The U10s started back training on Thursday 28th March with the healthy number of 25 players.
A new innovation, a skills booklet, was introduced at the end of the first training session. This was to encourage players to learn skills, as defined in the booklet, at home, particularly on their weaker sides for six weeks. The booklet was taken home every week and signed by their parents. The progression of players’ skills was evident at training and coaches felt it was a worthwhile initiative.
Our GoGames season was late to get underway, due to Achill’s unavailability for the first fixture. Subsequent attempts to reorganise the fixture were unsuccessful. This meant that it wasn’t until May 25th before we had our first matches, away to Tourmakeady, which proved tough encounters for our lads. Our next games saw us travel to Louisburgh where we played two matches. Both games were keenly contested and our boys showed their mettle in each, getting our first wins of the season. We also travelled to Islandeady for our next GoGame which we won easily.
Next up was the annual Paddy Golden Blitz. Having won all three group games - the only team of three groups in Division B to have done do - we were narrowly beaten in the semi-final by a strong Tourmakeady side. We didn’t perform as well as we had done in the group games and our boys were shattered at the final whistle. Players and coaches were disappointed as there was a feeling that we could have gone all the way this year.
Our final GoGame was away to Burrishoole on 13th July. This proved to be a very successful outing for us and were much too strong for them.
Our second blitz of the season took us to Balla, and while we lost our three group games, we weren’t far off winning all three of them either. Games against Mayo Gaels, Breaffy and Parke saw us lose by only a point or two. The coaches felt that the boys played well in all three games and were impressed by the performances of some of the younger members of the squad.
After the splitting of the U10s and U11s, a home game for both groups against Islandeady on September 14th were our final home games of the season. The boys played well, emerging victorious at the end. The younger members of this squad caught the eye of the coaches and gave them great encouragement for the development of next years’ U10 squad.
The U10s reconvened for the annual Gearóid Murphy Memorial Blitz on Saturday 28th September and ultimately became the only team to win the competition twice since it’s inception. Emerging from Group 1, having easily defeated all three of our opponents, Achill, Islandeady and Kiltane, we faced a strong Burrishoole side, winners of Group 2, in the final. Burrishoole had progressed to the final after wins against Tourmakeady, Ballycroy and Louisburgh. Our older boys, comprising nine of the starting eleven, went in to the final knowing that, for them, this was to be their very last game for Kilmeena U10s. From the throw-in, they tore in to Burrishoole. Having conceded the first point of the game, they simply overwhelmed their opponents, eventually winning by a seventeen point margin. Having come so close so many times to winning competitions over the last two years it was wonderful to see their joy - and relief - at the final whistle.
As it turned out, the only training session that was cancelled was the very last one, due to be held on October 2nd, due to strom Lorenzeo. It was a pity because the coaches had filled out a ‘Player Pathway’ form for every player detailing the players’ strengths and weakness and we were going to give verbal feedback to all the players based on these.
All in all, it was an encouraging season with some disappointments along the way but a huge boost at the end. The coaches took plenty of positives from the season. Our boys - and their parents - deserve a long break after their busy season. Parents, please help and encourage the boys to get out of the house with a football to further develop their skills during the winter months. It really will make a difference when training resumes next Spring!