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U12s thrive in skill academy

Phoenix Park will be a quieter place next Sunday morning. Dublin's Under-12 Development Squad training came to its conclusion last weekend with huge strides made following an intensive academy run by some of the county's finest trainers.

Fiona Ní Shúilleabháin is one of the six coaches that has been involved in developing and honing the skills of more than 130 of the finest players in Dublin over a 10-week period and her enthusiasm for this initiative was shared by all the participants.

"The attitude and response from the girls has been phenomenal. 134 players were nominated from the various clubs in the county and the numbers attending have never dipped under one hundred.

"We've even arranged eight o'clock sessions in the morning and still had over 110 attendees turning up so in that sense, the positive response has been very rewarding for all the coaches involved," said the Ballyboden St Enda's player.

Under the administration of Maria Gannon, Ní Shúilleabháin, along with fellow trainers Paul Beecher, Roisin Walsh, Donal Ryan, John Murphy and John Bergin, split the large group into more manageable numbers of 24 each, focusing primarily on fine tuning the skills and talents at the girls' disposal.


"We've seen huge improvements from the girls, especially with their first touch and playing with the top players from other clubs has definitely brought them on.

"The overall standard of training is naturally higher than what they would normally get at their clubs and sometimes even listening to different coaches and hearing new ideas can be very beneficial to the players," explained Ní Shúilleabháin.

It is Beecher who has spearheaded the idea of bringing the players together on a regular basis and to hone their competitive instincts through a series of mini-blitzes over the 10 weeks, which complemented the primary focus on individual skills.

Ní Shúilleabháin is certainly an advocate of creating a development panel and the plan now will be to build on the foundations and get the players used to being involved with a county side.

"On a personal level, I've found the whole training amazing and the attitude of all the players has been brilliant," said Ní Shúilleabháin.

"The intensity of the sessions was very impressive and their efforts were rewarded with the awarding of certificates last Sunday.


"The hope is that we can keep the girls together as best we can in the coming year.

"For most, it's their first experience of being involved with a Dublin team and it is very important as a stepping stone to further progress.

"The girls have also been able to mix with players from different clubs and that aspect is very important too.

"It gives them an opportunity to improve their social skills as well as their camogie skills," concluded Ní Shúilleabháin.