On Friday morning 28thJune Laragh United Under 14’s travelled to Donegal to participate in Feile Peil na nOg 2013. After a 2 and a half hour journey we arrived at the pitch to meet our host club Letterkenny Gaels.Following introductions and tea and sandwiches, the team began their preparations for the first game.
Laragh’s first game of the competition was against our host club Letterkenny Gaels at 1.30pm. With aid of a strong wind in first half Laragh built up a big lead with a number of points from Paul Smith & Pauric O’Reilly. With the combination of 3 crucial goals in the second half from Lee Reilly, Paul Smith and Sean Maguire, a wonderfully taken point by Mark Brady and some stout defending against the wind, Laragh came out on top 3-10 to 0-0.
Friday evening saw all teams assemble in Celtic Park for the parade through the historic Bogside area, through the city streets and down to Guild Hall Square where captain for the weekend, Adrian Lackey received a presentation from GAA Uachtaran Liam O’Neill. Following the parade the team returned to Letterkenny where the players met the families who were to look after them for the weekend.
An early start on Saturday morning saw Laragh board the bus and head for Buncrana for Day 2. There was an unexpected surprise when we arrived in Buncrana as we were greeted by the presence of the most famous cup in Ireland Sam Maguire. Hopefully this won’t be the last time some of our boys will get our hands on Sam. A large following from Laragh also greeted the boys as they took the field for the second game of the tournament against Buncrana. Laragh started brightly with points from Mark Brady, a brace of points from Barry Davies and a wonderful effort from Paul Smith from along the sideline. However Buncrana hit back with 2 goals right at the end of the half to lead at half time. Laragh put in a strong performance in the second half, full of heart, effort and some great score taking from the likes of Jamie Cooney, Max O’Dea, Eoin Walsh and Niall “Fitzy” Fitzpatrick and ran out winners on a scoreline of 0-13 to 2-02.
After 2 wins out of 2, this set up a decider with Tipperary Champions Clonmel Commercials to see who would progress to the semi final. Laragh were dealt a blow before kick-off when centre forward Mark Brady was unable to play due to an ankle injury. Playing against the wind in the first half Laragh through some resolute defending from the likes of Hayden Smith, Jake McGovern, Ciaran O’Grady and goalkeeper Dominic Gillick, meant Laragh were in a good position at half time. However Laragh suffered a second major blow just after half time when influential midfielder Paul Smith had to be replaced with an injury. After this loss, Laragh battled manfully however the Tipperary side’s greater strength came through in the end. The Laragh lads can hold their heads high as Clonmel Commercials went on the defeat Blessington in the Division 3 Final on Sunday morning.
In the skills competition, Pauric O’Reilly qualified for the Division final which took place in Carigbanein Derry. After a fine performance Pauric came 2nd.
Saturday evening, back in Letterkenny, the main event of the weekend, for the lads anyway, took place when over 8 clubs got to together for the disco. By all accounts the Laragh lads performed quite well here also!
Both Letterkenny Gaels and Laragh reassembled on Sunday morning at the football pitch to say our goodbyes and swap club flags. This was a wonderful weekend for all involved where lasting friendship has been formed. We would like to thank Paul, Dan, Steven and all the Letterkenny Gaels, and all the hosting families for their generosity and hospitality over the weekend. We would also like to thank the Laragh club and all those who travelled to Donegal / Derry for their support.