Perrystown club taking massive strides forward
SOME may consider Robert Emmet's a small-time GAA club, but they play a massive part in the nurturing of young Gaelic footballing talent for the Dublin 12 community.
Founded in 1969 in the south city suburb of Perrystown, Emmet's have developed into a strong footballing presence in the area.
For the past four years, they have made massive strides forward in their Emmet Óg nursery that welcomes all children from the age of four up. More than 70 players have now progressed through to the U8 team, which is a huge achievement in a short space of time.
One of the nursery co-ordinators, Joe Kearney, is thrilled at the progress being made in the juvenile section of the club.
"We have a good presence in both St Paul's and St Damien's school," he said.
"That gives us a chance to coach the children during the week and get them involved in GAA even before they come to the club. Then, on Thursday evening, we have our nursery.
"Myself, Brian Byrne and Brenda Hyland lead that. We are also trying to encourage some of the U16s to get involved in coaching. We are sending them to do their coaching badges as well. We usually have about 40 children, which is great."
Currently, Emmet's only have one senior pitch, which can prove problematic when they are growing at such a fast pace. But there are plans to acquire further playing facilities.
Despite being located between a number of more fashionable clubs, Kearney believes that they are more than holding their own. "We have a lot of bigger clubs within just three miles of our doorstep," he explained.
"Trevor Wilde in St Paul's School does great work ensuring players come down to us. Then we have our summer camps and mini-leagues where we usually pick up another 20 or so players.
"We just have to keep going with what we have and we will be okay. We won't stop for the summer as we think it can break momentum and adds a routine to the children and that's a big help. When parents know that the kids are coming down every Thursday without exception it's a great help.
"Currently we are trying to attract a sponsor for more juvenile jerseys and that will give us a huge boost when it comes to fruition."
Going forward, Kearney hopes that the nursery will continue to grow and, in turn, help the club to develop.
"It was great seeing the first batch of nursery children coming through," he mused.
"When you see that, it gives you great satisfaction as it means that we are doing something right. Our U8 team are even unbeaten in their league this year.
"But I suppose the biggest thing is to get more trainers involved. The more mentors we have, the more we can branch out."
Robert Emmet's have a number of events coming up. Their summer camps will be in July while the mini leagues will take place in September. In addition there will be a white-collar boxing night later in the year.
All members and non-members are welcome. See www.robertemmetsclg.com for details.