Training Camp – Pardubice

Ireland’s World Indoor Lacrosse Championships started on Monday May 16th in
a small town outside Prague called Pardubice. The team came together for the
first time since the trials that were held in Belfast in October 2010.

The training camp began on the Monday evening with a light session. The team
began to gel together almost immediately. The mood for the rest of the week was
set early with every player fighting hard for every pass, every ground ball and
every shot.

The focus for the week quickly turned to the warm-up games; the first against
the local team Pardubice and the second against Australia. Ireland played
Australia in 2007 in their closest game of the tournament by a margin of 14 – 8.
This warm-up game was going to act as the perfect test of how far the team had
come over the last 4 years.

Tuesday the 17th of May was the first full day of training camp and the Coaching
Staff has a rigorous schedule planned for Team Ireland with 6 hours of practice
time allocated between 9am and 10pm that day. The team worked hard for every
one of those six hours and by Tuesday night they had become a tight unit ready
for their first game together the following evening.

Wednesday began early with the final preparations being put in place for the
team’s first game together against Pardubice. The team put in two good sessions
early on in the day with a short break before the game.

A decent crowd filled the small rink in Pardubice as the local lacrosse fans came
to cheer on their team as they took on Team Ireland. The Irish team suffered
from a mixture of fatigue and nervousness but overcame them to pick up the
first one in the team’s history. It was an unconvincing win, but a win nonetheless.
Everyone knew that there was a lot of work to be done over the next two days
before the first tournament game against the Iroquois Nationals.

The big story of the Pardubice game was the injury of Michael McTernan who
was a formidable force on the field prior to picking up an unfortunate injury,
which would see him out of action until the game against the Czech Republic.

The team had to dig deep on Thursday in order to overcome the fatigue of the
last couple of days in order to prepare for their second warm-up game against
Australia. The Coaching Staff allowed the team a small break with the day
starting a little later than previously.

The excitement built up throughout the day and the players who were around
in 2007 knew just how important the game was going to be. The teams helped
each other out with their man-up and man-short teams prior to the game. The
Australians looked very strong on both ends and the Irish went into the dressing
room feeling worried about the game ahead.

They say that there is no such thing as a friendly game and the battle between
Australia and Ireland was a testament to that phrase. The game was intense for
the full 60 minutes. The tension between the teams was high and it boiled over
on a number of occasions.

The game was close right until the final whistle. Ireland managed to steal the
lead in the last minute of the game on a goal from right-handed attackman Sean Gibson.
With that goal the players went ecstatic. It was the highlight of the
training camp – the perfect way to end the preparations for the World Indoor
Lacrosse Championships. Game MVP honours went to lefty Brian Gillis.

Written by: Conor ‘Flopsy’ Walsh

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