GALLERY AND RESULTS: 2021 Mercy Shield
Students from Emerald to Toowoomba to Warwick have travelled hours to be a part of the award-winning Mercy Shield sporting event in Roma.
The event was established by St John’s Catholic College in 2020 to give Catholic School students an opportunity to play competitive sports as the pandemic forced most other events to be canned.
The event was so important in filling a gap left by COVID-19 that it won the Community Event of the Year award from the Maranoa Regional Council in 2021’s Australia Day celebrations.
This year’s event ran for three days between March 19 and 21, and featured the five schools of St John’s, Our Lady of the Southern Cross College (Dalby), Emerald Marist College, Assumption College Warwick, and St Joseph’s College Toowoomba.
The grand final for the rugby league tournament kicked off at about 5.30pm March 20, leading to a decisive victory for Warwick against Roma.
Having trained since November 2020, Assumption College’s boys scored a 10-4 win for their first competitive carnival of the year.
Coach Bob Bell described it as a ‘gritty win’ with a few ball drops and some bad habits slipping back in, but it was a good highlight to be able to play as a team again.
Warwick’s next stop - the Darling Downs competition.
“It’s a great lead up to them,” Mr Bell said.
Roma Event co-ordinator Sam Valentine said the result didn’t matter for the St John’s team because it’s a good trial match for future events.
“We’re happy for Warwick and those bringing a team,” Mr Valentine said.
He said he’d like the Mercy Shield event to continue in the coming years with more teams, including those outside of the Darling Downs and southwest Queensland.
“Thanks to the community for getting around it. To our sponsors and supporters as well,” Mr Valentine said.
The girls faced off in a game of netball the next day at about 9.30am.
St Joseph’s Toowoomba beat their Roma competition with a final score of 34-15.
Toowoomba coach Deb Newton said the girls loved visiting Roma and although the weather was quite hot, it was a good experience for them to be able to play in the country.
Five of the girls on Ms Newton’s team were in Year 12, making it their final opportunity to compete in Catholic school sport.
They’ve been training since the beginning the term and had to make some last-minute adjustments to the team due to competing sporting events.
“[Mercy Shield] is very professional, it’s very good run,” Ms Newton said.
“We loved visiting Roma.”
She told the Western Star during the game that the team plans on vising the big bottle tree on the way home to take a good photo to remember the day by.
Ms Newton wants to thank the organisers and the Overlander Motel for letting the Toowoomba team stay.
Netball co-ordinator Ashleigh Valentine said most of Roma’s girls were doing strength and conditioning training once a week for an hour and a half.
“We’ll continue this until our June/July carnival, which is down on Brisbane this year,” Mrs Valentine said.
Much like Roma’s rugby boys, they weren’t disappointed about the loss, but were given the opportunity for an enjoyable experience.
“We’ll try and invite a couple more teams if we can,” she said for the future.
She’d like to thank the sponsors and Maranoa Regional Council for letting them use Bassett Park.