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Munster GAA Under 15 Supertouch Hurling & Football Finals
No trophies handed out but Supertouch proves real winner
By Eoghan Cormican for the Irish Examiner newspaper
Arriving into Mallow GAA grounds on Saturday morning, the rise in prominence of the Munster U15 Supertouch competition becomes instantly evident. Each pitch hums with activity, while the sidelines are dominated by pockets of supporters from Cappawhite to Kilmihil.
Now in its third year, interest in the initiative is growing rapidly, according to Joey Carton and Pat O’Shea, the two games managers in the province. “Without a doubt it is going from strength to strength,” says Carton. “The first year we didn’t have the maximum number of teams, we didn’t have the full 96. Clubs are now crying out for it, they love to travel.” O’Shea adds: “It’s only ten-a-side so you’ve loads of opportunities to showcase your skills and young lads love that. It is something that we will definitely be continuing into the future.”
All well and good, but given each county already caters for players at U14 and U16 level, is there really a need for additional games? “Most definitely,” asserts O’Shea. “We’re trying to cater for a bigger number of players, give them more opportunities. We’re always conscious of burn-out, but this is an opportunity to play in a non-competitive environment.” Carton points to Austin Stacks as the perfect example as to why this competition is a help rather than a hindrance. “Would they all be playing U16? There is probably quite a number of them who won’t. If you’re a small rural club struggling with numbers and you’re satisfied with U16 there is no need to enter. “We are trying to satisfy the needs of clubs whose players aren’t getting enough games at that level.” “We’re looking at the normal not the elite player. We’re trying to give games to the normal player who might be doing nothing for the past few Saturdays.”
Twelve teams started out the day in either code, but come dinner time, all focus is centred on the main pitch for the respective deciders. In the end, both are determined by late goals, Kilmaley emerging victorious in the hurling; Gneeveguilla taking the football honours in an all-Kerry affair. For the respective winners, however, there is no cup, no silverware. That’s not the idea behind this concept. “The emphasis is purely on participation,” stresses O’Shea. “The whole point is that this is an opportunity to play against teams you wouldn’t normally play against. It’s an opportunity to build up contacts with clubs from other counties and just have an enjoyable day out.”
Carton intercedes: “Only one team in Féile gets out of the county, whereas everyone gets the opportunity here.” Given its continued growth, is there a chance the supertouch initiative could be adopted nationwide? “Maybe,” says O’Shea. “It was muted last year would this competition go national, look that would be a decision for someone else. I think the most important thing from our point of view is that we recognise that this is novel, it gives people greater chances to showcase their skills in a non-congested environment which 10-a-side allows for.”
Indeed, rather than go national, Carton would like to see the initiative taken on by each county. “What we would like to see is these games played internally in the counties, to fill the vacuum and create more games. I think it is generally recognised that the percentage of training games far outweigh the number of games these kids get. “They are far better served playing games like these where they can hone their skills. For that reason we’d like to see counties embrace this.”
Munster Coaching and Games Development will hold the finals of their U/15 Super Touch Blitzes in Mallow GAA Complex on Saturday 15th 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 2013.
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 15th 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 GAA Super Touch Hurling Finals
De La Salle
Starting Time: 10.30am on Saturday June 15th
Munster Under 15 Super Touch Football Finals
St Joesphs Doora Barefield
Kerins O Rahilly
Starting Time: 2.00pm on Saturday June 15th