My Footballing Experience

nuig football team

I have been playing soccer from a very young age and have I’ve gathered a lot of knowledge and experience in that time. Even though I have been involved in soccer since the age of 5 I am still constantly learning new things about the game. I think this one of the great things about this sport and sport in general. It is a lifelong lesson in ways.
I started out playing in the back yard of the house against my brother and father and it was there where I developed a great enjoyment for the game. There were a lot of arguments and fights about football involving my older brother although I think this is what helped us become more skilled and ultimately were the beginnings of a lifelong activity. I began playing soccer for my local club St. Catherine’s in Donegal at the age of 6 where I was introduced to a more competitive environment. Playing against different players with different strengths and different skills offered a more challenging environment.
After playing for St. Catherines for a several years I was offered the chance to go and represent my county at a national tournament. This was a great honour and also presented me with a chance to further my footballing ability and experience. I played against some of the best players in the country in my age group so it gave me an insight into what was needed to win against the best players. I did this for several years representing my county at numerous tournaments up until the age of 18.
After this I signed for an u19 League of Ireland team called Sligo Rovers. This was a team made up of some excellent players and again offered me an opportunity to pit my abilities against the best u19 teams in the country. During my time at Sligo we won the u19 Airtricity Northern League which was a fantastic achievement.
Following my time at Sligo I decided to sign for a club in Galway City called Salthill Devon and this was my first time playing for a senior League of Ireland club in the 1st Division. I had a great time playing for Salthill Devon and I learned an enormous amount about playing football for a semi-professional team. We trained 3 times every week and had a game at the weekend.
As I said before playing football is a lifelong lesson and it is something that I enjoy immensely and I look forward to having a part in football for the rest of my life.

By Shane

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“A Gift from Scotland” – Golf in Ireland

Hello, I’m Sean and I’m here to give you all a brief introduction and history in Golf in Ireland and how it has played a part in not only mine, but many young people’s lives in Ireland.
Although golf has been played in Ireland since the mid-eighteenth century it was only in the early 1890’s when the Golfing Union of Ireland was established, which was and currently is the Governing body for the Republic of Ireland. Often mentioned as a gentleman’s sport, it took quite a while for the sport to kick off.
Since the establishment of the GUI, they recruited professionals from Scotland, to teach the men of Ireland the rules of the game, within the first 10 years of the governing body, 97 clubs were established all over Ireland, which has since risen to the present day 415 which is quite a difference from the 25 courses before the establishment. Golfing History in Ireland has been fairly up and down, the first 30 years were fairly promising with a lot of people joining clubs and playing the sport, but from around the 1940’s until the 1980’s the sport came to a sharp decline, but with heavy investment and development , golf became one of the most popular sports in Ireland.
On a personal level, golf has been an important factor in my life. From the countryside of North West Donegal, where the sport has been popular since the early days of the GUI, I was introduced the sport. My local club, Cumann Gailf Cloich Cheann Fhaola (Cloughaneely/Falcarragh Golf Club) was established in the 1996, and was an instant hit with the community. My father first started playing golfing, when I was around the age of 8, and he started introducing me to the sport. I immediately fell in the love with, it was an escape from everyday life, fresh air and most importantly, fun. Since then I’ve been playing golf on a regular basis, although over the last 2 years it’s been quite difficult to find time, with course work and college, but I still look forward to going home on the weekends and hitting the golf course to exert some of the college stress and just to get away from the busy lifestyle.
Although many deem it to be an average sport, it has brought much tourism to Ireland, thanks to the superstars such as Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell, Shane Lowry etc. Thousands of people come every year to play a round, at the likes of Royal Portrush on the Antrim Coast, Rosses Point, Ballyliffin, the K-Club and many many more. It is evident to see the love of the Sport in Ireland, with the growth of the Irish Open. As well as that, the Ryder Cup was held in the K-Club and the heavy Irish involvement in the Ryder Cup squads on a regular basis.

By Seán Collum

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Gaelic Football – From an Islander

 

gaa

I’m here to talk about my experience in gaelic football and how it’s played a part in my life. GAA was a very integral part in my growing up in my opinion. I played football, hurling, handball and soccer as a child, but the one that always stuck with me was football. So that’s why I chose to talk about that as my part of this blog.
One big reason I played football was because my father was one of three people who put together and started the local football club. They started it in 1994, which was the year I was born, so I guess it was fate really that I ended up playing it. I started playing properly when I was seven or eight years old and still play to this day. I find it a great escape and also it’s a brilliant way to keep fit and healthy. Even as I’m still in college in Galway I still play with the home football team. I’d much rather that then playing with a bunch of strangers and also for the sense of pride of playing for the team my dad started up from scratch. Also my father’s business sponsors the team so there’s an extra incentive in it for me too in that.
Gaelic football has been a huge part of my life both growing up as well as now, and I honestly couldn’t picture my life without it.

 

By Breandán

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(Image taken from gaa.ie)

Bowls of Fury

oriel-zone-logo oriel juniors

 

 

On the surface it may not exactly look like the most exciting sport in the world to watch, but if you’re watching a game of indoor bowls between two talented players, it can be a fantastic battle of wits and tactics.

My name is Niall Martin, and I started playing bowls about five or six years ago. I originally got into it when my father(who had been playing since the early 1990s) asked me if I wanted to have a go at the local club. I wasn’t so sure originally, mainly because I thought it would just be boring. But since I wasn’t doing anything else, I decided to go anyway and surprised myself in that I actually had quite a fun time. Because of that, I decided to actually make a go of it and see how good I could be at this.

In Ireland, all official indoor bowls is organised by the Irish Indoor Bowling Association(the IIBA for short). Through this organisation, The country is split up into zones for qualifying tournaments for the national championships, as well as each zone picking a team for the interzone championships held every year.(Similar to counties picking a team from local clubs within its borders)

At the moment indoor bowls is played mostly in the northern half of the country, mainly because it was introduced from the UK, so unfortunately, I don’t get many chances to play in Galway. However, there are zones as far south as Meath, as well as there being a zone in Cork. I am with a club in the Oriel zone (made up of south Monaghan, South Armagh, Louth and Eastern Cavan). With the zone I have played with the U18 zone team for 3 years, where we won the all Ireland in my second and third years as part of the team.
Since I’ve turned eighteen I’ve been trying to get into the men’s zone team, which unfortunately I’ve been unable to do, mainly because the team has been consistently good in the last few years. However, my father has been a mainstay on the team for at least the last decade, where they have reached the all Ireland final on numerous occasions in recent years, which, I can say from personal experience, were genuinely some brilliant spectacles.

It’s not exactly a widely known sport, but it has enabled me to meet plenty of new people, as well as winning a few medals on the way!

By Niall Martin

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(images taken from http://www.orielzone.com)