by Richard Canny, PRO, St Brigid’s Minor Committee
2. General activity 2013
3. Team activity 2013
4. Cumann na mBunscoil Competitions
A sincere thank you to all managers and coaches for supporting the communications channels at Minor Committee level over the last year. That support has lent itself to promoting the excellent coaching and administrative work being done at minor level.
The following is a summary of general and team activities which took place at every grade during 2013:
2. General Activity 2013
School-children took part in a very successful St Brigid’s poster competition ahead of the All-Ireland final. Entries from all the schools in the parish went on display this in the clubhouse.
Andy Merrigan Cup
After the historic achievement in Croke Park, there was plenty of excitement when St Brigid’s players brought the Andy Merrigan Cup on a tour of the schools in the parish.
To celebrate our All-Ireland heroes, a special souvenir T-Shirt also proved to be a big hit with our underage players.
The St. Brigid’s nursery programme aimed at children aged between 4 and 6 years commenced this month and continues to be a great success. In a fun environment, the nursery gives boys and girls a basic foundation in the core skills of Gaelic football.
A very successful coaching camp for U-14s/U16s/Minors took place this month where many senior players generously gave of their time.
A very successful reception night for the new sponsors of the six underage squads took place at the clubhouse at the beginning of August. The sponsorship allowed the Minor Committee to partially offset the cost of new training tops for each squad. The tops have been a huge success in terms of promoting the St Brigid’s brand.
A big thank you is extended to all the managers, coaches and parents who helped out in relation to the U-12s/U-14s/U-16s/U-18s attendance at Croke Park for the Roscommon v Tyrone All-Ireland semi-final.
The Minor Board Committee held the first of two very successful presentation nights for the U-8s, U-10s and U-12s.
There has been a great response from all grades to the indoor winter training programme, which commenced this month. The programme is aimed at enhancing the footballing skills of all players.
The Minor Board Committee also held its second presentation night this month for U-14, U-16 and Minor squads.
As part of the winter training programme, squads undertook speed sessions at AIT to improve running techniques. It has proved very valuable for players and coaches alike.
3. Team Activity 2013
The O’Rourke Fireplace sponsored U-8 squad enjoyed a busy season where they participated in a number of blitzes which certainly helped to enhance their footballing skills.
The football activity included ‘Go Games’ Blitzes during the summer and a County Blitz at the impressive St Croan's grounds. In the latter blitz, the team played very well against tough opposition in the form of Roscommon Gaels, Strokestown and St Dominic's.
In April, the U-8s took part in a very successful half-day coaching camp at the St Brigid’s complex. The presence of Senan Kilbride made it an extra special day for the kids.
In June, all the training paid off when the squad was involved in an excellent challenge game against a very well trained Ballycumber/Tubber team.
In August, it was the turn of the U-8s and their coaches to enjoy a great day out in Croke Park for a tour of the stadium and museum.
The squad brought a busy footballing year to a close in October by competing in the St. Dominic’s tournament in Knockcroghery. With three teams taking part, there was plenty of football played in games against the host club and Clann na nGael. Unfortunately, the U-8s were beaten by eventual and deserved winners St Dominic’s.
(ii) U-10s Activity
Highlights of the U-10 season involved winning the ‘B’ final of the Clann na nGael tournament and playing a series of very competitive games, at home and away, against two of Galway’s best underage teams, Corofin and Claregalway, in October and November respectively.
The victory in the Clann na nGael ‘B’ final was some consolation for the Sheraton Hotel sponsored squad who missed out on the ‘A’ final by a solitary point. The same aggregate margin separated St Brigid’s and Padraig Pearses in what turned out to be a hugely exciting game played in Johnstown in September.
The U-10 season got off to a great start in April with an excellent half-day coaching camp involving senior players Peter Domican and Mark O’Carroll. Another excellent and more advanced coaching camp took place in July involving senior players Senan and Ian Kilbride, Karl Mannion, Darragh Donnelly, Gearóid Cunniffee, Eoin Sheehy and Ronan Stack.
During the summer, the squad also competed in three ‘Go Games’ blitzes in Kiltoom, Knockcroghery and Johnstown.
In the month of September, the U-10 squad had a fantastic day out when they undertook a tour of Croke Park and the museum, which includes the St Brigid’s All-Ireland Champions display.
In the month of June, the Kiltoom/Cam Community Games team were agonisingly pipped at the post for the U-10 title at the hands of Drum/Clonown who prevailed by just two points in the final.
(iii) U-12s Activity
It was an extremely busy and successful season for the Millmount Maintenance Services sponsored U-12s who impressed in a number of competitions.
The first piece of silverware was landed in June in the ‘B’ final of the Easyfix tournament, winning away to the St. Gabriel's club in Kilconnell by a 9 point greater aggregate score.
Another trophy found its way on the U-12 sideboard in August when the U-12s travelled to Mayo Gaels near Claremorris and won the tournament in impressive style.
In September, the winning ways continued against top opposition when a magnificent all-round team performance over four games against quality opposition secured the Corofin tournament in Galway on Saturday last. In a thriller, the team prevailed in the final against the host club following a last gasp burst of scores.
In the same month, the team won the Gaeltacht Football tournament in Rathcairn, County Meath at their first attempt following three comprehensive victories in the earlier rounds.
The month of May marked the start of a hectic schedule of matches where the squad competed in three divisions in the Spring and Summer leagues. St Brigid’s won the Division 1 competition and competed well in the other two divisions. Both competitions also proved very valuable in giving every player game time.
At the very start of the season, it was a very memorable occasion on St Patrick’s Day when a selection of U-12 players featured in an exhibition game against Ballymun Kickhams during half-time of the senior final in Croke Park.
(v) U-14s Activity
It might be small consolation for the D & M O'Grady Builders sponsored U-14 squad but this group of players contributed to one of the most exciting underage games in recent memory in September when they narrowly lost out to Clann na nGael in the Division 1 Championship final.
A large St Brigid’s support turned out to see an amazing game where St Brigids clawed back a six point deficit with two minutes left. But heartbreak followed straight after when Clann hit 1-1 without reply. A Brigid’s fourth goal hit the net but it wasn’t enough as the final whistle sounded to leave the scoreline 4-8 to 4-7 in Clann’s favour.
In the earlier rounds of the Division 1 competition, the squad had victories over Oran, St. Ciaran’s, Strokestown and St Dominics. Next year’s U-14 squad holds a lot of promise given that there are many of the players eligible at this grade next year.
Fortunes were very much on the up earlier in the season when impressive early round victories against Roscommon Gaels, St Aidan's and Strokestown set up a meeting with Oran in the U-14 County Féile Final at Ballyforan in May.
Despite winning by eight points in the fin al, this was a hard fought victory which handed the team the honour of representing Roscommon in the All-Ireland Féile competition in Derry in June.
The squad represented Roscommon well in Féile in Derry, managing to get to the semi-final stages of the competition following victories over Glenswilly, Naomh Colmcille and Monaghan Harps. However, they were unfortunately beaten by a very strong Blessington side in the last four.
In what was a very busy season, all players also got plenty of game time in this year’s county league competition.
(iv) U-16s Activity
There were many highlights during the year but no-one will argue that pride of place has to go to the The Derek Duggan Travel sponsored U-16s who not only ended a six year absence in September to claim their first U-16 Division 1 Championship title but also made it a league and championship double by the end of November.
The long-awaited championships honours followed after a hard-fought victory over St Ciaran’s in Knockroghery. The real difference between the sides was simply down to a greater all-round scoring threat and following a tight first half, St Brigid’s closed out the game in style to win on a scoreline of 3-14 to 1-10.
Two months later, the squad completed a fantastic league and championship double on the Bank Holiday when they defeated a tough St Dominic's side in the Division 1 League Final on a scoreline of 3-9 to 0-9.
The league competition also gave players plenty of game time as did a very successful St Dominic’s 11-a-side blitz held in Knockcroghery in May.
The U-16 squad set an incredible record for 2013 where they remained unbeaten in the league and championship.
(iv) Minors Activity
The Russell Brennan Keane sponsored minors put in a series of very good performances in this year’s league and must be complemented for their honesty of effort.
In September, the players also put in an excellent display in the championship quarter-final away to a very strong Clann na nGael team, who went on to win the competition.
This year’s St Brigid’s minors were significantly supplemented by U-16 players and next year’s squad has enormous potential to make an impact in both league and championship.
4. Cumann na mBunscoil Competitions 2013
Congratulations to the Ballybay Central National School team who were crowned the 2013 Large School champions in June when they overcame Creagh in the final scoreline of 4-7 to 3-5.
Well done to the other schools in the parish who also acquitted themselves well in their respective competitions. A very young Brideswell team competed excellently in the 3/4 teacher competition in Ballyforan and the talent available next year holds a lot of promise.
Curraghboy competed in the 2 teacher school 7-a-side competition. and did superbly, winning all their games and qualifying top of the group. In the semi-final, they had to give way to a physically stronger and older Grange NS side but this experience should serve them well for next year.