Magical Mhuire sow the seeds of success in popular nursery
The village of Naul is one which is separated from Meath by little more than the water of the River Devlin. However, the community is immensely proud of the fact they are very much part of the Dublin GAA family.
Perhaps the biggest symbol of their Dublin heritage comes in the form of their GAA team, Clann Mhuire CLG. The club has served the area since its foundation in 1957 and is now very much a focal point for the local residents.
Like all village clubs, maintaining a solid and consistent player base is one of the main challenges facing Clann Mhuire. The tireless efforts and emphasis placed on the juvenile section, however, means that their future is in safe hands.
One of the club's nursery co-ordinators, Trevor Byrne, spoke to the Herald about how the Clann are progressing. "Basically our nursery got up and running about ten years ago," he said. "There was a big gap there for the smaller children to get involved. Linda Hagan was the one who got things up and running and deserves huge credit for that.
"Then about five or six years ago Maria White brought it on another bit by involving Montessori-aged kids. Up to that we wouldn't have had much involvement for anyone under-12 and it has worked wonders for us. Some of those children involved in the first ever nursery are now starting to make a break into adult football and that's great to see and it gives the kids something to do. Our numbers have been increasing every year, which is all we can ask for."
In people like Maria White, Linda Hagan, Liam Colgan and Trisha Farell, to name a few, there is a volunteer base that ensures the club is always moving in a positive direction. Indeed, White is heavily involved in coaching in the local schools while all the time encouraging children to get involved in the GAA.
A number of playing piches as well as an indoor facility means that Clann Mhuire are never found wanting in the facilities department, but Byrne pointed out that they do face a number of other difficulties.
"We don't do hurling ourselves in the club and that is a big draw for children to go elsewhere," he explained.
"There is talk of starting it up here but as yet it hasn't happened. The fact that Ireland have done so well in the rugby and soccer has also meant that those sports have taken a few children.
"But Dublin winning the All-Ireland has given us a huge lift and brought a number of the younger kids back to us.
"Even my own young lad is out the back now kicking a ball around pretending he's Bernard Brogan or Paul Flynn and that's great to see."
Going forward, Trevor is confident that Clann Mhuire can continue to grow, while also someday maybe having representatives at senior county level.
"We would like to see as many of the kids going on to play for our adult teams," he said.
"We have a great set up for the girls as well and a few of them are involved in Dublin teams. The dream would be to ultimately have one or two playing for Dublin in Croke Park. To see the club's name represented on the team list in the programme would be something special."
Clann Mhuire's annual Summer Camp takes place from July 23-27. All are welcome for what promises to be a great week. For more details see the club website www.clannmhuire.com