Sports

First ever hockey festival hailed as a huge hit

Thursday, 13 April 2017

SATURDAY, April 8 will be recorded as a landmark day for Armagh Hockey Club, as they hosted their first ever junior girls' tournament at Ardmore.

The tournament attracted teams from Banbridge, Dromore, Dungannon and Portadown Ladies Hockey Clubs.

Each club entered teams in the Primary 4 to Primary 7 age groups, with the host club Armagh entering two teams in each category.

The morning had a perfect start with unbroken sunshine and warm temperatures, which set the scene for a momentous day that was to follow.

With over 240 children participating in the tournament it was not long before Ardmore sports complex was a hive of activity.

Play got under way at 10.30 with invited guests Portadown and Dungannon playing in the opening encounter, this was followed by both Armagh teams in each age category playing and the third set of opening matches saw Dromore compete in a derby match against neighbours Banbridge.

The tournament ran on a league basis with each team playing the other five teams once.

Due to the fact that results would be decided upon the team with the most goals, if two or more teams tied on points, resulted in all teams playing an attacking and adventurous style of hockey.

The very large support from parents, grandparents, siblings, club representatives and coaches helped to create a carnival atmosphere which was accompanied with live music throughout the day, face painting and hockey skills competition running in conjunction with the main event.

Parents of the Armagh girls, together with committee members, ensured that everyone was adequately catered for throughout the event with a beautiful café being run from the Recreation Centre, barbecue serving everything from bacon baps for breakfast to hamburgers and a variety of hot food and a new format healthy 'tuck shop' replacing traditional confectionary with healthy choice options. The Bean Machine Coffee Company Armagh provided welcome refreshments and savoury foods.

All proved to be very much appreciated by the large number of spectators in attendance being in excess of 300.

Grateful thanks must be extended to parents and committee members who give of their time to make the event such a success by fulfilling all of the catering requirements, face painting, raffle ticket sales and first aid provision.

Members of both the ladies' team and men's team undertook the responsibility of umpiring each of the 60 matches that were played and the committee would like to thank all of the members, who did a fantastic job in this regard allowing matches to flow, whilst umpiring with impartiality throughout.

Without the willingness of the coaches this event could not have been run.

Each Saturday from September to June all coaches willingly give of their time voluntarily and their commitment was rewarded on Saturday with every girl playing to their full potential in a tournament, which captured everything that is great about sport, fun, participation, enjoyment and comradeship.

This event would not have been possible without a team of people and businesses willing to lend their support including Pinkerton's of Armagh, Fane Valley, The Bean Machine Coffee Company Armagh, World of Sport Armagh, Armagh Sports and Trophies and Total Hockey Banbridge.

The trophies for each age category were generously provided by the following Christine Russell of CR Coaching, Armagh, Michael Dickson of CT McAlpine & Son Solicitors, Dungannon, Tim Taylor of Taylor's Opticians, Portadown and Gillian Smith of Markethill Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic.

The results in each category were:

Primary 4 CR Coaching Shield -
Winners Portadown, second Dungannon and third Dromore Hockey Club.

Primary 5 CT McAlpine & Son Solicitors Shield -
Winners Portadown, second Dromore and third Armagh Hockey Club.

Primary 6 Taylor's Opticians -
Shield Winners Armagh, second Dromore and third Banbridge Hockey Club.

Primary 7 Markethill Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic Shield -
Winners Armagh, second Portadown and third Dromore Hockey Club.

Armagh Hockey Club would like to convey their deepest gratitude to each team who partook in their inaugural tournament, all supporters for creating a wonderful atmosphere, parents and businesses for their support with the event and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council for their co-operation and assistance.

Without everyone's support this venture would not have happened.

Finally to every young girl who partook, congratulations you played wonderful hockey and were a credit to your coaches and club.

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