The Clan na Gael all conquering under 16 side of 2005 gathered in Lurgan last Saturday night to take an nostalgic look back on one of the most successive periods in their history at youth level.
Ten years ago the Clans won all the competitions they competed in and at the weekend the players were delighted to renew acquaintances with their managers.
Back in 2005 the blues were managed by Gerard Skelton, Barry McCabe, Noel McCann and Enda Brady.
Gerard has fond memories of his time with the side, he said, “It’s great to look back on our time with such a talented group of players. The lads made a clean sweep of trophies in 2005 which is quite an achievement in itself, but to be honest they were very easy to manage. They all had fantastic attitudes both on the field of play and in training.”
Ten years ago the Clans under 16s were not only North Armagh League Champions, but they also won the North Armagh League,All County Championship and completed a four timer winning the St. Peter’s hosted Tournament the Stanley Headley Cup.
Similarly with other talented youth sides not all of the young Blues players went on to represent their club at senior level and Gerard Skelton said that the 2015 team certainly had the ability to move forward.
“Several of the players went on to make big impressions at senior level but others for various reasons went to other sports or dropped out of the game,” added Gerard.
“As managers we would have no doubt that all the lads from 2005 would have made a big impression at senior level.”
A very young Stefan Campbell who progressed on to county football was a member of the all conquering Clans under 16 side of 2005, but the Armagh player was still playing under 14 football at the time. Peadar Nash who captained the Blues juveniles before making the short trip to St. Paul’s where he picked up an Intermediate Championship and league medal back in 2014, looking back on his team’s glory days Peadar said, “They were certainly special days for both the lads and the managers. 2005 was one of those years when great friend ships were built and this event gave us all a chance to catch up again.”
Beating Eire Og in the North Armagh Championship final the Clans moved forward to the All County Final where they beat a very good Tullysarren outfit who had defeated Crossmaglen in the semi-final.
With the Clans seniors currently struggling in the Second Division, the club can galvanise themselves on the back of the modern training facilities at the club. The new gym which has recently opened is reaping rewards according to strength and conditioning coach Ryan Magennis who said, “The new gym is being widely used, by club members and the hope is that it will form a base for all teams moving forward alongside all the outdoor facilities.”