Ballyfermot out to build bridges
THERE'S plenty of good tidings blowing in from 'The Gaels'. That's the home ground of Ballyfermot De La Salle. They have been decorating the scenery since the early 1950s.
Their renaissance continues to boil.
"Things are going well," announces chairman, John McBride. "There has been excellent work done in the last few years. The club is in a strong place now.
"We are well established in the area. We are coaching in the schools. Tremendous progress has been made."
John and his cohorts want to see more of it. They have two adult teams in the AFL 7 and AFL 11.
"The AFL 7 is a tough league. In fact, you can see the rise in standards all over," he declares.
"It's especially hard playing the bigger clubs. They have such a pick of players. They'd have loads of fellas from the country and so on. Then if they have inter-county footballers, they push some of the other players down the divisions, so their second and third teams or whatever are also going to be pretty useful.
"We have been holding our own, but unfortunately we don't have the conveyor belt the bigger clubs have."
Ballyfermot also field a minor team, and their juvenile unit is flourishing. It's plugging the gap between minor and adult that they are anxious to address.
"We'd love to be in a position where our young players could progress into the adult ranks, but at the moment there is that gap in years that needs to be bridged."
Emigration, injuries and retirements have also hit the playing pool. "We'd welcome any footballers that might want to train and play for us. We'd be delighted to hear from them."
A couple of years ago, the AFL 11 squad enjoyed cup success. And with bigger numbers, more success could be achieved. The long-term ambition would be to see a Ballyfermot footballer make the Dublin senior squad.
"Overall, we are pretty happy. The juvenile end of things is flying. Girls football is particularly popular, so the future has never looked better."
Meanwhile, John would like to hear his mobile ringing with word of new recruits -- 086-4062598.