MEMBERSHIP numbers are at an all time high at Youghal FC, so much so that the club are crying out for more volunteers to get involved.
The club currently boost 27 teams but there is a waiting list and the club are eager to get more coaches into the club to facilitate taking on extra children from the area.
Club chairman Richard Lane is thrilled with the increase of numbers however the worry at the moment is not being able to facilitate every child.
“We have a record number of members this year which is fantastic,” said Lane.
"We have 27 teams in total which is remarkable considering we struggled with membership during Covid.
"Now, some teams have a waiting list this year which we as a club, don’t like to see as children are without football.
"And like many clubs, we are struggling looking for new coaches to facilitate taking on extra kids. Our U13, U14, U15 and U16s had a successful season last year and this attracts more players again.
"So while this is great for the club, we just need more help to facilitate all. The club is in a really good place in terms of development.
"The standard and quality of football has increased again this year. Most of our teams play in the First or Second Division with several pushing for promotion again this season so the future is definitely looking bright for Youghal United.”
Recently, I caught up with newly-appointed senior manager Derek Murphy and here he tells us about his aims for the season and the importance of having a good underage structure.
“I accepted the senior manager's job back in June this year and my first job was to assemble a good backroom staff,” said Murphy.
"I put together a back room team of Jamie Lawton [assistant manager], Christoph Colin, Sean Kenneally, Dave Kearns and Alan Hennessy as coaches all of who have massive playing experience at Senior Premier level.
“Between us then we put together more or less a new squad of players with new signings Leon Hennessy, Glenn Kearney, Cian Hartnett and Pedro Degani plus players returning to senior from junior ranks and youths.
"Add to that, senior players of Paul Kelly, Alan Murphy, Aaron O’Regan, Ryan Heaphy and Keith O’Connor experience and we have a good mixture of experience and youth.
"We can monitor their progress through the different ages which makes it a smoother transition when they make the step up to senior level.”
The 49-year-old father of two and grandfather to Theo has massive experience at senior level having played Premier with Youghal and Midleton scoring in an FAI Cup game against UCD back in 2001. His knowledge and experience will be key in pushing his side this season as they compete in the MSL Second Division.
“We play in the MSL Division 2 which can be a very competitive league. Thankfully we've had a perfect start beating Carrigtohill 6-0 and Kilworth 5-3 so we are confident that we can do well.
"However we’re also aware that there is still a very long season to go. Getting a good start is always nice as it gives lads belief and confidence to push on.
Ambitions for the season are to be competitive again at this level and put in place structures and a good football culture for club going forward.
“We have a good bunch of players who work hard and all want to do well which is half the battle. We have a great management side who all have different qualities which will all be of massive help throughout the season.
“Second Division in the MSL is no pushover as we all well know. There are a lot of great teams and it’s a division that has proven to be difficult to get out of.
"Thankfully the lads have a great attitude and their work ethic over the coming months will prove that. For us, we will take one game at a time but every win plays a huge factor in us attracting more players to the club.
“It’s unfortunate at the moment that the club are struggling for underage coaches however it’s a good complaint that the interest from kids is there. As a club, we will try everything to facilitate everyone that wants to play at the club.
“There is a great buzz around the club at the moment and again everything is positive again in the club at senior level. Last week we signed a sponsorship deal with Hennessys bar for the coming season.
"Ken Hennessy has always been great help to the club and this season he's backed us with substantial sponsorship and we are very grateful for this. There is a lot of work being done on and off the pitch and that’s why our membership is growing. Long may it continue."