Gaelic Football at Patana
Another Sporting First for the Patana Primary School
The first ever Gaelic Football match between schools in Thailand took place in Bangkok on St Patrick’s Day. Shrewsbury School travelled across town to play Bangkok Patana School in an U11Challenge match. The prize at stake was the inaugural Sister Louise Trophy sponsored by the Irish-Thai Chamber of Commerce. Gaelic Football is not an “official” sport in either school but with commitment from parents, teachers and the schools themselves the game was arranged and went ahead on the sports fields at Bangkok Patana School. The teams contained boys and girls from Years 2, 4, 5 and 6, with the players coming from Ireland, Thailand, UK, Finland, France, Australia and Holland. It was fantastic to see children from so many countries playing and enjoying Gaelic Football, especially on St. Patrick’s Day!
The Patana team had played together once before in the Asian Gaelic Games Tournament which was held in Bangkok in October 2009, but for the Shrewsbury team this was their first experience of playing a competitive game. The two sides showed a lot of good basic skills, talent and determination over the course of the 9 a-side game which was divided in 4 x 7 minute quarters. Patana’s extra experience would prove to be decisive in the end.
The game started at a fast pace with Patana racing into and early lead thanks to some excellent midfield play and expertly taken points by Lucas Baak and Ciarán O’Kane. Patana quickly built up a lead of 1-3 to 0-0 with a well taken goal by Conor Kelly from a good pass by Ciarán However, Shrewsbury came back strongly and the first quarter ended with Patana leading 1-3 to 0-1. Goalkeeper Oliver Della Bosca made some excellent saves to keep the Shrewsbury score down with Tumi Penttila causing problems for the older Shrewsbury boys with his skill and determination and Lorcan Moore tireless in his efforts to stick close to his opposite number and not allow them to get the ball. The second quarter began with Patana playing strongly and their midfield superiority and some very good passing paved the way for 2 very well worked goals from Lucas and Ronan Moore to extend their lead. There was some excellent defending by both sides with the full back lines, especially Jack Hickey, showing great skill in catching balls high in the air. Shrewsbury were coming more into the game and their midfield was exerting more of an influence and was instrumental in a well taken goal. Half-time had Patana leading 3-4 to 1-4 thanks to some excellent defending and forward drives from Olivia and Celine Almond who consistently beat the opposition to the ball and set up attacking moves.
The second half started with Shrewsbury performing well and putting together some beautiful passing moves. The midfield battles were hotting up with both sides competing strongly for the ball. The 3rd quarter was a low scoring affair thanks to excellent defending by both sides and each team only added one goal to their tally, the Patana goal beautifully taken with a first time punch by Satu Penttila from a great pass by Ciarán. Going into the final quarter Patana were 2 goals up but Shrewsbury were still well in the hunt. There was a definite air of tension as the final quarter started and Shrewsbury quickly reduced the deficit with a long range goal, Emmet Moore defended very well to intercept a pass that looked likely to lead to another Shrewsbury goal. Patana then responded with 2 clinically finished goals into the top corner by Satu and Ronan to increase their lead to 3 goals. Shrewsbury were passing the ball around well and this allowed them to score 2 quick goals to reduce the deficit to 1 goal with 2 minutes left. There were many goalmouth scrambles and Kerry-Anne Kelly was only foiled from adding a goal by a great save from the Shrewsbury keeper. Both teams showed great commitment in these final minutes but there was no further scoring. Patana ran out winners by 6-4 to 5-4.
It was a very closely fought contest between two very evenly matched teams who played the game in great spirit and enthusiasm and with a high level of skill. It was definitely a game worthy of the Inaugural Sister Louise Trophy. Coaches Louise King (Shrewsbury) and John Moore (Patana) congratulated both teams on their skills, commitment, sportsmanship and teamwork, and were very proud of both sets of players.
Sister Louise presented medals to both sets of players and the trophy to the victorious Patana Team. All who attended agreed that it was a fantastic occasion and a very enjoyable game, which will hopefully become an annual event. Both sides were already talking about next year’s game and how they will bring the Cup back to their school!
Tumi Penttila Year 2
Oliver Della Bosca Year 4
Conor Kelly Year 4
Emmet Moore Year 4
Lorcan Moore Year 4
Ronan Moore Year 4
Lucas Baak Year 5
Jack Hickey Year 5
Celine Almond Year 6
Olivia Almond Year 6
Kerry-Anne Kelly Year 6
Ciarán O’Kane Year 6
Satu Penttila Year 6