We have reached the end of September and it has been a busy month as you would expect from the beginning of the new season. I have to be pleased by the results of our performance players. A silver for the team in the Munster Club League, Mair & James’s performances at the Irish Senior Classification and along with Erik, Niall and Jasmine at the Irish Junior Classification and then joined by Suki for the Munster Junior Ranking in Kinsale. A great set of results and the players, especially those who trained over the summer have shown that their work and effort has been rewarded with some excellent improvements.
The participation side of things has not been great but the start of the season has always been slow and with so much of my time dedicated to our performance squad I guess it is should not be unexpected. The sessions in Goleen on Fridays have been disrupted a couple of times and will again this Friday with our trip to the Welsh Club Championships. When the sessions have gone ahead we have had a small group including a couple of teenage players who play at Schull Community College. They do have potential and I have seen improvement but the school session itself had to be moved to a Tuesday and they are now in the Junior Cert. cycle and doing after school study. I am hoping to get some 1st years playing but no success as yet. The primary school Thursday session also had to be moved to Mondays, we do have three very young players and there is a massive improvement in them so that is a plus but once again numbers are very small. I don’t seem to get many from Goleen NS playing even though I tried a 4 week free introduction session last season. I will have to make another effort to encourage more to play if it is going to be sustainable.
The Bantry Club is not too bad, in fact I have just about an ideal number and they are all primary school players and the standard is not bad. I have 6 new players all under 11s and 3 are girls so I am hoping it is the beginning of a new chapter for us in Bantry. None of the players who moved to secondary are still playing as the school cancelled their involvement this season. They gave me Friday evening last season and that was a disaster as I am hardly ever available and none of them really wanted to stay on after school and when the school pulled out of playing in any competitions or even friendly matches there was little left for the players to aim for.
I started in Bantry Gaelscoil a couple of weeks ago and we have at least 4 new players, we lost a good group of 6th class girls but there is a lot of potential for the up and coming players in the group but only 2 girls taking part this season. Our top ranked girl hasn’t come back to training yet I do hope she does come back as she was our best prospect for this season. We will have a decent boys’ team for the West Cork Schools Cup and I hope they will be able to make the Munster Schools Cup as well.
The Skibbereen coaching scheme at the sports hall has not gone ahead this season and this is a major disappointment. We were moved from 2 different locations at the end of last season and ended up in the main hall, which was excellent as we had better lighting, space and flooring but now there is basketball training after school we are unable to share the hall and the only other day they can let us use the hall I am unavailable. I am hoping to start at the Abbystrwery Parish Hall pretty soon. There are 4 tables and a group of up to 20 kids playing there. I will be doing a one and a half hour slot on a Tuesday after Schull CC. It is not ideal as it will mean driving from my Special Olympic session to Schull and then back to Skibbereen. It is a bit of a yo-yo trip but I will try it out and see how it goes.
Mair is doing a week’s work experience with me later this month as part of her transition year and I will be going to Hazelwood College in Co. Limerick to do the first of the new Munster Kick Start Program. We have three secondary schools taking part, with each getting a 2 hour session, so having Mair with me should be a great help. I am hoping that this may lead to getting some organised table tennis going in Co. Limerick with a schools’ triangular event and even a challenger later on in the season.
I have three Primary Schools in Waterford lined up for a Kick Start event but I haven’t set the date yet as I am waiting on one of the schools to get back to me. Hopefully I might get this done in October as well.
The Munster Performance Director just resigned and this is before he either put forward a strategy or implemented any of the training camps. The Chairman has taken over temporarily and I will be helping him out at the camp on October 11th. The day is to be divided with a development squad in the morning and a performance squad in the afternoon. There have been a number of attempts to get some kind of organised training for our Munster players over the last couple of years which has ended with a last minute effort as part of the lead up to the Junior Interpros. I would be very keen to help get these camps up and running along with a more planned approach so even though I am up the walls with other business it looks like I will be heading up for this.
West Cork will be hosting a Munster Rankings on November 7th/8th so I better get on with organising the trophies, entry forms etc. We have held one of these biannually and I hope we can encourage some of the players who don’t make the trips to Cork to get involved. It is an opportunity for West Cork to get some income and cover our insurance cost for the season so it is an important event not only for the players participating. I am not good at getting parents involved with running events but I might just have to for this one.
So that’s about it for September 2015, I am hoping to get the participation side of things on a more even keel this month and hope to organise a West Cork Ranking maybe at the end of November after the Ulster Junior Open. I’m looking forward to the trip to Wales tomorrow and I hope to report that Mair and James played well fingers crossed.