Valencia Trip - 22nd - 25th April 2022
This year, following two years of lockdown, Galway Hockey Club went on it's first ever player exchange with Valencia Hockey Club in Spain. Thanks to the club links with Junior Coaches, David Granero and Albert Navez, the whole experience was a very calm & enjoyable event. Overall 25 players, from the U14 & U16 groups, travelled with coaches, David, Albert, Orna MacGiolla Ri, Ann Dempsey and parents Una McGrath, Petrina Costello and Brid Tierney.
The trip started with a hockey session with the U14 & U16 Spanish teams and coaches Paula Gimeno Bayarri, Estefania Alejos Julve and Mario Sanchez. Despite the heat, the girls all acquitted themselves well and enjoyed sharing the spoils in the games against their spanish peers. The afternoon was spent enjoying the highlights of beautiful Valencia including The Turia Gardens at the heart of the city, the Science Museum, the medieval churches, buildings and narrow streets of the city and of course plenty of great shopping. It was a busy day and when we all finally sat down late at night for our beautiful tapas, on average, over 25,000 steps had accummulated on our fitbits!
Sunday started with a relaxing morning at the beach. With temperatures up in the mid 20s by midday, we were delighted to be able to cool down in the sea. Lunch time was a feast with the Spanish parents treating us all to their local speciality dish, Paeilla. Very tasty indeed! The afternoon was a feast of fun on the pitch with plenty of water games and fights. The joy & laughter experienced by the girls was infectious to us all. This was followed by a quiet family dinner in the various homes.
The next morning, all teams and parents had breakfast at the pitch (the joys of guaranteed sunshine), before leaving for the Airport. Ann Dempsey on behalf of Galway Hockey Club thanked the Spanish parents for looking after our girls, the spanish coaches for their coaching and the Spanish players for making us all feel welcome. She said that when we came together on Saturday morning, we were four teams in club colours of red for Galway and White for Valencia, but by Sunday afternoon, they all wore their new black shirts - they had become one team. What a special memory!
Return Trip - Galway 23rd - 26th June 2022