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2009 Under 8's in Croke Park

Caulry Under 8's hit the heights of Croke Park

Thursday July 2 2009 will go down in the annals of the lives of a very special and privileged group of Caulry players when the ‘young men’ of the Under 8 team played on the hollowed turf of Croke Park.
Rumours of parents having no trouble getting their boys to bed for the week before proved well founded, as a very energised and enthusiastic group boarded the early morning bus to Dublin, backed up by an equally excited ‘fan club’ of parents, brothers and sisters with enough cameras and recorders to put the media to shame, not to mention the mentors, including Ray McKnight and his son Conor, who travelled all the way from their secret Kerry training base. With such dedication sets the standard for others to follow.
Despite the inclement overnight downpour, Croke Park was its usual splendid self and looked every inch the Theatre of Dreams. As the players and mentors made their way to the dressing rooms under the Cusack Stand, the faithful supporters and mentors not allowed into the dug out, made their way to the Cusack Stand to offer vocal encouragement down the Hill 16 end. 
The team dashed on to the field just before 11 o clock, where together with their county Louth opponents, Roche Emmets, proceeded to give an exhibition of great sporting and skilful football, which was a joy to watch and did justice to this great stadium. When the quiz books come out in the future, the name of Charlie Malone will no doubt feature as the first Caulry man to score a point for his team in Croke Park. The name of James Clavin will doubt also feature, as the first man to score the first goal after showing great bravery and persistence to finally finish initial efforts that were blocked.  The introduction of Ruari Casey, saw him swivel and shoot a great point from an acute angle akin to Dessie or Denis at their best. Thomas Dunning with a match winning one goal and four points led his team all the way. The goal as a result of sweeping move all the way from defence through, to a splendid ‘over the top’ pass from Daniel Buckley, for Thomas to finish with great aplomb, was as good as any that will be seen at the venue this year, combining the whole team. When you see such joy and ecstasy on the faces of these young footballers, the GAA deserve great credit for giving them the chance of a lifetime, in what is a superb initiative. Such gestures often go unappreciated and will certainly keep the GAA to the forefront with young people if similar efforts are continued into the future. The organisation of the event  was a great success from start to finish. After the match the players made their way to the Hogan Stand presentation area to raise the cup, and with the hope that this scene will be repeated in the future.

Everyone of the Caulry players seemed to be inspired by the occasion and ‘played out of their skins’. Mentors would be delighted if they could perform like this every day, but then it’s not every day you get to perform at the top venue in the ‘All-Ireland Final’ and this was the ‘All-Ireland Final’ in relative terms for these young players. While most will not be lucky enough to feature on the Croke Park pitch again, we hope the’seeds’ have been planted to inspire those who deserve it most, whether it is in the red and white, or the maroon and white of Westmeath. According to the ‘wisecracks’ from the Dubs on duty, these young players will be well into senior football, before a Westmeath or Leitrim man patrol the sideline in Croke Park again. Nevertheless, T.J. Dunning and Matt Hamilton performed their sideline duties with great confidence and faith in the future, which might ensure that we get our own back, long before then.
For the record the following represented Caulry with great pride and exemplary behaviour:  
Players: Thomas Dunning, Conor McKnight, Colm Shortall, James Carey, Glen Carolan, Luke Hamilton, James Clavin, Charlie Malone, Adam Donohoe, Rory Mullins, Shane Hynes, Daniel Buckley, Luke Buckley, Ruari Casey, Alan Malynn, Tom Cloonan, Luke Clinton, Oisin Murphy, Lee Carroll, Sean Malone.
Mentors: T.J. Dunning, Matt Hamilton, Brian Carolan, James Casey, Ray McKnight, Hugh Clavin, John Shortall, John Murphy, Gerry Donohoe, Jody Malynn.