The Delco Gaels had plenty of cause for jubilation as three of their teams notched thrilling championship wins in the Continental Youth Championships this past weekend in Malvern.
In Under-16 Boys A and Under-12 Boys A, Gaels football teams emerged victorious, as did the Under-8 Boys A hurling team. At the end of the day, there were lots of medals dangling around lots of necks.
All of those championships probably took some of the sting out of a hard-fought, emotional finals loss by the Under-18 Boys B team. The Gaels were slightly younger than the winner, St. Raymond’s. Still, coach Louie Bradley expressed nothing but pride in his team.
“We had six under-18s (on the Gaels’ team), but the rest were all under-16s. We were making up the numbers,” Bradley explained. “We were never favored for that game, but they (the Gaels’ team) put up a good effort, they really did. The other team was just stronger. They were a legitimate under-18 team, and they were just stronger than us.”
Matters weren’t helped any by the fact that the team had just come back onto the field from their semi-final match after a rest of 20 minutes or so in a tent that probably did little to relieve the unrelenting heat of the day.
“We were just exhausted,” Bradley said. “We had just come off the field, having played a game, and that doesn’t help. I was glad to get to the final. Obviously, when we had gotten that far, I would love to have won it. But I’m still proud. They gave me a great effort out there.”
St. Raymond’s won it 2-11 to 1-6.
Another Gaels runner-up: The Under-14 A Ladies Camogie team.
All told, a memorable performance for a proud local club.
Another local coach had reason to be proud. Brendan Gallagher, of the brand-new Glenside Gaelic Club, clearly relished the club’s Under-8 Boys Football D fifth-place finish.
“We reached the finals in our very first year,” he said with a smile after posing for pictures with his medal-wearing youngsters. “We lost by just one point to San Diego. Not too bad, huh? It’s our first year as a club, so it’s very special, to say the least.”
We have what my partner Denise has described has “a gabillion photos” from the many weekend games. Yeah, really, that many. You can see them, above.
You can see the finals listings on the Continental Youth Championships website.