Inny U11s, winners of the Cook Cup and Longford and District Major Division, along with one of their mentors, Garry Doyle.

Inny U11s make club history after winning superb treble

A season that began promisingly ended in triumph for the Inny U11s after they secured a unique treble within the last week, winning the Longford and District League’s Major and Premier Division titles as well as the Cook Cup.

As the squad mushroomed over the course of the season, it quickly became apparent they would require two sides to cater for the numbers. Come Bank Holiday Monday, as captains Matthew Kelly and Senan Brody lifted the respective Premier and Major division trophies, their hard work had paid off.

For Senan, the accolades didn’t stop there. He was named player of the match for his contribution to the Major Division’s victory, scoring two goals and having three assists in their victory over Gaels, from Drumlish. Senan also played for the League’s selection team in an Easter tournament in Swords, scoring twice against Shelbourne and the Kilkenny League. Make no mistake, he is a bright prospect.

He – as well as Matthew – are also mature captains, full of praise for their team-mates, tireless in their work rate. Given their status as the only Westmeath club in the Longford league, the wins are a source of pride for the stalwarts in the Streete-based club, academy coaches, Niall Fagan and Richie Fagan, and founder member, Brendan O’Callaghan.

Without their foundation work, the team wouldn’t have been in a position to prosper. Additionally, the team’s mentors also wanted to praise the various GAA clubs in the area for the complimentary skills the boys picked up from playing their sports.

“Bunbrosna GAA Club especially were hugely helpful over the course of the season but other clubs, Ballynacargy, The Downs, CFCW, Ballycomoyle, St Loman’s, Multyfarnham, Clonkill, Castlepollard, Lough Lene Gaels, were great to us,” said one of the team’s mentors, Garry Doyle.

“The more sport a child plays, the better, especially at a younger age. We received the backing from GAA clubs in terms of flexibility with fixtures and training. There are great people there and it is uplifting when people work together across sports and put the player first. That happened this season and made it a very enjoyable one as a result.”

Inside the lines of the soccer pitch, the two teams thrived, playing 36 matches between them, winning 33, drawing two, losing just one. It all came to a conclusion last Monday when two trophies were collected over the course of an hour in Abbeycartron, the home of the Longford and District League.

First up were the Major Division team, who scored early against Balyboro when Zack Timouri got a brilliant header from an Oisin Keena corner. A natural goalscorer, Zack’s enthusiasm for the game has been a joy to watch all season.

You could say that about all the squad. Keeper Dara Moran really stood out in the final, his bravery and assurance under the high ball, a noticeable plus point. The team’s outstanding player, Cillian Galvin, excelled yet again as did the third member of the Loughegar National School crew, Keelan Harvey. Another three Loughegar boys, Liam Doyle, James Nea and Harry Brennan, picked up winners medals in the Major Final, representing their school with pride.

Big mentions also have to go to Oisín and Max Leavy in defence, to Corey Brazzil who scored the winning goal in the last minute and also to the precocious group of Under 10s, Thomas O’Hora, Shane Kelly, Evan Brody, Harry Brennan and Ethan Smyth who stood tall among the bigger boys over the course of the season, getting some valuable game-time at different stages of the season and also excelling in training to make every session a top-class one. They really are a credit to themselves and have a big future.

So, it must be added, do the U11 Major winners who also won the Cook Cup a few weeks earlier. Senan has led them magnificently and was proud to see four of his Inny team-mates, Colm O’Rourke, Darragh Orme, Adam Bracken and Patrick Wallace make their debuts for the League’s Emerging Talent Programme either in the Easter tournament at Swords as well as playing against Roscommon last Wednesday.

All five had superb games in the League final, Senan scoring twice, Patrick getting the opening goal with Oisín O’Farrell getting another. James Nea headed in a cracking goal in the final. James also scored in the Cook Cup final – Adam Bracken and Senan were the other scorers in that 3-0 win over UCL.

Key to the team’s success was their teamwork. Striker Adam Bracken got a staggering total of 57 goals over the season but was unselfish right throughout, particularly in the League final. Darragh Orme and Liam Doyle delivered time after time in defence, saving their best displays for the biggest days, backed up by an exceptional goalkeeper, Colm O’Rourke.

Midfielders Senan, Patrick, Oisin and James were selfless right through the year and matched their work ethic with technical excellence. For this, huge credit goes to Tommy Keena, who never missed a training session, and whose rapport with the players as well as his knowledge and passion, shone through.

Fellow mentor, Garry, said: “We were blessed to get Tommy on board. He’s first class as a coach and a mentor.

“Tommy and I want to keep this squad together right through their teenage years. That’s our challenge. We want them to cement their friendships, to love the experience of being part of a team, how that entails helping each other out, being supportive of one another, being respectful of others, opponents, referees.

“That’s our ethos. Our biggest ambition is to create positive memories from this football experience over a long number of years because sport connects people in a special way.

“Seeing parents and grandparents loving their time together with their children at last week’s finals, and throughout the season, was fantastic. That is what community sport is about.

“The boys are at an age now where they are respecting the sacrifices their parents are making for them, the hours they put in driving them to sporting matches or to training, the money they spend on football boots or club membership.

“We’ve a special group of parents who’ve helped this team out this year and Tommy and I are grateful to them all. Roll on next year. We’re going to work even harder.”