THE Beautiful Game was present in all its glory in Hermitage Park last Saturday as Esker Celtic held a hugely success Football For All festival.
The festival saw 70 players from different clubs around Dublin take to the Lucan venue and showcase their abilities on the pitch as well as having plenty of fun.
Speaking to GazetteSport following the event, Esker vice-chairman, and the club’s Football For All Coordinator, Colm Young, was delighted with how the day went.
“Fun is the best way to describe and that was the tone for the whole day,” he said. “To see 70 kids out in Hermitage Park enjoying their football was brilliant.”
Esker are one of few clubs in Dublin who provide a Football For All programme, with training sessions every Saturday.
They were joined at the festival by other clubs in the capital that also run programmes, namely Cabinteely, Malahide United, Sacred Heart, Lourdes Celtic and Meath-based Kilkock.
“We played in a round-robin style tournament format essentially, with lots of games being played in quick succession.
“We took players from each of the clubs and matched them up in terms of disabilities rather than age levels.
“There was also one long fixture on a full-sized pitch between our own Under-13 schoolboys’ side and Lourdes Celtic senior Football for All side, which was 60 minutes long.
“That was great to see and credit to our Under-13s for playing in it.”
Esker chairman Paul Cleary recently spoke to GazetteSport in relation to the club’s 25th anniversary, and he mentioned the club’s Football For All programme.
“Two years ago we launched our Football For All programme which is a big thing that the FAI are trying to push,” he said.
“We’re one of the few clubs around the country that actually do provide for kids with disabilities, so there’s a big push on that now in the country and we’re right in the thick of it.”
And it certainly seemed to be enjoyed by all with a parent of one player who took part in the festival saying on the Esker Celtic Facebook page, which read: “Well done Esker Celtic on a great Football For All Festival today. Great fun had by all – lots of skilful tackles, determination and team spirit, but most of all lots of fun. Special thanks to all who helped make it a wonderful day. Even the sun shone on the muddy happy players, proud parents, coaches and helpers.”