On Wednesday 14 August 16 boys from the Port Macquarie Clontarf Academy headed south to Sydney to compete in the Ross Kelly Cup Under 16’s Rugby League carnival. The camp is an annual event with a selection criteria consisting of above 80% school-attendance, participation in multiple morning and afternoon activities, and consistent representation of the ‘Clontarf Spirit’.
On Wednesday afternoon our Academy boys travelled on a fast ferry from Manly to Circular Quay and then on to Luna Park for the Ross Kelly Cup Dinner, joining all NSW Clontarf Academies in Sydney for the event. The Opera House and Harbour Bridge are impressive, but what a sight to see when 550 Clontarf fellas are standing together out the front of the Luna Park gates!
The formal dinner included presentations and inspirational speeches from NRL players, coaches, Clontarf Alumni, and a musical performance from the great Col Hardy, singing ‘I Am Australian’.
On Thursday our boys were up, showered, dressed in their footy gear and on the bus by 6.00am to beat the peak-hour traffic and arrive on time at St Ignatius, Riverview ready for a big day of footy.
The Port Macquarie team played 3 games in their selected pool against Bourke/Brewarrina, Mt Austin, and Cranebrook academies respectively. The team played cohesively with great passion and spirit, peaking in their third game against Cranebrook with a solid chip-and-chase try in the final seconds for a win. Although not progressing to the next round of the Ross Kelly Cup, the ‘magic’ of the third match had commentators calling it one of the best games of the day!
After the Ross Kelly Cup finals and Super teams games, presentations were made, the boys enjoyed meals cooked by Bunnings volunteers, and there was a communal tidy of the area before leaving.
We then drove directly from Riverview to Brookvale Oval to watch the Manly Sea Eagles v West Tigers NRL game. The boys were pumped! A great game, a huge day of footy, and most importantly, a happily-tired bunch of teenage boys. Lights out back at the Queenscliff Surf Lifesaving Club, Manly.
Before driving back to Port Macquarie on Friday morning, Tim Hayes from the Queenscliff SLSC put on an early-morning beach session and BBQ breakfast. It was the first time the surf club has hosted a Clontarf Academy group and the response was very positive resulting in an invitation to come back and stay again. A great sign for developing an ongoing relationship with the club.
All in all, we are so proud of the boys that came on the Ross Kelly Cup trip for their efforts, for bringing energy and enthusiasm to the table and for representing Clontarf well to partners and the public. Keep it up fellas!