Football Titles round off a Grear Year -2000

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Being blessed with a talented and committed bunch of hurlers plus a very dedicated management team, it is not suprising that St Mary’s GAA club Athenry are winning titles at the highest level in senior club hurling. Having said that, the secret of the club’s success story has its foundations laid firmly in the clubs underage policy and hard work during the ‘80s and the ’9Os. I am glad to report that St Mary’s GAA club cherishes its under age/juvenile policy more so than ever, with the hard work continuing week in week out by a very active Juvenile committee.

The Juvenile committee is chaired by Vincent Madden with the funds managed by Michael Crimmins as Treasurer and comprises of the team managers and their selectors for each age group in both hurling and football. It is the responsibility of this committee to enter and prepare teams in the county championships and leagues organised by the Coiste Iomána na nÓg for hurling and Coiste Peil na nÓg for football. The other key responsibility is to provide coaching and development on a weekly basis to the younger members of our parish.

So, for the year 2000 the following are the facts and figures for both hurling and football. A total of 65 games were played in league and championship with 100 players togging out across all the age groups. The preparation and management of these teams involved 18 adult members of the club. Such a supreme effort resulted in two league quarter final appearances, two championship semi-final appearances, the under 12 football division 3 league title for the second year in succession and finally six days after the great “three in row”, the bonfires were rekindled for the under 16 footballers who landed the division 2 north league title.

While the afore mentioned exploits on the field of play have kept everybody busy, other activities have taken place throughout the year. On Friday evenings Martin Whyte and Owen Diviney held coaching sessions for our under 10 footballers while every Saturday morning at 10.30 in Raheen, under l0 & under 12 hurling coaching took place under the watchful eyes of Diarmuid Cloonan, Tom Cloonan and Tom Divilly. From August onwards the Galway football board invited the club to send up to six players from the under 13 and under 15 age groups for coaching on a fortnightly basis at city venues. As a direct result of this a football board coach will be allocated to the club for a number of sessions during the summer next year.

In early summer the hurling and football national school Blitz took place on two consecutive Saturday mornings. As with other years they were a great success with 75 young hurlers and 90 young footballers taking part. A great effort was put in by all involved on these days but special thanks to the referees on each day, Paddy Kelly and Diarmuid Cloonan for the hurling and Michael Gibbons and James Foran for the football.

No club or organisation can survive nowadays without financial support and sponsorship; to that end the club is grateful to Peter Gillhooley of GK Developments who came on board this year as the main sponsor for Juvenile hurling and football, also many thanks to our “Blitz “ sponsor Jimmy Fahy of Fahy Engineering. The coming twelve months will be very exciting for the future of the club as we embark on the next stage of development at the grounds in Carnaun.

This will involve the building of a ‘state of the art’ clubhouse providing the best of facilities for our players over the coming decades. Needless to say, the support of the people of the parish would be greatly appreciated by the club regarding this venture.

Finally, a word of thanks to the parents and national school teachers of the parish because without your help and encouragement the children of our parish would not develop an appreciation for Gaelic games at an early age.

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About this record

Written by Tony Ruane

Published here 10 May 2023 and originally published Christmas 2000

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