Next up in our youth team interviews, we chat with 2019 Shamrock Bowl finalists and youth league debutants, the South Dublin Panthers.
How are preparations for the youth season coming along?
“Preparations are coming along great; we have a great bunch of enthusiastic athletes who are all eager to play and learn. This has made training sessions flow really well and allowed the athletes to pick up the fundamentals really quickly.”
What do you hope to achieve this season?
“While winning is always fun, our goal first and foremost is to give our athletes a fun environment to learn the fundamentals of the game. We have a great team of qualified coaches with both Shamrock Bowl and international experience and believe that we can put the athletes the best possible position to allow them to learn, have fun and succeed.”
How important is youth football to your clubs’ overall football programme?
“We all know how much of a niche American football is in Ireland and because of this we believe youth football is not just important to our organisation, but to the sport in Ireland in general. Youth football allows more people to get involved in all areas of the sport, from coaching and playing to watching.
With regards to the Panthers, youth football gives us another avenue to get athletes and coaches on board. It also extends our reach to youth football ages and allows us to give these guys a chance to play football before turning 18.”
What key points do you emphasise to your players?
“First things first we emphasise that the athletes should have fun and have a fun environment to play a great game in. After that we encourage the athletes to work hard and treat themselves and one another with respect. If we can achieve these things, we believe we give the athletes the best opportunity to learn, grow, achieve and have a good time doing so.”
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting to play American football?
“Give it a go! Come along to one session to see if it’s for you. Football is a great sport with positions for people of all shapes and sizes and a great way to meet new people with similar interests. Not to mention it’s immensely fun to play, watch and coach.”
Join The South Dublin Panthers
The Panthers train every Saturday from 12:00 at Garda Rugby Club, Westmanstown. The Panthers provide all equipment needed, all you need is boots and a gum shield. Contact their Facebook page, Instragram (southdublinpanthers) or through their website www.southdublinpanthers.com for more information.