After a very enjoyable winter training program, Clann na Banna U8s returned to competitive action Saturday 28 April with the First Round of the Ballykelly Group South Down U8 Go Games Blitzes in Ballyholland. The aim of the blitzes is to give the children experience of game situations, with positional play and the involvement of everyone at the forefront.
First game of the day was against Ballyholland A. The players settled well with Taylor Hill and Donal Scullion starting the season where they left off last year with some excellent scores. It also saw the first appearances of Caolan Hillen and Caiden Trainor in Red and Black with a promising introduction to Gaelic football. Some great defensive work from Aaron Moan and Adam Magin meant Ballyholland failed to match Bann’s scoring and they started with a win.
Next to Challenge Clann na Banna was Ballyholland’s B team. This proved to be a tighter match with Bann just edging it by a point. Liam Vaughan and Eoghan Cambell put in some strong tackles and helped Bann maintain possession. With Denis Kerr winning the midfield battles and Conor McKee showing some classy forward play, it was enough for Bann to edge the contest.
The final game saw Clann na Banna play local rivals Tullylish. Tullylish started well with some great scores, before Thomas Cunningham and Cian Gregg managed to steady the Bann defence. Some skillful forward play by Taylor Hill and Darragh McGrath resulted in some great points that brought Bann back in to the game. Donal Scullion then took control, winning important possession and scoring two goals and two points in a five minute blitz on Tullylish. Tullylish proved very competitive and pushed Bann all the way with some great scores. Another debutant, Calum Cull, made some important interceptions keeping Tullylish at bay, resulting in Clann na Banna ending the day undefeated and with great confidence for the season ahead.
Following on from the weekend’s blitz, Clann na Banna entertained Tullylish U6, U8 and U10s on a sunny Thursday evening at Cottage Park, with a large crowd in attendance to see the stars of the future. Competitive debuts for Orlaith Smyth and Callum Clement saw them perform well in their first taste of derby action. A return for Jack Maguire and Aodhan Devlin strengthen the Bann team, and excellent displays from Cian Gregg, Darragh McGrath and Thomas Cunningham showed great future promise.
The performance of the Bann team was hugely improved, benefiting from the larger pitch. The scoring power of Bann proved too strong with Donal Scullion, Taylor Hill, Liam Vaughan, Denis Kerr, Eoghan Campbell and Calum Cull all registering great scores for the home side. The competitive nature of the game shows these Tullylish and Clann na Banna sides will have some great battles in the years ahead.