The Leaving Year (Exams and Junior Football).
The month of May always brings hope for a nice summer and says goodbye to the football season. This year it’s goodbye to schoolboy soccer for the 18 lads who formed the panel for the under 18 Premier Division team. For most of them it also means sitting the very difficult Leaving Certificate exams.
I mention the exams, because often after Christmas is when some clubs have problems fielding an under 18 team, as the “studying” takes over. We never had such a problem. This group were always up in huge numbers for training and on match days, and if ever needed, a mobile phone call normally raised the late risers into action. Looking over the profile of the panel I would group them as follows:
- Real oldies (playing since under 8): Simon Clarke, Dave Roche, Kevin Murphy, Mark Gilroy (who took an odd break here and there).
- Oldies: (under 11s upwards): John Barry, Kieran Lynch, and John Donohue
- In betweens (under 15s upwards): Cosie, Max, Shane Mc Nulty , Aaron Mc Nulty and Eoin O’ Connor,
- Returnees: COB (who emigrated to Leicester for 2 years), Kieran Cushen.
- New kids on the block: Paulie, Keith, Stephen and Donal.
There was also another person, called Mc Gowan, who never signed and never played for the team but was well liked by many of the players and was the centre of the pre match banter on some Sundays. Personally, I have enjoyed every minute of every year with all of the above and their colleagues who soldiered with them over the years. We acknowledge the contribution of lads such as Jenko, Ja, James Murphy, Gavin Tobin, Ronan Motyer, Robert Kerbey, Dave Watchorn, Andrew Lohan, Conail O’ Cofaigh and Chris Shannon. I reckon we have had over 70 players connected with the team over the years and the real oldies and the oldies were the backbone and often the source in bringing new players to the squad year after year. So, thanks to one and all for the great years. Thanks especially for a great effort last season. I hope each of you feels a better player and that you enjoyed your time with us. Remember there is always room for sport no matter how hectic life becomes. Sport is great but team sport is even better. Every good wish in your exams and have a great summer. Finally, the senior team awaits you.
Dave, Pat and Syl.
PS. On behalf of all the players mentioned above, I would like to record our appreciation to Pat Shannon. Pat took a break after 20 consecutive years looking after teams. Brilliant would not do justice to what he done for lots of lads. Syl Byrne replaced Pat last season. Thanks Syl for being the teams “Bobby Robson”.