By Jamie O’Flaherty
The FAI festival of football kicked off in Tipperary on Sunday last with local clubs Burncourt Celtic, Donohill, Cullen Lattin, Tipperary Town and St. Michael’s among the first to welcome the FAI travelling party.
The festival allowed hundreds of schoolboys and girls the opportunity to display their skills in small sided fun games under the enthusiastic watch of former Irish Internationals Ray Houghton and Keith Andrews.
In addressing the large attendance at Cullen Lattin F.C. FAI President Tony Fitzgerald said “It was a great honour to be here, clubs like Cullen Lattin are the bedrock of our game”.
Club chairman Michael Landers added, “It’s just fantastic to have the FAI visit. We have invested €368,000 in our facilities and it’s just great to show it off. Our grounds are open to the community 24 hours a day. We have a walkway around the grounds and we hope to erect solar panel lighting shortly. It’s incredible really to see what a local community can achieve”.
The FAI group also visited Tipperary Town F.C. who officially opened the gates to their new grounds in welcoming the FAI.
“I am delighted to be back in Tipperary where I learned my love for the game. It is inspiring to come back and see how facilities have improved” explained FAI CEO John Delaney.
"For many years our annual general meeting was a one day event and most people didn't even realise we were there”.
"I felt there was a great opportunity for the FAI to visit clubs and see the work being done on the ground as well as allowing the clubs and leagues to showcase the excellent job they are doing in their local communities.
"I am looking forward to visiting all the clubs and meeting the people who are doing tremendous work on the ground to promote, foster and develop the game."
Sunday evening’s activities were rounded off in Cooke Park, home of St. Michael’s Football Club where the eagerly anticipated legends match between a TSDL selection and Irish masters team took place.
Clonmel Town’s Tony Scully opened the scoring to give the TSDL side an early advantage but it was short lived as former Wolves player Domonic Foley (3) and former Irish International Keith Andrews replied for the Irish masters side to ensure a comfortable 4-1 win.
Tomorrow (Thursday) The FAI will visit local clubs Cahir Park and Clonmel Town F.C. as they continue showcasing all the national programmes and coach education courses.
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