(CNS Local Life): The DART Cayman Islands Kids Gaelic Football Club held training sessions followed by matches Sunday, 4 June for players ranging from 6 to 15 years old. The events, at the Camana Bay CIS Football Pitch, followed on from a camp held in April, over the Easter holiday, with visiting coaching expert Colm Egan. More than 70 children are now members of the club, which is running weekly sessions on Sunday mornings during June.
In the latest games, there were four matches held in the different age groups with the Wasps playing the Cheetahs (7-8 year olds), the GAA Sharks taking on the Pirates of the Caribbean (6 year olds) and the Cayman Tigers versus the Caribbean Sharks (9 -15 year olds Group 1) and West Bay Hurricanes against Irish Rovers (9 -15 year olds Group 2).
Sanjay Burrell, Baptiste Grenade and Dylan Munoz (7-8 year olds) impressed for the Wasps, while Levi Jack, Evan Barry and Doireann Lynch showed up for the Cheetahs, who won a close game. Coach Conor Brady said that there had been a big improvement from all in their solo skills, stated a club press release.
The 6 year olds began their training with Coach Eimear Devlin practising some tricky kicking and hand-passing drills. James Hogan and Dualtach Lynch shone from the start with some wonderful high catches and impressive long kicks. The group finished the morning with a very tight game, where Stephanie Richards and Ben Lyne impressed with some great scores. The Pirates of the Caribbean narrowly won this round but there is all to play for in the next game.
In the 9-15 age group, Coach Seán Lyne held an excellent practice session where everyone progressed their football, and the players showed off their newly acquired skills during two matches. In the first game, the Cayman Tigers and Caribbean Sharks played an exciting high scoring draw of 12 points each. In the other group, the West Bay Hurricanes managed a tight victory with a one-point win over the Irish Rovers.
During the matches there were some great plays from Clara Byrne, Cormac Finnegan, Breannach Lynch, Leonardo Hydes, James Rees and Daniel Magennis, with all of the players on the day impressing the coaches with their improved proficiency.
Coach Egan is a full-time games development officer from the North American Gaelic Athletic Association, who delivered the first coaching course in October 2016. He is originally from Tipperary, Ireland, but has worked in Chicago for the last 24 years – where they have a kids club of with more than 350 children. Those who started in the club at 6 years old are still playing at age 18 and are about to graduate to adult teams around the US.
Noting the parallels between Chicago and Cayman,, Egan said, “From day one you had coaches who really want to engage with the kids and the youth programmes. Every programme starts with just one; 70 kids attending a camp within eight months is a fantastic achievement for the first-ever Cayman Gaelic camp – and the first-ever camp of its kind in the Caribbean.”
He added he was delighted to have started the next level of class work with the coaches here in Cayman and will continue this throughout the season with coach education planned for future years.
He also talked about his time in Cayman for the Easter camp. “It has been a beautiful experience. I enjoy what I do in Chicago but coming to Cayman gives you a full charge. This is one of the coolest things I have seen in GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) in the world – blue skies, fantastic pitch and indoor facilities, wonderful branded GAA jerseys and hard-working sponsors and volunteers. You have really good athletes on this island, adapting quickly to the game of Gaelic. It has been a great experience and I am very thankful to the Cayman Islands Gaelic Football Club for affording me this opportunity.”