What a few weeks its been for our Irish Independent sponsored U-12's. It started on Wednesday 25th, April when Niall Scannell kindly came to our clubhouse to give our players some words of encouragement and present the tour gear prior to their departure to London. It was a great evening for the players & a fantastic way to kick start their tour experience. A huge thank you to Niall for giving us his free time to come and make the experience special for the players & their families
On the Friday the tour party met at Cork Airport for their Aer Lingus flight to London Heathrow.
We arrived in London on time & made our short transfer to our hotel in Heathrow. A quick dip in the swimming pool followed by dinner in the hotel restaurant. Then it was of to bed for some well deserved rest before another eventful day.
On Saturday it was up for breakfast, get the gear packed and onto the bus. We headed of in the direction of southwest London to Barnes RFC for a fantastic morning of rugby where we played Barnes RFC & SC Frankfurt 1880. There was some fantastic rugby played by all teams involved.
Barnes RFC hosted all the teams in their clubhouse with a wonderful spread of food for all & there was a fantastic party atmosphere in the clubhouse. We said our goodbyes & thank you's to our fabulous hosts & it was back on the bus for a short trip Hazlewood, the home of London Irish Rugby Club. Another fantastic memory was created when Declan Kidney addressed our players and presented them with their Irish Independent sponsored festival jersey.
After a great evening at London Irish it was another short journey back to our hotel in Heathrow for some downtime before dinner. There was some post entertainment laid on by our quiz master while the adults enjoyed some refreshments before we all retired to bed.
The big day arrived, it was rugby festival day in London Irish. A slightly nervous bunch met for breakfast and were joined by the players. After breakfast it was up to pack the bags and load onto the bus, just a short ride to London Irish but the players & coaches were relaxed & optimistic after playing such wonderful rugby on the Saturday. We headed to our marquee which was to be our base for the day. The parents got to work making sandwiches & cutting fruit, getting ready to feed & water the players for the day.
The team warmed up & got ready to take on the four teams in their group. A great effort & some fantastic rugby saw the team progress to take on Farnham RFC in the final game of the day. The team continued to battle hard against some big lads but came out on the right side of the result.
After grabbing a a bite to eat we were on the journey home, arriving late on Sunday night in Cork Airport 'where we were met by hundreds of fans' (slight exaggeration).
We then had the return visit from our friends from Barnes RFC the following Saturday. Some super games of rugby between Dolphin RFC, Barnes RFC & Cork Con in sunshine conditions in Dolphin RFC, followed by food & drinks for all in the clubhouse. It was the perfect end to the playing season for our team.
Finally I would like to thank players for representing Dolphin RFC in the way they have. They showed through determination and grit to get the results while always being respectful to whom ever they met along the way both on and off the pitch. You are a credit to yourselves, your families & your club.
None of this would have happened without the extremely dedicated group of coaches who not only gave up their free time to coach this group of players for the last number of years but who worked tirelessly to make this an unforgettable tour that will never be forgotten.