Esker Celtic were celebrating last week after they were named the Aviva Club of the Year last weekend at the FAI Festival of Football in Wicklow.
The Lucan-based club received the accolade after an extremely competitive day-long assessment of the eight monthly winners of the competition from across the country, and with it secured a cheque for €5,000.
Esker were named the club of the month for March this year. It was formed in 1990 following the exploits of the Irish football team at the Italia ’90 World Cup, has 40 teams and over 600 members, and is the club where Anthony Stokes began his career.
Paul Cleary, chairman of Esker Celtic, said: “We’re honoured and very proud to be the Aviva Club of the Year. So many people put in so much work into this club and it’s them who deserve this award. I was a bag of nerves but it’s incredible to have won.
“It has already given the club a massive boost as we go into the new season and we plan to put on a day now at the club to present the award to the people who deserve it.”
Assistant chairman Dermot Wells explained what the award means for the club, and the basis on which the award was given.
“We won the award on the basis of the coaching structure within the club. The FAI were very impressed by the structures we have in place and the level of detail involved, and the modules we put in place for our coaches.
“The philosophy of the club is to put the child at the heart of everything we do. What we try to do is incorporate quality coaching in fun games which develop their skills.”
Wells considers that the award is indicative of the efforts of its members to make it a solid part of the community throughout its history.
“I think it’s great for the club, and reflects the hard work that has gone into it over the last number of years. We cater for 600 kids from the Lucan and Clondalkin areas, and the award reflects a number of things. We contribute to the community, such as establishing a Football For All programme that allows children with various disabilities to participate in sport every weekend, and we are one of the few clubs in the country that operate that currently.
“We have 40 teams at various levels of ability, and whether the child is a future Ronaldo or just wants to play, there is a place for him or her.”