Sunday the 31st of October will be a day that lives long in the memory of everyone involved with Tir Conaill Harps. After years of hard work and dedication Tir Conaill Harps are now U12’s Scottish Champions.
The day started ominously enough with the heavens opening and torrential rain forecast for the day. Thankfully however the clouds parted just in time for throw-in. A big crowd had gathered to support the youngsters from both sides and with Danny McGowan bringing along a Tir Conaill Harps flag club heirloom, (Which was older than any of the children in the starting line up) all the lucky charms where in place and the kids where raring to get started.
The game it’s self started of frantically with Tir Conaill Harps getting two early goals, and the coaching staff and crowd couldn’t have asked for a better start. However Coatbridge Davits had not held onto the status of champions for the last number of years for no reason. The quality within their team was never in doubt and it was inevitable that they would start to claw their way back into the game. They managed to find a goal and point before the break to bring it within 2 points at half time.
The second half was a tight affair and the Harps had to be on their guard to defend the onslaught from Coatbridge. However the youngsters stood and faced the challenge head on and made some crucial interceptions and blocks along with some vital saves from the goalkeeper to keep themselves in front. The game could have went either way at this point, but the young Harps where determined not to let this game get away from them and truly stepped up to the mark to put together a wonderful passage of play which resulted in a spectacular goal. The Harps had now put some daylight between themselves and Coatbridge and although there was still another score or two to be had Tir Conaill managed to control the game well until the full time whistle blew. When it did the cheer from the crowd and coaches would have been vociferous no doubt, but they were drowned out by the Harps roar created by the players on the pitch and their fellow teammates on the sidelines who where ecstatic in their jubilation. The full time score was Tir Conaill Harps 3-01 Coatbridge Davits 1-03. Tir Conaill Harps where now U-12 Scottish champions.
It’s been over a decade since Tir Conaill Harps last won the U-12 Championship and so much work has gone on in the background to get the club into this position. When Anton Gallagher took over as Chairperson back in 2019 he had a huge job on his hands to sort out all areas of the club. But he knew the future of the club was the youngsters, so along with Christina Duffy they made it a priority to focus on the youth structure setup. Without their tireless work and input into the club the Harps would not be where they are today. So a big thank you must go to them both. Huge gratitude must also go to the coaches of the U12’s. Gareth Doonan, Conor Murphy and Danny Docherty who have put so much hard work and effort into training the kids to teach them the skills needed to become champions. More than that they create an excellent environment for these young people to grow and make lifelong friendships.
For all the parents, and extended family members we offer a sincere thank you for all the hard work and travelling you do to help out. We truly do have an amazing Harps family. But the biggest thank you must go to the players themselves for all the work and effort shown throughout the season. They have been fantastic all year and it has been a pleasure to see them develop as individuals and collectively as a team which has been capped off in the most spectacular of ways with them being crowned U-12’s Scotland GAA Championship winners. They are the future of the club and a credit to the club.