THE Kildare GAA Masters Team is holding a major recruitment drive to encourage players 40 and over to play for the side.
The Gaelic Masters was established to promote and encourage players, many of whom have played for their county or at a high level with their local clubs, to continue to participate in the game they love as they begin to grow older.
The Gaelic Master Competition has a loyal and strong following and continues to expand on an annual basis as more and more counties field teams each year.
Kildare began its involvement again in 2016, having won the first two Masters All Irelands way back in 1991 and ’92, before the competition took a hiatus.
The team, which is sponsored by Manguard Plus, continued on an upward trajectory last year, reaching the Tier 2 semi final,
Morgan O’ Callaghan, Joint PRO for the Kildare Masters says, “We are greatly encouraged by the number of players who have enquired about joining the squad in recent weeks and we want more to ensure we continue to progress further each year”.
“The Kildare GAA Masters is a wonderful outlet for men who want to continue their playing career at a high level whilst playing against players of similar age to themselves . We have room for everybody, and we never turn anybody away, though the high standard and fitness levels required to play often come as a surprise to those who expect it to be closer to ‘social’ football.
Our motto is “We don’t stop playing because we grow old ,we grow old because we stop playing.”
“The guys who are coming to play now have looked after themselves, they know the importance of fitness and they want to keep fit, but most importantly they want to stay playing competitive GAA. The Kildare Masters is very competitive, everyone still wants to make the starting fifteen, but that said, there is a huge spirit of camaraderie and this does serve to attract others to play. They are playing and competing amongst their peers and the atmosphere is one of mutual respect, camaraderie and congeniality. It is a lot easier to chase someone your own age that it is to maybe chase an 18 year old playing with your club second or third team,” O’Callaghan added.
“It’s brilliant for players coming from clubs where the focus may be on playing and developing younger players and the older lads feel like they have been put out to grass, it’s a wonderful outlet for people to keep playing at a high level. Now that we’re in Spring, lads want to be out and about, getting exercise and fresh air and what better way to spend it than by getting involved with the Kildare GAA Masters, out on the pitch and having the craic.”
“We’re hugely excited about the future now- The generous three year sponsorship deal we signed last year with leading company Manguard Plus has really given us a massive boost and great impetus to succeed. It allows us to kit our team out, which is a huge relief as it means we don’t have to stress about finances and can instead concentrate on continuing our upward trajectory. We are delighted with it and know that with support of Manguard Plus we will thrive again this year,” the Joint Pro concluded.
46-year-old Dermot Moore from Clane says joining the Kildare GAA Masters has given his football playing a new lease of life.
“I’ve been playing GAA all my life. My father, Pat ‘Archie’ Moore, played with the Kildare team and captioned it in 1966. I have five brothers and three sisters and we all have a grá for the game. It was the only thing we had really in the 80’s and 90’s as there was very little else to do.”
“The Kildare Masters is just fabulous, I absolutely love it. Instead of just walking around Clane for example, I can play a game I love with a bunch of lads I really like and get on with. There is huge camaraderie, huge support and fun.”
“It extends our playing lives hugely. For example lads who are over 40 may just get a half game with their Clubs, with us they get the whole game. Nobody is turned away. I love meeting new people and it has given me a whole new network. I absolutely love it and I would urge people to join us.”
“We have six games, three at home and three away so it’s not a huge commitment for anybody who is thinking of taking it up,” Moore added.
These thoughts are echoed by Packie Curtin, who has been playing with the Kildare Masters GAA Team for the past four years.
The 46 year old says “I was collared by Kildare Masters Manager Noel Casey after a hurling match one day and it was one of the best things to happen to me!. I was still playing for my club, St. Kevin’s in Staplestown but conscious that younger lads were coming on to the team and really ,I wanted to be amongst my peers at that stage . The Kildare Masters is simply brilliant and I would strongly encourage any lad to come and join us.”
Managing Director of Manguard Plus, Sean Hall says “The Masters is a wonderful initiative and one that Manguard Plus is delighted to be associated with. We think carefully about our many sporting sponsorship arrangements and work to align our company ethos with that of the sports organisations.”
“The Kildare Gaelic Masters is an ideal partner for us as the organisation has been working tirelessly to encourage and support players over the age of 40 to get involved in GAA. The Masters gives opportunities for people, who otherwise may have always harboured a desire to play but never got the chance, to now tog out and play for their county. They may have been busy with work and family commitments, lots of different reasons, but may now have the time to devote to playing. I think it’s brilliant and does wonders for morale, health, both physical and mental and camaraderie. As a company Manguard Plus is long recognised for supporting sport in Kildare and indeed in Ireland as a whole, as we passionately believe it does wonders for both the players and the wider community. It knits a community together and we are always happy to see that,” Mr Hall stated.
Training for the Kildare Masters will commence on Thursday, 23 March and anyone interested in playing can contact any Committee Member or message one of their social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).