Our U12’s traveled to Italy taking part in the U12 tournament based in Milan on the May bank holiday weekend. All of us from Waterpark would like to thank all the coaches and the supporters who traveled, those who assisted in all the fundraising events that took place to assist them on their adventure.
But most importantly all the players, how they represented themselves with great pride and were outstanding ambassadors on behalf of the club. As they were presented with “Spirit of the tournament” award
Thank you to Keith Molloy for the write up on their adventure.
Waterpark Under 12’s travelled to Milan to participate as the Irish entry in the 2019 Mini 6 Nations Tournament on May 4th last. A touring party of 26 players 4 coaches and 43 parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, cousins and Aunts set off from waterpark Rugby Club at 2am on Friday 3rd May. The early start was no deterrent to the upbeat mood in the camp and it was evident from the outset that this was going to be a tour to remember. We arrived in Milan and after a short stop-off at an Aquapark went to the Welcome Party laid on by tournament hosts Pirati RFC. We were made feel most welcome by everyone there as our players mixed with the other players from all the other countries. It was no time before a game of indoor rugby broke out while the coaches and parents mingled their counterparts while enjoying the local pizza and pasta banquet laid on for us.
Unfortunately we had one casualty, Jamie cut his knee which ruled him out of the tournament but the brave lad remained up-beat and an integral part of the team which is an absolute credit to him. The team rallied around him and this set the tone and shone through everywhere we went and everything we did.
Early start Saturday in Pirati RFC for the opening ceremony where we marched behind the Irish flag with the other teams behind theirs and then lined up for the National Anthems, each team stood forward for their Anthem, we sang Amhran na bhFiann with gusto. The team beside us were short on numbers and asked us for some help singing theirs, we obliged and “Flower of Scotland“ was blasted out from both teams, another bond forged and a future fixture with Melrose RFC will be fulfilled. The Italian Federation President approached us and presented our Deputy President, JP, with their nations tie.
The rugby got under way and with Jamie and Callum out with knee injuries, the squad of now 24 went out and played the most wonderful, open, expressive and flowing rugby we ever witnessed from this wonderful group of lads. Everyone played their part in this team effort and no-one ever complained as we continually rotated the squad of 24 to play 11 a side. Each player was ready to go on or come off when asked, giving a high five to the exchanging player. With the motto of the competition being “WE PLAY “WITH” NOT “AGAINST” it was clear from the outset that the tournament was all about participation. This did not take from the competitive edge on the pitch as every player gave everything on the field of play as everyone was energised by the positive and encouraging atmosphere coursing through the tournament. It was sheer enjoyment. Captains exchanged gifts before games and shook hands, gave 3 cheers and chatted after games. Our lads grew better and better as the games went on and were gaining a reputation for being a team to watch by other teams as they looked on, we were so proud when the won but even moreso by the manner in which the behaved in defeat, it was no different to a victory. Lunch-time saw a continuation of the sporting nature when our team set up a football match with the English and Italian players, more friendships made. Back to the rugby and our most outstanding rugby was put on display. Our lads just seemed to be raising their game with the freedom that was being encouraged throughout the tournament.
Afterwards there was a prize giving ceremony where each team called to the stage and given a plaque for their participation and it was after that ceremony that we were called to the stage again for what is the tournaments most prestigious award, the “SPIRIT OF THE COMPETITION” trophy. This trophy was a testimony to the manner in which the players applied themselves both on and off the pitch and also to the formidable support of their families both with us and at home. This group lit up the competition from the moment they arrived and each and every one should be proud of that fact.
This tour was a combined effort of organisers, sponsors, contributors and well-wishers. A huge thank you to everyone who made it possible. Also a huge thank you to the players and their families who made it the special tour that it was and to Pirati RFC, our hosts, it will live forever with those who experienced it. My fellow coaches and I know, it was a special tour for us too.
Keith, JP, Niall & Sean
Link to pictures.