The debut weekend of the Pro Series Indoor Showdown lit up Gormanston Park last weekend as Ireland felt the full force of the Spirit of Indoor for the first time.
Seventeen teams scored hundreds of goals and created hundreds of memories as the venue was transformed to showcase the spirit of indoor in the best possible light.
Three pitches were set up side by side with a fourth court turned into a fun zone with an obstacle bouncing castle, target shooting inflatables, ten-pin bowling, giant Jenga, 3 v 3 bubble soccer and an amazing chill zone of 15 massive beanbags provided by beanbags.ie.
Following the opening ceremony, the helter-skleter series of group games got underway on Saturday morning and carried on throughout the day, leading into Sunday’s playoff matches.
The matches were extremely competitive even when some of the scorelines didn’t reflect it. Parents and supporters very quickly became very attached to their franchise and were very vocal and loud in support, cheering for goals and saves at every occasion.
The improvement was visible over the weekend with all coaches noting how players were adapting to the competition and the format of the game.
The All-Star game hit the boards with World Cup winners Bjorn Kellerman and Sjoerd de Wert the big attractions alongside some of the best players from the Irish scene like Ronan Gormley and Ross Canning, both of whom played before in the All-Star series in South Africa.
In the game, Kellerman and Gormley quickly put the Fireballs team into a 2-0 lead with the former turning on the style with some outrageous spins.
This seems to awaken the Thunderbolts who equalised and then took the lead with great goals by Rowland Rixon-Fuller and Stu Smyth, they kept building there score until they lead 5-2.
Kellerman and his teammates started the comeback in the second half and managed to get to 5-6 down by removing their GK in short bursts to give themselves the extra outfielder, one of these goals was a spectacular upright reverse flick.
Both Goalkeepers were called into action at regular intervals with Ross Murray saving a penalty stroke from Jason Lynch and Stephen O’Keeffe making another save with his helmet.
5-6, however, was as close as the Fireballs got, with the Thunderbolts finishing the strongest as Smyth scored two more late goals, to take his personal tally to four and an 8-5 Thunderbolts victory.
The best part about the All-Star game was to see the players attempting the skills they had just seen.
Lucie McNaught from the Belfast Bears scored her own upright reverse flick in the afternoon and on Sunday; Tharine Anthony did a reverse spin which led to a goal for the South Dublin Vikings.
To see these young players learning so fast from the best players in the world is a testament to the value of hosting the All-Star game. All the PSi players also had an opportunity to take selfies and get autographs after the game.
In terms of the results, at Under-15 level the Kilkenny Cats won the final 4-2 against the Belfast Bears while the South Dublin Vikings took bronze 6-3 against the North Dublin Knights.
In the first year section, the Vikings got the top spot with a 5-3 final win over the Bears. In the fifth and sixth class section, the Wicklow Wasps succeeded 4-2 against the Knights with the Kilkenny Cats third courtesy of a 4-2 win against the Wasps Blue team.
*** Parental feedback from the PSI weekend.
– Thank you so much for all your hard work and coaching over this amazing PSi journey. You have given my daughter wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.
– It was a great experience for the kids and adults….can’t wait for next year
– My daughter is still on a high looking at her videos and photos. What a wonderful weekend, I saw my daughter in a completely different experience”