by Alastair Brian
Children from Holy Cross Primary School in Govanhill got a GIANT surprise on Monday 18 June, when present day giant, Big Rory paid them a visit.
Primary pupils from across Scotland had been encouraged to create artworks based on the myth of the creation of the Giant’s Causeway during a fight between legendary giants Finn McCool in Ireland and Benandonner in Scotland.
The competition was sponsored by Tourism Ireland in celebration of the new Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre in Northern Ireland. More than 400 children entered, and the winning piece was created by 12-year-old Iman Adlain, a Primary 7 pupil at Holy Cross Primary.
The talented winner has been rewarded with a trip to the stunning Giant’s Causeway with his family and was presented with his prize by Big Rory the Giant who stands 9 feet high.
Award-winning Scottish children’s writer Teresa Breslin visited the school alongside Big Rory, and held a storytelling session, recounting the legendary tale of the Giant’s Causeway and the feud between Irish Giant Finn McCool and the Scottish Benandonner which resulted in its creation.
She said: ‘I am delighted to visit Holy Cross Primary School to present Iman with his prize and to join his school mates in celebrating his success. I’m always eager to get involved with projects which encourage children to develop their artistic and reading skills, and I was delighted to witness such a high volume of entries.
‘Schools from all over Scotland produced artwork of an extremely high calibre, and Iman’s representation of Benandonner is very colourful and unique. He’ll now have the opportunity to see this most amazing natural phenomenon when he visits the Giant’s Causeway with his family.’
The £18.5 million Visitor Centre at the Giant’s Causeway is due to open in July 2012 and will use the latest technology to guide tourists around Ireland’s only World Heritage Site. Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: ‘With the opening of the highly-anticipated Visitor Centre scheduled for next month, there has never been a better time to visit the Giant’s Causeway and we are delighted to invite Iman and his family to experience it first-hand.’
Further information on the Giant’s Causeway and what’s happening in Northern Ireland this year can be found at www.discoverireland.com
The organisers of the World Pipe Band Championships for 2011 are to be congratulated. They made a lot of people very happy on Saturday 13 August when around 8000 pipers and drummers in 230 bands entered into fierce competition. The spectacle was enjoyed by an estimated 30,000 onlookers. Despite monsoon rains for days beforehand, the Glasgow Green was well prepared to take the crowds without too much mud underfoot.
Said one international visitor: ‘This has been an amazing day. I have never seen pipe bands before. It has been very exciting.’
Graded into different levels of ability, the band Grade 1 winners were Field Marshal Montgomery from Lisburn, Northern Ireland, making them top band in the world and leaving them feeling on top of the world.
Said Lisburn Mayor, Councillor Brian Heading: ‘I am delighted that this world famous band has once again brought this supreme title back to Lisburn. With 21 Ulster and 19 All Ireland Championships and now 7 World Champion titles, they are officially the most successful pipe band in history.
‘Quite simply, they are in a league of their own. To perform and compete at this level takes countless hours of practice. Their success is richly deserved.’
The Band’s Drum Major, Alicia Dickson also won the adult Drum Major event.
Interviewed by Jackie Bird for the BBC live coverage that went world-wide, the band’s Pipe Major, Richard Parkes MBE said: ‘We had a strong band on the day and I couldn’t have asked for more. We really wanted to win and everyone has worked hard all winter.’
Second place went to Simon Fraser University of Canada and Scottish Power was third. Fourth place in Grade 1 went to Inveraray & District. Fifth place went to St Laurence O’Toole from Eire and sixth place went to Boghall & Bathgate.
Glasgow Lord Provost, Councillor Bob Winter, was Chieftain of the Games, for possibly his last time as there are council elections next May. He said: ‘Nothing brings Glasgow Green to life like the World Pipe Band Championships. We all appreciate the dedication, mastery and team work required to play to the highest standards to be in the Worlds. The city is very proud to continue to be host at least till 2012.’
The event brings an estimated £10 million into the local economy.
Apart from the pipe bands and the associated competitions for pipe majors and for drummers and pipers, there were Highland Games which attract heavy weight athletes ‘putting the shot’ and ‘tossing the caber”. Highland dancing competitions fielded competitors from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as Scotland.
The day ended with all the pipe bands in a march past to salute the Chieftain and his VIP guests.
Planning for next year’s competition is already under way by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council, EventsScotland, Scottish Enterprise and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau.
There was no sign of European jitters for Glasgow City Ladies as they opened their Champions League qualifying campaign by thrashing Irish champions, Crusaders Newtonabbey Strikers , 8-0.
The match, played in Castledawson, Northern Ireland, on Thursday 5 August, is the first of three as Glasgow City look to qualify for the knock out stages of the elite competition in ladies football.
Their opening statement could not have been more emphatic. The game was essentially over by half time, as City, parading their new orange strip, produced their own brand of ‘total football’ and cantered into a 4-0 lead.
Only 12 minutes into her European debut, Clare Gemmell opened the scoring, firing in from the edge of the box with a rasping strike. Further goals from Jane Ross, Leanne Ross and Suzanne Lappin left the Crusaders peering up a mountain as they trudged down the tunnel at half-time.
There was to be no gallant Irish fightback. Instead, Glasgow City banged in another four goals, their 8-0 victory the highest tally from qualifiers across Europe that night.
Clare Gemmell’s dream debut continued as she grabbed another goal to complete a brace. That was 6-0, City’s German striker Linder had already walloped in the fifth. Another Leanne Ross goal and an individual piece of brilliance from Rachel Corsie, firing in after a mazy glide through Crusader’s bewildered defense, completed the rout.
City manager Peter Caulfield was delighted with the way his team started the game. Said Peter: ‘We started the game at a really high tempo, setting a tone that lasted the whole match. I am delighted. It was an outstanding team performance- by every player on the pitch.’
City will play Slovakian champions, SK Slovan Bratislava, at 3pm, Saturday 7 August at Ballymena, Northern Ireland. City’s Sue Lappin predicts a much firmer test from the Eastern Europeans. Said Sue: The Slovakians held Duisberg, one of the best teams in the world and are renowned as hard to beat. That said, confidence is obviously extremely high in the team right now and we are playing well. We just need to keep our focus and momentum.’
Glasgow City will finish their qualifying campaign in Northern Ireland against former Champions League winners, Duisberg, on Tuesday 10 August. Only the winners of the four team mini-league are guaranteed a place in 32 team knockout stages.
In 2008 City made it though to the last 16 of the competition, a fantastic achievement. This year, perhaps they feel they can go a few steps further.
To see how Glasgow City Ladies got on, visit www.glasgowcityladiesfc.co.uk
The Scottish Women’s Premier League enjoys a day off this weekend as Scotland take on Northern Ireland in an international challenge match at Strathclyde Homes Stadium, Dumbarton on Sunday 23 May.
It is the first ever women’s international at the stadium and forms part of Scotland’s build-up to the World Cup Qualifying matches against Bulgaria and Denmark in June. The national team have begun the qualifying campaign in fine form with four wins out of four, and will use the match against Northern Ireland to maintain their momentum.
Glasgow City and Scotland forward, Jane Ross says the match is vital to keep focus and confidence. She said, ‘Our campaign has gone to plan so far and the girls were fantastic in the last match against Bulgaria in particular. We obviously have them to play again in the away leg next month and then face strong group favourites Denmark at Rugby Park. The Northern Ireland match is therefore crucial as it gives us time together again in a competitive match. Northern Ireland are always a good test for us and even if it is only a friendly, we will be looking to keep our winning run going. Let’s hope for a good performance and we can keep confidence high in the camp going into the qualifiers.’
The match is the first ever women’s international at the stadium. Kick off is 2pm. Tickets on the gate: Adult £5, child/concession £2.
Scotland Under 19’s proudly flew off today (Friday 21 May 2010) to Macedonia to take their place in the Under 19 European Championships. It is a phenomenal achievement for our young guns to make it to the finals and they face an incredibly difficult challenge as they are grouped with holders England and former winners, Germany and Italy. The Scots first match is against the Auld Enemy on Monday.
Honours were even as Scotland’s SYFA West & South-west combine drew 1-1 with Mid-Ulster Youth FA in an international friendly in County Armagh at the weekend.
The Scottish Youth Football Association and its Northern Ireland counterpart have been playing a Spring friendly for the past 28 years.
Last year the Scots lads delivered a 3-0 win at Tynecastle, the home of Heart of Midlothian. This year they posted a 0-3 victory on the road at Mourneview, the home of Glenavon FC.
SYFA’s Steven McGinn harried Mid-Ulster’s goal from the off, while SYFA keeper Daniel Mcleay pulled off a morale-boosting point-blank save in the 12th minute to lift his team mates.
The Scots’ first break came on the half hour as Jack Combe turned an opponent in the Mid Ulster half, ran into the penalty box and slipped the ball under the onrushing NI goalkeeper.
Mid Ulster struck back on the 41st minute, hitting SYFA on the counter attack and allowing striker Sean Devlin in on top of a swithering defence to level the score.
In the second half, both teams made changes but SYFA struggled to beat Daniel Rowney, the Mid Ulster Goalkeeper, who won man-of-the-match award for his performance.
When the Scots did beat the keeper there was an offside call, although there was not much in it.
Substitute SYFA midfielders Scott McIntosh and Marc Storrie managed to break Mid Ulster’s control, but ultimately their hard work bore no fruit.
The Scottish Youth Football Association (SYFA) is to send an Under-19 squad to Northern Ireland to represent their country in a major challenge match.
The squad will be in Lurgan, County Armagh to play Mid Ulster Juveniles at Mourneview, the home of IFA Premiership side Glenavon.
The encounter, which takes place on the weekend of April 9, will be the 28th time SYFA representatives have encountered Northern Irish opposition in this challenge and the RSB sponsored Scots are confident of retaining the bragging rights.