The plight of small clubs always hinges on the ability to recruit absolutely every young boy or girl in their catchment area to commit to the club and be part of their given communities GAA side which is more often than not usually the flagship sporting and social outlet for the local area and something that has seen huge time and effort from many generations to keep the club alive.
Newcastle is one such club that very much falls into this category and they like all small clubs have felt the pinch of emigration and other aspects of life take affect on their small pool of playing numbers but they have continuously managed to keep the their proud club going through a combination of hard work from great club men & women along with dedicated club players playing well past the normal age you would expect of a player to keep the team going until the next generation is ready to take over.
Many factors make it increasingly difficult for the survival of smaller clubs with the playing age rules coming in for adult teams which although a good measure to protect younger players it has further decreased the ability of small clubs to keep the numbers needed to ensure the club can continue to field. It’s hard not to argue that a young player should not be thrust into a game where they will be up against fully developed adults until they are also fully physically developed to take on the rigours of an adult game but when coupled with the introduction of the black card you have the perfect storm to sink a small club. A team that may have scraped the barrel to field 15 players during the years until the next crop of young talent comes through is at a massive disadvantage if they lose a player to injury or a player succumbs to a black card as they have no replacement to call upon and that has materialised in many clubs over the last while. Despite all these hurdles clubs like Newcastle have kept it alive and it is people like Damien Nivelles and Colm Yeoman who are a large part of that reason.
The young stars you see below have been taken under the wings of Damo and Colm from the age of 4 and after 8 years of coaching they are flourishing, so much so that they are competing in tonight’s U-13 County Final in Ballinakill as they take on Avoca with Newcastle’s future looking all the brighter.
The team pictured is as follows: Back Row L-R, Tamas Boros, Dáire O Reilly, Eoin Khan, Kyle Sheeran, Martin Reinhardt, Ryan Harrison, Leon Reynolds, Gavin Minto, Jamie Shannon,
Front Row L-R, Sean Mc Leavey, Ryan Doherty, Sam Johnson,Joe Collins, Jamie Fitzgerald Lucey, Callum Merriman, Cillan Coffey
Manager’s: Damien Nivelles, Colm Yeoman
We hope that the long and proud tradition of GAA continues in Newcastle and we see these young lads lining out on county final day in Aughrim in the Blue & Gold in the years to come and hopefully all help and assistance can be given to Newcastle to ensure they continue to be the proud club with one of the finest pitches in County Wicklow for many generations to come.