Day 10 2015-04-12 21:39:00

DAY 10 – THURSDAY 9TH APRIL 2015

 

The last day!

And a long day, especially for those for whom Day 9 morphed into the early parts of Day 10!

Having got back from the Karaoke the sensible ones were soon in bed and asleep. For the rest, sleep was not the immediate concern. There was some good banter and some low jinks! One player was roused from his sleep at 2.45am to be told it was 8.30am! He had got up, got dressed and was brushing his teeth ready to go down for his breakfast when he was finally told that it was not quite 3.00am!

Regardless of what time each player went to bed all were up for 8.30am to head down for breakfast, and for the last time. The salty rashers got a bit of a hit! However, most were reluctant to simply abandon the good habits developed over the last nine days. A good player plays well but also trains well, eats well, drinks well, rests well, sleeps well and prepares well. That is what makes a good player great!

We have lived as professional footballers for the last ten days. It was good to see that not all went back to old bad habits straight away.

Most had their packing done since last night. Some had a few bits to do but we were checked out of the hotel and on the bus for 10.00am.

We have good and happy memories of our stay in the hotel. As we travelled out on the coast road with incredibly beautiful views as the deep blue Mediterranean sea licked the craggy coast a hush descended on the bus. Maybe, it was because we were tired. Maybe, we were just savouring the moment one last time and appreciating just how fortunate we were to have shared this experience together over the last ten days.

The quiet contemplation did not last long. Soon the banter gave way to a sing-song.

We went into the Sliema area of Valletta beside the harbour to do the last minute shopping. We had a good two hours to get whatever bits and pieces were needed.

It must be a goalkeeper thing! Gary and Zach got the most amazing sunglasses. “Cool” does not nearly describe the two boys strutting along the Strand. Kevin was very proud!

At 12.30 we headed for the airport. We were quickly through the various stages and then got something to eat before boarding the plane ready for the journey home. Before boarding the players made presentations to the coaches for all their good work over the trip. That was nice! Then it was onto the plane.

We were then delayed. Apparently there is one more bag on the plane than there should be. They had to totally unload the bags and each passenger, row by row, had to get off and identify their checked in bags on the tarmac to then load that bag back on the plane.

It was then more with relief than regret that we finally left Malta.

The flight was uneventful. A few slept for some of the way. Others just chatted. Bryan might have had an easier flight if only he had left his shoes on!

It seemed a shorter flight than on the way out and we were soon in Dublin. It was good to be back in Ireland. We soon collected our bags and managed to get everyone through Customs and Passport Control!

Our bus was waiting for us. We also had some rolls and drinks waiting for us which was very welcome.

The bus journey was short. There was good craic and more singing. The players made a presentation to Seamus for all that he has done for us over the ten days. Seamus is remarkable and it is great that the players recognise and appreciate that fact. Aaron also received a presentation as leading goal scorer on the trip. As promised the prize was a car. (Think of Fr. Ted – “Small – Far Away!”)

We were back in Athlone for 9.10pm.

There was a large crowd of family and friends there to welcome us home. We were soon unloaded and almost as quickly we were on our separate ways home to recount tales and events of an amazing ten days that we will never ever forget.

 

                                                         REFLECTIONS

 

It was, by any standards, a very successful and enjoyable trip to Malta.

Firstly, and most importantly, all 27 players returned home safe and well, happy and healthy.

We hope that all enjoyed the trip to Malta and it was, and will remain, a happy and memorable experience that will stay with them for some time.

As a football experience it was an outstanding success. We did not win the Tournament but that was not the primary objective. If we simply wanted to win the Tournament we would have picked very different teams.

But there was a conscious decision to select two equally matched sides. Even then we came very close to winning the Tournament.

The primary objective was to give every player plenty of football. The aim was to use the Tour for the players to be challenged, and to learn, develop and improve. Those aims were surpassed.

In total we played 12 games. We won 6, drew 2 and lost 4. We scored 31 goals and conceded 12 goals, keeping 5 clean sheets.

We also did good work on the training pitch and in match DVD analysis and on our set-up, shape and system of play. Players also better understand what is required to constantly improve and develop.

The coaches also learned a lot. The job of selecting 20 players for a Kennedy Cup Squad is even harder, if anything. That is a good thing.

As important, the young players also benefited from the experience off the pitch as much as on it. Hopefully, they will have grown and developed as young men from the experience.

Certainly, these 27 ADSL players represented their League, their families and their country with great distinction in Malta over ten glorious days.

The ADSL would like to thank each and all of the 27 players for a great trip. We also want to thank their parents and their families for their help and support.

We also want to thank the Coaches. Clive, Dermot, David and Kevin did a great job brilliantly. We are very fortunate to have such good coaches and good people looking after these talented boys. We are most grateful that they give so generously of their considerable expertise, experience and time to these young players.

We also want to thank Seamus McWalter. He is still a legend. What he does for these players and the manner in which he does it is simply incredible. We cannot thank or praise Seamus enough for all that he does for us and for these players. A mighty man!

We also want to thank Alex for all he did for us in Malta. We want to thank the organisers of the Tournament for a brilliant competition. We want to thank all the competing teams. The standard was good and consistent and was great preparation for us for the Kennedy Cup. We want to thank those teams who played us in the three friendly games and the great welcome given to us in Malta. We also want to thank the hotel and hotel staff and all we met in Malta for together making a fantastic and memorable trip.

Finally, we want to thank the ADSL committee for their support. Few, if any, Leagues give their players these types of experiences and opportunities. We should never forget that nor take that for granted.





Sponsors

Sponsors Sponsors Sponsors Sponsors