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National Under 17 Academy Blitz is a Huge Success




The first ever National Under 17 Academy Blitz took place on Thursday at Naomh Mearnóg in Dublin with 9 counties and 12 teams taking part in a fantastic day of football under clear blue skies.

Cork and Dublin both supplied two teams along with one each from Mayo, Waterford, Meath, Kildare, Armagh, Limerick and Derry.

The LGFA took the decision to implement the Under 17 Academies to help bridge the gap that exists between Under 16 and minor football where there is a well documented fall off in participation levels in this age grade. Counties were invited to set up a development squad with the ultimate aim being to have that squad ready for the national blitz.

There was a great take up in the first year of the initiative with 12 counties running the programme throughout the Summer Months. Many of the participants in these squads had never represented their counties at under 16 or minor level so this provided an opportunity for these young players to wear their county colours in competitive action.

The participating counties were divided into 3 Groups with Cork1, Dublin1, Mayo & Waterford comprising Group 1, Meath, Kildare and Armagh contesting Group 2 and Cork2, Limerick, Derry & Dublin2 in Group 3. The 3 groups played off with each team guaranteed to reach the knock out stages of either the cup, shield or plate competition.

In the end  it was to be Armagh that progressed to the Cup final to face Mayo whom they defeated to claim the prize. Kildare enjoyed a 4 point victory over Cork in the Shield final and Waterford accounted for Dublin in the Plate final.

The blitz was a great success with the real value not being found in the silverware presented at the end of the day but rather in the experience for these girls in wearing their county jersey and meeting players from other counties along with coaches having the chance to develop player’s skills and unearth some new talents that may otherwise have gone unnoticed.

Speaking at the blitz LGFA President, Pat Quill, said ‘This is a brilliant concept, it helps to keep players interested in the sport and helps them develop their skills at a time in which they could possibly have left the sport. The matches were played in a great spirit with real skill on display and top class football played. I would like to thank our Development team for organising today and all of the counties and their mentors for their contribution in making this a truly memorable day. It was particularly pleasing to see the coaches embrace the spirit of the competition as they clearly adopted the ‘winning is not everything’ mantra, it was also great to see multiple All Ireland winning players like Cork’s Bríd Stack, Angela Walsh, Geraldine O’Flynn and Orlagh Farmer here as mentors giving something back to the game that has given them so much.’

For a full list of results click here: U17 Blitz Results

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