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Carbery GAA Academy enjoys a record year in 2021

January 18th, 2022 1:26 PM

By Kieran McCarthy

Clonakilty GAA Club had a strong representation in the 2021 Carbery Academy. (Photo: Paddy Feen)

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BY KIERAN McCARTHY

PROOF that the Carbery GAA Academy is getting bigger and better is that more young players than ever before took part in 2021.

The brainchild of the Carbery board, since it was set up in 2015 the U13 academy has offered young footballers and hurlers across West Cork the chance to play, have fun and develop their skills under top-class coaches.

The 2021 academy, for players born in 2008, saw a record number of players and clubs take part.

‘We started 2021 with 150 players, and 170 to 180 would have been in at different stages, but 150 stayed with us for the year,’ West Region Games Development Administrator James McCarthy explained.

Talented young players from Ilen Rovers, O'Donovan Rossa, Castlehaven, Kilmacabea, Clann na nGael and Carbery Rangers who took part in the 2021 Carbery Academy. (Photo: Paddy Feen)

 

‘The numbers are getting bigger and we now incorporate Beara clubs into us, as well as Kinsale, Sliabh Rua and Kinsale. Up to 30 clubs were involved in 2021.

‘Our facilities are getting better, too, and that’s another big step forward. There are now astro-turf facilities in Bantry, Skibbereen, Clonakilty and Bandon. Before, every fella would have to go to Clonakilty but now we had four centres instead of one. So while the workload is more, the travelling is less and players get more out of it.’

McCarthy and Carbery GAA Games Promotion Officer Paudie Crowley spearhead a huge team effort that keeps the Carbery GAA Academy on the road.

In Bantry, Blues footballer Seanie O’Leary and former Carbery GAA Coaching Officer Mark O’Donovan were involved. Former Ilen Rovers footballer Kieran Daly and new O’Donovan Rossa senior manager Gene O’Donovan had the reins in Skibbereen. In Clonakilty, Conan O’Donovan played a key role. In Bandon, a number of teachers were involved, and their help and commitment, coaching after school, was very important.

Academy players from Clann na nGael with sponsor Cillian Laide.

 

‘I want to thank everyone involved for their work, effort and dedication, to keep the Carbery GAA Academy going. It was more important than ever in 2021 to give these young lads the opportunity to play football and hurling,’ said McCarthy, who also thanked sponsors, Laide and O’Brien, and praised the foresight of former Carbery chairman Tom Lyons and former Carbery secretary Donal McCarthy for their roles in setting up the Academy.

‘When this was set up first it was created to give everyone a chance to come in and play with players from different clubs. It’s non-elite at this stage. Down the line you select the top performers for Cork squads. But with the Academy, anyone that was interested in coming in, they came. It’s important, too, to keep them playing. The fun element is a big factor; they have fun and they enjoy it,’ McCarthy explained.

From the 2021 group, two West Cork U14 football teams and one West Cork U14 hurling team will be selected for the season ahead.

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