Monday 21 August 2017

Players are on the ball for County

Lea Shannon from Clonguish, Longford, takes on Shauna Burke and Clodagh Acton from Kilmaine, Mayo, during the Girls U10 Indoor Soccer play-off.
Lea Shannon from Clonguish, Longford, takes on Shauna Burke and Clodagh Acton from Kilmaine, Mayo, during the Girls U10 Indoor Soccer play-off.

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Rahan parish in the heart of Offaly was one of the busiest parts of the country over the weekend as thousands of people descended on the rural community for the 2016 Tullamore Show.

However, while the communities of Rahan, Mucklagh and the Island were being shown off at home, they were also being well represented down the road at Athlone IT - where a handful of their young indoor footballers were winning a third all-Ireland title in the space of just four years.

Their U13 girls cruised to victory over the weekend at the Community Games, beating the representatives of Kerry (Moyvane/Knockanure) and Mayo (Kilmaine) comfortably on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.

Tullamore's Marcus Martin and Helen Watkins, a native of Wexford, are the guiding influences behind the group but according to Martin, it's a very simple steering job for them.

"They're not only team-mates, they're all best mates, they all go to the one school together, they all grew up together," he pointed out. "There's not really much training to do with them - they do it themselves, which is a big help."

"They're play out of Mucklagh schoolboys/girls soccer club so they all know each other very well and they're well used to playing with each other, so we didn't really have much to do, just to cheer them on really!"

"Four years ago they won the U10 indoor, last year they won the U12 and this year they've added the U13 indoor title so they've really made a habit of winning here at the national Games," said Martin afterwards.

That incredible record of success hasn't sated their appetite either, as team captain Lauren Martin explained.

"We're going to be going right back into it; training's starting up again now. We don't need to get fitter, but we do need to get stronger though! We wouldn't be the weakest but we're only starting the season, we keep it playing all year round. We want to win the league and the cup, and we're also going to try and win the Leinster Women's Council competition. We lost to Shelbourne last year at U12 so we want to win that this time."

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