was a very tiny car behind our giant bus, and we may or may not have collided with it. But the lady we collided with was very nice and quite unfazed, there were no injuries. After she moved the bus driver continued on towards our destination (backwards once more, of course).

Eventually we arrived, and we got to the field. In our first clinic with Mick, we worked a bit on defense and on marking. Then we ate lunch – sandwiches and a very good potato and leek soup (shoutout to Chef Mary). After lunch we had a very informative video session. Then it was time for clinic round 2, this time more offensively focused, working on some new offensive formations, the “468″ and the “stack”. Team goalie also had a stroke competition with the coaches and would like to give a shoutout to goalie coach Steve who stopped a stroke wearing gloves but no other pads. We also worked a bit on our defensive corner setup. 2 clinics down, we had about an hour before our game would start. We sat in the very nice clubhouse and went out to play.

After an exciting and close game against a pretty good club team, we went back inside for dinner. Again, a special shoutout to Chef Mary for the wonderful dinner (salad, potatoes, mac and cheese, chicken) and dessert (a very delicious marshmallow, fruit and malt ball concoction or a meringue). She was super accommodating to all of the people with food allergies/dietary restrictions (which our team is notorious for).

We have had so much fun and have learned so much on this trip, both about Ireland and about the beautiful game of field hockey. It’s so hard to believe that we leave tomorrow, but we’re all looking forward to the upcoming season.

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Today we Hurled in Ireland

Haha, thankfully nobody threw up today, but did you know that hurling is the name of a very popular sport in Ireland!? Today we had the once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about the Irish sports Hurling and Gaelic Football from some club athletes. But before we tell you the funny stuff, let’s start at the beginning.
HCFH woke up bright and early to roll out on the lovely terrace above TGI Fridays in the brisk morning before a team run with Cory along the Liffey River to Phoenix Park! Fun fact: Phoenix Park is bigger than Central Park in NYC. At the park we did some speed and strength work, and ran back to our hotel. Steph and Brenna got in trouble with the hotel for trying to eat complimentary breakfast again.

After our exciting exercise, much of the team began their afternoon free time by shopping and galavanting around the city. Then, the team did what they do best. Eat! They took in the best that Dublin’s food market had to offer.

The team then took a bus to a field near the coast where Dara and Aylish, 2 GAA club players, along with our tour guide Dave, showed us the ropes in hurling and Gaelic football. Gaelic football is similar to soccer, but with many additional ways to touch the ball besides just your feet. They use a slightly heavier and harder ball, you can use your hands to pick up and pass the ball like a volleyball, and you can score goals not only into a soccer goal but also by kicking the ball through a field goal! And – there is much more physical contact. Practicing this sport was very fun and Sydney excelled at the field goal contest.

Hurling was very exciting to play because you use a paddle similar to a field hockey stick, but it is shorter and has a wider and flat bottom for smacking the ball. The ball was of approximately baseball size and hardness, and can be hit through the air like a baseball, or on the ground like in field hockey. You can also pick up the ball with your hand and hit with your hand or stick to pass and shoot. Like Gaelic football, you can use your hands and score in a traditional goal and field goal. AND, they wear hardly any protection!! These Irish ladies must be very tough and covered in bruises, because hurling involves lots of physical contact, a helmet, and no other body protection. The goalie included! Practicing was very fun and we gained much respect for these athletes. Nicole, one of our assistant coaches, really killed it at this sport, and unfortunately our field hockey skills did not translate well. Nonetheless, we had an amazing time!
After learning about these wonderful sports, we walked to the Railway Union club to play the sport we are all most comfortable with, field hockey! We played great and won 2-0! It was lots of fun, and we were rewarded afterwards with a delicious barbecue. Another successful day of hockey training and Irish fun in Dublin!
Peace out,
Kelly and Brenna

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Grand Tour

Greetings from day 3 of our Ireland adventure!

A couple special shout outs. First off, a very happy birthday to Abby who turned the big 2-0 today! Second, we would like to give a shoutout to Natalie’s grandparents who are big fans of this blog.

Today was a day full of good-old fashioned Irish “crack.” Led by our bus driver/tour guide Phil, we embarked on a 12 hour cross country journey to the Cliffs of Moher. Phil taught us many things, including using “crack” as Irish slang for fun and that some Irish roads are very narrow. At one point we were so close to another tour bus that the other group started waving and taking pictures of us through the bus windows.

On the way to the Cliffs we stopped at a castle on a hill overlooking the water (according to Phil, a popular destination for small group medieval banquets), a gorgeous old stone Abbey, a wishing well and a set of “mini cliffs.” We also drove through the Burren, a rocky and mountainous stretch of land, and then all the way down the western coast. As Phil continued to remind us, “the west is best” when it comes to Ireland.

4 hours later we finally made it to the Cliffs. We all stopped for a quick lunch in the Visitors Center, built right into the cliff side, and then went on to explore. The weather was beautiful again and the views of the cliffs hanging over the Atlantic were absolutely breathtaking. We all spent over an hour climbing around to see all the sights (and get the best pictures).

After our major stop at the Cliffs we started to head back for Dublin. On the way we stopped at another castle where we saw a wedding party having dinner outside a pub and we also stopped at the Barack Obama plaza/rest stop for a quick break.

Though it was a long bus ride, it was amazing to see so much of Ireland and so many sites older than our entire country. Tomorrow we have another busy day ahead of us featuring a hurling clinic and our second game!


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Thursday: Sports and Laughter

Today was full of working out, “stretching”, field hockey, sun, laughs, some tears, and a lot of team togetherness. We began early in the morning with a wonderful continental breakfast provided at our hotel. The entire team and coaches packed into the small and quaint breakfast room to enjoy a traditional Irish breakfast: eggs, sausage, toast, beans, tomatoes, and fruit. We began our first of three workout sessions with yoga, taught by Ashley (Cory’s wife). Dublin is currently experiencing a “heat wave” (65 degrees and sunny) so the park in which we did our yoga was extra serene. Plus, there were many observers in the park this morning while we did our yoga, including several young men twirling batons and a couple who couldn’t quite contain their summer love. The yoga was a little more difficult than we all thought, but we all felt strong and more flexible after the session.


In our free time before our first clinic, we enjoyed the sights, sounds, and smells of Dublin. The cobblestone streets and red brick buildings give the town an olden times feel, but it’s the diversity of restaurants and shops that make the city so fun. We ate a small lunch and then boarded the bus to go a session with Mick, the Irish Men’s National Team Assistant Coach. We played games, learned new tricks, and new phrases in Irish that I hope to use in my daily conversations. Mick said he was very impressed with our level of skill and capability on the “pitch”. After our two hour session in the sun, we took a quick break to rejuvenate before our first game. We played against a U-18 club team full of fierce fighting Irish girls. Your black squirrels played very well and we tried to incorporate our newly learned skills into the game. After the match, we enjoyed lasagna and fudge brownies in the club field house and scouted the men’s field hockey team.


Once everyone had returned to the hotel and showered, we went to a comedy club in the heart of Dublin. We were a little skeptical if we would understand Irish humor or slang, but our mass presence in the small room created a lot of communication and banter between the team (namely, Elena Veale) and the comedians. All in all, it was a very hysterical and fun cultural experience we enjoyed.


It was a great day full of many hours of field hockey and some great laughs. The only bad part of the day was our young Nikki Witte sustaining a bad ankle sprang (did I mention the other team held up the stereotype of the “fighting Irish”). Nikki is good spirits and doing well and is currently rocking some fancy Irish crutches.


We are excited to explore the rest of Ireland tomorrow!




HCFH and GW Academy…new friends!


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The First 30 Hours.

Greetings from Dublin!

0 Hours: We began our journey on the bus ride from Haverford to Newark in good spirits and lots of catching up. The gang was back together again. We were all decked out in our new HCFH gear, green Dublin shirts included as well as banana bread from our own Nikki Witte and green squirrel sugar cookies. Long lines through airport security started our long journey but we all made it to the gate ready to go.

Hour 5: We’re on the plane. Things are going smoothly, we all made it through security, no random screenings. We did it, team. The people ate beforehand, everyone is feeling ready to go, except for the pilot. He informs us that the plane is not in fact ready to go either because it has a “mechanical problem”.

Hour 7: We’ve changed planes. They forced us to leave our first plane, walk across the terminal, wait for another hour, and get on the new plane. This one seems to be working. We take off an hour and a half late. Spirits are still high (enough).

Hour 9: Airplane food, amirite? Not delectable. Good thing everyone ate before. Did this stop some people from eating? No. #HCFH #GOHARDORGOHOME

Hour 10: Some people watch movies, some played games, some had lively conversation, and some tried to sleep. Eventually we all try to sleep. Not everyone sleeps. However, they bring us coffee in the AM (AM as in 2:00AM our time). Times are tough. Literally, our brains don’t know what time it is.

Hour 15: We ARRIVE. Houston has landed. Spirits have returned. We all make it through customs in Dublin (another long line. awesome). Again, we did it team, part 2. Steph can’t find her stick, but we all get our luggage. After switching planes, this feels like a big win.

Hour 17: We are at the hotel, shove our bags into one room, and we’re off. First we roamed, then we returned, then we embarked on a two hour walking tour of Dublin with our tour guide, Ronan (the red-headed irishman with a handlebar mustache from Trinity, good guy.) Some highlights: Trinity College (learned about history of ireland), Old Parliament Building (by abercrombie and fitch), Dublin Castle (plot twist, it’s not really a castle, it’s a large red brick rectangle) (to be fair there was still a cool tower part left that used to clean clothes with pee), crossed some Bridges, and then went to the Spire. It is supposed to be their Eiffel Tower, but alas the irishmen and women do not  love their spire. Instead they have some choices nicknames (think vulgarity).

Hour 20: We disperse for lunch, it is a happy time as we love food. By this point we are exhausted and need sustenance, a nap, coffee, anything really.

Hour 23: FIELD HOCKEY TIME. We met a cool lady, and played on a nice turf. She was from the Irish International Club Team and we liked her a lot. We learned some tricks, played some FH, shot some balls. Fun was had by all. Then SURPRISE, sprints with Cory (after he already ran 100′s and 200 yard shuttles during our practice #withapurpose). The team did well, spirits remained high after this adrenaline rush. We are almost there.

Hour 27: We’re so close, it’s time for dinner. We FINALLY showered. This was important. We all smelled and it was sad. But then, rejoice, dinner time. Time to eat WHATEVER we want- and we did.

Hour 30: It’s time for bed. But first, we blog. Now, we sleep. Goodnight squirrels, til tomorrow.

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2015 Ireland Trip

The 2015 Haverford College Field Hockey team will leave for Ireland on August 11th and return August 17th!

The senior class will be blogging about their experiences in Ireland:

August 12th – Allison Martin
August 13th – Sydney Cone
August 14th – Sarah Waldis
August 15th – Brenna Boehman and Kelly Hancock
August 16th – Rachel Grunden
August 17 – Lindsey Lopes

Stay tuned to hear more about the team’s trip!

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