Thistle make Irish pilgrimage

Galloway Thistle Youth Football Club would like to thank Tommy Mann for his superb organisation of the trip to Ballynahinch Football Festival. The children had a fantastic day.
Galloway Thistle Youth Football Club would like to thank Tommy Mann for his superb organisation of the trip to Ballynahinch Football Festival. The children had a fantastic day.

Galloway Thistle Youth Football Club made the long trip to Ballynahinch in Northern Ireland on Saturday, August 31.

The visit had been arranged as a way of thanking Ballynahinch Youth Football Club for making the effort in attending the Galloway Football Fair over the past three years.

The 61 kids and 50 adults had an early start, leaving Newton Stewart at 5.45am. Breakfast was arranged aboard the ferry for all and it wasn’t long before it docked at Belfast.

Everyone boarded two buses for the 20-mile trip to Ballynahinch. A mini tournament had been arranged and the five Galloway Thistle teams, including an all-girls team, were pitched against teams from Lisburn Ladies FC, Crusaders FC, Tollymore FC, Rosario FC and Ballynahinch Youth FC. All the Thistle teams played six games each and were rewarded with medals after the event.

Ballynahinch and Galloway Thistle swapped friendship gifts and Thistle thanked the home club for a great day of football fun. Everyone was taken back to Belfast to catch the 7.30pm ferry. Everyone had an arranged meal on the trip home and the boat docked at 9.50pm at Cairnryan.

With heavy eyes on most, the buses arrived back at Newton Stewart at 10.40pm. Everyone agreed the trip had been a great day out, and it is hoped that it might be repeated next year.

Galloway Thistle club co-ordinator Alex Whiteside said: “The whole day was great from start to finish – everyone must be thanked for making the trip so enjoyable, particularly the kids who were brilliant and very well behaved all day.”

Thanks go to all Galloway Thistle coaches for their efforts on the day. A very special thank you goes to Thistle coach Tommy Mann, who took it upon himself to arrange the vast majority of the trip. Everything went without a hitch and this was down to Tommy’s meticulous planning.