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Bittersweet international debut weekend for Kyle

KYLE Devine’s endured a bittersweet weekend in Sweden at the Euro 9s Cup where, on his international debut, he helped Ireland to a second placed finish overall and he finished as runner-up in the race for the golden boot.

“It’s not gold, which is what we were aiming for,” admitted the Strabane Sigersons clubman.

“I’m disappointed in a way because we wanted to break that curse of being in second place for the last four or five years.”

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Coming so close to two titles was particularly gutting for the Victoria Bridge man, but he thoroughly enjoyed the nine-a-side format of the game and international level competition.

“It was a great opportunity. At the time, you’re buzzing and it’s a great feeling to have putting on the jersey and to get presented with it. It was a great feeling to get to play at such a high level,” beamed the Belfast Redback.

“Playing alongside my club team-mates made it a lot easier for me as we know each other’s style of play. I got great supply all day from captain David McElhone, Declan Alder (former Co Down keeper) and Sean Birmingham, everyone played their part.

“Myself and Eoin O’Sullivan, who was also making his debut, played as a two man forward line and we kicked 25 goals between us in six games.”

Kyle and the Warriors got their campaign off to a comprehensive start with an 89-6 win over the Czech Republic before defeating Switzerland 65-1 and Wales 48-4 to top their group and reach the last-eight.

In the quarter-finals, Ireland defeated Croatia 61-2 and then ousted France 40-9 in the last four to set up a decider against England.

Disappointingly, the Warriors fell to a narrow seven points reverse in the final and Kyle, who scored 12 goals during the competition, missed out on the golden boot by just a solitary goal.

“Every game was hard, but the English played their tactics a bit better than we did and that was the difference,” he observed.

“It would have been nice to have come away with a gold medal, but it came down to fine margins – one goal essentially was all it was but we had our chances because we hit the post, we had a couple of behinds – it just wasn’t our day.”

Although the Ireland Warriors missed out on their title, the Irish Banshees women’s team claimed their crown.

Kyle and his international colleagues will start preparing for the European Championships in London in October once the domestic season ends in August.

At present, his Redbacks side look odds on to reach the Grand Final and retain their title.

Also, Kyle is hoping to organise a charity event in Strabane with Aussie Rules Footy at the centre of it in order to promote the sport locally.

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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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