On the July 2nd a group of 33 pupils from Years 8-12 will be traveling to Portugal and Holland on this year’s European Hockey Tour. Throughout their trip both Junior and Senior teams will play 4 matches against local clubs in both Portugal and Holland and experience a professional coaching session in one of the hockey capitals in the world, Holland. They will also have the opportunity to:
The heat welcomed us as the plane landed in Portugal where we would begin our hockey tour. We checked into our hotel and grabbed some local Portuguese cuisine before heading off to our first training session in the sun! We spent the evening relaxing by the pool before going for dinner and having an early night.
Day two started off with a training session led by Mrs Steen and Miss Doherty. We all found it hard to play hockey and run in the heat but luckily we had the water sprinklers to keep us cool. After our training session, we went to an aquarium which was full of different sea creatures including stingrays, otters, sharks and hundreds of different fish. The aquarium was orgnaised into different continents, where each environment was re-created to suit the needs of the different species. Kate Patton thought that the seahorses looked like tobacco onions floating in the water and Mr Donnell found this hilarious. In the evening, we played our first matches against a local club, both teams performed well in the warm climate. The juniors lost their first match 3-1 and the senior came out strong with an impressive 2-0 win!
When we arrived it seemed like a typical Northern Irish day with a huge fog bank blanketing the whole beach, but soon it lifted to reveal miles upon miles of golden sands and warm turquoise sea. We got the chance to surf, it was an interesting experience with some of the girls better than others! Returning to the hotel, all a bit tired and sunburned we lounged by the pool; more bonding time for all of us.
The girls travelled to Holland, again we were greeted with beautiful weather and our accommodation was in a lovely coastal location called Noordwijk. The tiring effects of travelling, non-stop activities and hockey were starting to take its toll on tour group. After settling into our rooms, we headed to a local hockey club to play our second matches, we knew it would be a huge challenge as hockey is the number one sport in Holland and so the standard of play is incredibly high. Both the junior and senior teams played really well against a very skilled and talented opposition. Unfortunately, both teams lost but showed determination and fought to the final whistle.
We walked down to the local hockey club where we warmed up for our international coaching session. We were taught new skills and techniques by the coaches and improved the ones that we already knew. After our tiring session in the sun, we were welcomed into the club house for lunch and snacks. We then walked back to our hotel after eating, looking through a few shops on the way. After a rest, we got ready to walk down to the pitches again to play our second match in Holland. By half time we were losing 2-1 but unfortunately the second half got cut short due to the stormy weather. Some team games were played in the club house whilst we waited for the weather to calm down before the walk back to the hotel.
Dunreilli Theme Park was an outdoor theme park attached to an indoor water park, with activities and rides that suited us all! Some of the thrill seekers among us enjoyed the roller coasters like the Falcon and the Dragonfly. After a spot of lunch and some chilling out time, the group heading into the Tiki pools water park. We had a great time going on all of the slides and a good laugh at some of the ‘graceful’ dives of our friends being jumping into the water from the doughnut slide.
Day 7 started off with our final hockey match of the tour, again the power of Dutch was too much for both teams. Despite our losses, we were pleased with the progress of our hockey since starting the tour, with individuals and teams all showing much promise. After the match, we travelled into Amsterdam where we went to the pancake house. In the pancake house we each got a massive pancake with topping of our choice, the pancakes tasted very good. We ended the day by going on a canal cruise around Amsterdam. During the cruise we learnt a lot about the city, we passed the Anne Frank building and heard all about the history of her and her family. We also passed a pirate ship and other historical landmarks of Amsterdam.
On the last day of the tour we arrived at the airport to travel home. The flight was not long and we landed at Dublin airport on time. After a three-hour coach ride, we arrived at Limavady Grammar school. We would like to thank Mrs Steen, Mrs Moore, Miss Doherty, Mr Donnell and Mr McSparron for organising and chaperoning us on the trip. All the girls’ standard of hockey improved greatly and lots of memories were made!