A number of lucky St. Kilian’s pupils recently had the fantastic opportunity to participate in the UEFA Under 17 Championships which were held in Ireland in May 2019. Through contacts of our boys’ soccer coach Al Sugg, St. Kilian’s was invited to provide students to act as ball kids, mascots, national flag bearers and centre circle flag bearers.
Our first game was on Saturday 4th May featuring Portugal and Hungary. In a nervy first game, Hungary won by the solitary goal late in the second half and our students got to celebrate with the victorious team after the game and this set a trend for the following games.
Other matches our students were involved in were Portugal vs Russia, a mouth-watering Italy vs Spain the semi-final Netherlands vs Spain.
At every match, our students had to be at the venue two hours prior to kick off. This was to complete our rehearsal of mascots and national flag bearers before the game for Television and UEFA purposes. Then, there was a chance for the students to have their food, provided by UEFA, followed by a briefing regarding the duties of the ball kids and their positioning around the pitch. During the warm-ups, they had a chance to practise their ball kid skills before the game. The games afforded the chance to see the games at very close quarters and proved a great experience for the students.
Finally, we also received an invite from the DFB to attend one of their team’s training sessions and this was done during the tournament. We brought a group of 7th class to view the training session at the FAI headquarters in Abbotstown, where the students got to meet the players at the end of the session and have photographs taken with the players, as well as receive autographs.
The feedback from UEFA was very positive regarding our students – they were organised, attentive and enthusiastic.
Al Sugg, Boys’ Soccer Coach at St. Kilian’s