The weekend was an undoubted watershed in the life of Crusaders AC, especially the junior section. On a gorgeous Saturday morning at Irishtown I counted no fewer than a dozen coaches in action. Many of these have just completed the entry level course and are showing huge enthusiasm to get involved and to learn. It all means that the young athletes can be split into smaller groups and can get more focused attention. It was all highly pleasing.

Compare with only a few short months ago when at one time we were reduced to one, maybe two coaches trying to deliver a quality session to a mixed group.

So onto Santry on Sunday lunchtime for (1) a little combined events team competition for the U10s and U11s and (2) the Dublin Juvenile Relay Championships. And for the whole of the day the distinctive white and red of Crusaders was prominent. (A year ago this meet will have taken place without a single Crusaders athlete). Medals abounded and there were so many high spots and only a few tears. Successes were greeted with great group acclaim and defeats were accepted with good grace. Picking out names on such a good day wouldn’t be right but the high spot was probably the win by the U12 girls’ team. The tragedy was the boys’ U11 race when, with a win well on the cards for a talented quartet, the baton went down at the first handover.

So we ended up with several teams qualified for the All-Ireland finals next month and we’ll look forward to that.

Most of my day was spent watching the action from the judges’ stand and out at the second handover zone waving green and red flags. The only downer on the day was my having to endure an aggressive and ignorant tirade from a Metro St Brigid’s member which lowered my good opinion of his club. Fortunately my officiating colleague persuaded me not to find another, more novel, use for my flags.

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