herald

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Progressive Pat’s ready for spotlight

Donabate Saints looking forward to hosting ‘Celebrity Bainisteoir

EXCITING times ahead for all involved in St Patrick's of Donabate. The club is reflective of the vibrant village it represents and is constantly developing to become a cornerstone of the community.

There will be a star feel around their grounds in Ballamastone as they have been chosen for this season's Celebrity Banisteoir on RTÉ.

They will hope they enjoy the success that the likes of fellow Dublin clubs Ballymun Kickhams and Cuala enjoyed in previous editions of the television series.

They won’t have to look too far to find someone to offer some guidance. Every Saturday morning, you can find Dublin legend and Evening Herald columnist Ciarán Whelan coaching in the nursery.

Donabate will also take part in TG4's ‘The G-Team' – a programme that promotes the Irish language by turning the village into a Gaeltacht for a day.

So there will be no shortage of television cameras in Donabate during 2011. Games Promotion Officer for the club is Mark Cooper.

He is delighted with the positive vibes coming from the club and feels that they are moving very much in the right direction.

ATMOSPHERE

“It (Celebrity Banisteoir) has created great excitement especially for the children and there has even been talk that it (their celebrity manager) could be Jedward,” he laughed.

“But it is just good for the area in general, to have both of those events coming in the near future and it has created a good atmosphere.”

The nursery itself is co-ordinated by Fergal Power, of whom Mark couldn't speak highly enough. “Fergal is brilliant and he is military like in that everything is done so well,” he enthused.

“The kids love it and they benefit from his work. It makes my life an awful lot easier as well having the likes of Fergal around.

“The schools and teachers are a huge help as well.

“There are three that we work in – the two national schools and then the Educate Together secondary school.

“They are so proactive in promoting the games to the kids,” stressed Mark.

“To be honest there are three groups who make it all possible and make sure we get good numbers down. Parents, schools and the mentors.

“They make sure the kids come down.”

Currently Pat's are solely a football club but that will not always be the case. A big push for hurling in the area is currently underway.

“We are trying to get hurling off the ground as well,” Mark said.

“There is a lot of that going on in the schools so we think that will have a knock-on effect and we will soon be in a position to enter teams in the hurling leagues.”

Like with all clubs, there are difficulties keeping young people involved.

There are plans in place to improve the current facilities, which Mark believes will be vital for the future.

“We need to keep hold of the kids,” he explained. “Obviously a few will change to other sports but the idea for us is to offer the best service and facilities that we can,” added Mark.

“There is a clubhouse in the pipeline and we would hope that will be sooner rather than later and maybe some silverware to come with it,” he concluded.

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