Saturday 17th April
Despite having a lock on Gold, it was still an early start for all of the players today with an early breakfast and a light skate at the practice rink. Unfortunately, many of the boys were feeling the ill effects of a mysterious bug that was taking its toll on the players bit by bit. Many of them skipped the practice and just rested in their rooms.
The practice went well with Jim and Kenny putting the players through their paces and keeping the legs going. Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel for some lunch and the players all caught a few hours sleep before their final game against UAE. Fortunately, George Balmer was around and he was able to have a look at a few of the lads. Everyone was given the okay to play as long as they got plenty of rest and fluids into them.
Even though everyone knew we had already won the Gold Medal, nobody wanted to finish the tournament unless we had a three wins from three games record. The lads all got their heads into the game on the bus journey to the rink followed by an intense warm up in the surrounding parks of the rink. They were all rearing to go…
An excellent game by the lads especially when you consider that between eight and ten of the players had been struck by the mysterious bug and weren’t feeling the best in the lead up to this game. However, the got stuck in and left everything out on the ice. It was also great to see the two younger lads, Craig Fay and Jason McCrainor, get on and throw some hits about. Jason nearly even scored!!! Well done lads and they are two names we will be seeing light up the game sheets in the future.
After the game, the players all took a while to soak everything up on the ice and get some photographs taken but the celebrations would really kick off later that night. The medal ceremony took place after the Luxembourg and Greece game. That game finished 2 – 1 in favour of Greece to give them the Silver! Before we collected our medals, the individual awards were handed out and congrats to Kevin Kelly who was voted the tournament’s best keeper and to Mark Morrison who was voted Ireland’s best player and the tournament’s best forward.
We then got our medals and the celebrations started…