World Cup 2011 – Team Ireland Day

Team Ireland Day Saturday, June 18th 2011

Hi all

Welcome to the first entry in my 2011 Touch Rugby World Cup Diary.

Pre-tournament Preparation

Today we had our Official Team Ireland Day where the four teams representing Ireland in the World Cup (Men’s Open, Mixed Open, Over 35s and Over 40s) were officially presented with our Ireland jerseys.

6ff4c-teamirelandday

Ireland Men’s 35s Team

We also had a motivational and goal setting session. Each player had to talk about three things:
  1. What do you hope to achieve as a team in the World Cup?
  2. What does playing for Ireland mean to you personally?
  3. What is your favourite team (from professional or amateur sport)? Name two or three players who make that team what they are.
  • Our goal for the Over 35’s was to go one better than the European Championships of last year and finish within the top two European teams. We also focused on our first game with England (Wednesday, June 22nd 7.40am) and being as mentally and physically prepared as possible for the unbelievable intensity we are going to face from that first game.
  • For me, I said playing for Ireland means so much to me… how central sport was to the happiest things in my life. I mentioned going running on Christmas day with my brother, lungs burning in pain and thinking.. I love this. And in that moment I thought about going running as a young teenager with my dad and then I thought forward how I hoped someday in the future I might do the same, if I’m lucky enough, with one of my own sons or daughters.
  • The team I talked about was a cycling team and a particular Irish athlete I idolized growing up, Sean Kelly. In the 1988 Tour of Spain, Kelly and the rest of the Kas team set up a stage win for Acacio da Silva. Da Silva put up his hands as he crossed the line and nearly lost the stage in the last moment. Afterwards when he was being interviewed he burst out crying, he realized how hard his team had worked to set up the win for him and he was so upset most of all that he’d nearly let Kelly down. That level of respect and affection that you earn from your teammates, that the thought of letting them down is unbearable.

Some of what the other people said was really moving and humbling. Each person had something to add. A great bonding and emotional experience.

Family and friends were invited to see us being presented with our jerseys. My daddy, my sisters Lisa and Emer and my nephew Keelan all came along to support me which was deadly. I was also particularly honoured that Spongebob was able to take time out of his busy schedule to attend!

5be97-teamirelandday2

Me in my Ireland shirt with VIP guests, my nephew Keelan & Spongebob.

Here is the World Cup link which has a list of all the players on our each squad and our statistics:

https://www.internationaltouch.org/events/world-cup/2011/mens-35/ireland/

Right, by special request of our esteemed coach and President of the Irish Touch Rugby Association, (to the right of me in the picture up top) I’m being asked to shave my head in a mohawk for the tournament. Not sure why but he seemed to think it was important for the team and for Ireland. Off to do that now so.

Pictorial evidence tomorrow…

Ian

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