Leitrim GAA Open night
Boys and girls from the Aughavas, Drumkeerin, Kiltubrid and Leitrim Gaels Clubs shared the GAA county grounds on Friday evening with the members of the Leitrim team and management personnel.
The occasion was the second Championship Open Evening, when supporters of all ages were invited to meet the Leitrim team as the players gear up for the forthcoming Connacht Championship semi final clash in Páirc Sean with either London or Sligo on Sunday, June 23rd. Followers got to meet and chat with the players and to witness first hand the team preparations for an exciting season.
But pride of place went to the youngsters on the Under 10 Blitz teams from the four clubs who strove might and main under the guidance of team mentors, coaches and parents, grannies, grandas, uncles, aunts and cousins, to show off their already considerable skills and to put down a pointer that they intend to be the Leitrim stars of the future. It was a great thrill for them too to have their team photograph taken with their own idols on the current side and also to have county stars referee their Blitz games. The emphasis was very much on the kids enjoying the football and the whole fun experience, when the results of their games did not really matter and where everybody got to play.
Also present to extend good wishes was Gerard Fitzgerald of Gerard Anthony Menswear, Carrick on Shannon who kindly sponsored casual outfits for our county team for their recent trip to New York, numerous Supporter Club members and County Board and Coiste na n-Óg officials, coaches and Games Promotion Officers.
There was more to come for all the children present, when they all combined to play a hilarious challenge match against the Leitrim players, who were tackled, hassled and man-marked by a virtual army of young footballers. It must be said that from goalkeepers Cathal McCrann and Brendan Flynn out, the county team really got into the spirit of things and made the occasion something to remember for their avid young followers, allowing themselves to be beaten to the ball and outplayed throughout the field, with the youngsters banging in the goals and slotting over the points.
Activity on the field finished with all the children lining up with their county heroes to have a group photo taken and the night finished with all the children receiving refreshments and “GAA Heroes” posters and wristbands. The county players and management were then interviewed by the press and radio, before getting down to the serious business of yet another training session.
The Open Evening was an unqualified success and much credit must go to the young players, their mentors and families and all our avid supporters who turned up in huge numbers to congratulate the team on their victory in New York and wish them well in the semi final which is sure to draw a bumper crowd to Páirc Seán. Our own GAA heroes, the Leitrim County team were so giving of their time and encouragement to the children and yet again showed what wonderful ambassadors they are for the GAA – well done lads.
Now it is all to play for, it is all down to the performance on the field in Páirc Seán on June 23rd and remember, as the GAA marketing slogan says,:
Nothing beats being there.
10-May-13 by Colette Fox – PRO