Community Development: Minor Board
London Under 18 Development Squad Blitz in Roscommon 2011
After 8 weeks of intense training the London Under 18 Development Squad travelled to Connacht to participate in the National Gaelic Football Blitz day. The boys arrived in Dublin on Thursday morning and went straight to a tour around Croke Park, which was hoped would provide some inspiration. Following this the squad went to Strokestown, County Roscommon where we were met by the Willie Hegarty, the Games Manager for Roscommon. Willie had organised to couple of days of coaching with some of Roscommon's finest coaches. The boys thoroughly enjoyed the sessions.
Saturday was blitz day in Longford Slashers ground. London would be up against Mayo and Longford. The first match was against Mayo and the boys got of to a flying start, Tom Waters and Liam McGrath were very strong in midfield, while Ayrton Tansiri, Rhys Lennon and Jack Ryan dominated attack. At half-time, with the help of a strong wind were two points up against a very strong Mayo team. The second half was a tough one for London as the they fought very hard against a strengthening wind. Oisin Patterson, the team captain, led by example from centre half back and was assisted with strong performances from Dominic Canney and Anthony Swain but unfortunately Mayo came out on top with a 2-10 to 2-6 victory. Although John O'Sullivan was very proud of the performance of the boys against a strong Mayo team but just wished his boys had taken more advantage of the strong wind in the first half.
After a tough opener against Mayo, London were now up against Longford on their home ground. The first half was very tight as neither team was giving away possession and taking every opportunity to score, for London there were strong performances from Oisin Patterson, Sean O'Sullivan, Anthony Swain and Ayrton Tansiri was tireless in attack as at half time it was a draw. London were unfortunate to pick up a few injuries along the way as James Glynn was forced to retire and birthday boy Jack Ryan had damaged a hamstring. But there were positives from these injuries as John O'Sullivan was inspired to bring on Hugo Lewis for the second half. As a target man in full forward Hugo caused problems for the Longford defence and within five minutes he was able to set up David Flaherty to score a goal. As the second half went on London got stronger and stronger with Oisin Patterson and Anthony Swain in defence, Tom Waters in midfield, Rhys Lennon and Ayrton in attack but it was Hugo Lewis who had the last laugh with a well taken goal as the match finished London 2-8 Longford 0-8. On his last trip with a London team, coach Ronan McCarthy could not praise the performance of the boys enough and see's no reason why a London team cannot play in the minor Connacht Championship and urges the London County Board to continue the good work they are doing in investing in trips to Ireland for future London senior footballers.
London U-17 Hurling Development Squad trip to Ulster Blitz 2011
The London Under 17 squad travelled to Monaghan to take part in the Ulster Hurling blitz. The boys had been training hard for several months but due to the lack of hurling teams in Britain this was their only chance of competitive hurling but they definitely made up for this in style.
London were up against Cavan first and got off to a flying start, the whole squad were very hungry for matches and they hit the ground running. Jack Doyle dominated midfield with a couple of lovely scores from play. Martin Scanlon, the team captain, kept the London defence very tight and Sean Freeman and Thomas O'Hanlon played very well in the forward line. The match finished London 3-5 Cavan 1-6.
After such a good start the spirits were very high in the London camp and their next match was against a strong Fermanagh team. Again London started very strongly as Jack Doyle and Paddy McGovern worked hard in midfield as Conor Howlin and Danny Hennessey fought very hard to keep possession. In defence Robert Melon worked very hard to try stop a ruthless Fermanagh forward line. Both teams enjoyed spells of dominance but there was no separating them as it finished up a draw. London 1-6 Fermanagh 1-6. The London management team of Paul Doyle and Jimmy Howlin were happy to see it as a draw as both teams put up such a good fight and it could easily have went either way but a draw was a fair result.
After a draw in their last game the title was still up for grabs but after two tough games the London squad were getting tired and were going to have to dig deep in their final game against, the hosts, Monaghan. Monaghan started the game very strongly and Martin Scanlon needed to battle hard along with Fintan Curley in the London defence. In midfield Jack Doyle continued to feed the London forward line and Stephen Burke was able to take a few lovely scores. At half time there were no separating the teams but after stern talking to by Paul Doyle the London team came out stronger in the second half. Thomas O'Hanlon worked hard in attack as Robert Melon and Martin Scanlon put a halt to any Monaghan attacks but in the end the London hero was Stephen Burke who took some lovely scores including a stunning goal. London came out on top with the final score being London 3-2 Monaghan 1-4 and took the title back to Ruislip with them. Ulster Hurling Development Officer Ronan McWilliams, who ran the blitz, was very impressed with the high quality hurling London played all day and could only compliment the London Management team of Paul Doyle and Jimmy Howlin.
London coach Ronan McCarthy, who has now moved to Glasgow, was very proud of the London squad considering this is the only competitive hurling then have had all year and would like to encourage the London County Board to continue to invest in hurling development in London and see's no reason why in cooperation with the Ulster Council underage hurling in London cannot continue to grow.
LONDON UNDER 16 DEVELOPMENT SQUAD – BALTINGLASS TRIP
The London Under 16’s finished off a very busy year with a successful trip to Baltinglass, Co Wicklow. 2010 has been the first year where a Development Plan has been in place for the London U16’s. At the beginning of the year agreement was reached by Minor Clubs where by the work accomplished by North London and South London squads in the Under 14 Feile Competitions would by extended to the London Under 16’s. North and South London squads would train separately and field separate teams for the first two phases and then come together for the last two phases. Four phases were planned with a 3 or 4 week training programme culminating in a competition. Phase 1 – March Baltinglass GAA visit to London. North London took on Baltinglass in a very competitive fixture in Greenford, North London winning by a point. Unfortunately South London were unable to field that week-end. Phase 2 – May U16 Provincial Connacht Blitz. The South London squad lost in the semi-final to one of the Roscommon Development Squad’s and North London were Finalist v Roscommon Development Squad. Phase 3 – July U16 Provincial Championship. London beat Lancashire in the semi-final in Birmingham, going on the beat Hertfordshire in the Final in a very competitive game in St Albans. London had asked permission from Provincial Council to enter two teams into the Competition however, this request was denied. Phase 4 – October Trip to Ireland to play competatitive fixture’s. This was an essential part of the plan to consolidate the work accomplished during the year culminating in the Baltinglass GAA trip.
A squad of 21 players were picked to represent London in October in a tour of Baltinglass, Wicklow and the Management team of James O’Sullivan, Paul Caulfield and Grainne O’Sullivan were appointed. On Friday the 22nd October, the squad headed to the London City Airport, our week-end started really well with everyone arriving early for our City Jet Departure to Dublin. First stop on our way to Baltinglass was to take the Museum tour around Croke Park. We had the opportunity to walk around behind the scenes at the changing rooms and stand pitch side. Karen Togher, ex-London CDA and who is now the Ladies co-ordinator at Croke Park, was able to take time out and come over and meet us. Upon arriving in Baltinglass, we were met at Quinns where we had dinner and the boys were collected by their host families.
Baltinglass GFC have excellent facilities with their own pitch with flood lights and club house. Saturday dawned and we had our first game on tour with an 11o’clock throw in v St Nicholas’s, the Wicklow Under 16 Champions. This game gave us an opportunity to brush off the cob webs and we had a convincing win against St Nicholas’s.
The evening’s entertainment involved everybody arriving back at the ground at 7.15pm for an 8pm throw in v Baltinglass, under floodlights. It was really good to see so many of the locals out to watch the game and lovely to see so many of the boy’s relatives out to support us. We started off really strong and this continued for 45 out of the 60 minutes of the game, Ben Power getting the ball rolling with a well taken goal. Going into the second half on top, unfortunately we were unable to hold onto the lead with Baltinglass finishing strongest in the last 10 minutes. Injuries to Liam McGrath, Conor Hampton and Brendan Scannell with 15 minutes to go had an impact. Presentations were made by both teams. Ryan Forde was named player of the match and received a jersey from Baltinglass.
The Management team were really pleased with both performances and the 100% effort by the 21 man squad. London were disappointed to have lost the game. Our opposition had both played seven 17year olds which was obviously a benefit for both teams.
Sunday morning, the London and Baltinglass players and management headed of to the local paint ball ground. This was and opportunity for the players to work on their target practice, primarily “Paul”.
We extend our thanks to all involved in our trip including the Baltinglass Committee, the Baltinglass team, St Nicholas’s team, the Ladies of the Club who kept us fed and watered and last but not least all the host families without whom this trip was not possible.
As with all trips, fundraising is an essential part of the process. The players and management team looked the part kitted out in London track suits, polo tops and carrying London bags. We would like to extend our thanks to our sponsors for the trip, the worlds End Pub (Camden) sponsored the polo tops and Noel and Sue Furlong sponsored the bags.
There will be training for the London U14 Development Squad on Wednesday 5th, 12th and 19th of May at Tir Chonaill Gaels @ 7pm
For details contact Philip Butler on 07920 554006