What a fantastic couple of weeks we have had as a club. The season was a little later than normal kicking off because of the hurling All Ireland but once things got going it got going very quickly.
This weekend over 400 Colga players kicked off their training or the first matches of the season. Our youngest recruits, the Colga Cadets, began their football journey and how many football stories will these little people have to tell in the coming years is anyone's guess.
Colga's league and cup campaigns kicked off in earnest across all of the age groups competing in the Galway District Leagues. Our under 12 squads, numbering over 35 in total, began competitions in the Connacht Cup and Championship and Division 2. What a wonderful sight on Saturday to see our 2 under 12 teams compete on our new pitch versus Craughwell and Corrib Celtic. Despite the results all of these lads and these teams have bright futures.
The under 13 lads opened up their premier and Division 2 competitions with games versus Athenry and Kiltullagh. Great to see the U13A side kick off with a great win and I have no doubt the B squad will recover from an early turnover. Not many people will note, Colga is one of the few, if not only, community based clubs providing A and B football from under 12 to under 16.
The under 14 league and cup kicked off with our u14A team in the Connacht cup first round. Great win for Gerry, Dave, and the team against Athenry and this was followed up with a premier league victory against Barna. Colga's u14B squad began with a league loss away to Corofin.
And, our under 16 boys teams have already won a Connacht cup first round and began both the Premier and Division 1 leagues. Great to see 2 Colga teams competing at this age group in boys as last season we did not compete at this age group.
For a couple of years the men's junior team has struggled. Unbeknown to most club members, Dermot Finn, the junior manager, and Ollie Mullins, our new junior (and u15 up) coach, got the men's team back into pre-season in mid July. Lot's of runs, training, friendly matches, coupled with ensuring all of our former members know they always have a home, and the team kicked off the Division 3 league with a great 7-1 win vs. Loughrea. I am a firm believer that any club has to have a strong senior team, a goal for all our players to aspire to, and as a club we can all look forward to successes with this team ahead.
This year, unlike others, the girls season kicked off in September. Colga is fielding teams at under 17/18 Premier, under 16 Premier, under 14 Premier, and under 12 Premier and Division 1. The girls under 12 and 14 premier leagues have already kicked off and our girls under 16 team had a fantastic result in Sligo this weekend. This team, competing in the 2015 Connacht Shield, travelled to Sligo and won their semi final 6-2. Already we have a Connacht Final to look forward to as a club.
Finally, with as much football going on, it is easy to forget the great weekend the club had last week. In conjunction with the Clarenbridge Oyster Festival, Colga co-hosted the annual Oyster Festival Family fun day. Despite the awful weather, over 400 club members attended to enjoy the outdoor "wet" activities and listen to the entertainment from the Amazing Apples. One of the highlights for the day was the annual Colga Duck Race. This year we got our club President, Mike Bindon and our junior coach Ollie Mullins into the Clarin river to collect the winning ducks....given the torrent flow this was well beyond the call of duty. It was great to see so many of the club together, volunteering, playing, talking, and it certainly demonstrated the importance of being a club.
This season will be exciting, we will be fielding the most number of under age teams ever, and, whilst participation and enjoyment is everything, I have a sneaky suspicion the club will also be celebrating some silverware this season.