Hockey Inter-prosLast March almost 90 U16 players gathered at Dangan, Co Galway, from schools and clubs all over Connacht, with the dream of becoming one of a squad of 18 that would play for the province at the Inter-provincials in Cork in September. They travelled to weekly trials in Galway and then waited anxiously for the email to arrive to hopefully say they had been selected.

Last June the squad was reduced to its final 20 – 18 travelling players and 2 reserves. Our Lady’s Bower was very proud to have Erika Lowe named on the squad with Emma Gallagher named on the reserves. For the next 16 weeks the girls trained weekly in all corners of Connacht – from Athlone to Galway and Sligo. They also travelled to Limerick and Cork for games and camps.

On September 19th Erika travelled with the Connacht side to Cork with a big dream of perhaps a podium finish, as it had been 12 years since Connacht finished in the medals. Their first game was against Munster which resulted in a wonderful victory. The team started to believe in themselves and through great focus got another victory in the bag against the South-East side on Saturday morning.  Saturday afternoon was a tough outing against a strong Ulster side. Despite their best efforts Ulster got the upper hand. However, the girls still had a dream to fulfil.

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Putting the Ulster game behind them they knew everything had to go into the Leinster match on Sunday afternoon. They knew this was going to be very tough, and after a very exciting game it finished in a 1-1 draw. This lead to shuttles, where Leinster took silver and Connacht got their podium finish, receiving bronze. An amazing result for Connacht and a fantastic achievement for Erika.

A presentation evening on October 12th in Galway will see the squad receive their first Connacht cap and bronze medal. Well done to both Erika and Lauren. We hope this is the start of a very fruitful provincial career for both girls.