U10 Football and Hurling
Lead Mentor Football
Lead Mentor Hurling
Match and Training Times:
U9 Hurlers Trip to Buffers Alley Saturday 30th. June 2007
People associated with the club a lot longer than I reckoned that this was the youngest group ever to represent Clontarf GAA on an away trip. 35 bright eyed and enthusiastic kids showed up at the clubhouse at 9 AM absolutely raring to go! After the mandatory final call of nature for all, (this was more than likely a case of slight over hydration rather than of pre-match nerves!), we were on our way.
Soon into the journey we got a call from Murt at Buffer’s Alley informing us that an inch of rain had fallen overnight and that it continued to pour down (although that wasn’t the exact expression he used!) in the Sunny South East. He suggested that we may have to move indoors, we knowingly informed him that a clearance had brightened up conditions considerably in Dublin and this would no doubt follow us to Wexford. As soon as we hit Wicklow however, the heavens really opened again, rain literally bounced off the road and visibility reduced to a matter of metres.
Our alternate match venue, arranged at no notice whatsoever by Murt was to be St. Joseph’s AFC arena at Kilmuckridge. I was aware of it’s quality but decided to keep that to myself in order to gain the maximum wow factor from our mentors and players alike on our arrival. I wasn’t disappointed by their reaction to the full sized indoor astro pitch with associated changing and warm-up facilities.
We started proceedings with three simultaneous 7 a side games of ground hurling. The quality and commitment on display from both teams considering their tender years was marvellous. This bout fittingly ended all square with a narrow win, a narrow defeat and a draw. Next up we played two consecutive 15 a side games of full air hurling. There was no charge to attend either of these matches but I would willingly pay €100 for a ticket based on the levels of skill, passion and commitment we witnessed from both sides and based on one moment in particular, in the first game, that will stay with me and all else present forever.
Soon after half time Buffer’s strongest player, in every sense of the word, gained possession near half way but well within his range. Sean O’Shea immediately threw himself into a full frontal block as his opponent attempted to shoot, the clash resounded around the arena to a huge gasp from both sets of supporters. The ball rebounded however to the same player and in an instant Conor Doran dived with even greater ferocity, if that’s possible, to repeat the block, the echoes and gasps of the first block having barely subsided. This time Clontarf gained the possession and I doubt if there was a single soul in the arena who would have begrudged us temporary ownership of the sliothar. From this moment until the final whistle the intensity of the game seemed to really ratchet up with players from both sides trying to surpass the deeds of their team mates and opponents. These games ended in a win a piece and there was a part of me who wished the final whistle would never sound. We were most definitely trapped in “a moment of time”.
I ‘ll finish by thanking the Chairman and all the parents at Buffer’s Alley, in particular Murt and Wendy Mangan for the absolutely tremendous welcome and hospitality shown to us. I hope they will give us an opportunity to repay them in kind with a visit to Clontarf before too long. I’d like to also thank Shane, PJ, Donal, Frank, Mick and Noel, my fellow mentors for all their help, advise, assistance and counselling during the year! I hope the Clontarf U9 hurlers enjoyed this trip as much as the mentors did and I look forward to seeing them all back in September with an even greater armoury of skills after a long summer of hurling practise facilitated by their supporting parents.