GAELIC Football is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK and Glo-Herts County has played a fundamental role in this progression.
Within the county over the past three years, they have had three teams establish youth sections within their clubs.
These have stemmed from the Gaelic4Girls programmes, local funding and sports development schemes. All are closely aligned to the coaching programmes ran by the LGFA.
This has been a main focus and vision of the CDA within the county who has been working collaboratively with the acting youth developing officers at each club helping them to facilitate these start up programmes.
A new and exciting development project is starting early next year with Glen Rovers, Watford who begin their Gaelic4Girls programme in January. As a result of this, the county are able to provide new opportunities for all the girls to get plenty of match play with 2018 introducing a new competitive league and championship blitz for all youth age groups in our county.
The growth of Gaelic and the standard of footballers the county is producing was evident this year with the achievements of the Glo-Herts Féile team.
Not only did they make history being the first ever girls team to represent the county, they won the inaugural All Britain Féile and made it through to the semi-final at the All Ireland Féile Peil na nÓg, which are all outstanding achievements for their first year. The girls have truly set the foundations and benchmark for future county team development in Glo-Herts and the county will be continuing to build on this success in 2018.
St. Colmcilles this year became the first team in the county to win the double at the All Britain Competition (ABC’s) in July winning both the U14 and U16 sections. Each year, the club representation increases at this amazing event and they will be working to again increase their representation in 2018. This is such a positive reflection of the standard of football and coaching being demonstrated within the county.
Alongside the inaugural championship and league blitz and the continuation of the Féile team, 2018 sees further growth with the launch of a post-primary schools tournaments. There will also be a strong focus this year on forming an U17 development team to take part in Provincial tournaments and also to participate in the U17 All Ireland Academy Blitz in Dublin.
The growth of the youth teams would not be possible without the sheer hard work, dedication, vision and passion demonstrated by all the youth coaches and managers within the county. Gaelic football provides ample travel opportunities, is an outlet for many girls, a way of making new friends, staying active and healthy and being part of a team that provides support and inclusivity. Not only that, it acts as a stepping stone towards future goals and aspirations for the youths with many keen to do their coaching qualifications, progression on to their senior teams and others embedding it into their own schools sports programmes and Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
The solid development is set to continue and all in the county are looking forward to Glo-Herts positive growth throughout 2018 and into the future.
Féile team Manager and Claddagh Gaels Youth Coach