NEWTOWNSHANDRUM'S greatest day came in Croke Park just over 17 years ago when they won the All-Ireland Club SHC.
While the club’s minor hurlers are too young to recall such an event, they are hoping to make a similar virtual trip to GAA headquarters this weekend.
In normal times, juvenile GAA players around the country would be looking forward to getting back out onto the field in preparation for the year ahead. Unfortunately, the sports fields remain out of bounds for now but the Shandrum minor hurlers – many of them born in that historic year of 2004 – are keeping active in other ways.
Pm the wall of the Newtownshandrum clubhouse is the motto, ‘Together we can do great things’ and that unity of purpose will clearly be seen this weekend as the minor panel unite for a worthwhile fundraiser. While none of us will be in Croke Park for at least a few months, the team will ensure that they are ready to make the trek when the time comes.
Having won the North Cork U16 title last year, Shandrum are gearing up for the Rebel Óg Premier 2 MHC, whenever that may be held, and a virtual run from Newtownshandrum to Croker, raising funds for the juvenile club, will ensure a busy Easter.
Each player will run an agreed distance and the sum of all the distances will equate to the trip from the local GAA club to Croker, a total journey of approximately 250 kilometres. This event will take place from Good Friday to Easter Monday.
The club is very grateful to Jamie Coughlan of Grasstec Livestock Services, who have come on-board to sponsor training jerseys. An indicator of the minor team’s initiative is the fact that these jerseys, and the logo for the event, were designed by the players.
The juvenile club is very mindful that these are difficult times to be a teenager with no school or field activities. The management organised two very interesting talks during February and March. Former Tipperary hurler Timmy Hammersley, who is an athletic performance coach, shared his thoughts on well-being while former Munster rugby player Johnny Holland provided a presentation around nutrition. Cork GDA Pat Spratt has also been very helpful to the club with coaching tips and ideas through his role with Rebel Óg.
To keep it light, coaches ands electors have taken part in many fun challenges over the past few months to break the monotony of the lockdown. The chairman of the juvenile club, Mike Collins, is keenly aware of the challenges faced by children and teenagers within the club.
“Currently we cater for over 100 juveniles from U6 to minor level,” he says.
“Covid has forced some changes on how we as club function, with our membership going on-line, the use of ClubZap as a communication medium and our monthly meetings via Zoom. “Like everyone else, we will be holding onto some of these new methods post-Covid. We also recognise the important role juvenile clubs in partnership with parents have in helping our youth adapt back into activities over the coming weeks and months.”
The club has received gold awards from Rebel Óg in the past two years for its underage achievements and coaching structures. Club training starts at U7 level and numerous former club and county greats have become involved in helping the next generation to become the stars of the future.
During these times it has given club officers the chance to look at ways of improving the structure in the club. The club was very fortunate to have been chosen to take part in the Munster Club Development Programme by Cork GAA. This programme has proved invaluable in helping to provide a roadmap for its future vision.
In addition, the launch of the ClubZap communications app for parents and supporters of the club has helped to bring all GAA and camogie activity to one location through the app and club website. Parishioners who now live abroad or further afield can now be kept up to date with local happenings within the club and can also support their fundraisers with online donations.
To track the Shandrum minor hurlers’ virtual journey to Croke Park, visit: https://newtownshandrumgaa.clubzap.com/products/3330/purchases/new