The success of the footballers from St Paul’s Academy in South London will be the subject of a documentary on London Live this Sunday. Teenage Kicks documents St Paul’s Under-14 success at the Feile in Derry.
Dulwich Harps GAC in partnership with St Paul’s Academy has recently returned from another very successful trip to Ireland with their U14 panel where they played seven games of football against teams from Counties Armagh, Down, Louth, Mayo and Roscommon and won all of them. There were many highlights from the tour including a victory against St Colman’s College, Newry.
Throughout their time in Ireland, the party was accommodated by local families. The tour also provided a number of cross-curricular opportunities for the party including a visit to Croke Park in Dublin. At Croke Park, the party was given a full history of the development of the GAA over the last 130 years with a particular focus on the amateur status of the games.
On the first full day of the tour the team took part in a light training session in Killeavy. Later in the day the team moved onto St Colman’s College to play against their Year 8 team. St Colman’s College has an outstanding record of success in schools’ football by winning both the MacRory Cup (Ulster Championship) and the Hogan Cup (All Ireland) on a number of occasions. Dulwich Harps started very apprehensively but emerged with a 12-point victory.
That evening, the team had the opportunity to watch an Armagh senior league fixture between host club Killeavy and Madden and the day was concluded with a meeting with Stevie McDonnell, a member of the Armagh All Ireland winning team of 2002 who was happy to answer any questions the young sportsmen had.
The team’s time in South Armagh was concluded with the Killeavy Invitational Tournament with Silverbridge Harps GFC and St Patrick’s, Lordship in Co. Louth making up the four teams of the tournament along with Dulwich Harps and the hosts. Dulwich Harps won their three games in the round robin tournament and then beat St Patrick’s in the final.
On Sunday, the Dulwich Harps panel and mentors were guests of the Ulster Council at the championship fixture between Derry and Donegal.
The group then left Killeavy and visited Croke Park on their way to Roscommon. The team concluded their tour with victories against Castlerea St Kevin’s in Co. Roscommon and Ballintubber GAA in Co. Mayo. In Castlerea, the teams competed for the Con McLoone Memorial Shield; this was in memory of Con McLoone who had given unstinting support to the development of underage Gaelic games at Dulwch Harps before his unexpected death last year. En route to their final fixture in Co.Mayo the panel visited the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence in Ballyhaunis and was given a guided tour by Cathal Gregg, a current member of the Roscommon team.
The tour was made possible by the hard work of Tom Denning, Anne McLoone, Martin Kane and their Lotto Committee for their fundraising campaign. Sharon Reel and her colleagues at St Moninna’s Club, Killeavy and Colm Larkin and his colleagues at Castlerea, St Kevin’s deserve thanks for making the boys so welcome in their homes.
Teenage Kicks is on London Live at 7pm on Sunday June 8.