St Colmcilles relishing Croke Park trip
By Cian O'Connell
Jackser Kavanagh is content because St Colmcilles are beginning to deliver on their vast promise. Encouraged by the significant progress that is being made on and off the pitch, the St Colmcilles Chairman is relishing Sunday’s trip to Croke Park.
Reaching the AIB All Ireland Intermediate Final at GAA headquarters is a reward for the work that has been carried out by this developing club in Meath.
“It is every clubman's dream to be in an All Ireland Final,” Kavanagh says. “In the last 10 years we've had a big influx of new people into the area. A lot of houses have been built in the area so a lot of good people have come into the club.
“We won minor, under 16 Division Two, we won under 13, under 12, we were in an under 14 final. We had a phenomenal year, the only team that played Division Two was under 16 and most of them will be involved with our minors this year, they'll play in Division One. We nearly have two teams at every level up to under 14, at some levels we have three teams.
“We are well to the fore in the Healthy Clubs, we are one of the leader clubs, not just in Leinster, but in the country.”
Since the 1980s when Meath greats Robbie O’Malley and Bernard Flynn were influential figures St Colmcilles have endured some tough days, but Kavanagh is delighted with how the club is evolving now.
“The last time we won the Intermediate Championship in Meath was in 1988, we were Senior for about five or six years. Bernard Flynn and Robbie O'Malley played with us.
“It is unbelievable what has happened, the club has grown, the Ladies section has grown too. We nearly have as many young girls playing as boys. The club runs in the region of 55 teams a year, between boys and girls. We have a bit of hurling and Camogie going as well here.
“People are getting involved. There was a Foundation Level Coaching Course ran in January, we had 22 people attending. They are new coaches, people willing to get involved. Getting to an All Ireland Final has helped us, it has given us a much higher profile in the area. We are doing our best to promote it, to get as much as we can out of it.”
Graham Reilly, the classy Meath forward, is St Colmcilles star turn, while former Irish Rugby international Niall Ronan will also start Sunday’s clash against Westport. St Colmcilles who bring a young and pacy team to the Jones Road venue.
“It is going to be a challenge because we have quite a young team. The team that finished the Semi-Final up in Armagh, I think we had seven 19 year olds. I would love to think that in five years time, I'd love to see it, that in five years time we could be in Croke Park on St Patrick's Day.”