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Accent on youth reinvigorates Ireland

first_imgRunning at speed, creating space and attempting offloads to break down the usually watertight Argentine defence was impressive.  The Pumas struggled to get two hands on Ireland’s back three and the previously frustrated Irish backs had time to show their attacking verve.Jonathon Sexton enjoyed the time and space the lacklustre Puma defensive line-speed was offering. His passing was precise and slick and gave Zebo the opportunity to touch down for five points, but not before some fast footwork of his own led to Ireland’s second try.Happy days: Sexton congratulates BoweIt wasn’t all about the backs though as the Irish forwards played their part in making this a complete team performance – highlighted by Donnacha Ryan’s Man of the Match award.  The Munster man who made his debut in the same fixture four years ago, only got his first start during this year’s 6 Nations but now seems to have established himself as Ireland’s premier lock.Watching on Saturday it’s hard to believe how many regular starters Ireland were missing.  This series started under tehe cloud of an ever-growing injury list: Brian O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell, Stephen Ferris, Sean O’Brien, Rob Kearney and Rory Best were all absentees.  Even the younger names there now seem like the old guard given the fresh faces in the starting XV. If their aches and pains aren’t keeping them awake at night then potential selection for the RBS 6 Nations certainly will.Ireland fans have had to wait a long time for a performance like that. One morale-boosting victory does not define a season (especially when Ireland only managed three wins from 10) but it is a mighty fine way to end it.  The players head back to their provinces buoyed by that display and excited at the prospect of the next training camp.  As for Declan Kidney, he can relax… at least until February when Ireland kick off their RBS 6 Nations campaign at the Millennium Stadium. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Ireland’s Tommy Bowe celebrates with teammate Jonathan Sexton (R) after scoring a try against Argentina during the Autumn International rugby union match between Ireland and Argentina at the Aviva stadium in Dublin, Ireland on November 24, 2012. AFP PHOTO/ PETER MUHLY (Photo credit should read PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images) center_img Irish eyes smiling: Gordon D’Arcy was full of running, but it was the youngsters who invigorated the Ireland sideBy Claire GlancyON 31st July 2010 a young Ulsterman scored the first try in a challenge match to mark the opening of the Aviva Stadium. Another reporter turned to me and said “Remember the name.  You’ll need it for pub quizzes for years to come.”If the same winger maintains the form displayed on his Ireland debut on Saturday, I don’t think many will forget his name in a hurry…Is it any wonder Craig Gilroy so looked relaxed from the first whistle?  His name is already etched into the history books at the Aviva Stadium and at 21-years-old, he’s fearless and confident enough to know he’s good. What’s changed is that everyone else knows it too. The secret is out.As he danced his way through the Argentine defence for the first try, Gilroy ignited an excitement on and off the pitch.  Within seconds of touching down he was swamped by team mates and every instance he got his hands on the ball after that the crowd erupted in anticipation, much like English and Welsh crowds, for Jason Robinson and Shane Williams in their pomp.Puma lift?: On Saturday Ireland reignedKidney said afterwards that the young recruits had brought an infectious enthusiasm to the training camp.  During his reign the Ireland Head Coach has been conservative in selection, erring on the side of caution, but injuries have forced a rethink across the park and on Saturday the new recruits repaid his faith, and then some.From the first to final whistle there was higher tempo in the Irish attack. And it seemed, that when they attacked, they scored with seven tries in all. There seemed to be more vitality in every aspect of Ireland’s game and the youthful members of the side played with style.Ireland deliberately switched play quickly down the blindside throughout the game allowing Gilroy, Simon Zebo and Tommy Bowe to cause problems at every stage. This tactic tore holes in the Puma’s defence and resulted in at least three of the tries.last_img read more

Starting Football Programs

first_imgTwo of the areas’ young coaches are learning how hard it is to either start a football program from scratch or revive one which has taken its lumps for several years. In the case of a new program, like OA, you will fight the numbers game. When your enrollment hovers below 200, you are never going to get the kids out like an East Central will. If you only win one game for two or more years, it is hard to get more than about 30 kids out even if you have 900 in the high school. This is what Chris Nobbe found when he took over the head job at South Dearborn. It is hard to predict which program will prosper faster. OA under Wes Gillman has one advantage in that they will be playing a lot of 1-A schools just like they are. Chris, on the other hand, is faced with playing 3-A to 6-A schools. Even if he has more athletes, his competition level in the EIAC is never going to be easy. Both of these young men had stellar high school careers in football. Coach Gillman came within one game of leading the Wildcats of Franklin County to a state title. A knee injury in the title game probably cost him that achievement. Chris was a 3-sport star at Batesville High School, and despite his size, always played bigger than he really was. He only had one gear and that was wide open. Both of these young men, given enough time, will give their respective schools football programs that they will be proud of.last_img read more