The lads faced top teams from 9 different nations, With both our 10s + 12s facing up against arguably the worlds biggest and finest club Barcelona (and the skill level and respect shown by their young players would justify that tag).
Our 10s played their first game of the tournament vs. the Catalan giants and although a little over-awed of the occasion, bravely tried to match Barcaat their own game of tiki-taka (something even the likes of Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan never dared!) but fell just a little short. For the rest of the tournament they thrilled crowds with their playing style in games against 3 French teams, a Northern Irish team, and another top Catalonian academy La Pastoreta in a consolation final. One of the lasting memories for the lads will be walking off the pitch slightly dejected after narrowly losing in their final to La Pastoreta, only to receive a standing ovation from the Players, Coaches, and supporters of Barcelona U10 who were waiting to come on to play the main Final, along with the Barca U9s who had come down to cheer on their new friends after bonding with the Drogheda lads while resting between games. The 10 year old Drogheda lads duly stopped in their tracks and raised their hands to return the applause to the crowd.
Striker David Solomon finished top scorer in the U10 section with 10 goals including 3 hat-tricks in a row, and second top scorer out of all 7 age sections.
The U12s laid waste to teams from Spain, England, Belgium, Slovenia, Guadalupe, and a further Belgium side in top nursery, Union Saint Giloise,who the lads saw off in a tense Semi Final Penalty shootout before taking on the mighty Barcelona in the final, the lads hustled and hurried andcaptured the imagination of much of the approx 1 to 2 thousand people watching. Although they lost 2-0, it could have been much different if thereferee might have rightly awarded a penalty and a dis-allowed goal with the scores still at 0-0 early in the second half.
The final whistle saw both exhausted teams stop and hug their nearest opponent after earning each others respect.
The team scored more goals than any other U12 team including Barca and Strikers Michael Leddy and Michael Soyemi finished joint second top scorers on 8 goals a piece.
Gary "The Gallant" Sweeney
Gary had his first fight age 11, won most of his all Ireland titles with All Stars boxing club Ballinrobe, his Dad Michael Sweeney ran it with his brothers and Royston County Kildare. He won his elite senior title with Olympic BC, Galway the first senior for the club since Francie Barrett 1996. Gary was Born April fools 1994 in Galway, he spent few years in Tuam and then moved back to Ballinrobe where his dad is from and where Gary now lives.
Training in MGM Marbella, Spain, Gary is making his pro Debut on September 19th in South Africa. With Golden Gloves promotions and MGM Gary can make it to the top.
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Michael "Storm" Sweeney -
Michael is a 4 time's Irish Amateur champion who has represented Ireland numerous times.
Michael turned professional 2007, he has had 16 fights to date - Won 12 (KO6), Lost 3 (KO2), Drew 1. As a pro boxer Michael sparred with Klitschko, Abraham, Dawson & Kessler. He also trained with #Mannysteward RIP. Michael is training in MGM Marbella Spain
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