Under-8 2013

Under-8 Management team for 2013

The Under-8 group will be looked after by William Leahy, Des McEnery, Ger O'Donoghue, Lorraine Gaynor, Chris Lennon and Michael Murtagh.

This page gives an overview of Under-8 activities during 2013.

Under Under-8 and Beginner's Group Christmas party

Our annual children's Christmas party night for our Under-8 and nursery groups took place in Garrycastle GAA Hall on Wednesday Night (Dec. 18th). Despite a poor evening weather-wise, a huge turnout of nearly 100 of our youngest players, with their brothers and sisters attended to take part in the fun.

As the huge crowd gathered in the club house, they were entertained by Bozo the clown, dispensing balloon animals, hats and swords by the dozen, and face-painting provided by the ladies from Athlone Tonnta. With music, games and lots of food and drink on offer, the excitement built while awaiting the arrival of the great man himself.

As the lights dimmed, a loud "thump" on the roof of the clubhouse announced the arrival of Santa's sleigh, and sure enough the man in red appeared on the balcony to the delight of the kids present. To welcome him to the club, The two Sarahs, Denby and Jameson, led the assembled players in a rousing chorus of "Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer", before Santa moved to his grotto, and a very long queue of children formed to meet with him, and pass on their Christmas wishes, all of which were noted carefully in Santa's ledger by his helpful elves, Sarah and Jordan.

Santa was a huge hit, taking lots of time with all of the children, and posing for literally hundreds of photos.

A great night was had by all, and we wish all of our young players, their parents, grandparents and brothers and sisters, and indeed all club members and followers, a Very Merry Christmas, and best wishes for the New Year.

Hopefully, Santa remembers what he was asked for on Christmas Eve!

A huge mention must also go to all the people who helped with preparing the clubhouse for Santa's arrival, and who helped out on the night with dispensing tea, coffee, snacks etc., and who organised and made sense of the chaos on the night.

Special thanks to Sinead Denby, Katrina Jameson, Marie Leahy, Bernard Brannigan, Thomas Keena, Ger O'Donoghue, Mark Denby and Caolan Jameson for setting up and decorating the clubhouse and Santa's grotto.

Huge thanks to Mark Redmond, Noel Gardiner, Ger O'Donoghue, Chris Lennon, Sinead, Katrina and Marie for keeping calm and organising the chaos on the evening.

To the elves, Jordan Lennon, Liam Leahy, Caolan Jameson, and Mark Denby for keeping the queue in good spirits while everyone waitied to see Santa.

To Sarah Denby, Sarah Jameson and Ailish Mannion for some lovely singing during the evening.

To Anne-Marie Mannion for taking what seemed like hundreds of photos as the children met Santa.

And last, but most certainly not least, to Santa himself. Running both the North Pole and Garrycastle cannot be the easiest of jobs!

(Thanks to Anne-Marie Mannion for all of the photos!)

Under-8 and Beginner's Group end-of-year party

The Garrycastle Under-8 and Beginners football squads finished their football year on Wednesday evening (October 22nd), with an end-of-year party held in Krazy Kidz play centre in Blyry. As has been a feature with these age groups during the entire year, an absolutely fantastic turnout of 85 of the youngest players in the club led to a great time being had by all, with lots of fun and games, and assorted mayhem!

After play, some well deserved food, (healthy chips, chilcken nuggets and sausages), as well as huge volumes of blackcurrant and orange drink was made short work of by the hungry hordes.

After some brief speeches, including an inspirational call to arms by club chairman, Terry Larkin, each player was presented with their 2013 participation medal, with the presentation being made by Garrycastle and Westmeath senior player, Doron Harte. Never has one man been photographed so much!

From the coaches point of view, this has been a very successful year at this age level. We have never fielded less than two teams at any of the county organised under-8 blitzes, and have often fielded three teams. Reports on these blitzes, and on various challenge matches, may be found elsewhere on this page.

There are quite a few persons to thank, not least the coaches at this age group, Des, Ger, Lorraine, Chris, Michael, Stephen, and all others who helped out. A special word of thanks also to the minor players, Eoin, Liam, Sean C. and Sean K. who helped out during the year. Thanks also to Cornamaddy NS, and school principal Aidan Barry, for making the school pitch available to us, as pressure on the main Garrycastle pitch was proving difficult for us to get a consistent time there.

Last, but most certainly not least, huge thanks as always to the parent and grandparents who make the effort to bring the young players to training and matches. Without your support, the club would wither.

For some of the players, (those born in in 2006 and 2007), we will commence a trial of indoor training in Garrycastle GAA hall over the winter, held weekly on Wednesdays from 6:45pm to 7:30pm. Full details will be texted to the relevant parents in advance of the startup.

Onwards to 2014!


Under-8 and Beginners Challenge matches, Wednesday October 9th v. Tubberclair

Our last set of challenge matches for this year took place on Wednesday night, under lights in Garrycastle. An absolutely fantastic turnout of no less than 54 players, aged between 4 years of age and 8 years of age, allowed us to field three strong squads on the night, at under-8, under7/6, and beginners.

There was great competition in all of the matches, and given that some of the Garrycastle players travel to Tubberclair to attend school, there were bragging rights to be won for the following day in class!

For the beginners in particular, this was their first challenge match under lights, and they played with enthusiasm and some great skill against their near neightbours from Tubberclair. These are quite literally the youngest players in the club, and it was great to see them use the skills they have been practicing during the year, on the field. Let it be the first of many, many days playing football for Garrycastle!

Not to be outdone, the older under6/7 and under8 groups also played their hearts out in their respective matches. this group has literally gone from strength to strength this year, and are playing football that is lovely to watch, backed up by a steely determination to score!

Well done to all of those that took part on the night!

Under-8 Blitz, Saturday September 21st, in St. Malachys Ballinagore

Our final under-8 county blitz of the year took place on Saturday in St. Malachys Ballinagore. This was a relatively long journey on a Saturday morning for our under-8 squad, and on the day we had a smaller number than usual of players travelling, with 19 players making the trip.

As is usual we played two teams, one mostly at under-8 age group, and a younger team made up of under-7 and under-6 players. We played a total of 4 matches against the host club St. Malachys, St. Marys from Rochfortbridge, and Tubberclair. In all 4 matches, the teams played with great enthusiasm, energy and skill, and represented themselves, their families and their club with great distinction. As has been the hallmark of our under-8 age group this year, both teams displayed great skill in kicking, tackling and blocking, and this must augur well for the underage structure in Garrycastle over the coming years.

Huge thanks to John and the other mentors in Ballinagore for an extremely well organised and well-run blitz, and for the very welcome refreshments served up to all the players at the end of the blitz.

This was the final county organised blitz for 2013 at this age level. Many thanks to Noel Delaney and Eddie Bouabbse for the overall organisation from the county level.

A special word of thanks to all the mentors, parents and grandparents who travelled today - it's great to see the support from the sideline at these blitzes, and it makes a huge difference to the players to get the encouragement from the sideline.


As mentioned, this was the final under-8 blitz this year. We are in the process of organising some challenge matches to close off the outdoor part of the year. Details on the indoor program will be sent around in a couple of weeks time.

Under-8 Challenge, Wednesday September 11th, in Moate

Our Under-8 squad travelled to neighbours Moate All-Whites on Wednesday evening for an under-8 challenge game. An excellent turnout of 28 players on the evening allowed us to field 3 teams, 2 at under-8 level and one at under-6 level.

All three teams played excellent football, under lights for the second half, which was a new experience for most of these young players. After enjoyable games of football, a tired but happy group of players returned to Garrycastle.

Huge thanks to Derek, John and the lads in Moate for an excellently organised challenge.

Thanks also to the players for turning up on a dampish evening and for their enthusiasm, effort and no mean skill in the matches.

Not forgetting the parents of course!, for providing the transport, and cheering on their young stars-in-the-making.

Under-8 Blitz, Saturday September 7th, in Tubberclair

In marked contrast to the fantastic weather we have enjoyed at the county under-8 football blitzes up to now, it was a cold and damp Saturday morning as the Garrycastle Under-8 squad headed off to near neighbours Tubberclair to take part in the latest county sponsored Under-8 blitz.

Nonetheless, 27 players made the trip, allowing us to field two teams as usual, and play matches against the host club, Castledaly, and St. Josephs from Killbeggan.

Both teams acquitted themselves in some style, with some excellent fielding and defending on display, and some great goalkeeping from both goalkeepers. Up front, excitement took over on occasions when perhaps the simpler option would have been better, but that is all part of learning to play Gaelic football. All-in-all, this group of players is showing great improvements in skill levels, thanks in no small measure to the work being put in by Ger, Michael, Chris, Derek and all the trainers and mentors. The summer street league has also helped in getting game experience for this group.

As is the custom, Tubberclair GAA provided refreshments for all of the players after the matches, which were very gratefully received. A huge word of thanks also to all of the parents and supporters who cheered on their young heroes from the sidelines on a cold damp morning.

Our next outing in the County Blitz series will be on September 21st, in Ballinagore. Details will be texted to all parents closer to the date.

Summer Street League Finals day (Sunday August 25)

The Under-8 Summer Street League came to a thrilling conclusion on Sunday in Garrycastle, with the playing of the Shield and Cup finals. On a perfect afternoon for football, the teams started off with a parade behind the Athlone Marching Band, before talking their places for the big games.

In the shield final, the Town team took on the Retreat team, and after a closely fought game, the Town team just came out on top to win the Shield. In the Cup final, it was The Coosan team who emerged victorious after another hard fought game against Moydrum.

After the games, all of the players were presented with their trophies by Garrycastle and Westmeath senior ladies player Laura Brennan. It was a proud moment for the captain of the Shield winning team, Jack Allen to accept the shield on behalf of the Town team, and equally as proud a moment for the captain of the cup winning Coosan Team, Brian Mulvihill, to accept the cup on behalf of the Coosan team.

Details of teams, scores, etc. are on the Summer Street League page.

Photos below courtesy of Bernadine Gavin and Stewart McMickan.

Summer Street League (Update from July 24)

With 6 rounds of the Under-8 summer street league now played, it is the Coosan team who sit atop the league table, with a perfect record thus far. The Coosan team have led the table since the start of the league, and Chris Lennon's team do not look like giving up their position any time soon.

Things are much more even between the other three teams, all on equal points, with only score difference separating them at this stage. The Retreat team are making up for a slow start to the league by adding two wins in the last two weeks, while the Town team is suffering with large numbers of players away on holidays at the moment.

At this stage, the pairings for the finals day look as follows:

The cup final will see the all-conquering Coosan team face the Moydrum team, (who will have most players back from holidays at that stage). An interesting match is in prospect there.

The shield final will see the Town team face the Retreat team, where the fierce rivalry between the respective managers is sure to spark some excellent effort on the field.

The cup and shield finals are planned to take place as part of the Garrycastle Family day, planned for Sunday August 25th.

More details, results and the league table is available on the Under-8 Summer Street League page.

Under-8 Blitz, Friday July 19th, in Castledaly

On Friday evening, the Garrycastle under-8 squad set off on the short journey to our neighbours in Castledaly GAA to take part in the latest county organised under-8 blitz. On the evening, teams from Castledaly, Athlone, Millmore Gaels, Moate All-Whites and Garrycastle took part in the blitz, under "GO Games" rules.

On a very hot evening, (the hottest day of the summer so far), and even allowing for holidays etc., it was excellent to see a group of 24 players attending, allowing two teams to be fielded by Garrycastle.

The younger team played two matches against Moate All-Whites and Castledaly, and acquitted themselves very well, with some excellent skills on show from what are some of the very youngest players in the club. Great midfield play, catching and kicking was in evidence, including one great block from Rory to stop a dangerous attack during the match with Moate.

The older team, including our under-7 and under-8 players, also played two matches, and not to be outdone by their younger team mates, put in two sparkling displays, which has to augur well for the future of the Garrycastle club.

As is customary, the home club provided refreshments at the end of the blitz, and this was gratefully accepted by all the players present.

It almost goes without saying at this stage, but huge thanks are due also to all of the parents and supporters who attended, as their encouragement from the sideline makes all the difference.

Many thanks also to the Castledaly GAA club for a well-organised and very enjoyable blitz.

The next round in the county under-8 blitzes will be held in early September.

Summer Street League (Update from July 10).

Due to the extremely hot weather this evening, (28C believe it or not!), only one round of the street league was played.

After the third round of matches matches, the Coosan team is still sitting on top of the table.

Moydrum and Town swapped positions, and a brave display from Retreat unfortunately didn't result in a win.

Rounds 4 and 5 will be played next Wednesday, (July 17). All players will be texted with details of pitch in use, etc.

Click here for details of Teams, Schedules, and the current league table.

Under-8 Stay and Play games, Cusack Park, Mullingar, Tuesday June 18th

On Tuesday evening, (June 18th), the youngest team in the club headed off to Cusack Park in Mullingar, to take part in the annual Westmeath under-8 Play and Stay games, held in parallel with the Destination Sport Mullingar initiative.

Every GAA club in the county takes part on the evening, and it is a great opportunity for the young players to play in the county grounds.

On a beautiful warm summers evening, Garrycastle took a squad of 20 players to take part in the games. We fielded two teams, and both teams played against their counterparts from The Downs GAA club. In both matches, great skill was in evidence from all the players present, with some excellent high catching, tackling, and scoring. All scores in these games are considered equal, but the quantity of scores was extremely impressive!

After the games, the players had their photo taken as a group, and then got the opportunity to raise the Senior County Championship trophy aloft, to the delight of their parents and brothers and sisters. In this way, they are following in the footsteps of the Garrycastle senior teams, who have had great success at county level over the last decade, and who knows?, one day it may well be some of these players who lift the cup for Garrycastle for real.

All the players were given refreshments in appreciation of a good evenings football, and it was a tired but happy group of players who set off home to Athlone. Special thanks to the very many parents and supporters who made the trip - it makes all the difference to the players to have such great support on the sideline.

Slideshow below with thanks to Des McEnery for the photos.

Our next planned Under-8 outing is a county blitz in Castledaly, on Friday July 19th.

Under-8 Blitz, Saturday June 8th, in Garrycastle

On Saturday, it was Garrycastle's turn to hold one of the County organised Under-8 football blitzes, and we welcomed teams from Castledaly, Millmore Gaels and Rosemount to Garrycastle for the occasion.

On a scorching hot summers day, probably the first blitz day this year when the sun shone from a beautiful blue sky, 25 of the clubs youngest players togged out to take part in the blitz. This allowed us to field 2 teams on the morning.

As it happened, due to scout camps, athletics meets and other reasons, it was mainly the younger players who were present, but this gave all of them the opportunity to pull on the red-and-green shirt, and play for their club.

Both Garrycastle teams played some excellent football, and there was great effort on display from all concerned. Due to the very warm weather, only two rounds were played (each team playing 2 matches), following which refreshments were distributed to all the players.

As always, huge thanks to all of the parents and supporters who came along to cheer on their young heroes.

Thanks also to Lorraine Gaynor, Darragh Shine, Michael Murtagh and Mark Redmond for managing the teams on the morning.

The next blitz is an evening fixture in Mullingar, planned for June 18th, as a part of the Westmeath Sports Partnership Sports Week activities.

Under-8 Blitz, Saturday May 18th, in Moate All-Whites GAA

Our second outing of the year was to Moate All-Whites GAA on Saturday morning. Again, a great turnout of 22 players, (numbers affected a little due to communions and confirmations in Athlone), traveled to Moate.

Each team played three matches against the hosts, Athlone and Castledaly. Some great skill was on show, and this group of players is improving day-by-day. These were some great team performances, characterised by excellent fielding and kicking of the ball, and no lack of well-taken scores. Well done to all who took part on the day!

Thanks also to all of the parents and supporters who made the trip to cheer on their young heroes.

Many thanks as always to Derek and the other organisers from Moate for the excellently run blitz, and the much appreciated refreshments for the players after their exertions.

The next blitz is a home fixture in Garrycastle, planned for June 8th.

Under-8 Blitz, Saturday April 13th in Athlone GAA.

Our first outing of the year was to Athlone GAA on Saturday morning to take part in an Under-8 blitz, along side Athlone, Caulry, Castledaly and Tubberclair. Despite the wind and cold, we had a great turnout of 31 young players on the day, which allowed Garrycastle to field 3 teams, and each team played two matches.

Some great skill was on show from all the players, and for many of them, this was their first time taking the field in a Garrycastle shirt, the first we hope of many, many days playing for the club.

Huge thanks to Athlone GAA for an excellently run blitz, and the much appreciated refreshments at the end. Many thanks also of course to all the parents for cheering on their young stars!