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.