National U17 Academy Blitz is another huge Success!

Our National Under 17 Academy Blitz took place on Tuesday at Naomh Mearnóg GAA Grounds in Portmarnock, Dublin with 9 teams representing 8 Counties taking part in a fantastic day of football under clear blue skies.

There were many highlights from the day with New York bringing that international feel to the day, Cork coming in a double decker bus and then encountering THAT bridge!!, Carlow coming from 1-3 down in the Championship semi final against the might of Dublin to win by 3 points and the relaxed atmosphere in the beautiful weather!.

Cork supplied two teams along with one each from Dublin, Mayo, Meath, Kildare, Armagh, Carlow and our guests New York.

The LGFA took the decision to implement the Under 17 Academies last year 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 an U17 Academy with the ultimate aim being to have a squad ready for the national blitz.

There was a great take up for the initiative with 12 counties running the programme throughout the Summer Months. Many of the participants in these squads may have 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 2 Groups with Cork White, Carlow, New York, Meath and Armagh in group 1 while group 2 comprised of Cork Red, Dublin, Mayo & Kildare. All played round robin games in the group stages and then progressed onto the knockout phase of the competition.

In the end, it was to be Mayo who were crowned champions defeating a very impressive Carlow outfit in the Championship final. Kildare enjoyed an extra time win over New York in a titanic battle in the Shield final and Cork Red accounted for Meath 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, Marie Hickey, said ‘We have had a wonderful day here in Naomh Mearnog at the U17 National Academy Blitz. It has been a fantastic day for all the girls involved, playing for their County today, many who may not have previously had the opportunity to do so and who have be playing and training over last couple of months with their County in preparation for today’s blitz. You can see from the girls here today how happy they are and how delighted they are to be involved and out for the day enjoying themselves which is what it is all about. Hopefully this will lead to them continuing to be involved in the years ahead as they enter Adult football’

So that is it for another year but plans are already being put in place for next year as this blitz is gaining momentum every year!


For all photos click here: U17 Blitz Photos



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