Ireland in Turkey – Day 5

Tuesday 10th March

The boys headed away very early this morning for practice. They came back in much better form as needless to say their heads were a little down after the Turkish match. The coaching staff must have put them through a good workout aimed at rebuilding confidence. They know Iceland are a stronger team than Turkey so the players are a little apprehensive. We (the parents) got our own little chariot down to the rink. Although, for ourselves the rink is known as the local crèche or indeed the local English school! Security seems to be a little remiss around here; the local kids grabbed an armful of hockey sticks and made a run for it. Fortunately, Kenny and John caught them. The sight of a big Scot and a Mancunian will frighten the life out of anyone! Meanwhile Sean Dooley went in search of security; who are now camped at the changing room doors.

The GSIM Ice Arena was fairly full for this afternoon’s game against Iceland. Although, it was nothing like the masses of yesterday! Iceland’s players are huge both on and off the ice. Some of them play their hockey in Finland and Sweden while the rest play in the top league in Iceland which is quite good. So enough said! The boys played hard and like yesterday they gave it their all right to the death. Unfortunately though, they were well over-run. But give them their due, they were great. We all headed back to our little bus and shake, rattle and rolled up the mountain for the après-match. The manager of the hotel asked us how we got on today and when we told him he sent down a tray of good scotch whiskey to alleviate pain. Unfortunately for him, he started us on a slippery slope! Have I mentioned that the beer and wine in the restaurant are free!!?!! No restrictions during meal times and apparently none for us at any time as the hotel staff are never in any rush to chase us out. They even look after the boys with free soft drinks.

After dinner (11:00 pm) we (the parents of course) retired to the bar for networking with the Icelandic officials! And by the way, did we happen to mention that this is not a stress free holiday! Our voices are under extreme strain cheering the boys on and lots of cold drinks are needed to keep our throats lubricated…

Everyone is really looking forward to the “Rest Day” tomorrow. However, the boys still have to start the day at 6:45 am for training…

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