Under 11 Hurlers Continue On Tour > Waterford - Ballygunner and Tramore

July 4th 2021

We celebrated American Independence Day by another celebration of post lockdown freedom by getting back on the road. We hit the west a few weeks ago. In our four province covenant for summer 2021 this week we were Munster and south bound. Waterford to take on the Déise.

We had a travelling contingent of over 30 players with sibling and supporting numbers swelled to 44 by the prospect of some nautical fare on offer after the hurling.

Some even made a break for the sunny south east the night before with contingents taking up halfway house residence in Tipperary and Wexford with a Keane / Commins group even establishing a Waterford city beachhead on Saturday night. The passage west ferry saw the first time that some young kilmacud hurlers travelled to a match by boat! The novelty!

Our crew followed instructions and we converged upon Ballygunner’s James McGinn Complex for 10.30 am. A very impressive setup with indoor and outdoor hurling arenas and an all weather facility that we were able to avail of for our warm up and to complete our Covid Return to Play Protocols. A lovely gesture from Ballygunner Juvenile Chairman Seán McCarthy who came to welcome our lads to Waterford and wish us well in his native Wexford’s Purple and Gold.

We fielded three mixed ability 10 a side teams, Kilmacud Crokes - Gold - Purple - White.

Each team played 3 games. The pace, intensity and touch of our opponents was exactly what we wanted to encounter. Every ball was contested and fought for. Every score hard earned. Plenty of learnings for the day. We didn’t win every match or matchup but all of the Crokes sides prevailed in at least one of their games.

A notable feature was many of those making their first trip on the road with us and a number of guesting younger brothers really stepping up to shine. A particular pleasure to see.

Ballygunner made sure our energy levels were maintained by providing each team with a booster pack of goodies to keep the motors running! Very thoughtful.

The hurleys were packed away but no one was heading off. More fun to be had.

To paraphrase the 2 Johnnies - Summer Tune ‘Sundays in Tramore, Fish & Chips, Chasing ‘Waves’….’ We were bound for the big strand.

There were those fish & chips, packed lunches, Ardkeen Stores treats, candy floss, cones and ceapairí but appetites were sated and we were ready to go again.

Billy, John and the team in the Freedom Surfing School were superb. They took our group of 44 in 2 cohorts and everyone learned how to get up, stay up and surf safely.

And the weather played its part. A warm sunny Sunday with a nice stormy feel to get the white horses dancing. Perfect surf.

The boys (and girls) had a ball. Bobbed and weaved and slipped, stood and surfed. A great activity to round up the trip.

The last of the cash was pooled and we hit the hurdy gurdies for dodgems, twisters and metal monsters that drove the last adrenaline spikes of the weekend.

To top it all off who did we meet at the promenades sandcastle cafe. Amidst the chips, cones and cans - the man himself, John Mullane, loving his county, and happy to pose for photos with the dubs . Only in Waterford.

A long and satisfying day, the skies darkened and opened as we wound our way home. With hurlers (and now surfers) dozing in the back of cars after another jam packed road trip.

Many thanks to our hosts in Ballygunner, Billy and Team in the Freedom Surf School and to all those who helped with organising (a special word for Joanne Keane who sorted the surfing and the sunshine) and everyone who traveled down for the weekend.