The Cork Con FC U11s met up early on Saturday morning the 5th May to travel by bus to the 'Joe Moran U11 Blitz 2018' in NAAS. Due to the Ed Sheeran concert taking place in Pairc Ui Chaoimh that weekend, the squad met up in the carpark of the Rochestown church. With 39 players and 10 coaches we headed off about 6:30am. The early morning clouds soon gave way to a beautifully clear sky. As the Sun began to heat up the cool morning air we stopped in Cashel. After some early morning exercises in the playground like how may boys could get on the slide at 1 time, we had the presentation of various prizes to the talented U11s squad. From a coaches point of view, it was a pleasure to coach the boys this season. It was great to see the skills, fitness, strength and the will to win improve each week. We would like to thank the players for the enormous effort they put in throughout the season.
We arrived in good time for the tournament in NAAS RFC. Finbarr attended the coaches briefing, and got the low down on what the plan for the day was. It was now very warm and was due to get hotter as the day went on. The boys shed any extra layers of gear they had on (tracksuits, leggings etc.) and applied sun screen.
Our squad of players were divided into 3 squads of 13. It was to be 10 a side with rolling subs. Each game was to be 12 minutes long and there was no half-time. As the players went through their prematch warmup with clinical precision it was evident to the coaches that this was going to be a day to remember.
Each team played 6 matches on various pitches. There were sandwiches, crisps, sweets and water provided to each team, which were consumed throughout the day. We were treated to some great rugby played by our teams. All the hard work the boys had put in throughout the season was visible for all to see. The level of skillful passing and running rugby on show by Cork Con was excellent. We came up against some physically bigger teams and tackling became more important. A few of our players tackled brilliantly but we needed everyone to step up to the plate and take responsibility for tackling.
For any of the players reading this, 3 tips to tackling:
1. Focus on the opponent player shorts, this will align your vision at the right height for the tackle
2. Hold your arms out and aim to impact the opponent with your shouder. We tend to perform a lot of arm tackles which are not as effective or aggressive
3. Wrap your arms around your opponents legs and pull your arms together tightly
Throughout the day, a barbeque was kept going which was a very popular feature for both parents and coaches. After the tournament, our bus driver 'Speedie' was eager to hit the road and made sure he drove over every CATS EYE on the road from NAAS to Cork. We pulled into Junction 14 close to Kildare where everyone enjoyed tasty food from Supermacs. We had a choice of sausages, burgers, cheese burgers, chips and various drinks. The boys devoured everything in a matter of minutes. Brian was rewarded with a Mighty Mac burger for his efforts on the day and all the coaches were not 1 bit jealous. We boarded the bus again to continue the journey home where everyone received an ice cream. 'Speedie' had more CATS EYES to drive over and after a short 7 hours we arrived back in Cork.
A big thank you is due to Finbarr for both organising today and also for making the season enjoyable and fun for both players and coaches.