Perhaps the biggest ever underage soccer game to be held in County Roscommon will kick off at 2 pm this Saturday at Celtic Park in Castlerea.
Members of Castlerea Celtic FC – one of the oldest football clubs in the entire country – have been gripped by their U-12 team’s terrific cup run over recent months. A 4-2 win away to Cork side Wilton United a few weeks ago saw the team qualify for the All-Ireland quarter-final – and then came the added bonus of a glamour draw against the famous Shamrock Rovers!
It’s been some journey to date. The Castlerea Celtic U-12 side has been on a terrific run of form. Unbeaten in Roscommon, they’ve also progressed to the last eight of the All-Ireland cup competition, having successfully navigated six rounds to date. Over 300 teams started out in this competition, now just eight remain. Castlerea Celtic are one of just two Connacht teams still standing. The team’s manager is Kieran Higgins, and the coaches are Paul Neary and Jack Higgins.
Along the way, the Castlerea U-12s have defeated Oranmore Maree (away), Athenry (away), Carrick Town (away), Ballina Town (away), Killorglin AFC (home), and Wilton United (away).
Club chairperson Myles Hawkshaw says there’s great excitement in the town.
“We’re fairly sure it’s the furthest any Roscommon U-12 team has ever progressed. It’s great to be in the last eight of a national competition. Then there’s the fact that we’re playing Shamrock Rovers…they are the biggest draw in Ireland. It’s a professional club against an amateur club.
“People in the town have been very supportive in terms of sponsorship and general support. There’s great enthusiasm here…everyone is looking forward to the game”.
The Castlerea U-12s consists of players from the town and from adjoining villages, “a community team” as Myles puts it. Eight of the team are already involved with the Roscommon Academy.
This Saturday’s visit of the famous Shamrock Rovers to Castlerea promises to be a very special occasion. Given their form to date, Castlerea U-12s can be relied upon to give it everything. The club looks forward to a large attendance and lots of local support on the day! *All-Ireland quarter-final: Castlerea Celtic v Shamrock Rovers at Celtic Park, Castlerea this Saturday. Kick-off: 2 pm.