A hectic day on Saturday last, brought the curtain down on this season’s programme for almost all Rebel Óg Academy teams / Cork Development Squads. This season, the third year of the new programme, saw further progress, with increased cohesion between all parties and with more players than ever involved. While the hurling teams took the spotlight on Saturday, with a stunning clean sweep of all seven Munster and All Ireland hurling tournaments from U14 to U17 (winning all 24 matches), it is also now appropriate to recognise the huge volume of work completed by Academy coaches and players over the past twelve months, in both football and hurling.
This work began last autumn at both regional and county level with over one thousand players and one hundred coaches involved, before the formation of the summer panels in May, when three hundred and fifty players and sixty mentors were incorporated in the Rebel Óg squads at county level.
As of today, all county panels are now disbanded and all management teams have completed their annual terms. This is to ensure that players not selected this summer are given every chance to gain selection for next year and to make sure that no players become “institutionalised” as “county players” which we think would be unhealthy for any young boy.
Therefore, all players will start off on an even footing when the regional panels are reformed in late October and the door re-opens for the late developers. With a number of current mentors now moving on to roles with Cork Minors, new management teams will be formed at regional and county level in advance of the regional winter programme. That said, we expect to see many of the same faces involved, as continuity from year to year in terms of both panels and mentors is vital.
The only remaining activity will be the U17 football tournament in Kerry on September 12th, while the GDAs will continue to work with their U13 panels at divisional level. Neither activity should have any impact on club or school activities, whatsoever. With no action on our side for a while, we look forward to seeing all players continuing to represent their clubs and schools with honour. The character we saw over the past weekend alone, leaves us in no doubt that they will.
For the coaches and officers, the next month will see a review of all activities within the programme and all feedback is welcome as we plan to further improve our links with clubs and schools for next year’s programme.
Finally, without mentioning any names and in no particular order, a huge thank you goes to:
- the Coaches who travelled from all over on a voluntary basis to serve their county;
- the Players who committed to representing their county with pride;
- the Parents, who ferried their sons to all destinations so that they may fulfill their potential;
- the Club / School Coaches & Officers who play the major part in producing such magnificent talent;
- the Officers at Rebel Óg and Cork County Board level who provided all necessary support;
- the Appointments Committee for securing the best possible mentors for each team;
- the Service Providers such as the Mardyke Arena, UCC CIT, Physioactive & Cummins Sports for top-class service;
- the Full-time Coaching Staff including the Games Manager and GDAs for the unseen work at all levels.
2015 was another small step in the right direction, but a step, nonetheless.
To paraphrase Thomas Hardy (Far from the Madding Crowd)…
“We don’t know our capabilities,
But we will do our best.
We will be up before you are awake,
We will be afield before you are up,
It is our intention to astonish you all,
Now…. back to work”
County Coaching Officer.