“It is just great to be back” - Sports clubs return to outdoor training

By Hayden Moore

THE JOY of playing football and GAA has returned and four local clubs are revelling in getting back out on the pitch.

With the government giving the go ahead for outdoor sports to return in “pods” of 15, St Anne’s GAA Club in Bohernabreena saw kids bouncing through the gates with excitement.

st annes flag 1

St Anne’s had a sign at the edge of the pitch in Bohernabreena on Monday welcoming back players

“It is just great to get back,” Games Promotion Officer Adam Doran tells The Echo.

“The sun was out and the kids were coming through the gates with a big smile on their face.

“The GAA have set up a Return to Play protocol, it can be a bit tricky at first but once you log in, it’s straight forward enough all you have to do is re-confirm the document every time you’re coming to training.”

The club’s 20 underage teams returned in force with the big challenge coming on Saturday when it’s nursery, known as the Macra, returns.

Across their four different venues - Monastery Road, Moyle Park, Corkagh Park and the Community Centre - Round Tower GAA Club’s return was “a great success”.

40 teams, operating on staggered training times all returned with great numbers.

Speaking to The Echo, Juvenile Chairperson Willie Kennedy said: “Across the four venues, they were packed with kids. The numbers were fantastic and the place was absolutely buzzing.

“This Saturday will be the welcomed return of our Towers Og, the nextgeneration of players coming through, so we’re really looking forward to that.

“Overall, the excitement level was unbelievable.

“One parent was saying to me that their son was ready, togged out in his gear from three o’clock - and the session wasn’t until six.

“So far so good, it’s been a great success.”

Meanwhile over in Cherry Orchard FC, Juvenile Chairperson Stephen O’Brien was happy to see all of the children returning with all of the public health protocols in place.

“We’re really lucky with the facility at the back of Cherry Orchard Hospital there, it’s a private facility so it makes it very easy for us to lock it down and implement a one way system,” O’Brien tells The Echo.

“All parents are coming in, dropping their kids off in the set-down area and just driving off so we don’t have to worry about any congregating.

"We have all the sanitisation stations in place, the ball wash area and we’re able to stagger training sessions to ensure we’re keeping in with the pods.

“Volunteer help has been great for us and I have to say, there’s been a great atmosphere around the place.

“It looks as though we’ve had a good return so far and let's hope it continues.”

Volunteerism has been key for all sports clubs on their return, and the fruits of their labour can be seen all across the county.

Lucan United Chairperson Keith Hyland was exuberant to see players walk through their gates once again.

“I have an under 16s team myself and we had all but one player was there,” he says.

"I’m getting good reports back from the other teams as well, the kids are just delighted to be back.

“The kids have been locked up for so long, it’s been very hard on them, so it’s good for them to be getting back and having that bit of enjoyment playing football again.

"We’ve our academy back on Saturday, it’ll be interesting to see now how we get on especially with the youngest kids coming through.

“Hopefully now that’s the last of the lockdowns and we can look forward to matches returning.”

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