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Weekend “Retreat” proves to work a treat!

Having played Athlone IT in their Purcell Cup/Shield qualifier two weeks before and suffered a defeat after extra-time that was both physically and mentally draining, the Queens players regrouped on a training weekend at Hillyard house next to Castlewellan Forest Park. This weekend “retreat” was a chance to regroup and get everyone focused again for the task of setting out to win the Purcell Shield and in truth it pushed the players very hard with a training session on arrival Friday night that challenged their visual skills what with a heavy fog descending on Leitrim’s pitch. This ultimately leading to Jean Wyer getting her first “camogie” related injury (it didn’t bruise that badly).  After having had a good night’s craic on Friday with a few quizzes and watching DVD’s the players were then able to rest for the next day’s exertions.

A Saturday morning sprint session at 7.45am followed (which meant getting up at 7.30am) with Karen Gribben thinking she was at home and her “daddy” wakening her for work. The “figure-8” and dreaded “The Chair” where the first things the players saw in daylight and an hour of sprint work followed. By breakfast at 9am some players had thoroughly woken up and others were fading badly at the table. With another stickwork session at 11am the players where beginning to feel the benefits of the weekend. Having made the short journey back in from Leitrim the players had a filling lunch before going into the forest park and trying their hand at a “team-building” activity. When the players were told that they would be canoeing the night before some looked forward to it and some quite simply where not. I must say all concerned looked very fetching in their blue and black outfits (as seen in the accompanying photo). Having been thoroughly soaked, but none-the-less feeling quite refreshed, even the non-swimming players seemed to have enjoyed the day as everyone mixed in well and worked as a group. With Karen Gribben playing a captains part and being the first into the freezing Castlewellan lake.

The players then arrived back at Hillyard and got themselves cleaned up and had a great dinner. Later in the evening the players where offered the opportunity of going out but instead they chose to stay in the common room and had a good bit of craic that capped the day off well. Sunday morning arrived with some players making 8.30am mass and some not managing to surface (my alarm clock was broken!), instead making it up in time for breakfast. Another stickwork session at Leitrim followed and the players had a good chat about the weekend that was ahead of them. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable and beneficial weekend seemed to be had by all concerned and it served a purpose in terms of training and also in for brining the team closer together as a unit that would ultimately stand them in good stead for the Purcell weekend.

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