Eany Celtic Youth team
After a brief period of action, Eany Celtic have returned to be members of the Donegal Junior Soccer League for next season (whenever it gets up and running).
The club based in Inver dropped out a couple of seasons ago after finding it difficult to field teams, but after a number of years when the focus was put on underage teams, they have entered a senior team once more.
The team will be taking their place in the Saturday League, which will be another change as they were operating in the Sunday Leagues in their previous involvement.
With top class facilities, including an Astroturf pitch at the Inver Community Centre, their application to return was always going to be looked at favourably by the Donegal League authorities.
Club PRO John Daly, who has been to the fore at the underage section of the club for up to 10 years, takes up the story.
"We ran a youth team a couple of years ago, so the players that would be emerging from that youth team, we would be intending using those players.
"They would have come from U-10s, 12s, 14, 16 and youth team, they would now be coming to that senior age group. We wanted somewhere for them to go really," said John.
As a result it was a natural progression that with so many players reaching adult age, a senior club was necessary.
"What is happening obviously, with the club being out of the league for a couple of years, some of those players have gone to other clubs, some are just not playing any football, which I suppose just happens naturally anyway.
"The majority of them would be from the local area. Three years ago we set up a youth team and there was no other youth team in the south. Erne Wanderers entered a youth team but the pulled out that season. We were the only club with a youth team in the area.
"So any lads that were in that age group and wanted to play youth football had to come out to us. We had a number of people from other clubs that came out to us and a few of them have stayed because they know the players."
What has really encouraged the club officers is the numbers that have been turning up for training with many wanting to play senior football.
"We have got a big interest (in players wanting to sign). In another aspect we have lads who just want to come down to train but maybe not play football on a Saturday. People come at it from different angles or different points of view.
"They are largely from the parish, not all of them. At the moment we have about 33/34 players who are looking to sign," he said.
As regards Eany Celtic returning to the leagues as a Saturday team, John explains why this happened with democracy the defining factor.
"We spoke to players who might be interested to try and get an idea if they were interested in playing on Saturday or Sunday. We would have a lot of younger players. The majority would be under 21. Of the top of my head we have just one player over that age," said John, who said some were at college and others were doing their Leaving Cert.
"The profile is very young. As you know at the moment there is nothing else happening. We're still training because we are allowed to train, and that can be difficult at the moment," said John, who said they were following the guidelines as regards pods of 15, etc.
"It is a difficult time but we are doing the best that we can."
The Eany PRO is happy that they have the facilities for the venture and he also added that they are working on upgrading their small stand at the venue.
"We have the astroturf and the training pitch and the full size pitch and changing rooms. That wasn't an issue for us when we rejoined the league. That's one of the criteria that is laid down but it wasn't an issue for us. And the club's finances are in good shape," he said.
Daly says the return of Eany Celtic will be good for the local area and also good for the mental health and well-being of the young people involved.
"The team has been going for a long, long time. Possibly it was time for it to be freshened up. We would like the profile to be young; it would be something for younger people to do," said Daly, who paid tribute to those who had backboned the club down the years.
"The Wards have been a huge presence in the club and still are. If we need any help with anything, be it sponsorship or any issues, your first port of call would be the Wards, they have been so helpful."
The PRO also paid tribute to Donegal League secretary, Nigel Ferry, who, he said, was very helpful in processing their application for re-entry to the league.
Eany Celtic Club Officers:
Chairman - Paul McGuckin
Vice-Chairman - Peter Hughes
Secretary - Margo Byrne
Treasurer - Pauric Friel
Children's Officer: Jennie Maxwell
PRO - John Daly
Committee Members - Seoirse Gallagher, Raymond Ward, Gary Ward
Jackie Hughes and Peter Hughes - U8s/U10s
Raymond Ward and Ciaran Cunnea - U12s
Paddy Ward and Jack Byrne - U14s
Patrick Breslin - U16s
Senior Team (Saturday League) - John Daly, Paul McGuckin and James Maxwell
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