| 6.3°C Dublin

Eadair eagles soar!

BEANN EADAIR may be in existence for over 100 years, but this proud Howth club are not ready to dwell on their history.

For all associated with the club, securing their future place in the community is paramount.

Club chairman Kevin Kellet took time out last week to speak to the Herald about the current state of affairs. "There is a huge amount of work been done with the three local schools -- Scoil Mhuire, St Fintan's (NS), The Burrow National School," he explained. "The teachers out there give us fantastic supports.

"All the schools are entering the schools leagues and for the first time ever, St Fintan's are going to be entering an all-girls team into the Cumann na mBunscol in September.

"We run a tournament called the Penninsula Cup between the schools and it renews some old rivals as St Fintan's and Scoil Mhuire once played each other in a county final in Croke Park many years ago. Our GPO, Catriona O'Driscoll, is doing some coaching within those schools as well which is a great success."


Kellet was also quick to point out how far The Bens' juvenile section has progressed in such a short period of time.

"I started eight years ago and there was only 20-30 kids playing," he said.

"We now have over 300 children involved over 16 teams. The key to it for us is to create a family atmosphere, right down the Mums and young kids. We sell home-baked goods on a Saturday morning - done originally as a way to pay referees fees - and it keeps the children involved in the bit of fun."

While the club as a whole is progressing in a positive fashion, Kellet explained how he has been suprised by the number of girls that have joined.

"We are taken aback by the response. We only started girls teams two years ago and now we field three teams, and have over 60 girls playing regularly in the club," he said. "We also have two on Dublin development panels."

While Beann éadair are clearly holding their own in the local area of Howth and are becoming an integral part of the community, there is a small problem competing with children preferring to go elsewhere to join more senior clubs.

"We do find that some kids go to senior clubs outside Howth and that is something that is a problem," said Kellet. "There is also sailing and soccer to compete with but generally we are holding our own."

The club has also made major investments into their facilities, an expensive and time-consuming process, but one that is essential to the survival of any sporting organisation.


"A major thing has been the development of our Astro turf facility and we have also just finished a new juvenile pitch which can be further developed into an adult pitch," he said. "There has also been huge investment into the clubhouse."

Going forward, Kevin is hopeful that the juvenile section can continue to grow and that it will eventually mean teams are fielded at all juvenile levels.

"Numbers dropped off in the 90s for whatever reasons," he said. "We have grown considerably since then but we did lose under-16 and minor teams.

"The big thing is to get the older juvenile teams strong, which will in turn strengthen the junior team who can possibly make their return to intermediate level."

Beann éadair's Junior team will be playing in the Sheridan Cup in August and all support will be hugely appreciated.

Also, their very successful race night will once again be going ahead in October, all details will be on the club website beanneadair.net.