Under-8 2014

Under-8 Management team for 2014

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

Contact William by phone on 087 2323324, or by e-mail.

Training details

This group will train on Mondays, 6:30pm to 7:30pm, and Wednesdays, 6:30pm to 7:30pm.

Training will normally be held on the main pitch in Garrycastle, but may occasionally move to the small pitch between the clubhouse and the Fás building if the pitch in Garrycastle is required for official matches. If that is not available, we will train on the pitch at Cornamaddy School. Details will be texted in advance to all parents as usual.

County blitz games will in most cases be held on Saturday mornings again this year - see the schedule below for dates and locations.

County Under-8 Blitz schedule 2014

Summer Street League 2014

The teams are picked, the dates are set, now we just need the weather to play nice!

The Street League page for 2014 is here.

Christmas Party, December 15th

Monday night saw the annual Kids Christmas Party for all of the younger players and their brothers and sisters in the clubhouse. A huge crowd turned out on the night, and were well entertained by Bozo the clown, with his balloon animals, hats, swords, and anything else that could be crafted by the imagination, and balloons!

The ladies from Athlone Tonnta were on hand to do face painting for all and sundry, and never were so many Frozen princesses to be seen in one place! One of the highlights of the face painting was a beautiful "Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer", literally drawn on a nose!

With lost of food, drinks and fun-and-games on offer, great excitement built up while waiting for the great man himself to appear. And, on cue, Santa himself arrived, and led the assembled kids in a rousing rendition of some Christmas carols. As the kids all queued to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas, Santa's elves took notes in his great book, so that nothing would be forgotten on Christmas Eve. All of the kids got a little gift from Santa as they left.

As always, huge thanks to all who helped with the organisation of the evening, to the elves, Brian the DJ, all of the parents who helped out with serving tea/coffee and tried to control the (organised) chaos in the hall, those who looked after the queue to Santa, those who took the photographs, and all the other jobs, big and small, that needed to be done. Special thanks to all who helped to decorate the hall, and Santa's grotto, it is fair to say that Garrycastle hall never looked so well.

And last, but most definitely not least, to Santa (also known as our club chairman), for his cheerfulness, and patience, in dealing with a very large crowd of excited children.

Happy Christmas to one and all, and we'll see everyone again in the new year!


Under-8 Challenge v. St. Vincents (Dublin), November 23rd

As a fore-runner to the Leinster Senior Club championship match between St. Vincents of Dublin, and Garrycastle, the St. Vincents club kindly invitied our under-8 squad to Dublin to play a few challenge matches before the big game. Even though the weather on the day was near perfect, blue skies and sunshine all the way, the challenge games were played on the Dublin All-Weather pitches on the Clontarf road, as the St. Vincents pitches themselves were closed due to the recent bad weather.

The under-8 group assembled early Sunday morning in Garrycastle, and headed off by bus to the capital. On the day, 21 players were available, and we divided them up into three teams, with each team playing two matches against their counterparts from St. Vincents. Playing Gaelic Football on astroturf was a new experience for this group, but it didn't faze them in the slightest, and in all, 6 great games were served up to the watching crowd, with honours even between the two clubs.

After the matches, the St. Vincents club kindly provided a great feast for the players back in the St. Vincents clubhouse, as well as face-painting the club colours for the players before the big game. After a huge feed, the players and parents made the short walk across the Malahide Road to Parnell Park for the Leinster Semi-Final, and cheered their hearts out for the Garrycastle team. Unfortunately the result did not go Garrycastle's way, but that is sport, for every match winner, someone also has to lose.

After the game, the players made their way back to the bus and returned home to Garrycastle, a very tired, but very happy bunch!

Absolutely huge thanks are due to Cathal O'Daly and the St. Vincents GAA Club for extending the invitation to travel, and their absolutely excellent hospitality on the day. Days like these are what the GAA is all about. Thanks also to the mentors and parents for making the trip - it really does make a huge difference to have the support.

Lots of pictures from the day, courtesy of Des McEnery:

Squad on the day:

Niadh Shine, Brandon Devaney, Nathan McKeon, Daniel Sierpinski, Jack Allen, Nathan Kelly, Tom Sheehan, Sean O'Donoghue, Rian Gaynor, Kyle Greene, Dean Grehan, Oisin Deehan, Andrew Henson, Darragh Glennon, Oisin O'Donoghue, Van McCay, James McHugh, Thanh McCay, Aaron Keegan, Louie Shine, Anthony Mannion.

Under-8 End-of-Year Party, November 10th

The Garrycastle Under-8 group headed off on Monday evening to The Planet on Grace Road for our annual end-of-year party. This is our way, as a club, to say a huge "Thank You!" to all the young players who turn out every week for training and matches.

This year we had 10-pin bowling, Quasar (laser tag), and much more on offer for the players, followed up with some tasty food and drinks, and some thankfully short comments by the team mentors for the last year.

When we planned this evening out, it was intended to be our final event for 2014 with this group, but now we have one more (at least!) day out! Our senior team play St. Vincents of Dublin in the Leinster Senior Club Football Semi-final on Sunday November 23rd, and St. Vincents have kindly invitied our under-8 squad to travel up to them and play a few challenge games before the big match. Needless to say, we accepted!

This has been a very busy year for the Under-8 group. By our count, to date this group has played 74 matches, allowing any one player to take part in 36 matches this year, spread across County Blitzes, Challenge games, and Street Leagues. We have played challenges against teams from Westmeath, Roscommon and Offaly, home and away, and this has given every player ample opportunity to test out their skills. This is a phenomenal anount of football for players at this age group, and can only stand to them as they progress upwards through the age groups.

None of this would be possible without huge support from the Garrycastle club, and from the mentors who help out at training and matches during the year. Special mention to Ger for the excellent coaching drills, Chris, Lorraine, Darragh, Karl and Des for running the training drills, and looking after the teams on match days. And a special mention to Des for the great photos of blitzes and matches during the year, which are linked elsewhere on this page.

Huge thanks also to the parents and grandparents who bring the lads to training and matches, and who provide excellent support from the sidelines. We have said it often over the years, but it is as true now as ever, that without this briliant support, we simply would not be able to continue.

Well done to all who played and trained with us this year, and the best of luck to those players moving up to the under-10 squad next year.

Our indoor sessions will start on Monday November 17th in the clubhouse, and details on times will be texted to all parents as usual.

William Leahy, Noverber 15th, 2014.

Under-8 Challenge v. Doon/Pullough, October 10th

The Garrycastle Under-8 group finished off their football year in style in Garrycastle on Friday evening, with challenge matches against Doon/Pullough from county Offaly. Playing under lights on a cold autumns evening, 27 of the under-8 squad were available, allowing us to field 2 teams, each team playing two matches against their counterparts from Doon/Pullough.

This was our first time to welcome our neighbours from across the county bounds to Garrycastle, and 4 excellent skillful games of football were served up to an appreciative crowd of parents and grandparents. In the absence of many of our under-8 players, it also gave an opportunity for some of our up-and-coming under-6 players to take to the field and show what they could do - and they sure stepped up to the mark in style.

It is extremely heartening to see the development in many of these young players over the last 8 months or so. Their ability to play and enjoy football has grown immensely, and certainly the older players can look forward with confidence to their under-10 football next year.

Congratulations to Paddy Galvin and Darragh Glennon, making their home debuts in the green and red colours - sure to be just the first of many appearances for the club in the coming years.

Many thanks to Paul, Diarmuid and all the other mentors from Doon/Pullough for travelling in to us, and for providing excellent,sporting games of football. We look forward to more interaction with them in the coming year.

As mentioned, this was our final outing of the year, (although we are working on one special "final" outing - details later). We will take a break for the remainder of October, and resume with our winter indoor schedule in early November.

Squad on the evening:

Red Team: Van McCay, Keelan Ward, Conor Deeney, Sean Galvin, Paddy Galvin, Darragh Glennon, Rian Gaynor, Callum Hudson, Tom Sheehan, Jack Allen, Dylan Frawley, Niadh Shine, Cian Norris, Dean Grehan.

Green Team: Evan McMickan, Cristian Turean, Sean O'Donoghue, Nathan McKeon, Brandon Devaney, Anthony Mannion, Daniel Sierpinski, James McHugh, Aaron Keegan, Alex Conner, Rory McMickan, Louie Shine, Oisin O'Donoghue.

Under-8 Challenge in Athlone, October 2nd

The Garrycastle Under-8 group made the short trip to Athlone GAA on Thursday evening to play a couple of challenge games under lights.

A great turnout on the evening saw us field more that 30 players at this grade, allowing us to field 2 teams at under-8 grade, and the majority of an under-6 team to play against the Athlone GAA Academy group.

This was an absolutely fantastic turnout from this group at the end of the football year, and they played with great enthusiasm and no little skill. At the end of the evening it was honours even for both clubs with two wins apiece.

Many thanks to Martin, David and Gearoid for a great evenings football, and for the welcome refreshments at the end of the games.

From the Garrycastle side, huge thanks to all of the parents who turned out to cheer on the teams on the evening - it really does make a huge difference.

Squad on the evening:

Niadh Shine, Dylan Frawley, Adrian Kempa, Daniel Sierpinski, Nathan McKeon, Anthony Mannion, Callum Hudson, Cian Norris, Jack Allen, Brandon Devaney, Oisin Deehan, Kyle Greene, Sean O'Donoghue, Jonathan Flannery, Jazmen Rafiz, Cristian Turean, Dervla Turley, Sean Galvin, David Carter, Killian Keegan, Keelan Ward, James McHugh, Aaron Keegan, Andrew Henson, Dean Grehan, Alex Conner, Rian Gaynor, Evan Leonard.

Under-8 Blitz in Moate, September 14th

The Garrycastle Under-8 group travelled to Moate on Sunday morning to take part in an Under-8 blitz, organised by the Moate All-Whites club, as part of a wider fundraising effort for Conor Dufficy, a member of the Moate All-Whites under-8 squad who lost a leg in an accident earlier in the summer. Garrycastle were missing quite a few of their under-8 players due to other committments, but still fielded a squad of 22 players on the morning, allowing us to play two teams. This allowed many of the under-7 and some of the under-6 group to show what they could do, and they stepped up to the mark in style!

In the blitz itself, the Garrycastle "Green" team playes against the Moate All-Whites and Coralstown/Kinnegad teams in their two matches, while the Garrycastle "Red" team played against Caulry and St. Josephs/Kilbeggan in their two games. To finish, we had a shorter game against a combined Moate All-Whites team with a combined Garrycastle team. Needless to say, everyone got plenty of chances to play football on a beautiful Sunday morning.

All the players played with huge energy and enthusiasm on the morning, and took some fantastic scores during the games. In addition, there was some excellent general play, where the emphasis in training on tackling and blocking is starting to pay off.

Welcome back to Sean Galvin and Dervla Turley after the summer break, and well done to Evan Turley and Finnian Turley making their competitive debuts in the Green and red colours.

Squad on the day:

Keelan Ward, Aaron Keegan, Nathan McKeon, Brandon Devaney, Jack Allen, Oisin Deehan, Sean O'Donoghue, Tom Sheehan, Andrew Henson, Daniel Sierpinski, Callum Hudson, Dervla Turley, Evan Turley, Conor McCormack, Finnian Turley, Sean Galvin, Dean Grehan, Van McCay, James McHugh, Alex Conner, Cristian Turean, Oisin O'Donoghue.

Under-8 County Blitz in Tang, September 6th

The Garrycastle Under-8 group travelled to Tang on Saturday, to take part in the final round round of Under-8 county-organised football blitzes for 2014. On a beautiful morning for football, an absolutely fantastic turnout of 28 of the youngest players in the club, ensured that we were able to comfortably field two teams in the blitz, with each team playing two matches.

The Garrycastle "Green" team played their counterparts from Caulry in the first round, and Moate All-Whites in the second round of matches. In both matches, the Garrycastle team just edged out their opponents. The Garrycastle "Red" team played against Maryland/Tang in a thrilling match in thei first round, which ended in a draw (which was a fair result for both teams), and driven on from the middle of the field by Andrew Henson, Tom Sheehan and Jack Allen, were a little too strong for Caulry in the second round of matches.

All of the matches were characterised by very high levels of skill, in terms of fielding the ball, solo-ing with the ball, tackling when not in possession, and a number of very well executed blocks, of which one in particular by Aaron Keegan, gets a special mention! There were some excellent scores also, in all of the games, taken with no little composure, even for such young players. It is unlikely that even if Dessie Dolan was eligible to play at this age grade, that he would be an automatic starter!

As the year has progressed, it is evident that all of the effort put in by this group of players in training is paying off, and their ability to play and enjoy their football has increased hugely.

Welcome back to all the players who were away during the Summer, (Callum, Leo, and Gearoid)!

Many thanks also to all of the parents for supporting the teams in a great sporting manner - it really makes a difference to have the positive envouragement from the sideline. Thanks as always to the mentors and coaches for looking after the teams on the day, and ensuring that all of the playrers present got to play their part in all of the matches.

Slideshow form the day (thanks to Des McEnery for all of the photos) :

Squad on the Day:

Brandon Devaney, Tom Sheehan, Jack Allen, Rian Gaynor, Niadh Shine, Gearoid McCarthy, Kyle Greene, Callum Hudson, Dylan Frawley, Oisin Deehan, Aaron Keegan, Andrew Henson, Dean Grehan, Keelan Ward, Evan Turley, David Carter, Daniel Sierpinski, Nathan Kelly, Nathan McKeon, Sean O'Donoghue, Leo Nolan, Cian Norris, Van McCay, Evan McMickan, Conor McCormack, Anthony Mannion, James McHugh, Oisin O'Donoghue.

Under-8 Challenge vs. Athlone, Sunday August 31st

The Garrycastle Under-8 squad invited their near neighbours from Athlone GAA in to Garrycastle on Sunday morning for a couple of challenge games as we continue to prepare for the final round of county under-8 blitzes at the end of next week. In contrast to our last challenge games on Thursday, this time the weather was fine and dry, and provided perfect conditions for football.

As the school holidays are now finished, this was a great opportunity for many of the players who have been away over the summer to come back playing football, and indeed, we had 25 players available on the morning - an excellent turnout.

As usual now, we divided into two equal squads and each team played their counterparts froom Athlone in two matches.

In the first round of matches, the Garrycastle "green" team were a little too strong for their Athlone counterparts, while the Garrycastle "red" team played an excellent draw with the lads in blue-and-white. In the second round of games, the roles were reversed, with "green" team playing out a thrilling draw, while the "red" team pulled out all the stops to finish slightly stronger than their opponents.

All of the players on the morning were treated to some snacks at the end, in recognition of the efforts put in by all the players present from both clubs.

Many thanks to Martin, Peter and the other mentors and players from Athlone for coming in to play us, and as always to our own mentiors, paraent and players for the effort put in on the morning. Special thanks to Derek (making his refereeing debut!) and Liam for refereeing the matches.

Squad on the day:

Adrian Kempa, Nathan McKeon, Tom Sheehan, Nathan Kelly, Jack Allen, David Carter, Van McCay, Evan Turley, James McHugh, Rian Gaynor, Anthony Mannion, Conor McCormack, Cian Norris, Daniel Sierpinski, Brandon Devaney, Christian Turean, Gearoid McCarthy, Sean O'Donoghue, Kyle Greene, Aaron Keegan, Oisin O'Donoghue, Niadh Shine, Dean Grehan, Andrew Henson, Killian Keegan.

Under-8 Challenge vs. Padraig Pearses, Thursday August 28th

The Garrycastle Under-8 squad invited their counterparts from Padraig Pearses GAA club in to Garrycastle on Thursday evening, to return the challenge where we travelled to Roscommon last month. It is fair to say the weather was not kind, with strong wind and heavy rain before, during and after the matches. However, even allowing for the poor conditions, both clubs fielded large squads, allowing two teams form each club to play each other over a series of 4 matches.

On the evening, Garrycastle fielded a squad of 23 players - an excellent turnout from the youngest team in the club. And, even with the very poor conditions, both clubs served up 4 excellent games of football, especially notable for the fine fielding, on an evening when everything (even the referees) was very, very wet. From a Garrycastle viewpoint, it was nice to welcome back some players (Sean, Oisin) from their summer abroad, and see that they haven't forgotten how to play football!

It was really impressive to see the skill levels exhibited by this young group of players, who gave their all in overcoming the bad weather conditions, and served up excellent displays of passing, tackling, scoring and blocking. Indeed, as the weather steadily worsened, their play seemed to improve!

Huge thanks are due to the Pearses players and mentors for travelling on such a poor evening, and of course also to our own players, parents and mentors from Garrycastle for attending. Next year, we'll try and do this in June or July (although that doesn't necessarily mean the weather will be any better!).

Squad on the evening:

Christian Turean, Daniel Sierpinski, Sean O'Donoghue, Kyle Greene, Cian Norris, Niadh Shine, Brandon Devaney, Killian Keegan, Andrew Henson, Oisin O'Donoghue, Aaron Keegan, Alex Conner, Adrian Kempa, Anthony Mannion, Oisin Deehan, James McHugh, Van McCay, Jonathan Flannery, Moya McKiernan, Jack Allen, Nathan McKeon, Tom Sheehan, Rian Gaynor.

Under-8 County Blitz in Moate, August 9th

The Garrycastle Under-8 group travelled to the new Moate All-Whites pitch on Saturday, to take part in the latest round of Under-8 county blitzes. On the day, besides the home team and Garrycastle, there were also teams present from Tubberclair, Maryland/Tang and Millmore Gaels.

Even though August should be considered the height of summer, on arrival in Moate we were greeted with a torrential downpour! However, even allowing for the poor weather, and the absence of a large number of players on summer holidays, we were able to field 18 players and two teams for the blitz.

The first team played against the counterparts from the Moate All-Whites and Tubberclair in their 2 matches, resulting in a win against Moate, and a hard-earned draw against Tubberclair. The second team had a tougher time of it, coming out second best to the second Moate All-Whites team in their first game, and Millmore Gaels in the second match.

Overall, this was another reasonable performance from the clubs youngest players. Very well done to all who turned out on the morning, and represented their club with great enthusiasm. Special congratulations to Cristian Turean on making his debut in the red-and-green shirt - hopefully just the first of many to come.

Many thanks also to Micheal and his team in Moate for an excellently run blitz, on an absolutely fantastic pitch for playing football.

Squad on the day:

Daniel Sierpinski, Kyle Grenne, Evan McMickan, Brandon Devaney, Cristian Turean, Dean Grehan, Anthony Mannion, Rory McMickan, Aaron Keegan, Rian Gaynor, Cian Norris, Niadh Shine, Nathan McKeon, David Carter, Van McCay, Dylan Frawley, James McHugh, Oisin Deehan.

Under-8 Challenge vs. Padraig Pearses, Monday July 14th

The Garrycastle Under-8 squad headed west across the Shannon once more on Monday evening to play a couple of challenge matches against their counterparts from the Padraig Pearses GAA club near Ballinasloe. Even with the summer holidays, and with many of the players taking part in the GAA Cul Camps in Garrycastle this week, a panel of 19 players made the trip, allowing us to field two teams on the evening.

Two great games of football were served up, with the Garrycastle teams being very competitive in both games. It is especially heartening to see that all of the effort put into training is paying off, with some excellent displays in attack and defense. Some lovely forward interplay led to lots of well taken scores, especially points. While at the back, there was equally good effort in blocking and tackling, to minimise the number of scoring chances.

A special mention goes to Daniel Sierpinski, playing his very first game in the red-and-green colours, hopefully just the first of many such appearances in the future. And also, welcome back to Anthony Mannion, back to his best after a long absence due to injury.

Many thanks to Aidan, Padraig and the other mentors in Padraig Pearses, and we look forward to returning the challenge in Garrycastle in the next month or so.

Squad on the evening:

Rian Gaynor, Jack Allen, Tom Sheehan, Nathan Kelly, Oisin Deehan, Brandon Devaney, Cian Norris, Daniel Sierpinski, Kyle Greene, Anthony Mannion, Dean Greham, Killian Keegan, Keelan Ward, Conor McCormack, David Carter, James McHugh, Andrew Henson, Moya McKiernan, Dylan Frawley.

Under-8 County Blitz in Garrycastle, July 5th

On Saturday it was Garrycastle's turn to host a round of the County Under-8 blitzes. On the day we had teams from Maryland/Tang, Millmore Gaels, Moate All-Whites and Tubberclair in attendance. On what started and finished as a lovely fine morning, with a huge downpour in between, the numbers of players available were reduced due to so many people starting their summer holidays. However, as usual, we had a good turnout from the Garrycastle players, with 25 players available on the morning, allowing us to field 2 teams.

In the first round of matches, the Garrycastle teams lined up against Maryland/Tang and Moate All-Whites.The match against Maryland/Tang started well for Garrycastle, who built up a decent lead heading towards half-time. As the second half progressed Maryland/Tang came back into the game and levelled the scores just on full-time. The match against against the Moate All-Whites was a much harder affair for the Garrycastle team, who started slowly and found themselves chasing the game. Despite a huge effort, they could not get the scores needed and the Moate All-Whites team took the win.

[All pictures courtesy Des McEnery]

In the second round of matches, Garrycastle lined up against Millmore Gaels and Tubberclair. In the Millmore Gaels match, Garrycastle took an ealy lead, and despite a spirited fightback by Millmore Gaels, held the lead right to the end. In the second match, a real ding-dong battle saw the lead change hands several times before the game ended on a draw, which was the fairest result for both teams.

Overall, this was another good performance from the clubs youngest players. Well done to all who turned out on the morning, and represented their club with great enthusiasm. Special congratulations to Adrian Kempa on making his debut in the red-and-green shirt.

Huge thanks to Ger, Chris and Darragh for managing the teams on the morning, and to Garrycastle u16 and minor players Liam, Shane, Brian and Caolan for refereeing the matches.

Squad on the day:

Adrian Kempa, Evan Leonard, Oisin Deehan, David Carter, Conor McCormack, Callum Hudson, Brandon Devaney, Gearoid McCarthy, Rory McMickan, Dylan Frawley, Van McCay, Aaron Keegan, Kealan McNamara, Nathan McKeon, Kyle Greene, Rian Gaynor, Killian Keegan, Niadh Shine, Tom Sheehan, Evan McMickan, Leo Nolan, Matthew Hardiman, Keelan Ward, Dean Grehan, Evan Turley, Alex Conner.

Under-8 County Blitz in Cusack Park, June 16th

The Garrycastle Under-8 squad headed off to Cusack Park on Monday evening, to take place in the latest round of County-organised blitzes, this time in conjunction with the Destination Sport initiative in Mullingar. This is a great opportunity for our younger players to play on the County ground, where some of their parents have represented the club with great distinction over the years. It is also something of a learning exercise, as all clubs in the county take part, we normally get to play against teams not usually encountered in South Westmeath.

On perhaps the warmest evening of the year so far, 21 players made themselves available, and as a result Garrycastle fielded two teams, each playing two matches.

In the first round of matches, the Garrycastle Red and Green teams played their counterparts from The Downs. The Red team got off to a great start, and led their match from start to finish. The Green team had a much tougher encounter, but gave their all, and after an enthralling game of football, the teams could not be separated, and the match finished all-square.

In the second round of matches, the Garrycastle Red team took on Rosemount, while the Green team played the second team from The Downs. In both games the Garrycastle team took the lead from the start, held their lead right until the end. Both teams played some lovely fluid football, using the available space to good effect, and never letting the opposition settle on the ball.

All in all, a very successful trip for this young squad. All players who attended played their part in both games, and can take great pride in their skill levels, and their sportsmanship. After the matches, all of the players got the opportunity to hoist the Flanagan trophy high from the presentation area, hopefully something they will replicate at many grades over the coming years.

Thanks to Des McEnery for all of the photographs.

Present on the night:

Cian Norris, Andrew Henson, Niadh Shine, Oisin Deehan, James McHugh, Sean O'Donoghue, Oisin O'Donoghue, Matthew Hardiman, Brandon Devaney, Jack Allen, Kealan McNamara, Van McCay, Aaron Keegan, David Carter, Jonathan Flannery, Killian Keegan, Rian Gaynor, Conor McCormack, Dean Grehan, Nathan McKeon, Kyle Greene.

Summer Street League - Finals, Sunday June 15th

The summer street league reached it's final stage on Sunday morning in Garrycastle, with the playing of the cup and shield finals. On a lovely dry, cool, morning, 37 players turned out for their respective teams, and provided an excellent mornings football, cheered on by a large appreciative crowd.

In the Cup final, it was Lorraine Gaynor's "Dragons" up against the form team of the tournament so far, Ger O'Donoghue's "Lions". This game started at a frentic pace, with the "Lions" pushing hard right from the start and tacking up a number of early scores. However, as half-time approached, the "Dragons" fought back into the game to narrow the gap. As the second half started, it was obvious that the "Lions" were in no humour to give up the game, and despite their best efforts, the "Dragons" had to yield on the day.

In the Shield final, Darragh Shine's "Tigers" lined up against Chris McKeon's "Sharks". This really was an evenly matched affair, with some really good attacking and defending on display. So close were the two teams that they could not be separated at the end of the match, and for the first time ever, we had extra time in a street league final! However, even after playing the extra time, the teams still could not be separated, so a second period of extra time was played. Just when we thought that we would have to go to a "golden score" to separate the teams, the "Tigers" struck, to take the Shield honours, after an absolutely enthralling game.

So the Cup honours for 2014 go to the "Lions", with the "Tigers" taking the Shield honours.

After the games, the teams were congratulated on their effort and performances by club Chairman Terry Larkin, and were all presented with their trophies by Senior Garrycastle players John Gaffey and Padraig Cosgrove.

This ends our Summer Street League for 2014. Well done to all the players who took part, to the mentors and parents who looked after the teams, and many thanks to all those who turned out to cheer on the teams over the last month.

Huge thanks also to Des McEnery for all of the photographs!

Details of teams, matches to date and final table is available on the Summer Street League page.

Teams on the day:

Lions: Tom Sheehan, Adrian Kempa, Sean O'Donoghue, Cian Norris, Kealan McNamara, Oisin O'Donoghue, Dylan Frawley, Aaron Keegan, Alex Connor.

Dragons: Gearoid McCarthy, Jack Allen, Leo Nolan, Rian Gaynor, Jonathan Flannery, Oisin Deehan, James McHugh, Keelan Ward, Conor McCormack.

Tigers: Brandon Devaney, David Carter, Harry Daniel, Killian Keegan, Nathan Kelly, Jazmen Rafiz, Niadh Shine, Van McCay, Craig Walsh, Conor Deeney.

Sharks: Callum Hudson, Kyle Greene, Matthew Hardiman, Nathan McKeon, Dervla Turley, Evan Turley, Conor McCormack, Andrew Henson, Dean Greham.

Summer Street League - Play-off round, Wednesday June 11th

After the 6 rounds of this years Summer Street League, the Lions, (managed by Ger O'Donoghue) had qualified for the Street League Cup final. Tied together on the same number of points after the games to date, a play-off was needed between the Dragons (led by Lorraine Gaynor) and the Sharks, (led by Chris McKeon) to see who would face the Lions in the cup final, and who would face the Tigers in the Shield final.

So there was much to play for as the Sharks and the Dragons faced-off on Wednesday evening. With both squads practically at full strength, a great game of football was served up to an appreciative crowd. For long periods of this game, there was nothing to choose between the teams until the Dragons eventually pullled away with a very strong finish to take the honours on the evening.

So now the final pairing for this years Street league is settled:

In the Summer Street League Cup final, the Lions will play the Dragons.

In the Summer Street League Shield final, the Tigers will play the Sharks.

The Summer Street league finals will be held on Sunday, June 15th, starting at 12:00 noon, on the main pitch in Garrycastle.

Details of teams, matches to date and final table is available on the Summer Street League page.

Under-8 Challenge vs. St. Brigids, Saturday June 7th

The Garrycastle Under-8 squad headed west across the Shannon on Saturday morning for a series of challenge matches against St. Brigids in Kiltoom, Co. Roscommon. On a nice morning for football, 21 players made the trip, our numbers somewhat depleted due to First Communions and Community Games finals.

The available players were divided up into 3 teams, with each team playing a match of 3 "halves", to give everyone a good mornings football. The Garrycastle group continued with their excellent form this year, competitive in all of the matches, and playing some excellent football.

It is very heartening to see the development that this group is making on a week-by-week basis, with some great tackling, handpassing and kicking on view.

Indeed, our major weakness at the moment is perhaps some wayward shooting, but it is good to see that the opportunites are being created for scores, and the shooting will improve with time - we hope!

Many thanks to Dominic, Sean and all the mentors in St. Brigids for a fine mornings football, and for the very welcome refreshments at the end of the matches.

A special word of thanks to all of the players for turning out, for the huge enthusiasm they showed, and the level of effort they put in, and to the parents for driving them of course! Also, many thanks to Chris, Karl, Darragh and Lorraine for managing the teams on the morning.

Squad on the day:

Brandon Devaney, Gearoid McCarthy, Rian Gaynor, Killian Keegan, Aaron Keegan, Dean Grehan, David Carter, Leo Nolan, Nathan Kelly, Nathan McKeon, Ryan Carberry, Matthew Hardiman, Moya McKiernan, Van McCay, Tom Sheehan, Cian Norris, Jack Allen, Niadh Shine, Andrew Henson, James McHugh, Callum Hudson.

Summer Street League - Rounds 5+6, Wednesday June 4th

The weather wasn't the best, but there was some great exciting football served up by the under-8 summer street league teams on Wednesday evening in Garrycastle. The first game in round 5 was a thrilling affair between the Sharks, looking to bounce back from the previous week, and a Tigers team looking to add another win. This game was real end-to-end footbal, with neither team dominating, and the Sharks eventually won by the narrowest of margins. In the second game in Round 5, the Lions suffered their first defeat of the league, losing out to a very determined Dragons team.

Round 6 was to be equally close. In the fist game, the Tigers suffered another defeat by a 1-score margin, this time to a relieved Lions outfit, after playing some excellent football, let down by some wayward shooting. The other match betwen the Sharks and Dragons was equally close, with the Sharks eventually winning out.

So, with 6 rounds played, the Lions still sit atop the table, but cannot sit on their laurels just yet, as a resurgent Sharks team is closing the gap at the top.

Full details of the teams, results to date, and the league table on the Summer Street League page.

Summer Street League - Rounds 3+4, Wednesday May 28th

The Under-8 Summer Street league continued in brilliant sunshine on Wednesday evening in Garrycastle. All four teams in this years street league battled hard for the bragging rights in school during the week. The Lions, leading the way from the first round, were in no mood to led their advantage slip, and turned in two excellent performances with wins over the Tigers and the Sharks. Already it looks like the Lions will be the team to beat in this years league.

In the other games, the Tigers registered thir first win of the league with a hard fought win by a single score over the Dragons. This was an excellent game of end-to-end football, characterised by much skillful football, with great examples of passing and catching from both teams. Only some wayward shooting kept the scores down, but in the end the Tigers just about merited the win.

Elsewhere, the Dragons had a reasonably comfortable win over the Sharks, who were down a couple of players on the evening. The Sharks as mentioned were unable to halt the march of the Lions in their final game.

So, after 4 rounds of the this years Summer Street League, it is the Lions who sit atop the table. However, there is a lot of football to play yet, so the positions may well change before the finals day.

Full details of the teams, results to date, and the league table on the Summer Street League page.

Under-8 County Blitz in Caulry, May 24th

The Garrycastle under-8 squad travelled the short distance to Caulry on Saturday morning to participate in the latest round of the Westmeath County Under-8 blitzes. On a very miserable wet morning, 22 players made the trip allowing Garrycastle to field two teams on the day. Each team played two matches, and altogether we played Caulry, Maryland/Tang and Athlone.

In the first round of games, Garrycastle played against near neighbours Athlone and Caulry, emerging successful in both matches. In the second round of games, we played Maryland/Tang with a similar outcome.

Overall, this was another encouraging set of displays from this age group. The focus on the basics of the game is starting to show dividends, with some excellent catching, blocking and tackling on display. This was also the first match for Garrycastle for four players, Kealan McNamara, Callum Hudson, Harry Daniel and Ryan Carberry, and hopefully it will just be the first of many such appearances for all of them in the green-and-red colours.

Well done to all who attended and played with such enthusuiasm and effort on the morning.

Squad on the day:

Cian Norris, Sean O'Donoghue, Andrew Henson, Niadh Shine, Tom Sheehan, Oisin Deehan, James McHugh, Evan Turley, Harry Daniel, Callum Hudson, Gearoid McCarthy, Brandon Devaney, Jack Allen, Kealan McNamara, Aaron Keegan, Kyle Greene, Dylan Frawley, Oisin O'Donoghue, Rian Gaynor, Dean Grehan, Ryan Carberry, Van McCay.

Summer Street League - Rounds 1+2, Wednesday May 21st

The Under-8 Summer Street league got off to a flying start in Garrycastle on Wednesday evening in glorious sunshine. The four teams served up a feast of excellent football, in front of an appreciative crowd.

At this early stage, it is the Ger o'Donoghue's Lions who lead the way, with two fine wins, although they were pushed to the limit in a thrilling game with Chris McKeon's Sharks team in round-1, winning by a single score. In the other round-1 game, Lorriane Gaynor's Dragons were too strong for the Tigers, who were missing a number of players due to involvement in the county Cumann na Bunscoil finals in Mullngar.

Round-2 saw the Lions continue their fine start with a win over the Dragons, while the Sharks were too strong for the Tigers in the other match.

Rounds 3 + 4 of the league will be held next Wednesday. Details of teams, results and the up-to-date league table can be seen on the Summer Street league webpage.

Under-8 County Blitz in Tubberclair, May 3rd

The Garrycastle Under-8 squad travelled to near neighbours Tubberclair on Saturday, to take part in the first under-8 county blitz of the year, alongside teams from the host club, Athlone, Castledaly, Caulry and Maryland/Tang.

Due to confirmations, and the bank holiday weekend, we had a reduced panel available, but still had 24 players make the trip, allowing three teams to be fielded on the day, with each team playing two matches.

The first Garrycastle team, managed on the day by Ger O'Donoghue, played against Athlone and Tubberclair, and was successful in both games. Not to be outdone, the second Garrycastle team, managed on the day by Karl Henson, played against Maryland/Tang and Caulry, and also was successful in both games.

The third Garrycastle team, managed on the day by Lorraine Gaynor, played against the second teams from Tubberclair and Caulry, winning against Tubberclair in the first game, while narrowly losing against Caulry in the second game.

Overall, a great display by this young Garrycastle squad. Some great positives can be taken from the day - we are seeing much improved skill from this group, especially in the pick-up, and hand-passing, as well as some fantastic tackling and marking.

Well done to all who attended and represented their club with such distinction. Many thanks to Ger, Karl and Lorraine for managing the teams on the day.

Many thanks also to Adrian and all in Tubberclair for a well-organised and run blitz.

Present on the day: Oisin Deehan, Evan McMickan, Andrew Henson, Dean Greham, Sean O'Donoghue, Rory McMickan, Oisin O'Donoghue, Kyle Greene, Jack Allen, Niadh Shine, Rian Gaynor, Sean Galvin, Dylan Frawley, Moya McKiernan, Nathan Kelly, Tom Sheehan, Brandon Devaney, Leo Nolan, Cian Norris, Aaron Keegan, Craig Walsh, James McHugh, Evan Turley, Evan Leonard.

The following is a slideshow showing some of the highlights of the day.

Under-8 Challenge matches v. Tubberclair, April 12th

Our under-8 group travelled to Tubberclair on Saturday morning for two challenge matches. On a morning that started grey and wet, 24 players were available to make the short trip, and all played their part in two excellent games of football.

Each game was 8-a-side, and in order to give every player the opportunity to play, each match was made up of 3 10-minutes "halves". Some excellent football was on show, and it was heartening to see great tackling and blocking on display, showing that some of the training from recent weeks is making it's presence felt.

Well done to all who travelled, and turned up in their Garrycastle togs and sock - all part of building a team group.

Present on the day: Moya McKiernan, Oisin O'Donoghue, Lee McDonald, Gearoid McCarthy, Oisin Deehan, Sean O'Donoghue, Brandon Devaney, Van McCay, James McHugh, Adam Lennon, Evan Turley, Conor Deeney, Cian Norris, Niadh Shine, Tom Sheehan, Jessica Frawley, Dean Greham, Nathan McKeon, Evan Leonard, Dervla Turley, Dylan Frawley, Andrew Henson, Keelan Ward, Aaron Keegan.

Under-8 Challenge matches v. St. Brigids, March 22nd

Another year begins, and we welcomed St. Brigids from Kiltoom to Garrycastle on Saturday morning for a series of challenge games at under-8 level. This was our first outing of the year, and it was extremely heartening to see an impressive turnout of 29 players on the morning, which allowed us to play three teams in parallel, and let all of the players play in two matches.

Present on the day: Sean O'Donoghue, Jack Allen, Niadh Shine, Kyle Greene, Andrew Henson, David Carter, James McHugh, Oisin Deehan, Brandon Devaney, Jonathan Flannery, Nathan Kelly, Cian Norris, Nathan McKeon, Anthony Mannion, Aaron Keegan, Adam Lennon, Dean Greham, Rian Gaynor, Matthew Reynolds, Oisin O'Donoghue, Matthew Hardiman, Evan Leonard, Conor Deeney, Dervla Turley, Sean Galvin, Alex Kelly, Craig Walsh, Evan Turley, Van McCay.

St. Patrick's Day Parade 2014

We had a great turnout of our younger players for the St. Patrick's day parade in Athlone today. Below is a flavour of the event, (all pictures courtesy of Des McEnery).

A special word to our youngest players, for many of them their first time in a Garrycastle shirt, playing for the club.

Every great journey starts with a single step, and we hope this will be the first of many days for them in the Green-and-Red colours.

Well done to all who attended and played with great skill and effort on display, and to the great positive support from the sidelines - it makes a huge difference.

Huge thanks to Dominic and the players and mentors from St. Brigids for travelling in to play us, and we hope to return the favour later in the summer.

Well done to all who attended, and made their red-and-green flags for the occasion!