Our U13 boys travelled to France for the annual Tournoi International Herni Seux in Ardres, June 7th – June 10th and in between meeting new friends, learning new languages, rushing too & from airports they played some great basketball and represented the club and the parish fantastically well.
Remarkably this is the 24th time that we have made the trip to this beautiful part of France for the tournament and having prepared well and trained hard in the run up to the tournament the team were raring to go.
Arriving in Ardres on Friday afternoon, we found ourselves in a group with Nord (a selection team from the Nord Region in France) and Limburg (a selection team from Limburg in southern Netherlands). With the initial welcomes done, participation in some fun activities to get all the teams settled it was time to meet our host families, get a well earned rest and get ready for the opening ceremony and the tournament proper.
The opening of the tournament is always a great occasion with the welcoming address at the Municipal Hall on Saturday morning. Thankfully after the initial welcoming address and official opening the weather changed and we went from storms and pouring rain to beautiful blue skies and a great Opening Parade through the town with all the fanfare that it involves.
First Game vs Region Nord
With the formalities over, it was time for the tournament proper and first up was Region Nord in the main gym in Ardres. Always a quality outfit that play with intense defence it was a baptism of fire for the lads. Even though our preparations had gone well, the aggressiveness of our opponents is something that training and playing tournaments at home just can’t prepare you for. The physicality and intensity from one end-line to the other is non-stop and always a struggle to adjust to. However, the lads were able to settle into the game and while the result was never in doubt, overall a good opening to the tournament.
Second Game vs Limburg
No time to lick their wounds as the next game against Limburg was up within the hour. Limburg had pushed Region Nord all the way in their first game so another tough physical encounter was in store for the lads. The full court intensity and physicality was there once again but the lads were much better in handling the pressure and it was game on. However, midway through the second half some silly mental errors started to cost us vital scores on one end while turnovers were conceding baskets on the other; when the body is constantly pounded the mind also stars making mistakes. Unfortunately, those mistakes were punished ruthlessly by our Dutch opponents and they were able to run out winners.
Third Game vs Fresh Air (Belgium)
Sunday morning and it was off to the Les Attaques gym just outside Ardres to play Fresh Air from Belgium. The hope on the second day is always to see how the team adjusts and what it has learnt from the first days games. While not as athletic and physically strong as our opponents on the opening day, the were technically very good and smart players. The team came out of the blocks fantastically well and produced some of their best basketball all year to win what could have been a very tricky encounter.
Fourth Game vs Guadeloupe
After the fantastic win it was time to recoup and prepare for the second game of the day which would be against Guadeloupe. Athletic and physically strong doesn’t really do justice to just how big and powerful the team from just off the coast of South America were. Every loose pass or mistake was jumped on, however the lads having learnt their lessons from earlier took care of the ball much better and were able to get good looks at the basket while also cutting down on the fast break opportunities of our opponents. While we did a great job defensively in transition and in the half court, the sheer power and size of the Guadeloupe players meant that they were able to get offensive rebound after offensive rebound. While all 12 lads worked tirelessly on the boards they just were unable to contend with such power
Saturday evening saw the tournament semi-finals & some of the best basketball you’re likely to see and this was followed by the All-Star game where Mark Hynes represented Moycullen in a great performance,
Final Game vs Ardres (France)
And to our last game of the tournament, a 10:40am tip-off on Monday against hosts Ardres. A smart and technically excellent team, it had all the ingredients for a super battle. Unfortunately a disastrous start had us playing catch up from very early and try as they may the lads could just never recover. While it was a disappointing way for the lads to finish the tournament, they never stopped fighting and produced an excellent 2nd half to finish the game and tournament play on a positive note.
And to the closing ceremony and the voyage home. After some fantastic games to decide the overall classification, it was the closing ceremony and all the fun that entails. The reception that all 24 teams get in a packed gym was fantastic and after a tough demanding tournament it’s such a great and fun way to finish off what is a great tournament and one from which all the team can be very proud of!!!!!
They performed superbly throughout the tournament and even though outmatched physically and athletically in all games they adjusted very well to the style of play and put in some fantastic displays over the course of the 3 days. It’s always difficult to prepare for Ardres as nothing replicates the heat of battle and the absolute aggressiveness of the teams at the tournament, however, the lads responded admirably to the challenge and left everything on the court.
2019 TIHS Team: Conall Porter, Ronan Jennings, Daire Sherlock, Mark Molloy, Dara Houlihan, Colin Bloomer, Eoin Cleary, Oisin Hogan, Senan Ford, Tadhg Gavin, Josh Gibson, Mark Hynes
Thanks to All!!!
All the team would like to thank their host families in Ardres for their generosity, trust and kindness in allowing the lads stay with them, another wonderful experience and such an important part of the trip.
The team & the club would like to thank St. Anthony’s Credit Union, Advertees & John M. Ford & Son Solicitors for their very generous support and sponsorship of the team.
Many thanks to Mike & Nollaig for their coaching of the team. Colm, Virgil, Sean & Greg for all their encouragement and hard work during the tournament.
And lastly and most importantly a massive thanks to Michelle Sherlock, the Team Manager, who did trojan work in the months leading up to the tournament and during the trip itself. Michelle had everything down to perfection allowing the trip to run as smoothly as possible and make it such an enjoyable experience for everyone. Thanks so much for everything Michelle!!!!!!
Already looking forward to Ardres 2020 & our 25th participation in this wonderful tournament.