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Star power helps to double Easter camps attendance

The Dublin County Board's annual Easter camps once again turned out to be a massive success over the past two weeks.

With more than 80 clubs and nearly 8,000 children taking part, the playing fields of Dublin were awash with activity as the stars of the future showcased a wide array of skills.

Aileen Connolly of the Dublin County Board's coaching department was thrilled with the positive reaction to the camps.

"The number of camps and children has almost doubled in the last two years," she said.

"Almost 8,000 kids attended, which is amazing. We were looking back on previous numbers and in 2009 there was about 4,000, so that just shows you how well they are coming along.

"Most of the clubs had it for one week of the Easter holidays but some of them would have had two weeks of camps and also an advanced camp for the older children. Basically, any club who had juvenile teams ran camps."


While the undoubted attraction for the participants was the fun factor, Connolly believes that the benefits of having such well-run camps cannot be underestimated.

He said: "It's great for just getting the kids involved.

"A lot of the time it could be someone's first time playing GAA. It means that the clubs can show them what it's all about, get them on board as members and that in turn can only be a positive for the future of the clubs themselves and the GAA."

The success of the Dublin senior hurling and football teams in recent times has created a wave of enthusiasm for the sports across the county.


Connolly is in no doubt that it has played a huge part in the increase in numbers now showing an interest in the national pastimes.

"The kids are looking around and seeing their idols in the flesh," she said.

"That the trophies have been going around the schools means that they are getting to see the likes of the Sam Maguire up close and getting to hold it. It's a lot more of a reality and that has helped enormously."

In DCU, there was a camp organised by some of the Dublin senior footballers. The likes of Bernard Brogan, Eamon Fennell and Ger Brennan all spent last week bestowing their knowledge to some 180 youngsters, while various other clubs had stars dropping in to say hello.

The summer promises to be a busy one as it is expected there will be a similar uptake in the Kellogg's Cúl camps.

This year, Dublin will also host the hurling and camogie Féile na Gael. Clubs will take part in a national competition which gives teams the chance to test themselves against elite players from around the country.