THE LATEST in Corduff FC’s series of nine underage tournaments took place last weekend with the hosts and Navan Cosmos running out winners from the two Under-11 groupings.
The Blanch club are running the series of tournaments on Saturdays and Sundays over a five-week period to fill the long gap without organised football ahead of next month’s resumption.
Age grades from under-8 to 11 are involved, with this week’s competition seeing the 8s in action, with teams from all over Dublin and Meath involved.
The Under-11 A side’s victory over Palmerstown in the final on Saturday capped a great weekend for the club as the Under-12s and 13s advanced to the last 16 of the SFAI All-Ireland Cup.
The 12s saw off the challenge of Waterford’s Southend United following extra time in Corduff, while the 13s travelled to Cork, where they beat Macroom 4-1.
The older age groups will be involved in similar mini-tournaments when their season concludes in the summer, while younger age groups will again feature in what is hoped to be an annual event.
“The competitive tournaments start from Under-10s and 11s, and 8s to 9s isn’t competitive at all,” Corduff director of football Daniel English tells the Dublin Gazette.
“We’ve been doing nine of them: the first one started in the second week of January and the last one is the weekend of February 14.
“It’s to give the kids basically a little pre-season before their season starts up. They’d finish up in December and their season wouldn’t start back until February, so it’s two months off.”
Club sponsors One stop Handling, the Clonsilla Inn, Insuremyvan, Insuremyhouse and Coverinaclick car insurance have chipped in with financial support for the games.
“We’re going to do them annually. We’re going to be hosting FAI summer camps during the summer, and then we’ll host more small-sided tournaments in the summer along with the older age groups.
“It’s something we want to do every couple of months. We want to push the social media, so we’re going to bring in Corduff TV over the next couple of months.”
The success of the 12s and 13s, who compete at Premier level in the DDSL, is evidence of the good work being done below but more is planned to bring elite coaching to the younger grades.
“We’re changing the whole culture structure now.
“The academy is done Wednesdays to Saturdays, from age 3 to 6-7, and then they go up to under-8s.
“What we’re doing now is, to produce better footballers, getting them better coaching from 8s to 11s.
“We’re getting the quality coaches so as soon as they come out, they’re getting the highest level of coaching possible.
“I felt, in some clubs, the best coaches were being given to the older age groups and the smaller age groups were kind of being neglected and seen as not as important.
“But these are players with a blank canvas that you develop yourself, so at the end of the season we’ll have a big reshuffle and we’ll put the strongest coaches in at that age group.”