SCHOOLS TUG OF WAR.
The annual schools championships for Year Eleven students took place recently at Craigavon Leisure Centre at Brownlow.
A total of 22 teams took part in both girls and boys categories which was slightly more than in 2013. This year there were entries from three “new” schools, namely St. Catherines College, Armagh, St. Patrick’s College, Dungannon and Dungannon Integrated College.
The eleven teams in the girls class were divided into two sections with six in one group and five in the other. In Group A Craigavon Senior High went through with full points while second place went to Lurgan College who had only one defeat on their record at that stage. City of Armagh and St. Catherines were tied for third place with Markethill High just behind.
In Group B of the Girls from Newtownhamilton High were undefeated with Aughnacloy not far behind. St. Patrick’s, Keady and Lismore Comprehensive tied for third with St. Patrick’s, Dungannon in close pursuit.
Completion of the two girls sections resulted in semi finals involving the winners of Group A (Craigavon Senior High) versus the runners up from Group B ( Aughnacloy) and Newtownhamilton against Lurgan College. Both Craigavon Senior High and Newtownhamilton proved a little too strong for their opponents and progressed to the final.
Both teams had remained undefeated throughout the competition and a stiff tussle was anticipated for the final. Both had prepared well and for a while the battle could have gone either way. However, Craigavon eventually prevailed and amid great excitement were proclaimed champions for 2014.
The boys were also divided into two groups of six and five. Group A was very hard fought with every team losing points at some stage. City of Armagh eventually came out on top with St. Patrick’s, Dungannon just edging out Lurgan College by a single point for a place in the semi finals.
Group B was equally tough with points lost by everyone. Craigavon Senior High finished top with Newtownhamilton in second place. Lismore and Dungannon Integrated were very close behind.
These results brought together City of Armagh and Newtownhamilton in the first semi final followed by St. Patrick’s, Dungannon versus Craigavon Senior High. Newtownhamilton showed good form to overcome their opposition whilst St. Patrick’s caused something of a surprise by defeating Craigavon Senior High.
This resulted in an eagerly awaited final between Newtownhamilton who were last year’s winners and the new boys from Dungannon who were participating for the first time.
This turned out to be a real battle between the technique of Newtown and the power of St. Patrick’s. After a great battle of three ends between two excellent sides, St. Patrick’s prevailed amid an atmosphere that has not been equalled for many years.
Presentations of cups and individual trophies were made by Mr. Mark Baxter, Mayor of Craigavon and Mr. Philip Campbell of the Southern Education and Library Board.
Thanks were extended to the officers of the Northern Ireland Tug of War Association and all those from local clubs who had helped in putting together another very successful event.
Cathal Mc Keever.
May 7, 2014.