Cork West U16 footballers turned lockdown training into a positive

Cork West U16 footballers turned lockdown training into a positive
The Carrigaline U16 footballers who recently participated in the Cork West U16 football fundraiser which raised a considerable sum of money for Lisheens House and Jigsaw. Front: Ciaran Crotty and Barry Kelliher; back: Chris Laverty, Danny Kelly and John Coleman.

THE Cork West U16 football squad engaged in a very successful fundraiser recently which raised over €7,000 for two very worthy charities — Lisheens House and Jigsaw.

Daniel Cronin who serves as a coach with the Cork West U16 football team was delighted with the success of their fundraiser.

“There was a great buy-in from players on the panel. The willingness and support from their parents and families was also a huge factor in its success.

“We were delighted to have 38 players desperate to get involved,” said the St Mary’s club man.

Daniel, who has been involved in coaching GAA teams for numerous years was delighted with the support his players received from their families.

Taking part in the fundraiser also gave the players a greater sense of identity said the Cork underage coach.

“You have to be mindful that when everyone went into lockdown, that the pressures on individual households vary greatly. Every family situation is different and unique.

“A lot of things changed for them, so all the things we put out there for the lads was never forced on them.

“So to see such a great uptake to get involved really shows how young people want to be part of something that is bigger than themselves.

“They are missing out on a lot and I think these type of initiatives allow them to feel connected and gives them a sense of belonging during strange times. We owe it to the players to continue to support them in their development.

“They are young people who are going through an important time in their lives. We have an opportunity to guide them to become grounded, responsible and humble people.”

A collage of the various players who took part in the fundraise from over 25 clubs between the divisions of Carbery, Beara, Muskery and Carrigdhoun. They each ran 6.5k while soloing a Gaelic football to raise over €7,000 for Lisheens House and Jigsaw.
A collage of the various players who took part in the fundraise from over 25 clubs between the divisions of Carbery, Beara, Muskery and Carrigdhoun. They each ran 6.5k while soloing a Gaelic football to raise over €7,000 for Lisheens House and Jigsaw.

The players and coaches engaged in a virtual route from Páirc Uí Chaoimh to Croke Park.

To complete this challenge, each participant engaged on an average run which consisted of 6.5 kilometres.

Making the challenge more difficult, each participate had to solo a ball while running.

Despite the many obstacles, Daniel was delighted with the times registered.

“We picked this route as lot of young Cork players want to be able to put on a Cork jersey and represent their county down the Páirc and in Croke Park.

“There was some really good times put down while doing it.”

The GAA coaching enthusiast is delighted the various Cork GAA clubs have made such a big impact in their local community and raised great amounts for many charities.

Daniel is thrilled with the role the GAA have played during Covid-19.

“We often try to build a good team culture within our development squads. It is additional coaching for players around the county, to first and foremost develop them into better players for their club, which in turn will hopefully increase standards at club level.

“This is why players completed their solo run in club tops and jerseys. They are representatives and ambassadors, always, for their club.

“The GAA plays a vital role in supporting our communities and people across the county.

“The amount of great charitable causes, clubs across the country are fundraising for and the support it is providing to those cocooning has been a spectacular example of how the GAA is such an important aspect of our culture and community.”

Daniel is delighted two great organisations such as Jigsaw and Lisheens House will benefit from the finance the Cork West U16 footballers raised.

“We are after raising over €7,000. We wanted to do something for charities that young people themselves could relate to, but also one that would be associated with the area where players are from.

“That is what made Lisheens House and Jigsaw the perfect fit. Positive mental health and wellbeing is a hugely important aspect of our lives.

“It was also an opportunity for the squad to think about their own wellbeing and brought awareness to what these charities do.

“Our players come from over 25 clubs between the divisions of Carbery, Beara, Muskery and Carrigdhoun.

“That gave us a good base to share a positive message and awareness.”

The Ballineen native and his coaching colleagues have also come up with many initiatives from a coaching perspective during the Covid-19.

His players have been working on their skills via challenges and sessions online.

“We provided a six week plan of activities to keep them engaged and help each player to develop their skills, fitness and understanding of the game.

“We encouraged the players to work as much as possible on the key skills. The many online resources available were a great help.

“Each week players had three skills to work on and track daily. It covered handling, ball skill and kicking.

“We are fortunate to have Aidan O’Connell, Cork’s high performance manager. He was able to provide players with a well-planned out and suitable physical development programme. He also provided webinars for players and parents, eager to gain a greater understanding of why they do these exercises.

“We are guiding them on keeping a good routine, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and develop the mindset to continue to train individually.

“Hopefully when sports resume, they will return to their clubs, happy, healthy and eager to play.”

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