First of all, congratulations are in order to the senior club on the magnificent achievement in re-capturing the Canon Hamilton Cup in 2015 (as well as the Clare Cup) and remaining unbeaten in Clare for the year. Coupled with that, the intermediates made it to the semi-final before narrowly losing to Broadford and both Junior A & Junior C were losing championship finalists this year. The achievements of all 4 teams amply demonstrate the current healthy state of Sixmilebridge Hurling Club.
To maintain this level of success in the adult grades (Senior especially) over the long term requires that there is also a healthy & vibrant Minor Hurling Club providing a conveyer belt of top quality hurlers. The foundation needs to be very solid to support such a strong Club as Sixmilebridge. This goal is part of the dual prime directive of the Minor Club;
- Develop the Hurler
- Develop the person
We will continue to work hard in the Minor Club to achieve these objectives and it’s our pleasure to report on the year’s activities.
One of the major positives this year for the development of our young players has been the continuation of the work initiated in 2014 of having 2 coaches working in both Kilmurry & Sixmilebridge national School. This has cemented the strong link that needs to be between School & Club. To put this support in perspective, in October just past, the two schools teams did themselves great credit when playing out an epic semi-final in the Ard Scoil Ris blitz for Limerick and Clare schools. They drew a high quality match and it took 3 periods of extra time to separate the teams. The skills and commitment on show drew high praise from all in attendance. Mike O’Halloran’s U12 back-room team deserve great credit but this also links back to the work done in the schools by Brian & Tommy. Many thanks to Tommy Liddy, Brian Culbert & Senior Club Executive for their support for this. Long may this continue!!
The provision of the best standards of coaching is a key challenge for 2016, particularly as we are now seeing very high numbers in all the junior age categories. It is a challenge that the Minor Club welcomes.
In November, the club held a coaching review for the U6-12 age bracket. All coaches from each the different groups were invited and there was a very healthy attendance. Peter Casey led this review and it proved to be a very worthwhile exercise.
One of the key findings is the relative lack of coaches/mentors vs. hurling playing population. The club intend having a number of parent’s nights early in 2016 to encourage greater involvement there but it would be remiss of us not to take the opportunity to also encourage greater participation from the adult playing population. The buzz from coaching kids and seeing them do something, like rising a ball for the first time, catching a high ball etc… can’t be underestimated. Just ask Caiman Morey with the U6’s, “Curley” with the U12’s or Pat Chaplin with the u10’s
The U6’s were led by John MacNamara along with Martin Conlon, Declan Murphy, Noel Flannery, Eamon Healy, Caimin & Mike Morey, Sean Macnamara & Richie Flanagan
The U6's had about 30 regular attendees. Coaches concentrated on emphasising correct grip with strong hand and also fundamental movement skills. We introduced players to games in small-sided format. The overriding strategy here was fun & enjoyment for our future stars. Thanks to all the parents for encouragement and participating in sessions. Also the coaching work in the schools is a big help in introducing the game to this age group.
The U8s were under the leadership of Alan Murphy and his extended team, Corey Downes, Mike O’Halloran, Donal Mullins, Richie Flanagan, Alan White & Adrian Chaplin.This group had a very good year and performed well in all Blitz 's. Numbers were good at all times with over 30 at training sessions. The main focus was with the basics of tackling and also with striking on the ground. As the year progressed, the improvement in the players was very visible, especially in their movement, blocking and the ability of some kids to start catch balls in the air.
The U10’s in 2015 were again under the stewardship of Jim Fitzgerald, Pat Chaplin, Dermot O’Sullivan, Ger Liddane & Martin Breen. Special thanks also to the various parents who stepped in during the year.
This was an enjoyable year for the u10’s. As in recent years our numbers have been big, 57 in total played through the year. 45-47 was the number that attended most sessions. They represented the club very well during the year at the Bord Na N’og blitz has to send four teams to 2 different locations each week. We once again hosted a very successful Barry Quinn tournament which is a great day for all involved the main field.
The U10’s participated in a number of tournament’s throughout the year and enjoyed success at three of the 6 we were involved. These are great days for all involved with great memories created but more importantly we see where we stand in terms of the work being done in other club’s and counties. A lot of these boys moved to the Under 11’s at the end of the year and experienced a step up in relation to the competitiveness in the series of league style fixtures in September and October.
In terms of this year’s community games we were beaten in extra time in the semi-final by the eventual winners Dora-Barefield. We had a young team that gave there all. This is a good group with huge numbers not to mention potential as anyone who witnessed the half-time entertainment this group produced in the recent Bridge - Na Piarsigh Munster Club championship match. More help will be needed on the ground to ensure the progression and potential continues in 2016.
The U12s were under the management of Mike O’Halloran, Alan Murphy, Brendan O'Callaghan, Fergal Kennedy and Cathal
An excellent squad of 39 players, split 50/50 on the ages. Early highlights included a trip to Kilkenny in March to play our friends in Dicksboro.
We had our teams divided into the traditional areas of Cappa, Village and Kilmurry for the Parish league in April. Congrats to Kilmurry who emerged as kingpins at this age group and thanks to the players from the senior squad who helped out as mentors on the day.
In keeping with the precedent set in 2014 we entered 3 teams in the Co. leagues so as to ensure maximum participation and game time for ALL of our players across the 9 league matches available. This does require extra work for management in arranging fixtures and players, but it is worthwhile and is consistent with our policy of encouraging game time for all players, at a level which suits their individual abilities.
We travelled to tournaments in Tipperary & Kerry, where our squad based on the 2003 born lads, underlined their abilities by emerging victorious in both. We also hosted a high quality Johnny Flynn memorial blitz in July with Top teams from Tipperary, Kilkenny, Galway, Dublin & Limerick. Knockavilla Kickhams of Tipp emerged victorious after an excellent days hurling. Special word of thanks to the Parents of our players who laid on excellent catering for a crowd of over 200 players and supporters on the day. We have a very strong group of players at this age group who have represented the club superbly not just at u12 - but also with our U13A & Shield teams and also the u14A & Shield teams - who acquitted themselves well this year. This underlines the huge potential in this U12 group if they continue to develop in the years ahead.
The U13’s & u14’s were managed by Terence Chaplin with selectors, Mike Quinn, Mike Toomey, Sean Chaplin, Sean Stack & Martin Conlon
With the numbers, 36 approx, 2 U13 teams were entered. The group stages of the U13A competition were very close with us drawing with Clarecastle and Doora and losing to Corofin by 2 pts. to the eventual winner of the competition. We then beat Kilmaley in the shield semi-final which qualified us to play Doora in the final. Two exceptional games of hurling followed against Doora with victory ours by the slightest of margins. Our second team acquitted themselves very well qualifying to play Doora’s second team in the final. We were beaten in the final but with the majority of the team underage again next year it was a great experience for the lads. Such was the closeness of the U13 Competition’s; the decision was taken to keep this group of players training 2 nights a week in Shannon throughout the winter. They are doing 1 night a week in the leisure centre hall and 1 night in the Astro turf. A huge thank you has to be extended to the parents of this group who are bringing their kids to Shannon 2 nights a week and are subsidizing the cost of this training for the betterment of the players and the club.
2 u14 teams were entered this year. This was a very young U14 panel and with only 7 14yr olds, it was always going to be a tall order to compete for the A title. The A team made steady progress throughout the year qualifying for the shield final where we came up against an exceptionally strong Doora team who beat us on the night. The 2ndteam managed to make the semi-final of their competition where the lost out narrowly to Inagh/Kilnamona. A huge amount of progress was made with this group.
The 15’s & 16’s were managed by James Hassett. The backroom team consisted of John Gaule, Sean Lynch, Noel Neenan, Martin Corry, Evan McInerney, Alex Morey & Alan Mulready. Much was expected of the u15 team in 2015 given their success in 2014. Unfortunately the campaign was shorter this year with them losing to Inagh-Kilnamona in an excellent match in Sixmilebridge. Preparation time for this group was very short due to player’s involvement in other grades. In this grade there are no 2nd chances to rectify a below par performance. That said the same core group will be there next year and expectation are high for renewed success in 2016.
The u16s had a very good year making the biggest step improvement. The team reached the A championship semi-final before going down to Inagh/Kilnamona by 5pts. With less than 10mins left the Bridge were still leading by 2pts. To put this in perspective, in 2013 the Bridge only managed to score 1pt against the same opposition in that year’s U14A. Good progress was made in 2015 with the panel very competitive all year and trained extremely well for a small group of around 20 players. The bar has been raised and the challenge has been set for this group in Minor
The Minors were again managed by John Lynch, Conor Murphy & Joe Hogan. Davy Fitz came on board to lend a hand in the latter half of the campaign. The team made it to the county quarter-final before losing out to Kilmaley.
Congratulations to all our players who made County squads from u14 development up to Clare Minors.
Congratulations to Tiernan Agnew on winning 3 World handball titles in Canada.
To the senior club especially Paddy as Chairman for your constant support we thank you.
To Tom Sheehan, for all his work as Bord Na Nog PRO during the year. To Louise for organising the fields, a difficult task trying to keep everyone happy. Thanks to John Corbett, Tony Downes and field development team for having the facilities in great order. Thanks to the Principals and staff of both Sixmilebridge and Kilmurry National Schools for all your support and co-operation during the year.
To all our Club officer’s, Manager’s, coaches and everyone who contributes for the benefit and success our each player in our Club we thank you.
Last but not least many thanks to all the parents and our excellent bridge players for your great commitment and enthusiasm throughout the year.
It is always great to win trophies but far more important is the long term development of the huge underage potential that exists in this parish, and providing a bedrock of emerging talent for the Senior Club to ensure this Club remains successful and strong.
We wish all our Club members a Happy Christmas and a sporting New Year,
Minor Club Committee.