The Dart Cayman Islands Kids Gaelic Football Club has well and truly kicked off in Grand Cayman, reaching a membership of over 70 playing children.
The Club held a successful inaugural Cool Camp with visiting coaching expert Colm Egan and is now running weekly sessions on Sunday mornings throughout June.
In the Sunday morning games of June 4, there were four matches held in the different age groups with the Wasps playing the Cheetahs (7-8 year olds), the GAA Sharks taking on the Pirates of the Caribbean (6) and the Cayman Tigers versus the Caribbean Sharks (9-15 Group 1) and West Bay Hurricanes against Irish Rovers (9-15 Group 2).
Sanjay Burrell, Baptiste Grenade and Dylan Munoz (7-8) impressed for the Wasps, while Levi Jack, Evan Barry and Doireann Lynch showed up for the Cheetahs, with the Cheetahs winning a tight game. Coach Conor Brady said that there had been a big improvement from all in their solo skills.
The 6-year-olds kicked off their training with coach Eimear Devlin practicing some tricky kicking and hand passing drills. James Hogan and Dualtach Lynch shone from the start with some wonderful high catches and impressive long kicks.
The group finished the morning with a very tight game of Gaelic football, where Stephanie Richards and Ben Lyne impressed with some wonderful scores. The Pirates of the Caribbean narrowly won this round but there is all to play for in the next game.
In the 9-15s, coach Seán Lyne held an excellent practice session where everyone progressed their football in two fantastic games, as the players showed off their newly acquired skills.
In the first game, the Cayman Tigers and the Caribbean Sharks played an exciting high scoring draw of 12 points each. In the other group, the West Bay Hurricanes managed a tight victory with a one point win over the Irish Rovers.
During the matches, there were some great plays from Clara Byrne, Cormac Finnegan, Breannach Lynch, Leonardo Hydes, James Rees and Daniel Magennis, with all the players on the day impressing the coaches with their proficiency level.
The Club has flourished in the last few months, particularly with all the hard work and planning of the coaches and volunteers. This was noted by the Colm Egan, full-time games development officer from the North American Gaelic Athletic Association, who delivered the first coaching course last October.
Egan returned for the Dart Kids Gaelic Football Easter Cool Camp where he stated that it was a great achievement to have over 70 children in attendance – as this had just been a vision when he first visited the island last year.
Egan is originally from Tipperary, Ireland, but has worked in Chicago for the last 24 years where they have a kids’ club of over 350 children. The children who started in the club at 6 are now still playing at 18 and are about to graduate to adult teams around the U.S.
Egan notes the parallels between Chicago and Cayman: “From day one you had coaches who really want to engage with the kids and the youth programmes. Every programme starts with just one. Seventy kids attending a camp within eight months is a fantastic achievement for the first ever Cayman Gaelic camp – and the first ever camp of its kind in the Caribbean.”
Egan is delighted to have started the next level of class work with the coaches in Cayman and will continue this throughout the season with coach education planned for future years.
When asked about his second visit to Cayman for the Dart Kids Gaelic Football Easter Cool Camp, he said: “It has been a beautiful experience. I enjoy what I do in Chicago but coming to Cayman gives you a full charge. This is one of the coolest things I have seen in GAA in the world – blue skies, fantastic pitch and indoor facilities, wonderful branded GAA jerseys and hard-working sponsors and volunteers.
“You have really good athletes on this island, adapting quickly to the game of Gaelic. It has been a great experience and I am very thankful to the Cayman Islands Gaelic Football Club for affording me this opportunity.”
The remaining training dates at Camana Bay are on Sundays, June 18t and 24 at 8.30-10a.m.
For more information contact the club at [email protected].