Harps enjoy Tyrone hospitality in Omagh
SKERRIES Harps' U13 footballers travelled to Healy Park at the invitation of Omagh St Endas GAA Club and experienced a mighty day's football and craic.
A party of 35 hit the road early from Skerries, driving through the morning wind and rain before arriving at the ground where they received a very warm welcome from their Tyrone hosts.
Following great efforts from St Endas' PRO and U13 mentors, Harps had the opportunity to play a challenge match on the Healy Park pitch before the crucial NFL encounter between Dublin and Tyrone.
Two-time All-Ireland winner Joe Mc Mahon led a group of the Tyrone panel to the Skerries dressing-room to give some advice and to recall his memories of playing against Dublin and Bryan Cullen, the Harps star. The dressing-room was silent and attentive - a first for this group!
The game began as the stadium started to fill up and the sun shone brightly, but the Harps lads appeared to be feeling the effects of a hard league match on the Saturday and the long journey.
Omagh St Endas gave a strong and classy display of attacking football and after 10 minutes Harps trailed by nine points. However, a half-time chocolate and Capri Sun injection from Joe Kelly (the team nutritionist!!) led a spirited comeback. The Skerries lads did their club and county proud and took control of the game with some great attacking moves, eventually winning out by seven points.
Dominic Mc Clements and Paul Tierney (amongst many others) from Endas ensured Skerries were well looked after, with hot food, refreshments and a few laughs thrown in, and the Harps players, mentors and parents were then shown to their 'premium' seats, situated alongside the Dublin management team and subs, with Bernard Brogan repeatedly requesting autographs!
Bryan Cullen and the mighty Dubs duly delivered an exciting and sporting encounter in front a full house, and the lads followed every move by Bryan Cullen and his excellent point in the first half brought the loudest cheer of the day from the upbeat Harps contingent.
The Dubs came out of a tense encounter with a one-point win and a place in the National Football League semi finals, and after the final whistle, the U13s got to meet players from both teams and Bryan made his way to the Harps lads for a photoshoot including the inevitable 'selfies' which rounded off a very special day.