There were 25 players at the U13 GCA Football on the 16th May. The session took a quick revision on last weeks session where we concentrated on securing possession on the ground. We then on focusing players on the transition in play between attack and defence when an attacking move breaks down and possession is turned over. All players put in a strong effort with a high intensity maintained throughout the session. Well done to all the lads. Players were asked to encourage team and school mates to attend these sessions. We are in Ballinakill again on Saturday 23rd at the usual time of 10:30 a.m. when we intend to carry out a skills test for the players. Eoin Phibbs 0868282033.
I has been a great week for the under 14 squad. First off it was announced during the week that a new sponsor had come on board in the shape of Glen Fuels. It is a massive boost to the squad to receive this and full information and feedback can be seen on our website. A great turn out of 46 players were in Ballinakill on Saturday for a blitz involving Louth, Limerick and Westmeath and ourselves. Louth and Westmeath both had 2 teams with them so it resulted in 5 games for our players who were also separated into 2 teams. The squad put in impressive performances in 5 games and came out with wins against each county and a lot of positive performances which would have left Seamus and the coaches very happy leaving Ballinakill Saturday afternoon.
Our U15 Squad traveled to Fenagh Co Carlow last Saturday to play in a Blitz. Other team at this venue were Limerick, Wexford, Tipperary and Carlow. Wicklow were drawn in a group with Limerick and Wexford. Wicklow had 31 players in attendance and picked 2 separate starting 15’s for the 2 games. First up was Limerick and with a strong cross field wind it was difficult for forwards to take a score. Wicklow were dominating possession and scored the first 2 points only for Limerick take the lead when they scored a breakaway goal. Wicklow responded immediately with a goal of their own and led at half time on a score of 1-3 to 1-1. Wicklow started the second half well and went into a 4 point lead, but conceded a soft goal to reduce the lead to the minimum. Wicklow had to raise their game, which they did and got the next score. The score now stood at 1-6 to 2-1, but Limerick were to get the next score which unfortunately was another goal, which gave Limerick the lead for the first time. This was when the Wicklow players showed great character and scored the last 3 points of the game to win on a score of 1-9 to 3-1. Every Wicklow player gave a good account of themselves which pleased the coaches and put some pressure on the next 15 players.
The next team had to play Wexford and it was obvious even before the ball was thrown in that this was going to be a difficult game, as all but 1 of the Wicklow players were up against a taller more physical opponent. From the start Wexford were on the attack with players making strong runs from all angels. Wicklow were struggling to gain possession and when they did they found it difficult to get out of their own half. On the few occasions that Wicklow then get into the Wexford half the last pass or a wayward shot let them down.
The half time score was 2-4 to 0-0.
With the coaches debating about bringing in some of our taller more physical players from the first game to help improve our chances, it was decided to give this 15 the first 5 minutes of the second half to try and improve things. From the throw in for the second half the Wicklow players started to win a few of the 50-50 contests, but still found it difficult to get into scoring positions. With 3 of our stronger players warming up from the first game and getting ready to help things, the Wicklow players started to win more and more possession. With our defenders leading the way by dispossessing the Wexford forwards, our midfield and forwards got more and more into the game and eventual found their range and kicked 3 points. Wicklow were dealt a cruel blow when a Wexford shot for a point fell short and dipped into the corner of the net. The Wicklow players did not let this stop their improvement and the Wexford goal was their only score of the second half. Wicklow were now dominating the game and got a goal of their own and followed this up with a point. They were then unlucky not to get another goal when we hit the post with the Wexford goal keeper stranded. The final score was Wexford 3-4 Wicklow 1-4. This was a very brave performance by the Wicklow players. By the end of the game no subs were used as no Wicklow player deserved to be taken off.
Overall the coaches were very happy the effort and bravery of all players. Wicklow were short 10 players for this blitz due to injury, illness and other commitments, but are looking forward to their next blitz. Next Saturday the players have their second fitness test.
Last Saturday we travelled to Athlone to take part in a Leinster blitz. Having left Tinahely at 7.30 am we reached Pairc Chiarain at 10.30am after having done stop offs at Rathnew, Kilmac and the Spawell. Our first match was against Sligo at 11am . We started extremely slow and conceded two early goals. Sligo were the much sharper and playing the better football. the half time score was 3.1 to 0.4. Following a frank half time discussion we started to play football. We got the scoreline back to 3.1 to 1.6 . However a mistake gifted Sligo the opportunity to counter attack and score an important goal. Try as we might Sligo extended the lead and ran out convincing winners. In our 2nd game we started a new team of 15 . Our new 15 started at a much better pace. Scores were even throughout and the half time score was 2 points all. In the 2nd game both teams traded goals but Westmeath got a vital score and followed this up with a penalty. This was a much better performance with some excellent individual performances by our players. The 3 rd game saw us up against near neighbours Carlow. Carlow went into a lead with some points to spare, however we came back into the game and both sides were level at half time. In the 2nd half we were the much stronger and hungrier team. 2 vital goals saw us hang on till the end ending up 6 point winners. Overall this was a long day with an early start and three games. We have learnt alot from the day and we saw some players put in some great individual performances. We now have played at least 7 games where we have given all players game time. We now settle down and have 6 weeks left to the Gerry Reilly tournament. We will now be training 2 nights a week starting this Tuesday at 7pm and each Saturday. We are also working away on organising our trip away in Castlebar at the end of August. We have Sligo confirmed as one of our match day opponents over that weekend.