SCHOOLS TUG OF WAR.
The annual tug of war competition for Secondary schools within the Southern Education and Library Board Area took place last week at Brownlow Leisure Centre, Craigavon.
Over 200 Year Eleven students from across the Board’s area took part in what has been acclaimed as the best such event so far. These schools championships were first held in the grounds of Armagh Rugby club back in 1999. At that stage they took place outdoors on grass but given the uncertain weather and problems of returning to school with wet clothing it was decided to move indoors and Brownlow Leisure Centre is one of the few venues in the area capable of catering for the event in its present form.
Due to a number of reasons these championships have not taken place since 2007 but this year’s event certainly made up for lost time if the atmosphere and noise levels were anything to go by.
The girls competition was held in two sections of five teams each. Section “A” was particularly hard fought with nobody coming through with a clean sheet. Lismore Comprehensive finished first in the section with eight points followed by Brownlow College and Portadown College, both on six points. The latter teams had to pull off to decide which went through with Lismore to the semi finals. After a mighty tussle Portadown emerged triumphant but Brownlow should be well satisfied as they were late entrants to the event. City of Armagh and Newtownhamilton both had victories but not enough to progress.
The girls Section “B” was somewhat more clear cut as Lurgan College emerged with maximum points with Craigavon Senior High in second place. Markethill filled third place while Aughnacloy and Lismore “B” followed behind.
The first semi final paired Lismore Comprehensive with Craigavon Senior High, a match which was eventually won by the Lismore girls.
The other semi final saw an exciting tussle between Portadown College and Lurgan College with the Lurgan girls emerging triumphant amid much excitement.
The final between Lismore and Lurgan College was an epic with the result being in doubt till the last moment. Even the neutrals were enthralled by the display of spirit from both teams. Eventually the Lurgan girls prevailed and their victory was greeted by loud applause from their supporters.
The boys’ competition was also broken into two groups of five teams. In group”A” Portadown College looked very strong right from the start but so was Markethill High. The match between these two was eagerly anticipated but the Markethill boys showed very good technique in winning both
ends and surprising quite a few people. Lurgan College and Newtownhamilton High shared third place on seven points while St. Joseph’s, Coalisland worked hard for little reward. This was the school’s first time of entering the event and they will have learned a lot from the experience.
Group “B” was equally hard fought with Craigavon Senior High shading it by a mere point from St. Brigid’s High, Armagh. The latter school was a very late entry and turned out to be the surprise packet of this group. Aughnacloy College and Lismore finished joint third, just ahead of City of Armagh High. Markethill overcame St. Brigids in the first semi final whilst Portadown College won a close victory over their neighbours from Craigavon Senior High.
The final brought together Portadown College and Markethill in what amounted to a replay of their match in the earlier group stages. This time
there was to be no repeat of the earlier result and Portadown used their power to overcome their opposition in two hard fought ends.
The presentations were made by Mr. Kieran Corr, Deputy Mayor of Craigavon Borough Council, and by Mr. Philip Campbell, Adviser for Physical Education in the Southern Education and Library Board. Much appreciation is extended to both gentlemen.
The organisers would wish to extend congratulations not only to the winners but to all of those who took part. Sport was the overall winner on the day. Nor could the event have taken part without the support and co-operation of those tug of war members who turned out and gave their time so willingly.