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bluebirds back to basics

THE singing begins earlier than ever these mornings. First light hasn't even arrived and they are out, busy in the rehearsal studio preparing for the dawn chorus.

The little feathered friends don't need an alarm clock. They are always eager to fly into the orchestra pit.

And out at St Peregrine's, it was the same. The message read: "And it's Bluebirds and GO."

Eighty U14 camogie players gathered, some of whom are pictured above, to learn the skills of the game, have fun and refreshments.

It brings back the memories of The Storm Birds, the talented group that cheered up the city with their application and promise.

And now Paul Beecher and company are moulding another batch that could also go on and achieve much in the sport. But for now, it's all about acquiring the tools of the craft, perfecting the basics and doing it right. When you are taught properly to play the piano, the fingers never forget.

In Croke Park last week at the launch of the Liberty sponsorship deal, the camogie president, Aileen Lawlor, showed she has lost none of her class.

She went out onto the pitch, took up the hurl and stuck the sliotar ever so sweetly, the perfect meeting of leather and ash.

In that moment, Aileen was back on the turf of Crumlin where she perfected her art under one of the greatest timber professors of them all, Jimmy Boggan.

Teach a child in the right way, making sure the lesson is coated with as much encouragement as possible, and you'll have a player that will be still striking the sliotar perfectly, no matter what decade they reach.

The All-Ireland Biddy Phillips Masters tournament has proved that. And, hopefully, Beecher's Bluebirds will also bloom into Masters champions.