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Classic 'Cud be on cards!

THE frying pan will be going on early in Stillorgan next Saturday. It's the Kilmacud Crokes U14 Ladies Football All-Ireland Sevens.

The referees will arrive for the big breakfast at 8.30am. The Crokes crew will also dig in.

It will be a long day. There will be almost 80 games played. The throw-in is at 10am, and darkness won't be far away when Joe Cuddy finally draws the curtains.

Thirty-two teams will be in action. Twenty-fi ve counties will be represented. Three Dublin sides will be on duty, Foxrock-Cabinteely, O'Toole's and the hosts.

Two Dublin clubs have won gold since the competition began in 2004 -- Foxrock and Ballyboden St Enda's. Tournament CEO, John Sheridan, well remembers the Boden victory.

"It was 2009 and 'Boden and Kilmacud produced a fantastic final. They couldn't be separated. It went to a shoot-out. There was marvellous excitement, and 'Boden won it with the last kick."

This time the rollcall will include St Kieran's of Ferbane, the Division 1 Féile champs.

There's Kilmurry-Ibrickane (Clare), Lurgan (Cavan), Emyvale (Monaghan), St Laurence's (Kildare), Rathmore (Kerry), Kilmore (Wexford) and St Patrick's (Wicklow)

John is the Sevens Master. Forty years ago, himself and his brother, Pat, were on the committee for the first men's Sevens at the club.

He has seen the standards rising among the girls. "Garrycastle of Westmeath were our first winners. They were a lovely side. We have seen some good ones over the years.

"Claregalway are the holders. They have to be rated one of the best clubs we have had. They are the only club to have won it twice.

"The standard is sure to be high again this time. We'll have several of the Féile Division 1 teams, plus many excellent sides that didn't qualify for Féile because the level was so good in their particular county."

Three venues will be used -- the Glenalbyn HQ of Páirc de Burca, Silver Park and Coláiste Eoin, just off the N11.

The semi-finals and finals will be staged in Glenalbyn.

There will be a Cup and a Plate. There will be eight groups of four. Teams play three matches, 10 minutes each way.

The top two sides in the group proceed to the Cup, and the bottom two go into the Plate.

This year's event was moved back a week. "We can blame Joe Canning for that," smiles John. "But after the draw in the hurling, we contacted all the clubs again and we only lost one of them because of the change in date, so that's wasn't bad.

"Huge work goes into the day. We'd be planning it for weeks, months. We'd have meetings to make sure we have everything right.

"We have a marvellous crew here. It wouldn't happen without them. We look forward to it, and it's great when it's all over to sit down again and have the bit of grub in the evening. It has grown in popularity. Clubs enjoy coming here, and they love the sense of occasion.

"It's not all about winning. I'll always remember a chap saying to me that his team didn't win a match but the kids had a ball. To me, that sums up what the day is all about. Once the players enjoy themselves, we are happy."


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