IIHF World U18 Championship Divisioin III B, Erzurum, Turkey.
The U18 Irish National Team made history today beating Bulgaria for the second time in a week this time even more convincingly by six goals to three in the decider for the Bronze Medal Position. Having been absent from international competition at this age level for the last 10 years this success speaks volumes about the progress made in the sport here in the last few years.
Despite the fact that seven of the squad only took up the sport two years ago with the opening of the Dundalk Ice Dome, and playing against nations that have development programmes in operation for decades Belfast’s Colin Grimason scored another hat trick today, and Dundalk Boys Rian Larkin bagged a brace and Aidan Morris picked up the spare.
The team is comprised of the best young players from the whole island of Ireland and only five of the panel of twenty will be too old to compete again next year.
A much more disciplined game from the Irish showed just what they were capable of, as in their previous game they managed to concede 44 minutes in penalties in the pressure cooker atmosphere of a tie with the home nation, Turkey, to decide who would go on to the Gold /Silver game and who would risk everything in the Bronze / Wooden Spoon game.
We expect our Bronze Warriors to arrive home tomorrow having traveled through the night, on the Turkish Airlines Flight from Istanbul that touches down at 10:20 am.
High praise is due to Coach Sean Dooley and his Assistant Coach Kenny Redmond, not forgetting General manager Mick Cummins who can now take a well earned breather after months of hard work and planning.
It is heartening to consider just what can be achieved when all parts of this island come together in common purpose rather than the divisions that have been brought into sharper focus of late.
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U18 Div.IIIB in Turkey.