Under 15 Super Touch Hurling & Football Finals

Check out Munster GAA Facebook to view photos from this event

U15s show Touch of class

By Diarmuid O’Flynn for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Saturday, June 23, 2012

It’s a little-known fact but before there was an All-Ireland club championship at any grade in the modern era there was a Munster equivalent, with Glen Rovers of Cork beating Mount Sion of Waterford in a replay in 1964 to become the first champions. With that victory, Christy Ring became the first man to captain both his club and county to provincial honours.

Six years later the GAA nationally caught up with Munster and the All-Ireland championship was born. Roscrea (hurling) and East Kerry (football) went through from Munster and became the first All-Ireland champions. Nearly 50 years later Munster is again setting the standard and last weekend in the magnificent Mallow GAA complex U15 Super-Touch finals took place. A blitz format, 12 clubs each in hurling and football made the finals, 12 players on each team for what is a ten-a-side competition, is this something that could be replicated across the country? The well-established Féile competitions cater for U14 level but from there up, there is nothing for underage club teams outside their counties.

This initiative in Munster could be about to change all that, according to Council vice-chairman Robert Frost. He explained: “Other codes have an international dimension that we don’t have except in the International Rules series. But what we do have is a very strong club base and for us, this is the next best thing. Young lads love to get on a bus and head off for a day with their own buddies. They’re getting good games, have a social outing as well, make friends with fellas from different clubs in different counties. “It’s a great opportunity for those youngsters, a stepping-stone for them to greater things.”

Starting, perhaps, with All-Ireland underage club competitions springing from this? A better chance with football than hurling, reckons Frost. “From our point of view the good thing is that in Munster we have six counties with genuine competition in both codes and you can see that in the spread of teams in these finals (all six counties represented) – other provinces may not have that. I can’t say this will spread — fine if it does but we’re worrying only about our own province and this is working a treat.” Frost estimates the programme costs between four and five thousand euro. But he insists it is money well spent.

“We have coaches in every county, a Games Manager in every county, and two Games Managers in the province, Joey Carton and Pat O’Shea – this is their brainchild. There’s a budget there for a number of projects and this is one. It’s promoting the game, it’s about improving the skill levels across the province. The cost is secondary. These lads are only U15 but you saw the quality of hurling and football on display. There’s a lot of great work being done in every county, hopefully the rewards will be there for the next several decades.”

Carton explained the reasoning behind the concept “We were trying to fill a gap. Up to U14 fellas are getting plenty of games but after that fellas might struggle to get a game, especially in the bigger clubs – a 15-year-old mightn’t get on the U16 team and ends up getting no game that year. That’s going to hinder their development. “We can see that at grassroots level things are improving all the time — the standard of hurling is rising, the kids’ skill levels especially. ” What we’re doing now is we’re giving everyone a chance to play and more importantly to enjoy themselves. I heard Johnny Giles during the week saying one of the reasons Ireland is struggling at the moment is that soccer is too competitive at underage level; Pat Daly and those in Croke Park started the Go Games several years ago in the face of a lot of criticism and lot of opposition and now we’re seeing the reward from that.

“Great credit is due to them for their forward thinking and now other sporting organisations are copying that. “Everyone is playing, everyone is enjoying themselves, it’s competitive without being overly so.”

The standard in Mallow was indeed high, reflected in the quality of play and players throughout the day. Fr O’Neill’s from Cork won the hurling and they had a host of stars, from powerful keeper Declan Dalton through Cillian Broderick, Daniel Harrington and the diminutive but outstanding Michael Mellerick, to the truly gifted Billy Dunne, while beaten Moyle Rovers had the likes of Danny Owens, Stephen Quirke and Conor Bates, all stars of the future surely if they keep their feet on the ground.

“They are very good players,” said O’Neill’s team manager Luke Swayne, “But the best thing is that we’re well balanced, an ordinary bunch of fellas with everyone trying their heart out. A competition like this fills a gap – a young fella could find himself not good enough for the U16 team and on the line for a year, but this keeps everyone in touch. It’s a great idea, to be down here of a Saturday morning, play five competitive games – that’s better than any training. It’s good too to get away from the teams you’re playing every week, you’re meeting players and teams you don’t know, you’re getting better games which is what the lads want. The stronger the teams you’re playing the better, that’s how you improve.”

His counterpart with Moyle Rovers, Billy Irwin, was of similar mind. “It’s a great idea, get the young fellas to meet different styles of hurling. “We missed out in making the hurling Feile last year, beaten by Clonoulty in the semi-final but this is great consolation for those lads. Moyle Rovers is predominantly a football club and we actually won the Féile division 4 football easily last year and could have competed at a higher level. “We played Ballinhassig in that and they were saying that to us that they preferred hurling. Well we met them here again, renewed old friendships, and if they had won their group in the hurling we’d have met them in the semi-final! They didn’t, lost out to Wolfe Tones whom we then beat, but that’s what these competitions are all about, meeting new styles and making new friends.”

Could it go national? Maybe, says Joey Carton, but no matter if it doesn’t. “We’d probably prefer if it didn’t, we wouldn’t like it to become over-competitive and become another Feile. There’s no trophy but every player who takes part gets a top and the winning team gets a kit-bag. “We’re happy to keep it in the province where we have a strong base in both codes. What we would like to see though is more clubs taking part.”

In an all-Kerry affair, Ballydonoghue beat Austin Stacks in the football final.

 

Munster Coaching and Games Development will hold the finals of their U/15 Super Touch Blitzes in Mallow GAA Complex on Saturday 16th of June. 288 young players (the best of our Under 15 club hurlers and footballers) from over 24 clubs in Munster will converge on the fantastic Mallow facility to compete in the finals of the Munster GAA Supertouch Competitions 2012.

The competitions commenced over two weeks ago with 96 clubs and almost 1200 players participating at various venues throughout the province. While the winning teams qualified for the Munster Finals the emphasis was nevertheless on participation, fun and enjoyment with every participating player receiving a specially designed Munster GAA Training Jersey

The day’s activity on June 16th will commence at 10.30am with the hurling competition. Here 12 teams will battle it out on four pitches with the semi final being held at 12.45 and final at 1.30pm. At 2 pm it will be the turn of the Under 15 footballers from various clubs throughout the province. Yet again 12 teams will participate with the semi finals timed for 4.15 and final at 5pm.

This is one of the many programmes organised by Munster Coaching and Games Development Committee aimed at improving skill levels and providing more games for our underage club players.

Munster Games Managers

Joe Carton & Pat O Shea

Munster Under 15 Super Touch Hurling Finals 2012

Group 1 – Aghabullogue, Sixmilebridge, Moyle Rovers

Group 2 – Wolfe Tones, Toomevara, Ballinahassig

Group 3 – Clonlara, Drom & Inch, Fr O’Neills

Group 4 – Parteen, Blackrock, Passage East

Hurling Programme for the day

9.45am Draw for group games

10.30am Round 1

11.15am Round 2

12.00pm Round 3

12.45pm Semi Finals (1v2) (3v4)

1.30pm Final

Rules Of The Hurling Competition

1. Games are 10-a-side

2. Panels Of 12 Players Only, List of players given to the Ref at the start of the competition and cannot be changed

3. Every team plays each other, Top Team in each group qualifies for final

4. Groups of 3 with Games to run Simultaneously

5. Games will be 10 min per half

6. In the event of a tie the team which has conceded least amount of scores will advance.

7. Unlimited Subs must be made at the middle of the field

8. Goalposts to be placed on the 20m Line.

9. The Full Width of the pitch will be used

10. Size 5 Sliotars to be Used

11. Games are played every 35 minutes

12. Every Player on the Panel to play in each game

14. A Player who receives 2 yellow Cards will miss the remainder of that game

15. If a player receives a straight Red card he will miss the next game

17. The competition will begin at 1.00pm.

Munster Under 15 Super Touch Football Finals 2012

Venue: Mallow June 16th 2012

Starting Time: 2.00pm

Group1 – Austin Stacks, Clonmel Commercials, Galbally

Group2 – Ballyporeen, Ballydonoghue, Spa

Group3 – Bishopstown, Killarney Legion, Clashmore winner

Group 4 – Newcastlewest, Kilmeen, Dr. Crokes

Rules Of The Football Competition

1. Games are 10-a-side

2. Panels Of 12 Players Only, List of players given to the Ref at the start of the competition and cannot be changed

3. Every team plays each other, Top Team in each group to qualify for the Semi Final

4. Groups of 3 with Games to run Simultaneously

5. Games will be 12 min per half

6. In the event of a tie the team which has conceded least amount of scores will advance

7. Unlimited Subs must be made at the middle of the field

8. Goalposts to be placed on the 20m Line.

9. The Full Width of the pitch will be used

10. Size 5 Footballs to be Used

11. Games are played every 45 minutes

12. Every Player on the Panel to play in each game

13. Kick outs to be taken for the Hand

14. A Player who receives 2 yellow Cards will miss the remainder of that game

15. If a player receives a straight Red card he will miss the next game

16. An Open Draw will take place for Group Fixtures at 1.30pm

17. The competition will begin at 2.00pm.

18. Please ensure your Club is in Mallow no later than 1.15pm