The History of Tara Youth GFC

Founded in 1966

The early years

Tara Youth GFC was founded in 1966.  It was the first Gaelic football to be set up in London.  We have experienced lean years and have had our successes winning Championships and League titles over the decades.  We have seen a large number of London born players coming through the ranks and feature heavily in the Tara Ladies and Men’s Club.  During this period these home-grown players went on to win every Senior competition in London.  Our players have also been on County squads and were part of the London Men’s Championship wins of 1995 and 2003 and also the London Ladies Championship wins of 1993 and 2008.  As a result of the hard work of the Tara Youth Committee, our Club Development Plan and Schools Programme we are now witnessing a re-emergence as a force on the London underage scene.

1965/1966

The London Minor Board was formed with Patrick McCabe voted in as Chairperson (St Ann’s, East London), the Secretary was Peter O’Halloran and Proinnsias Redican as Treasurer.  The aim of the newly formed Board was to promote Gaelic games and encourage Clubs to start underage activities.

The club was established in 1966 by First Cousins Proinnsias Redican and Padraic Rodohan starting with training for Under 14’s in Scrubs Lane beside Wormwood Prison.  We began with a slow start with boys new to Gaelic football with an age range of 11 to 14 years old and total number of boys training was only 7 or 8 boys.  The equipment consisted of one football.  Mentors would meet the players and bring them to training by bus, the odd parent attended.  The player demographics were quite different in that the club attracted players from Cricklewood, Ladbroke Grove and Acton across to Fulham.  This was a wide demographic area and therefore training in the Scrubs worked.  Padraic recalls driving his green Austin A35 car and being stopped by the Police with 12/13 players in it, the Police congratulated him on his Youth Work!

Padraic picked up the bulk of the work in 1967 as Proinnsias’s work commitments would not allow him to help as much as he would have liked.  That year we concentrated on training and playing some matches.  The team was young and weak.

The following year saw the Club strengthening as they recruited players by word of mouth by the end of the 1968 season we could see a huge improvement as players were learning their skills.  A few youngsters around the Acton area found us in 1967/1968 including Jim McGill, Mick Molloy on a youth contract with Spurs, Enda Lyons and Martin O’Dowd from Ruislip who was training with Fulham.  They all played for London Under 16 over 2 years.  They all loved the skills of the Gaelic version of Football.  Johnny Loughman’s son also joined us in 1968 with his 2 mates Charlie Limpou and Chris Wilmott, they were the first English kids to play for Tara Seniors.  As rugby players they brought a physicality that the soccer kids did not have.

Padraic was elected as Secretary of the London Youth Board in 1968 and spent the next 3 years working tirelessly to build up the Board.  Padraic went to Dublin in 1968 and set up the series of games in Wembley as a curtain raiser before Gaelic Exhibition and Croke Park before an All-Ireland Semi Final.  The London Panel stayed in a College in North Dublin.  He met Ronnie Delaney at the B&I / Irish Post Awards evening that year and they gave London each year 35 FREE PLACES on the ferry and minimal cost on train to Holyhead.

1960’s and 1970’s

The first exchange trips were in 1969.

In 1971 the London team with 6 Tara players gave an exhibition of Gaelic Football at its best when easily defeating North Dublin.  The Croke Park crowd applauded the London boys off the pitch.  They were awarded the Irish Post UK Team of the year!

From 1966 through to 1970 the Tara’s competed at one age group going from Under 14’s to Under 16’s in 1970 when they won the U16 Championship beating St. Agnes’s.  St. Agnes’s got the better of us in the League Final that same year.  1970 saw the Fenagh Under 16’s travelling over from Leitrim in October to play Tara in a challenge game which was played in the Scrubs.  Tara were victorious on the day with Cloone native Sean Harte arriving in the Scrubs and was delighted to be playing for the Tara’s against his old rivals.  Tara’s had a new transfer.

In 1971 Tara’s only fielded at Under 16’s this year.

Early 1972 Padraic moved to Eastbourne where he started a hotel business.  This was Tara’s loss but Eastbourne’s gain as he moved into politics and became a Liberal Councillor.  Tara’s struggled with numbers and logistics in 1972 and 1973.  In those days Proinnsias would borrow Michael Gallagher’s van and take the whole squad across London to the New Eltham pitch picking up players at a couple of designated points along the way.

1974-1977 the Tara’s were unable to take part in competitions due to the lack of numbers.

In 1978 the Tara’s reformed with our base now moved to Gladstone Park in Cricklewood.  We fielded at Under 12’s and Under 14’s and were trained by Proinnsias.

1980’s

In the 1980’s we start to see the Tara Senior Mens’s players getting involved and the Club became family based with their sons and daughters playing for the club.  The mentors during this period were Proinnsias who was aided by Michael Gallagher, Frank Scanlon, Mick Hayes, Tommy Dunne, Barney Jennings, Seamus and Kathleen Sullivan.

Proinnsias Redican had been elected as Chairperson of the London Minor Board in 1984 until 1987.

1985 we were beaten in the U16 Championship Final by St. Agnes’s in Gladstone Park.  We were winning right up until the dying minutes of the game when St. Agnes’s scored a goal.

The Under 18’s won the Championship in 1986 beating the Fr. Murphy’s in Ruislip in November.  The late Michael Gallagher was one of the star players in that final!

In 1986 London played New York in the All Ireland Championship in Ireland.  New York took home the glory.  That night in the hotel a discussion was had and a decision made to visit New York the following year (1987) because a majority were minors the following year.  The following year the London Minor Board fundraised and took a squad of 29 players to New York to play against New York twice in Gaelic Park and they also travelled to Rockland where they played a match against Rockland GAA Club.  Tara’s had five players on the panel Michael Gallagher, Liam Jennings, Anthony O’Sullivan, John Flynn and John Mulrennan.

1987 we were beaten in the U18 Championship final in Ruislip by St. Teresa’s (Ponders End, North London).

1990’s

In 1990 Senan Hehir Senior approached Proinnsias offering to become involved in coaching the U14 team as his son Senan Junior was playing that age group.  He worked with the age group right through to Senior Level and was also involved with the Senior team.  This period was one of the most successful for the Tara Youth.  Winning the U16 League and Championship in 1991; U14 Championship Runners up; U18 Championships 1992 and 1994 and those teams went on to win U21 Championships.

The Tara’s built up a relationship with Shane O’Neills Club, Camlough, Armagh; Clara GFC, Offaly.  The Shane O’Neills travelled to London in 1981, 1983 & 1987 with an U12/14 team to play against Tara’s in 1991 & 1993 and in 1997 a Tara/TCG combined team.  They were accompanied by mentors Leslie Gaughran and Pat McGinn.  Pat McGinn’s son, Conor went on to become an MP for St. Helen’s in Liverpool.  Leslie’s son Ollie Gaughran played with the Tara’s from 1999-2000.  Clara GFC visited with an U14 team in 1986, 1996 and 2002.  Shane Lowery was part of the Clara GFC squad in 2002.  Clara was Tommy Dunne’s home cub, Tommy being a Tara Stalwart!

With the formation of the London Ladies County Board, Tara Ladies held the Youth Officer’s position for many years and were responsible for organising training for girls.  Kate Clarke (nee Harte) (RIP) held the position from 1994 and Siobhan Faughnan (nee Redican) was involved from 1997.  As it turned out because there was no Gaelic football training for U10 boys at that time, boys came along too!   The training was held on a Saturday morning’s in Parnell Park in Kingsbury.  The training was not a club-based event therefore anyone could turn up, children went onto play with all the local clubs.

Tara Club moves into a re-building phase

1999 and for the next couple of years the numbers were low and the Club needed to rebuild.  The training ground moved to Silver Jubilee Park, Townsend Lane, Kingsbury.  Mick McDonagh and the Neasden Gaels were very accommodating allowing us to use the pitch for training and matches.  Joe Harte, James O’Sullivan, Dinny O’Connor, Proinnsias Redican and Grainne O’Sullivan co-ordinated training, management and matches.

2000’s

In the early 2000’s a Youth Committee was formed.  Grainne O’Sullivan took on the role as Secretary during this time initially informally and later elected at an AGM until 2013 when James and herself moved to Australia.

Brenda Harte came on board in 2002 as the Treasurer and continued in that role until 2013 after which she took on the role of Assistant Treasurer.  She opened the Tara Youth Club Bank Account in that year previous to that all monies went through the Senior Club.

We were fortunate in that several parents dug deep in the early years to sponsor sets of jerseys including: Scanmoor/Jim Moore in 2000; Rochford Paving Ltd/Gerard Rochford in 2001, Crossland Landscapes/Mick Naughton in 2002.

Sean Faughnan became involved with the Youth Club becoming the Chairperson in 2005.  He wanted to drive the Club forward and bridge the gap with the Senior Club.  We had moved our training to Kingsbury Green, Elthorne Road.  Numbers were improving however we still needed to build to strengthen all age groups.  The U10’s won the Championship in 2005 managed by Grainne O’Sullivan and Paul O’Connell.  This ended a nine year drought in silverware.  Sean Gartlan, Liam Fennessy and Hannah Tracey were part of this squad and followed through playing for their respective senior teams.  Hannah was on the Tara Ladies Junior Championship side in 2005.

We introduced a policy of holding a stock of socks and shorts which parents could buy, this was really popular and helped with players coming to matches in their shorts and socks.

Sean Faughnan was re-elected for a second year as Chairperson in 2006.  The Committee had begun to attract new members and we had pulled in Tina Tracey and Mary Gallagher into Assistant roles.  We held two registration/membership nights in April, which were the first two training sessions of the season.  This was successful, particularly as the Tracey family made a sign and brought along a table and chairs, very official!  We also introduced an administration table at every training session manned by Tina Tracey, Mary Gallagher and Alison Gartlan.

The Club was running training for U8’s through to U18’s.  The U8’s coaches were John McSheffrey and Brenda Harte.  The 10 B Team, managed by John and Brenda, played ‘B’ games in three of the under 10 tournaments that year.  They also played in the B team Final against Tir Chonaill Gaels and played on Finals Day at Ruislip GAA Ground finishing up as a draw.

The 10A’s were coached by Grainne, John Cunniffe, Peter Gartlan and Paul Fennessy.  The team competed in the four Under 10 tournaments.  Unfortunately, we had to play a play-off against Thomas McCurtains to decide which club would go through to the Semi-finals and lost to a better team on the day.

The Under 12’s were coached by Joe Harte, Tommy Kelly, Kenny Tracey, Paul O’Connell and Daniel Gallagher-Henry.  They were a very strong side, winning all their games bar two on routh to the semi-finals.  They played a great game beating Parnell’s in the semi-final.  They went on to play St Brendan’s in the Final, although the Tara’s played well they lost to the Brendan’s who had a very strong team.  The Under 12 entered the Tir Chonaill Gaels Tournament in June and the Provincial U12’s in Birmingham and narrowly losing to Tir Chonaill Gaels in the Plate Final.  We had a very large panel of under 12’s and put forward a proposal to the County Board to run a B tournament.  The B Final was played on the same day as the A Final.  Despite playing very well they lost to Tir Chonaill Gaels.

The Under 14’s were trained by Senan Hehir Jnr, Tara Mens Senior player, who had huge enthusiasm and ran them ragged.  They fulfilled all of their eight league game fixtures.  However, due to the very young side, a large percentage of the team were from the Under 12 team, they were unlucky not to win any games.

James O’Sullivan coached the U16’s.  We were assisted by St Clarets at this age group and the players worked really well together.  James was assisted by Denis McCarthy of the St Clarets and his help was very much appreciated.  James ran training sessions at Finchley Rugby Club and at Northolt Rugby Club.  This did result in the rugby boys playing in some of the game but were not consistent in turning up unfortunately.  The boys won one of their games and fulfilled all their fixtures.  The results do not translate the amount of work James put into this age group.

As our numbers were very small at U18’s, we agreed to assist Parnell’s at this age group.  As part of that team they successfully reached the Championship Final, losing to Tir Chonaill Gaels in October.

We were represented in the London Squads as follows Kieran Harte and Shane O’Neill travelled to Boston, America to play and win the Continental Youth Championships; Brian O’Toole U16’s and Jonathan Moore travelled to Limerick to play in the U14 Feile.  Training for U8’s up to U14’s was held on a Friday night at Kingsbury Green, Elthorne Road where we had 90 training.

We ran our own Foundation Course where existing trainers revisited the course and we had 7 new trainers become qualified.

Our Treasurer indicated that although our overheads had increased so too had our income and as a result we were in the black.  We had increased the membership fees to £5 for under 8’s, £10 for over 8’s and £20 maximum for a family.  In total 77 members had paid up and we had highlighted the need to ensure all Players paid their membership.  This year we applied for and received a grant from the Dion Fund.  This money was dedicated to primary and secondary schools coaching, pitch fees and two courses.  We had a coaching programme running in St James RC High School and Finchley Catholic High School.  St Bernadette’s Primary School Kenton has agreed a link with us and coaching started in March and reinforced by St Robert Southwell coming on board where we had the potential to grow our numbers.  The Club invested in new equipment to ensure that all age groups had sufficient footballs, cones and bibs.

We received sponsorship for track tops from Dan O’Neill of O’Neill & Brennan.  Dan was a former Tara Senior Player and his son plays with the U18’s.

The 2007 season was headed up by Sean Faughnan, he was fulfilling his third year as Chairperson.  Peter Gartlan came on board as Vice-Chair.

Training continued at Kingsbury Green, Elthorne Road for the U16’s through to U8’s where our members were now running at 100 kids training on a Friday night.

We introduced an over 5’s rule as the U8’s group had grown to such an extent that 3 and 4 year olds were not sufficiently skilled to join in.  The management teams were Thomas Dunne, Alison Gartlan and Gemma Tracey.  Plus several new trainers came on board this was really important to improve the player : trainer ratio.  They were Lucia Doyle, Eddie Falvey, Katie Falvey and Emma Dunne.  We approached Dave Byrne to provide a structured coaching environment for this age group.

This growth can be seen by the fact that the Under 10’s were able to field an A, B and C team in the Go-Games.  Go-Games had been introduced this year which was a 7-a-side non-competitive format.  John McSheffrey, Michael Money and Pat Mahon trained this age group.  Brenda Harte continued in a managerial role and helped with training when the need arose.

The U12’s had recruited really well through our link schools and could have fielded a B team if other Clubs could have done likewise.  The team fulfilled all their fixtures, won several games but despite great performances lost a couple of games narrowly.  They were coached by Grainne, John Cunniffe, Peter Gartlan, Paul O’Connell, Kenny Tracey and Paul Fennessy.

The Under 14’s were trained by Joe Harte, Tommy Kelly and Sean Faughnan.  They fulfilled all of their fixtures.  However, due to the very young side, a large percentage of the team were Under 13’s, they were unlucky not to win more games.

The U16’s were assisted by the St Clarets again and reached the semi-final of the Championship losing to St Kiernan’s.  They were coached by Proinnsias Redican and Daniel Gallagher-Henry.

We assisted St Kiernan’s U18’s with whom we won the Championship and the League that year.

Our group of girls group had expanded under the guidance of Louise Roberts, Tara Ladies Chairperson and Gemma Tracey, Player.  The Tara Ladies had agreed to put together a Rota of helpers, this was going to be beneficial and help with the transfer from Underage to Ladies Football.

On the London stage we had five players on the U14 London Feile team which travelled to Sean Faughnan’s home Club, Aughavas GAA in Leitrim.  Kieran Harte and Daniel Gallagher-Henry were on the U18 London squad that won the British Championship and the Continental Youth Championships held in Chicago, America.  In addition, Joe Harte was part of the successful U18 London management team.

Our Schools programme was running in both primary schools and secondary schools.  Dave Byrne was coaching in St James RC High School and Finchley Catholic High School from February to April 2007.  He particularly enjoyed working at Finchley as the numbers, enthusiasm and ability were high.  We ceased the programmes after April because there was a lack of interest/clash with other activities at St James and the distance between our training facilities and the Finchley boys too great.  The Club had a Coaching Programme in 4 schools via the Primary School’s Board, there were St Bernadette’s Primary School Kenton, St Robert Southwell, Our Lady of Grace, Dollis Hill and St Mary Magdalen’s, Willesden Green.  All the schools performed well at the Primary Schools Board Tournaments and more importantly we were picking up players for the Tara‘s.

In 2007 we ran our first Cul-Camp at John Billam Ground, on Woodcock Hill, Kenton.  Grainne was the Camp co-ordinator and she had Johnny Wilson, Bree White, Gemma Tracey and Alison Gartlan as coaches.  Despite the weather the camp was very successful and all 47 kids that attended had a great time.  Colm Maloney, Brent Councillor, made an appearance to present trophies.

The organisation of the Club committee moved up another gear.  Brenda Harte continued as the Manager of the U10’s but moved from a training role into an organisation/administration role running the enquiries desk at training along with Tina Tracey and Mary Gallagher.  In addition to the role of Tara Youth Secretary, Grainne also took on the London Minor Board Secretary’s role.  This gave the Tara’s an important presence on the London Board.

The Club decided to increase the membership fee in 2007 to £10 for Under 8’s, £20 for the over 8’s, family price was £30.  This money contributed towards our running costs.  We had 101 members in 2007, this was up 24 from 2006.

The Club was very fortunate to have the use of mini-buses during the year curtesy of Gerry Powell and Peter Black (RIP) Ciaran Black’s Dad.  We received a kit sponsored by Delcon Construction Ltd, via one of the Directors Maurice O’Connell whose sons played with us.

2008 saw a change in leadership with James O’Sullivan being elected as Chairperson.  James looked to strengthen the bonds between Youth, Ladies and Men.  He spoke at the Tara Dinner & Dance (Men’s 75th Anniversary) in November that year, emphasising how important it was for the Club to have a home ground to cater for all parts of the Club.

There were new faces on the Committee including PRO – Julia Naughton and Events and Activities Committee Alison Gartlan, Mary Gallagher, Julia Naughton, Brenda Harte and Grainne O’Sullivan.

The Club found an alternative venue for training which proved very successful at John Billam Sports Ground, Woodcock Hill.  The new venue had changing/toilet facilities which cost £1500 for the year and included a main pitch, U12 pitch and lots of space for U10’s/girls and U8’s plus storage facilities.  The training season ran from the beginning of April to the end of September.  We had up to 150 children across the age groups training on Friday nights.  This proved how effective our recruitment drive through the schools’ programme and of course word of mouth had been.

The Club continued to grow.  The Under 8’s had a considerable increase in numbers.  The management team were Alison Gartlan, Lucia Doyle, Katie Falvey and Emma Dunne who returned to this age group for another year.  Several new trainers came on board including: Anthony O’Donnell, Emma Browne, Fiona Posner, Yvonne Morley and Peter King.  We entered two U8 teams into the Tournament at the end of the season this gave them an opportunity to use their new skills.

John McSheffrey, Michael Money, Daniel Gallagher-Henry and Pat Mahon trained the Under 10’s.  Brenda Harte continued in her management role and helped with training when the need arose.  We competed in all the tournaments and were able to field A, B and C teams in most of them and included girls in the team.  The A team finished the year unbeaten.

The Girls group were expanding too.  The two main trainers were Gemma and Hannah Tracey, both of whom play with the Ladies.  There were several Tara Ladies players who assisted at training and organising tournaments, they were Zara Clark, Louise Roberts, Maz McNamee and Lizzy Gray.

Thanks to Yvonne Morley, British Games Development Officer and Karen Togher, CDA for organising 3 girls U14 tournaments during the year and an U16 Girls London Development squad.  The year culminated in a tournament played at the London v The Underdogs on the 6th December.  Shannen Ward, Gemma and Hannah Tracey were picked to play for U16 London v Warwickshire Shield game.  Gemma was the Captain and as such picked up the winner’s trophy.

The U12’s were coached by Grainne, John Cunniffe, Peter Gartlan and Paul Fennessy.  The U12 team fulfilled all of their fixtures and was unlucky to lose a semi-final Championship play-off.

2008 was the first time we entered a team in the Under 13 International Feile in Birmingham.  The following panel represented the Club: Conor Riordan, Conor Tyler, Daniel McNicholas, Daniel Mulcahy, David Naughton, Hannah Tracey, Liam Fennessy, Liam Scott, James Carry, Oliver O’Connell, Sean Gartlan and Stephen Murray.  The Management team of James O’Sullivan, Paul Fennessy and Grainne accompanied the team and were very pleased with the team’s performance reaching the Championship Play offs.

The Under 14’s were trained by James O’Sullivan, Joe Harte and Tommy Kilkenny.  They had a very successful season making it through to the Championship Final and League Final.

The Tara’s have assisted the St Kiernan’s this year at Under 16/18 and 21’s.

They have had a very successful year reaching the Under 16 Championship Final and League Final, unfortunately losing both, the Under 18 Championship Final and the U21 Championship Final in which they defeated Heston.  London credits six of our players were chosen to represent London as part of the Under 14 Feile team which travelled to Cavan in July.  They were Conor Hampton, Conor Harte, Liam McGrath, Liam O’Connor, Ronan O’Sullivan and Sean Mahony.  North London were hosted by Niall Lynch’s home team, Virginia.  North London won the Division Four Final, this is the first time in London’s history.  Aaron O’Sullivan was selected to represent London U18’s at the Continental Youth Championship Games in Philadelphia.  The trip was a huge success, London winning the Under 18 Great Britain Championship and the CYC.

Grainne organised the Club’s second Cul-Camp at Harrow Rugby Club, Stanmore.  Seventy two children attending and were coached by Zara Clarke, Bree White, Gemma Tracey and Deirdre McDermott.

The Club positively encouraged trainers and managers to attend courses which included Foundation Coaching and First Aid Courses that year.

Tina and Kenny Tracey, KJ Tracey Design and Build, sponsored T-shirts for the Under 14’s and Alison and Peter Gartlan, Always Paving, sponsored T-shires for the Managers and Coaches.

Julia Naughton was an addition to our helpers on the administration table at training.

The Club had a coaching Programme in 5 schools: St Bernadette’s Primary School Kenton, St Robert Southwells, Our Lady of Grace, Dollis Hill, St Josephs Hendon and St Josephs Belmont.  All the schools have an After School Club.  We had several coaches involved in the After School Programme: Grainne O’Sullivan, John Cunniffe, Zara Clarke, Aaron O’Sullivan and Darren Gallagher.

Tara’s continued to have a presence on the London Minor Board in 2008 with Grainne being re-elected as Secretary.

Additionally, John Cunniffe was elected as Assistant Registrar.

The 2009 season started with a continuation of the Committee from 2008 which led to a very stable base to run the Club from.  James as Chairperson steering the Club supported by an army of helpers.

John Billam Sports Ground, Woodcock Hill, continued to be an excellent training venue.  The cost of £1,800 for the year and included a main pitch and an U12 pitch with permanent posts.  There was plenty of space for the other age groups plus storage facilities.  The training season ran from the beginning of April to the end of September.  This year, training was split between two nights; Under 16 trained on Thursday nights and the other age groups on Friday nights.  This fact pushed the cost of John Billam up.

Alison Gartlan was appointed as the U6 Manager.  Her enthusiasm and commitment resulted in huge numbers for the U6’s, 50 U6’s were in attendance one night at training.  Her attention to detail regarding the signing in and out Register is to be commended and resulted in a tighter child protection regime at training.  Yvonne Morley was indispensable with her weekly training/skills plan  CDA, Ronan McCarthy ran the first couple of sessions, organising and structuring the sessions for the  year.  We really appreciated all the helpers: Fiona and Howard Posner McKnight, Eddie McGivney, Peter King, Frank Timothy, Louise Moran, Jack Gartlan, Stephen McGarty and Ronan O’Sullivan.

2009 saw a full Programme of U8 matches at all the U10 Tournaments.  We entered two teams in most tournaments; the teams performed really well and gained valuable match experience.  Lucia Doyle, the manager, worked with Emma Brown and Pat Rafter.  There were fantastic numbers at training – approximately 25 every Friday night.

John McSheffrey, Michael Money, Daniel Gallagher-Henry and Pat Mahon trained the U10 age group.  Brenda Harte continued as Manager.  We were able to field A and B teams in all the tournaments.  The A team won all of their games this season.

Louise Money co-ordinated the Girls group and the two main trainers were Gemma and Hannah Tracey.  Several Tara Ladies players assisted at training (Linda Lodge and Bree White).  2009 saw the first London U14 Girls team travelling to Feile to Kildare.  Hannah Tracey and Rebecca Mills represented our Club and were fantastic ambassadors for us.

An Under 16 Development squad travelled to Ireland in June.  Representing the Club was: Gemma Tracey, Rachel O’Halloran, Shannon Ward, Emma Brown and Anna Maguire.  The U12 team was coached by Grainne and John Cunniffe.  The team’s performances improved as the season went on.  We were unlucky to lose the Championship Final in July and were in the League semi-finals.  John McSheffrey and Pat Mahon helped out during the year at the U12 tournaments.  The Under 12’s entered two teams in the Tir Chonaill Gaels Tournament in June.

The Club entered an U13 team into the International Feile in Birmingham in May 2009.  We had an excellent weekend and the team played really well.  The Management team of James O’Sullivan, Paul Fennessy and Grainne accompanied the team along with the players parents.

The Under 14’s were manged by James O’Sullivan and the coaches included Tommy Kilkenny, Paul Fennessy and Diarmuid Redican.  They had a very successful season making it through to the Championshp Final and were very unlucky to lose to a very strong Dulwich Harps team.  We won the Division 2 League Final; this was on a walk over and therefore quite disappointing.

Six of our players were chosen to represent London as part of the Under 14 Feile team which travelled to Kildare in July.  They were Conor Tyler, Liam Scott, James Carry, Sean Gartlan, Jodi McGuckin and Alex Pierce.  James and Grainne O’Sullivan accompanied the team as part of the Management team.  London had an excellent tournament and was really unlucky to lose in the Division Three Semi-Final.

They were trained by James O’Sullivan, Tommy Kilkenny, Joe Harte and Brian Phelan.  The St Kiernan’s assisted us at this age group.  Turn out to training was excellent and there was good comradery between the boys from the two clubs.  They reached the semi-final of the Championship Final and the League Semi-Final, which will be re-scheduled for March 2010.  Five of the boys represented the Club at County level and won the Provincial Championship.

Francie Smyth and Jonathan Moore represented the Club on the London U17 Development team which played an Ulster Development Squad in November.

The Tara’s assisted the St Kiernan’s this year at Under 18’s.  The Club was delighted to see several U18’s playing with the Men’s Club and great to see notable performances in the Reserve Championship Final.

Aaron O’Sullivan was selected to represent London at the Continental Youth Championship Games in San Francisco.  London was unlucky to lose in the Final by a point.

In 2009 we ran our third Cul-Camp at Harrow Rugby Club, Stanmore.  55 children attended despite the rainy weather that week and all the kids had a great time.  The Camp was managed by Grainne and our coaches were James Bonner, Ollie Coffey, Gemma Tracey and Jenny Reape.

The Club has a coaching Programme in 5 schools: St Bernadette’s Primary School Kenton, St Robert Southwell’s, Our Lady of Grace, Dollis Hill, St Josephs Hendon and St Josephs Belmont.  All the schools had an After School Club.  We had several coaches involved in the After School Programme led by Grainne and they were John Cunniffe and Aaron O’Sullivan.  This academic year we coached 100 children in our After School Clubs and approximately 900 in all 5 schools.

2010’s

There were no significant changes to the Committee at the start of the 2010 season which made the running of the club very smooth.

Tina Tracey headed up the Administration desk Friday at training.  She was assisted by Brenda Harte, Mary Gallagher and Julia Naughton.  This year we offered bags and hoodies for our members to buy at cost price.  Tara Minors proudly wore their club hoodies around London, it was great advertising for the Club.

The Club had two representatives on the London Minor Board, John Cunniffe was elected as the Registrar and Grainne, returned as Secretary despite a valiant effort to find a replacement.

We continued to train at John Billam Sports Ground, Woodcock Hill.  The facility cost £1800 for the year and included a main pitch and an U12 pitch with permanent posts.  There was plenty of space for the other age groups plus storage facilities.  The training season ran from the beginning of April to the end of September.  The Under 16 trained on Thursday nights and the other age groups on Friday nights, the two night pushed up the cost of John Billam.  The only negative about John Billam was the parking issue and our relationship with the Gujarati Association based in the centre at the park.

This was Alison Gartlan’s second year as the U6 Manager.  This was also the second year with our compulsory signing In/Out Register for all children and Adult Supervisor for each child pitch side responsible for toileting duties.  Yvonne Morley led the training helped out by Fiona Posner, Eddie McGivney, Frank Timothy and Louise Moran and parents who were pulled onto a Skill Station at the last minute.

2010 saw a full Programme of U8 matches at 6 Tournament’s.  We entered two teams in all the tournaments and both teams performed beyond expectations.  Pat Rafter headed up the age group as Manager and assisted by Josie Rafter.  During the year, Gemma Murphy (a Tara Lady) came on board and her help was greatly appreciated by the U8 Management team.  There were fantastic numbers at training with 55 children signed onto the Register this year for the U8’s as part of our Child Protection Policy and it was accepted over time by the parents/guardians and is very much part the Routine at the U8’s training sessions.  The Management group for the age group had lots of issues to deal with ensuring all players of all abilities were catered for and that training was a meaningful experience for this age group.  The feedback from parents and players was very positive.

The Under 10’s entered two teams into each of the 6 tournaments during the season.  They performed really well with the B team gaining lots of game experience and the A team winning most of their games, probably the team in London.  They also fielded a team in the Conrad Ryan U10 11 a-side tournament run by the Parnells, they lost in the Final.  They were a great group to work with, very eager with 22 players every night at training and very good parental support at matches.  The group were managed by Grainne and assisted by Lucia Doyle, John Cunniffe and Anthony O’Donnell.

Tina Tracey managed the Girls Group.  Hannah Tracey took the lead role of trainer helped by several Tara Ladies players in the form of Carol Donnelly for the first part of the year and for the second part of the year in stepped the dynamic McGuinness twins, Shauna and brother Michael.  The Girls  participated in several tournaments during the year with mixed results.  We had several players in the 2010 London U14 Girls team travelling to Feile in Derry.  Corrin Keary, Olra McLoughlin, Mary Kate Proctor-Gonzalez, Kelly Kirwan and Kayleigh Beasley.

The Under 12 team had an excellent year finishing top of the table in the Division 1 League which saw them in the Championship and League Semi-Finals.  They were unlucky to lose in the London Championship to the McCurtains by 1 point and the McCurtains were to be their nemesis again beating them in the semi-final of the League.  They were successful in bringing home the Silverware from the Peter McGlynn Tournament on the 8th May.  Nine players travelled to Birmingham in June to participate in the Provincial 7’s Club Tournament, placed in the Division 3 but didn’t make the Final’s.  John McSheffrey and Pat Mahon trained this age group and Brenda Harte continued as Manager.

The Under 14’s were manged by James O’Sullivan with the help of Tommy Kilkenny and Paul Fennessy.  Diarmuid Redican gave a hand when he could.  They fulfilled all of their fixtures and enjoyed playing in the Conrad Ryan Cup Competition.  They beat Tir Chonaill Gaels in the quarter-final of the Championship only to lose to Dulwich in the Semi-Final.  We won the Division 2 League Final; this was on a walk over and therefore quite disappointing.

Six of our players were chosen to represent London as part of the Under 14 Feile team which travelled to Derry in July.  They were Ciaran McNamara, David Naughton, Daniel McNicholas, Sean Gartlan, Jodi McGuckin and Alex Pierce.  James and I accompanied the team as part of the Management team.  London had an excellent tournament losing the Semi-Final to the eventual winners of Division three.

The Under 16’s were managed by James O’Sullivan and assisted by Tommy Kilkenny.  Joe Harte gave a hand when available.  We were assisted by Parnell’s and there was good comradery between the boys from the two clubs.  They lost in the replay of the Championship Final to Dulwich Harps but did take the silverware for the League.  Twelve of the boys represented the Club at County level and won the Provincial Championship.  Eight boys represented London on the Development Tour of Baltinglass, Wicklow in October.

The Tara’s decided to enter an Under 18 team into the London programme.  We knew we would be relying on the under 16’s to play up a grade in order to field.  Unfortunately, we were unable to field a team and had to withdraw from the Competition which was a great shame.  We were delighted to see several U18’s and U16’s training and playing with the Men’s Club and it was great to see some notable performances in the Reserve and Junior Team fixtures.  The experience gained at the men’s sessions certainly showed in their performances with their own age group.

Francie Smyth was selected to represent London U18’s at the Continental Youth Championships in New York and played a prominent role as Full back.  The competition was very competitive and London was unlucky to lose in the Final by a point in extra time.

We ran our fifth Cul-Cump in the May half term at Harrow Rugby Club, Stanmore.  70 children attended and all the kids had a great time.  Our coaching team was led by Grainne and included James Bonner, Michael McGuinness, Carol Donnelly and Hannah Tracey.  Loretta Bradley came on board to main the desk and cleaned up/washed up.

The Club has a coaching Programme in 5 schools: St Bernadette’s Primary School Kenton, St Robert Southwells, Our Lady of Grace, Dollis Hill, St Josephs Hendon and St Josephs Belmont.  All the schools had an After School Club.

We had several coaches involved in the After School Programme led by Grainne and assisted by John Cunniffe, Aaron O’Sullivan and Ronan O’Sullivan.

The membership fees were £15 for under 8’s (this was raised from 10.00 for the first time since 2007) and £20 for the over 8’s, total family price was £30.  There were 183 paid memberships this year.

The Committee returned largely intact in 2011 with the addition of John Cunniffe as Vice-Chairperson and Lucia Doyle as PRO, Tina Tracey as Children’s Officer and Event Catering Co-ordinator, Julia Naughton.

Brenda Harte and Tina Tracey headed up the Administration desk Friday at training.  They were assisted by Mary Gallagher, Julia Naughton and Loretta Bradley.

We held an Open day at the start of the season which was a great success.  The then Mayor of Brent, Jim O’Sullivan, came along.  James spoke to him before and after the event and he was really impressed with our numbers.

The Tara’s were out in big numbers at the Brent St Patrick’s Day Parade, proudly marching with the Tara Banner co-ordinated by Lucia.

The Club had two Officers on the London Minor Board, Grainne was Secretary and John Cunniffe as the Registrar.

Paul Hunter of Smarter Energy Solutions sponsored a set of polo tops for all the Managers, Trainers, Committee Members and Volunteers.

The membership fees were £15 for under 8’s and £20 for the nine’s and over, total family price was £30 (price fixed since 2010).  There were 200 paid memberships this year (183 in 2010).  The break down for Secondary School’s was 51/2011 & 48/2010 and Primary School 159/2011 & 84/2010.

In 2011 we moved to Sudbury Court, East Lane due to building work at John Billam Sports Ground.  Transition wasn’t as smooth as was hoped due to heavy traffic for Kingsbury parents.  There were some benefits including the use of a hall, a kitchen and a larger storage room for our equipment.  Brent did not charge us for using this facility in 2011 because we were forced to move.  The training season ran from the beginning of April to the end of September.  The Under 16 trained on Wednesday nights and the other age groups on Friday nights.

At the start of 2011 we welcomed Niamh Murphy as U6 Manager.  There was 52 U6’s at training on a Friday night.  The Star of the Day Certificates and Medals are a very popular award to receive and is keenly sought after.  Yvonne Morley returned to Canada to study in August and was sorely missed.  Jenny Leonard nee Reape, a Teacher and Tara Lady, stepped into the breach in September till the end of the season.  Marie Bourke, Fiona Posner, Frank Timothy, Louise Moran, Holly McGuckin, Hannah Tracey, David Naughton, Thaddaeus Gallagher-Henry and Ciara Mahon all gave a hand on Friday nights.

The U8’s entered two teams in six out of the seven blitz’s ran throughout the year.  The ‘A’ team won all their games and the ‘B’ team only lost to an ‘A’ team.  Pat Rafter headed up the age group as Manager and was assisted by Josie Rafter.  The U8 Development Squad was in the second year of its inception and was managed by Gemma Murphy and Carol Donnelly (both Teachers and Tara Ladies).  The U8’s had the following helpers: Brendan Gallagher, Pat Sheehan, James Carry, Oliver O’Connell and David Naughton.  There were excellent numbers at training with 52 children signing in/out of the Register.  The Star’s of the Week Certificates were awarded every Friday night and were much sought after.

The U10’s entered two or even three teams into each of the seven blitz’s ran during the season plus they entered two teams into the invitational James O’Brien Day ran by the St Kiernan’s in September.  They performed really well throughout the year and they would have finished in the top half of the table if scores were recorded.  There were 44 children regularly out at training.  This age group had a core group of 8 girls who came to training regularly and really enjoyed participating in the sessions.  The group were managed by Grainne and assisted by Lucia Doyle and John Cunniffe, Barney McGuinness and Anthony O’Donnell gave a hand at training/blitz’s.

Tina Tracey managed the Girls Group.  Hannah Tracey took the lead role of trainer helped during the first part of the year by one of the Tara Ladies players Shauna McGuinness and her brother Michael.  Due to work commitments Shauna and Michael had to pull out.  One of our young people, fifteen year old Corrin Keary, who had been on the Foundation Course at the beginning of the year took several training sessions when no trainer was available.  Tommy Kilkenny stepped into fill the gap in the summer which proved very successful.  The 11-14 year olds participated in several blitz’s and participated in the trials and training sessions for London.  We entered a team into the U13 International Feile in April playing really well and made it into the Final.  There were no blitz’s for the younger age group which is an area we would like to improve on.  Six players were picked to represent London in the U14 Girls team travelling to Feile in Cork: Katherine Walsh (London Player of the Feilie), Ellie Raybould, Orla McLoughlin, Mary Kate Proctor-Gonzalez , Kelly Kirwan (London Captain and Player of the Year) and Holly Thornton.

The U12 team had an excellent year, winning the All-Britain 7’s Championship in Birmingham.  They beat the Thomas McCurtains in the Cup Final in October and were the North London League Winners.  They were semi-finalist’s in the U12 Conrad Ryan Cup.  The U13’s comprised a core group of the U12’s and were successful in bringing home the Silverware from the Peter McGlynn Tournament for the second year.  John McSheffrey and Pat Mahon, trainers and Brenda Harte, manager for the U12/13 Age group.  London organised an U13 Feile in 2011 we hosted Ballymun GFC.

The Under 14’s were managed by John McSheffrey and Pat Mahon with the help of Brenda and Grainne. There wasn’t a designated trainer for this age group which was an issue.  Padraig Higgins and Andy Canning trained the group when they could and otherwise they joined the U12’s training sessions.  There were small numbers and were assisted throughout the year by a core group of the U12’s.  Two of our players were chosen to represent London as part of the Under 14 Feile team which travelled to Cork in July.  They were James Smith and Michael Cunniffe.

The Under 16 were managed by Joe Harte, he was assisted by Michael McGuinness at the beginning of the year.  They beat Tir Chonaill Gaels in the semi-final of the Championship only to lose in the Final to St Kiernan’s.  Their training was affected by London U16 training on the same night.  Nine of the boys represented the Club at County level and were the Provincial Championship finalists.  They were James Carry, Liam Fennessy, Liam Scott Ciaran McNamara, David Naughton, Jodi McGuckin, Sean Gartlan, Luke Nolan and Thaddaeus Gallagher-Henry.

The U18’s  were managed by James O’Sullivan, assisted by Tommy Kilkenny, Joe Harte and Paul Fennessy.  They finished the year as the League winners and lost to TCG in the semi-final of the Championship with a disappointing performance.  Six players represented the Club at County level winning the Provincial Championship and participating in the Connacht Blitz in Longford.  They were Conor Hampton, Conor Harte, Liam McGrath, Liam O’Connor, Ronan O’Sullivan, Rory Carolan and Stephen O’Connor.  There were a core group of the U18’s training and playing with the Men’s Club and it was great to see some notable performances in the Senior League, Senior Championship and Reserve fixtures.  The Reserve Manager worked well with the U18’s making sure they all played at least one half of all games, mixing the young with the older more experienced players.

We held two cul-camps in 2011, the May half-term (fifth May half term camp) and a summer camp held between 25th – 29th July and both were very successful.  The camps were held at our training ground at Sudbury Court.  Initially we were concerned about  using the facility because it is an open park however there were no problems because we ensured that we had a high ratio of adults to children.  In total, 74 children attended across the four days in May and 84 children across the five days in July and all the kids had a great time.  We made a profit both weeks.  Grainne was the Camp Co-ordinator for both weeks.  Coaches/volunteers did a very professional job for the two weeks were: Hannah Tracey, Josie Rafter, Andy Canning, James Carry, Holly McGuckin, Julie Lynch and Oliver O’Connell.  The London CDA’s Ronan McCarthy and Brendan Cleary were present for part of/all of the Cul Camps in a Coaching capacity.  Loretta Bradley and Tina Tracey provided invaluable service on the desk, child safety, cleaned up/washed up or whatever was required.

The Club has a Coaching Programme in four schools: St Bernadette’s Primary School Kenton, St Robert Southwell, St Josephs Hendon and St Josephs Belmont.  At the moment the coaching programme has been halted temporarily in Our Lady of Grace.  We had several coaches involved in the After School Programme: John Cunniffe, Aaron O’Sullivan, Ronan O’Sullivan and Grainne.  To promote the club we leafleted all children in our link schools in March and again in September (just the Reception children) and we also put posters up in our schools.  In 2011 we made a profit of 500.00 compared to making a loss of £36.00 in 2010 and £335.00 in 2009.

The 2012 season started smoothly with only minor changes to the Committee.  Tracey Monagle joined our team on the Administration desk on Friday’s at training.  This year we added back packs from O’Neills to our Tara merchandise.  The tea/coffee/tuck shop was run on Friday nights by Julia Naughton, Carol O’Shea and Theresa Lonergan and was greatly appreciated by our young players and parents alike.  Tina Tracey and Lucia Doyle took on the Children’s Officers role jointly.

The membership fees were £15 for under 8’s and £20 for the 9’s and over, total family price was £30 (price fixed since 2010).  There were 185 paid memberships in 2012 (183/2010; 200/2011).  The break down for Secondary School’s was 48/2012; 51/2011 & 48/2010 and Primary School 135/2012; 159/2011 & 84/2010.  In addition, we had 1 Home Schooled child and 2 players working.

Training and matches continued at Sudbury Court, East Lane.  The training season ran from the beginning of April to the end of September.

Tina Tracey and Gemma Tracey managed the Girls Group and Tommy Kilkenny trained them.  The girls group joined with the U12 boys most weeks which helped develop their skills and match practice.  The age of the girls attending has increased to cover 9yrs to 15yrs, which is a very wide range of abilities.  There was only one playing opportunity for the Girls which was at the ABC.  Four players were picked to represent London in the U14 Girls team travelling to Feile: Eve Donoghue, Sinead Carroll, Mary Kate Proctor-Gonzalez and Kelly Kirwan.

The U6 group had a steady attendance at about 20 children each week.  They were trained by Jenny Leonard nee Reape.  She was helped by Thaddaeus Gallagher-Henry, Corrin Keary, Ellie Raybould, Orla McLoughlin and Ciara Mahon.

The U8’s entered two or three teams in the blitz’s this year.  The ‘A’ team won all their games and the ‘B’ team won most of their games.  The ‘C’ showed great enthusiasm despite losing all their matches, lots of talented 6 year olds who will go on to play a more competitive  game this season.  The U8’s were managed by Brendan Gallagher, James O’Sullivan and Andrais Redican.  They had several parent helpers including Declan Finn and Martin Dunne and young volunteers: James Carry and David Naughton.

The U10’s entered two or even three teams into each of the blitz’s ran during the season.  They entered two teams into the invitational James O’Brien Day ran by the St Kiernan’s in September beating the Parnell’s in the Final, winning the only piece of silverware available to the Under 10’s.  The ‘A’ team was unbeaten, the ‘B’ team won most of their games and the ‘C’ team won half of their games which is a fantastic result for this age group.  Pat Rafter headed up the age group as Manager and was assisted by Josie Rafter.

The U12’s had 18 players every Friday night out at training.  This year there were changes to the U12 playing rules which saw the introduction of small sided games (11 aside).  They attending all their blitz’s and finished mid-table.  The group were managed by Grainne and assisted by Lucia Doyle and John Cunniffe.

The Under 13 & 14’s were managed by John McSheffrey, Pat Mahon and Brenda Harte.  The U13’s had a great run in the Peter McGlynn Tournament losing to the Thomas McCurtain’s in the Final.  There were four eligible players missing due to a school trip which could have made the difference in the final.  The U14’s had a fantastic year reaching the League, Championship and All British Final unfortunately it was not to be their year and they ended the season empty handed.  Six of our players were chosen to represent London as part of the Under 14 Feile team.  They were Michael Cunniffe, Aaron O’Shea, Ryan McCready, Colm McSheffrey, Darragh Mahon and James Fennelly.

The U16’s were managed by Joe Harte and James O’Sullivan.  Training wasn’t well attended despite offering training options at Sudbury and at Northolt.  Fulfilled all our fixtures and and in the Championship we lost in the semi-final to St Kiernan’s.  Two of our players Liam Fennessy and Ciaran McNamara were part of the London U16 panel that won the Provincial Championship.  The Tara’s stepped in to help out with when the All British Championships were postponed in July and our U16’s hosted Cuchulains from Belfast (a cross community team), Naomh Padraig from Leicester in a mini-tournament at Sudbury Court.

The U18’s were managed by James O’Sullivan, Joe Harte and Andrais Redican.  They trained at Northolt with either the Men’s team or along with the U16’s.  The U18’s reached the Championship Final against St Kiernan’s which was played in October in Ruislip.  An under par performance saw them lose.  They received excellent training under the auspices of Dave Byrne, the Men’s trainer.  Several players featured in Senior League, Senior Championship and Reserve fixtures.  The Reserve Manager worked well with the U18’s.  The U18’s also had the addition of the U21 Championship where we joined with Harlesden Harps.  The Final was played on a very wet and cold Saturday in December and despite the weather the team put in an excellent performance beating TCG.  We had 7 players on the panel whose contribution was fantastic.

At the All British Championship in September 2012, the Club entered teams in all sections bar the U16’s competition and at U8’s and U10’s we fielded 3 teams.

The Club ran a cul-camp at Sudbury Court from the 23rd to the 27th July.  In total 79 children attended the Camp.  Our coaches/volunteers were: Hannah Tracey, Caroline Benson, Josie Rafter and Andy Canning.  Provincial Council gave us the services of CDA David McGreavy, in a coaching capacity.  Several of our young people helped out during the week: Aidan Harte, Thaddaeus Gallagher-Henry, Ellie Raybould and David Naughton.  The Desk was managed by myself, Tina Tracey, Brenda Harte and Loretta Bradley.

The Club had a coaching Programme in four schools: St Bernadette’s Primary School Kenton, St Robert Southwell, Frithwood in Northwood Hills and St Josephs Belmont.  We had several coaches involved in the After School Programme: John Cunniffe, Hannah Tracey, James Carry and Grainne.  The School Programme made a profit of £550.00 in 2012; £500.00/2011.

The President of Ireland, Michael Higgins visited Ruislip in June and our U12 squad were present on the day to provide an exhibition match.

The Tara’s were very lucky to have two Officers on the London Minor Board, John Cunniffe as the Registrar and Lucia Doyle as PRO.

The Club was very fortunate last year in securing three sponsors: Sean and Josie Mulvey, Teambest Ltd for sponsoring our U12 kit; 4Mark Construction London Ltd, Mark and Tracey Monagle for sponsoring our U14 kit; and Denis Nolan, City Basements for sponsoring rain jackets for all the Managers, Trainers, Committee Members and Volunteers.

A New Chapter in the Tara Youth GFC story 2013 to 2016

2013 saw a new chapter in the Tara Youth GFC story.  Grainne and James O’Sullivan relocated to Australia.  Brendan Gallagher took on the leadership of the Club as Chairperson and Tracey Monagle took on the secretary’s role.  It was hugely important that Tara traditions continue to be developed.  Proinnsias Redican remained as President, James and Grainne O’Sullivan became Life Presidents.  John Cunniffe continued as Vice Chairman, Brenda Harte as Vice Secretary.  This ensured the continuity.

The new committee was determined to continue to build the club.  Tara affiliated at all groups – U8 to U18.  The All Britain Competitions (ABC) gave a new outlet for teams to play competitive football.  The U14’s, under the able management of Joe Harte, John McSheffrey, Pat Mahon and Brenda Harte won the ABC final.  The U10s won the only competitive U10 competition of the season – the James O’Brien cup.

John and Catheriona Howley, Howley Electrical, sponsored a set of jerseys for the club.

The Club was represented on London squads.  We had seven players on the North London team that travelled to the Derry Feile as follows: Aidan Harte, Colm McSheffrey, Darragh Mahon, James Fennelly, Luke Horgan, Oisin Bradley and Ryan McCready.  Joe Harte was on the management committee.  Michael Cunniffe was our representative on the London U16 squad.

The 2014 season saw us yet again looking to secure training facilities.  East Lane was unavailable due to the refurbishment of the club house by Brent Council.  We were back again at John Billam Sports Grounds.  There was no silverware despite fielding teams at all age levels.  There were a couple of changes to our Committee with Caroline McEvoy coming in as Treasurer and Brenda became Assistant Treasurer.  Dave Brennan came on board with the U6’s.  However, the Club continued to attract new players especially at younger age levels.  The summer camp, managed by Tina Tracey, was an outstanding success and concluded with a visit from the Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall on  prize giving day.

Tara organised the first JJFrench girl’s tournament.  JJFrench sponsored a set of jerseys for the girls in the same year.

We were represented on the London stage by Ryan McCready, Oisin Bradley and Luke Horgan at U16’s and by Tighe Barry and Eoin O’Donnell at U14’s.

2015 started with pre-season training on the Hendon FC astro turf facility for players from U10’s through to U14’s – boyos and girls.  This was the foundation for the season.  The U10’s managed by Eddie McGivney, won the James O’Brien cup.  Former Tara Senior Player, Pat Rafter, managed and coached the U12’s that won the Division 1 London League and the Conrad Ryan cup.  The U13’s B team won the Peter McGlynn Shield managed by Pat Sheehan.  The U14’s were managed by Eddie McGivney and Colm Foody, were runners up in the B Championship.  One high of the year was the U12 trip to Knockmore, Mayo where they were runners up in the Tara Cup Tournament.  Lucia Butler and Tommy Kilkenny led the coaching of the girls.  Also, after a gap of a few years Tara hosted a Blitz day for U6, U8 and U10s.  The Club benefited from the arrival of new faces across the age groups in management positions: Belinda Gaughan co-ordinating the U14’s and Helen Wharton the U10’s.  The Club had been busy over the past couple of years recruiting new trainers including Michael Liston, Richard Garcia, Bobby Power and Ronan McNamara.

Our Membership base continued to be very stable.  The numbers were as follows: 2013 – 187 members, 2014 – 219; and 2015 – 187.  The Membership fees in 2015 were £25 for the U6’s, £40 for all 7 years and above and family membership at £70.  All girls over 12 years are now accounted for via the Tara Ladies and the LGFA.

The Club ran their first Golf Day in 2015 which was organised by Eddie McGivney and Tracey Monagle.  This was a great fundraiser for the Club and was really well supported by parents and friends of the Club.  The Club received sponsorship from Cartel Direct (Terry Gallagher) for an U12 kit.  Howley Electrical (John and Catheriona Howley) sponsored the training tops and Faughnan Developments (Sean Faughnan) sponsored the polo tops for players and managers for the Mayo trip.

We were represented on the London stage by Ryan McCready, Luke Horgan and Tighe Barry at U16’s and by Ryan O’Connor at U14’s.  Additionally, we saw Brendan Gallagher take on a position on the Coaching and Games Development Committee.

The 2016 season started with pre season traing with training for U10 to U16 boys and girls.  The experience of the coaches is hugely important.  Former Tara players – Pat Rafter, Andrais Redican, Eddie McGivney and Joe Harte along with former Senior Club and County player Colm Foody and our  new U16 coach Dermot Holohan and Kevin Murphy with commitment, courage and style.  The Girls had a new coach in Dennis Roache.  This season two the two U12 teams travelled to Breaffy, Mayo to take part in the Tara Cup Tournament.

The only significant change on the committee for this year was Catheriona Howley took on the Schools Officer and Nuala Thornton and Catherine Harron became the Children’s Officers.  Helen McGivney, Carol O’Shea and Theresa Lonergan were invaluable helping out at training and the summer camp for the past three years.

The future is bright for Tara Youth GFC.  Good membership especially at the younger age levels.  Tara players continue to represent their Club with distinction at County level.  It is our ambition that the Tara Men and Ladies teams will include  London born players who have come up through the rans from the Tara Youth.

Tara Youth Gaelic Football Club is much more than a Gaelic Football Club.  Tara Youth GFC is a like a family to our members, it has 55 years of tradition.  It has an important role to pass on, nurture and develop Gaelic Football to the future generations – not just to the Irish but to all – it has always fielded teams that play with skill and style.