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It’s been a big sporting week in the Snodden household.  Before we get to that, just a word on Elayna and her first week at school.  She has had a ball and settling in well.  Thank you for your lovely comments on Insta and Facebook.  I can’t believe my two girls are now going to the same school together.  For me my concern now is to ensure I know what time Elayna needs picked up at each day as the settling in process is a minefield.  It takes me back to when Ivana was at the same stage and I got a phone call from the school asking were I was.  I was in the hairdressers and left in a flash almost like superman as I ripped off the cape and ran out the door with half a haircut.  Thankfully history has not repeated itself, yet.

Northern Ireland footballers Niall McGinn & Paddy McNair

So my sporting week began with Northern Ireland vs Luxembourg.  I love being the match announcer at the National Stadium for the internationals.  It is a real honour.  On Thursday Northern Ireland won 1-0.  It was a much changed side with Michael O’Neill giving pitch time to younger members of the squad to see what they are about, gain experience and try and keep injuries to a minimum.  Luxembourg gave us an own goal and the win continued Northern Ireland’s winning streak to 5 in a row.  As I write this I am filled with excitement as tonight the Germans are in town and I have a feeling it could be a very special night with the Green and White army in full voice and the team getting something out of the game, a win perhaps!  Hey, I’d take a draw.

On Friday Ivana started hockey for the first time.  I have played it all my life and it was great to take her and watch her start to learn about the game.  Looking on it reminded me just how patient you need to be when starting out playing and how patient I have to be on the sidelines and not to be shouting ‘noooooo,’ this is how you do it lols.  At the end of her first session, she said ‘Can I come back next week?’  That is a pretty good result.  I hope she continues to love it.

Julia and myself took the kids to watch the Ulster pre season friendly against Glasgow at the weekend.  It was great for the kids they had plenty of space to move around and get pitch side, plenty of  food to eat and the sun came out which was brilliant and a much different feeling than a frosty night in November.  The first half was a slow affair but Ulster stormed it in the second and thumped Glasgow 50-19.  Now, I’m not getting ahead of myself and I know you can’t read too much into pre-season friendlies but the signs are good for the season ahead.

Since I was kid I have played hockey and have been playing at my hometown team Bangor for what feels like a lifetime.  I have recently stepped down as Chairman, a role that I loved.  Now back in the day I played my club hockey at Instonians.  I joined the club during my school years at U13 & U15 level and also played for a few seasons in my twenties.  On Saturday night I attended the 60th anniversary dinner of Instonians HC.  It was superb.  It really got me thinking about friendships made through sport.  There were many funny stories, great characters and some speeches that went on longer than others.  It’s funny how those memories have shaped you as a person.  The laughs and the stories, win, lose or draw are so good and sometimes it takes an event such as that to remind you how much sport gives you outside of just playing the game.

That is it for this week, thanks for reading,



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