Starlets had a ball at soccer blitzes

SPORT was the winner as scores of budding Lionel Messis and Cristiano Ronaldos enjoyed a bumper afternoon of soccer action.

The Kilkenny & District League held the first of its under-8 blitzes on Saturday, drawing more than 270 players to three venues.

The Kells Road, Scanlon Park and Thomastown’s United Park were hives of activity as players from Evergreen, Freebooters, Lions, Clover United, Thomastown United, Southend United, Stoneyford United, Callan United, Bridge United, East End United, Paulstown 06, Fort Rangers, Castlewarren Celtic and Deen Celtic enjoyed an afternoon of fun and games.

The teams played three games each, with matches lasting 20 minutes apiece.

Panels were limited to 13 players with games played in a seven-a-side blitz format. Rolling subs were used, giving every child a minimum of at least 10 minutes per game. A number of the clubs fielded two and three teams, but these were divided into sides of equal ability, ensuring fairness prevailed throughout the day.

In another move, the League asked parents to stay off the sidelines for the games, with only coaches and substitutes allowed on. The decision was made in order to give the players the chance to enjoy the day and to play without pressure.

The blitz proved to be a big success, with many clubs loud in their praise of the organisers and co-ordinators Paschal Bergin, Paul Butler and Fran Egan.

The day was a big hit for the most important people - the young players. All got to play the sport they love, many getting their first taste of games at an organised level, something which will give them the football bug.

The League will continue to hold blitzes throughout the season for the under-8s, organising them at different venues on a monthly basis.