Nearly 140 under 10s from 10 clubs turned up on Sunday in Kerins O’Rahillys ground in Ballyrickard, thanks Shirley, and rampaged around the six fields for an hour and a half playing football with abandon and smiling faces.
There is a lot of organisation needed to get an event like this to run smoothly and unfortunately a couple of things went wrong that made the start of the tournament a bit chaotic, thanks to everyone for their patience and helping Maurice to keep it all together and get it going, I apologize for the delays and promise it will not happen again.
Frank McLoughlin is known to you all as a referee, a mentor and a general good guy but only for his diligence and hard work an awful lot of what happens in North Kerry would not happen, he was there at the start, through the whole lot and he was dragging goals in off the fields at the end. This was before he ran off to referee a county final later in the day, a trojan man and a great friend to Ladies Football in the county.
Onto the real business of the day, what a sight greeted the huge crowd in the venue, six pitches all over the venue with constant action for an hour and a half, it was so hard to get around and see all the teams in action. I have seen a couple of the teams in earlier mini blitzes and huge improvement in all of them was evident and it only gives testement to the fact that all these girls need is games, games and more games.
Abbeydorney brought in two teams and Imelda made a comment to me going out the gate that only games really give the girls the chance at this age to put into action what their coaches are telling them, you can do all the drills you want in training but only games focus the mind.
I was thinking about this later and it makes so much sense, when fellas of my age were growing up all we had to do was bate a ball of the wall for hours on end playing my own All Irleand in the backyard with a couple of lads, these days are over and lamenting and wishing will not bring them back so we have to make up the deficit. The only way to do this is hold events like this on a more regular basis, Pat Reidy from the Stacks re-iterated this fact and in fairness I agree with him, academies on a Sunday morning are fine but they cant replace the thrust and parry of playing an opposition. It gives coaches an opportunity to re-inforce the core skills and get their point across.
I cannot pick out players or teams but several girls throughout the venue really impressed, the sportsmanship shown was great and the skills demonstrated were really eye catching. Everywhere you looked there was soloing, interplay, scoing, passing and tackling, girls were volunteering for goal keeping and more and more football. There were three games scheduled for each team but it was great to see teams organising extra games for their girls outside of the schedule, rumor has it that one team played five games, talk about hungry for competition.
James Hayes, Frank and the people of Strand Road must be thanked for making this event possible but it would not have happened without the management all the teams and the parents of all the girls, I hope everyone got out of the event what they wanted and I encourage them all to commit to the next one which North Kerry will run later in the year.
On a side note if anyone has photos from the day please send them in and I will stick them up on the site so we can put on show what a great event it was. Thanks to all!!!