Cabinteely GAA launched an expanded Academy, with boys aged 4-7 set to train on Saturday mornings together with Foxrock Cabinteely’s female players.

Foxrock Cabinteely are the dominant entity in ladies football in recent years in the county and, while the Cabinteely men’s team are a small fish in Dublin’s substantial pond, they are an improving side, having won a couple of promotions in recent years.

The Cabinteely men’s side have rarely fielded youth sides in recent years, however, so the expansion of the well-established Foxrock Cabinteely academy is a dual-gender entity, with the boys registered with the GAA and the girls with the LGFA, is a logical step.

Barry Rojack, who plays with the men’s seniors, sees the move as predominantly a family-based move. “A lot of the current men’s teams used to play in the junior teams that were here at Cabinteely in the 90s,” Rojack explains.

“For both the men’s and women’s sides at Kilbogget, it makes sense for the club to be a family thing.

“Most of the people around the club would like to be able to bring their kids down to the same club to play. Some of the senior ladies at Foxrock Cabinteely are bringing their kids down already. They already had a very well-established set up for the girls, so to include the boys as well is a good move.”

For the boys, the academy will only take in the 4-7 age group initially with plans to expand as that group gets older. “We’re not really interested in taking players from other clubs, that’s not what this is about,” Rojack said.

“We want to get players in while they’re young and bring them through here. In the long run, that will feed into the seniors, of course, but that’s a very long term project.

“We’ve had the boys down here for a few weeks now, so it was nice to have an official launch with 150 kids in the 4-7 age group.

“There are a lot of houses being built around Cabinteely and not a huge amount of local amenities, so to be all set up for when the houses are finished makes perfect sense to us.”

Derek McArdle, also heavily involved in the new developments, added: “Our Academy is growing incredibly fast, and the children so much enjoy participating in our co-ordinated skills and drills sessions. But we urgently need more volunteers and coaches.

“It is the starting point for boys and girls to learn the basic skills of Gaelic football. The big advantage for many parents is that they can now bring both their sons and daughters down to our Academy as they will be training on the same pitch.

“When they reach Under-8s they will move into the GAA Go Games structure and start playing matches with teams in the region.”

** Cabinteely academy takes place from 9.45am to 11am on Saturday mornings at Kilbogget Park. They can be contacted at secretary@foxcabgaa.ie.