First Ballyclare BB boys ‘dare to dream’

1st Ballyclare BB boys at the GAWA night. INNT 24-814CON
1st Ballyclare BB boys at the GAWA night. INNT 24-814CON

With Northern Ireland competing in their first tournament for 30 years, the boys at 1st Ballyclare BB recently took part in a GAWA night.

The Junior Section boys at Ballyclare Presbyterian Church meet regularly throughout the summer as part of their summer programme.

Ahead of the Euro 2016 tournament kicking-off, the Junior Section officers organised a Green and White Army night for the boys.

Commenting on how the idea for the GAWA night came about, the leader in charge of the Junior Section, Gavin Patrick said: “When we sat down and looked at our plan for over the summer, we couldn’t look past the Euro 2016 tournament and the brilliant achievement by the NI team, so we pencilled in a GAWA night for the boys. On the night itself, the hall and car park were awash with Northern Ireland shirts.

On the night, held on Wednesday, June 8, the officers drew on aspects from Northern Ireland’s successful qualifying campaign to illustrate a number of Christian lessons.

Gavin explained: “We had a talk as part of the GAWA night and looked at the hashtag being used by the supporters #Daretodream. We had a chat with the boys that as Christians we don’t need to dare to dream, as we are able to live the dream through our faith and personal relationship with God, giving us eternal life.”

The night was a success, with the boys and leaders really enjoying it. A number of football-based activities were organised for the boys. They were split into teams, before making their way round the different skill challenges. The activities included shooting, keepy-ups and throw-ins. The scores were then totted up, with the top boys receiving some Euro 2016 football prizes.

An avid NI fan, Gavin has been a block booker at Windsor Park for nearly 30 years, attending all of the home games as well as the occasional trip for an away game.

He added: “This time round it was to Finland, which was the last game of the campaign, so we had already qualified. I think my highlight of the qualifiers was the home game to Hungary. We were 1-0 down and so often in the past we wouldn’t have come back. Previously supporters would have drifted from the stands, but this time the crowd kept cheering the team on and Lafferty pounced to get the equaliser in injury time! You would have thought we had won the Euros by the reaction in the stadium!”

A few of the BB officers from 1st Ballyclare are going to one or two of the games in France, while one will be attending all of the group matches. Some of the boys are also going to the tournament with their families.