More than 70 soccer players and officials from Newry and Mourne will travel to Ennis this weekend to participate in a series of matches being held as part of County Clare’s district’s twinning arrangement with the Northern Ireland district.
Mayor of Clare Councillor Pat Hayes will welcome the travelling party at a function in the Clare Inn Hotel on Friday evening ahead of a number of soccer games in Ennis at the weekend. The initiative is being held under the auspices of the Clare County Council Sports Exchange Programme.
Lees Road Sports & Amenity Park will be the venue for U11 and U12 9-a-side round robin tournaments on Saturday from 10AM to 12:30PM. Children from the Clare Schoolboys/girls Soccer League Emerging Talent Programme will take on children from the equivalent player development programme in Newry & Mourne.
Another tournament will take place at the astroturf facility in Lees Road on Sunday from 10-11:20AM when teams will comprise of a combination of players from Newry and Mourne and Clare.
Lees Road also will host a senior challenge match between Clare Premier Division side Hermitage FC and Bessbrook United FC from the Carnbane (Newry and Mourne) Football League on Saturday at 10:30AM, while a Special Olympics 5-a-side tournament will be held from 10-11:30am.
Speaking ahead of the visit, Mayor Hayes said: “The Newry and Mourne/Clare twinning arrangement will celebrate its 25th anniversary later this year. The coming weekend’s events represent the sporting strand of this partnership.”
“This is a wonderful opportunity to further strengthen the social, cultural and sporting links between the people of Newry and Mourne and Clare. Clare County Council and Newry and Mourne District Council are continuing to examine new ways of forging new links between both areas as part of what has been a very successful twinning arrangement to date,” added the Mayor.
According to Denis Hynes, FAI Development Officer in County Clare: “We very much welcome this opportunity to meet up with players and officials from Newry and Mourne and indeed, the Irish Football Association (IFA). This weekend’s games not only celebrate the long standing relationship between Newry and Mourne and Clare but also represent a good opportunity to compare the standard of our underage players with that of their Northern Ireland opponents in the context of the respective player development and emerging talent programmes.”
The FAI’s Emerging Talent Programme was launched in November 2006 and on a phased basis since that time has now developed into a national programme. The Programme caters for players aged 10-17 used to develop National team training themes to the elite players countrywide. The IFA runs its own equivalent programme. Visit www.csslennis.com for more about the Emerging Talent Programme in County Clare.
Dunphy Public Relations