Rovers 'open doors' with Trinity College link-up
There was something giddy about the sight of a bunch of kids from Tallaght mobbing the door to the Watt Building in Trinity College.
They were on the way to a grand prize giving for a collaboration between 'two great Dublin institutions' - Shamrock Rovers and TCD.
Over the last few days, the college has echoed to the sound of kids playing football, part of the launch of that STAR (Sporting Talent & Academic Rewards) project run in conjunction with TAP (Trinity Access Programmes) and supported by Richard Sadlier and Damien Duff.
Rovers chairman Jonathan Roche says things like the STAR initiative can only be good for his club.
"The football club, which is majority owned by the members, took a very, very brave decision four years ago to develop our own pathway," he said.
"When we were in the Europa League we met clubs and saw how they did things in cities smaller than Dublin, how the education and football pathway coincided with each other.
"We now have full-time coaches looking after our kids. Our new training ground Phase One is open, Phase 2 next year and we now have a pathway from 15 through to the senior team.
"This project is probably unique in as much as we are starting with sixth class primary school kids."
What was clear from this event is that the access part is working nicely and if the day out in the city centre sparked bright minds to imagine what might be, it was worth doing and repeating.
For Rovers, an association with TCD will help on all sorts of levels, not least the credibility leap involved.
"For me it's one great Dublin educational institution linking up with another great Dublin sporting institution and that opens doors, there is no doubt about that," added Roche.
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