Irish professional football club St Patrick's Athletic has launched a brand new emerging talent programme which see's them link up with the club's three affiliate partners Crumlin United, Belvedere and Cherry Orchard.
Crumlin, Belvedere and Cherry Orchard, three renowned Irish schoolboy clubs will send their players to the brand new emerging talent programme twice a week, giving players more contact hours with coaches and of course more opportunity to train/play outside of their regular training schedules. For St Patricks Athletic the new programme is an opportunity to work with some of the best young footballers Dublin has to offer from U10 to U13. The club will establish an ID for each player within St Patrick's Athletic. Everything about the programme offers something for all. Coaches from all three schoolboy clubs will have the opportunity to work within the programme offering their own input on training methods or further developing their coaching via the guidance of coaches from Saint Patrick's Athletic. For the players the programme gives the youngsters an early introduction into elite national league level or what it involves before they potentially progress to play in the new U13's national league which launches in Ireland in the near future. With three major schoolboy teams coaches and players joining together for training, all under the guidance of Saint Patrick's Athletic coaches, the knowledge, adaptation and challenge on offer will no doubt be of huge benefit to all involved.
At the forefront of the initiative is St Patrick's Athletic footballer and current director of football for the club Ger O'Brien. O'Brien, who is also currently on the coaching staff of St Patricks Athletic first team squad has a wealth of experience to offer. The league of Ireland champion in 2013 and FAI Cup winner the following season is highly regarded in Ireland for his outstanding work at schoolboy level, notably in his previous role as director of football at Saint Francis Football Club. Speaking about the new Emerging Talent Programme O'Brien was full of praise to all clubs involved who have come together with a focus on development "The planning of all this with Cherry Orchard, Crumlin United and Belvedere has been excellent and a lot of credit needs to go to all involved in the three clubs. Everyone involved, and especially all at St Pat's are really looking forward to see this programme get up and running".
On the day of the launch it was clear to see O'Brien's enthusiasm and love for the game, his words during his presentation including mention of "working together" and "trying new things", the focus being development demonstrated a forward thinking mentality that Irish football should embrace. In Ireland rivalry among schoolboy clubs has existed for years and if truth be told still exists to this day. Accusations of clubs poaching players to build the best teams in order to be successful is something that has been common in Ireland down through the years, accusations of ego's getting in the way of development another example of things that perhaps don't reflect a focus on development, ie putting what's best for the kids before all else. Yet here we are entering a new era for football in Ireland. Here launches an initiative that demonstrates so called rival schoolboy clubs coming together, training together and coaching together with a focus on development and providing the best possible platform to allow their players further develop in an environment outside of their own clubs, a programme that gives each player a pathway that could see them go on to represent St Patrick's Athletic in the national U13 elite league and beyond.
As young footballers from Crumlin United, Belvedere and Cherry Orchard emerged on launch day onto the Richmond Park Stadium pitch (Home to St Patrick's Athletic) dressed in their new emerging talent kit the excitement and enthusiasm on their faces was there for all to see. In a modern era where the street games are becoming a rare sight initiatives like this one provide more hours of football within a challenging environment, whilst also providing more quality coaching contact hours under safe supervision. Enjoyment, challenge and coaching, you can't help but envy the opportunity provided to these children at a crucial stage of their development. To all at St Patrick's Athletic, Crumlin United, Belvedere and Cherry Orchard the football community congratulates you on the example you have set, very well done.
Keep an eye out for Keepitonthedeck's video exclusive covering the launch day at St Patrick's Athletic Football Club via the Facebook Page and Website next week.
Without money running initiatives like this Emerging Talent programme would be impossible. Insuremyvan.ie should be commended for their generous sponsorship of such a program, a quality company with brilliant people behind it.