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O'Hara and Leacy the perfect role models for Fab Fourteens

THE Dublin U-14s stepped onto the lush turf of Croke Park last week. It won't be the last time that they'll grace the stadium.

The U14s have made marvellous progress. Leinster finalists and All-Ireland Blitz champs. They were taking part in the seventh annual Coillte School of Excellence event. Seven other counties were represented -- Kerry, Galway, Down, Monaghan, Offaly, Meath and Wexford.

The young Dubs enjoyed their day. There were matches, skills seminars, nutrition presentations and Question and Answer sessions.

Among those supplying the answers was Louise O'Hara, the celebrated Dublin stylist and All-Star. Louise is the champion of champions. Even on the days this season when Dublin were staring up at a very big hill, she kept producing the class.

If those U14s that visited the big house could emulate her commitment to the jersey in the years to come, Dublin will be back regularly contesting All-Ireland senior finals.

Mary Leacy, the Wexford captain, was also fielding the questions. She and her sister, Una, have given super service to the Slaney.

They helped the county to the All-Ireland title in 2007. Their camogie pedigree is in the Wranglers. Their mother, Margaret O'Leary, won three All-Irelands with the purple and gold, and she was selected on Camogie's Team of the Century.

Camogie president, Joan O'Flynn, knows the effort it takes to produce players like O'Hara and Leacy.

"A special thanks is due to all the mentors, coaches, parents and families who are involved in nurturing and supporting young players to enjoy and learn the skills of camogie," remarked Joan.

"We are indebted to Coillte and John Torpey Hurleys for their support. And we are also extremely grateful to the GAA for the use of Croke Park."

Imagine the faces of the children when they were told that they'd be playing in Croke Park. Such news lit up their summer.

David Gunning, the Coillte CEO, is delighted to help. "At Coillte we strive for excellence in everything we do and we are happy to be able to play a part in helping the development of young camogie talent."

David and his Coillte colleagues understand the wise saying more than most ... from little acorns.


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