Former players from Malahide United are making their mark both here and in England showing how the great coaching at the club has been a huge success. The club truly is the home of Football in North County Dublin with 1,200 footballers playing on 55 teams and in two academies. Based in Gannon Park, one of the finest facilities in Ireland. This month we feature some former players who are really heading for the top in their respective leagues both in this country and in the English Leagues.

Firstly we say congratulations to Conor Grant who made his first league start for Rochdale AFC in their League 1 game against Northampton Town on February 23 last. Conor made the switch from Sheffield Wednesday on deadline day this year. The game ended in a nil all draw with Conor contributing greatly to his teams performance which should ensure lots more starts for him soon with his new club.

Next Everyone at Malahide United would like to wish Darren Craven the very best of luck as he embarks on League of Ireland life with Bray Wanderers. Darren has been with the club from Nippers right the way through to Seniors and was captain as we won the Leinster Senior League for a historic first time. Darren has also been capped at Junior level for FA Ireland over the last few seasons. Bray are getting one hell of a player and an even better man. All the best Skip.

Fingal County Council was delighted to be informed this week that Malahide Cricket Club in Fingal will be hosting four matches in the forthcoming tour of Ireland by Cricket South Africa.Fielding one of the world’s best cricket teams including the world’s fastest international century-maker David Miller, South Africa will be returning to Fingal and Ireland, for the first time in fourteen years from July 11th to 20th 2021, as both teams seek to secure the qualifying points for the Cricket World Cup to be held in India in 2023.The Mayor of Fingal, Cllr David Healy was delighted to welcome the news of the South African tour adding: “This is a tremendous boost for Fingal. It shows yet again, that if we can work together to defeat this virus now, we can look forward to world-class sport in our local community in July.”South African cricket has strong links with Fingal as some of our leading Transition Year (TY) cricket students were able, thanks to our Fingal County Council Development Manager, Brian O’Rourke’s work in conjunction with Cricket Leinster, to have the privilege of educational placements at some of South African’s leading schools, such as Glenwood High School, Durban & St Stithians in Johannesburg.Brian O’Rourke welcomed the news of the tour: “Another exciting cricket opportunity for Fingal, one that I hope that will feature local cricketers, and TY graduates playing for our country against some of the world’s best cricketers.”He further added his hope that the community can be engaged in the fixtures: “I hope that just as in 2018 when Pakistan played the historic first Test match in Ireland at Malahide CC, Covid-19 restrictions will have eased, to allow not only spectators but local school cricketers able to attend special coaching opportunities, which did so much to help inspire the young cricketers in Fingal.”Margaret Geraghty, Director of Housing and Community Development for Fingal County Council sent the council’s fullest support for the tour, and for Malahide CC’s selection to host: “Congratulations to Malahide CC, a club that has worked tirelessly during the pandemic to help support its local community, on being selected to host such prestigious fixtures in July. We hope that the matches are not only a success on the field for Ireland, but for you as a club off the field, in showcasing all of the excellence you have now to host such world-class teams here in Fingal.”Cricket Ireland will continue to work with Cricket South Africa, Sport Ireland, Sport Northern Ireland, and the Sports Expert Group to ensure all fixtures comply with the COVID-19 protocols in place, so all details are subject to change but let uus hope that will not happen.
Ireland v South Africa series - * Matches form part of the ICC World Cup Super League
11 July: Ireland v South Africa, * 1st ODI, 13 July: Ireland v South Africa, * 2nd ODI, 16 July: Ireland v South Africa, * 3rd ODI , 20 July: Ireland v South Africa, 1st T20I
Matches form part of the ICC World Cup Super League with all games played in Malahide

All may be quiet on the pitches of Lusk United Football Club, but behind the scenes the club is very much active. The club’s Youth Council, newly formed before Covid, are unable to interact with members as first planned…but they’ve not let a pandemic stop them. Rather, they have formed their very own ‘Skillz School’, broadcasting through the club’s social media platforms, urging younger members to get involved and get active. Indeed, The Youth Council took a front seat organising the St. Patrick’s Day Virtual Parade, which was a huge success. We are so proud of these young people getting involved in their club and community in a positive way. Follow their hashtag, #luskutdYC, to keep an eye on what they’re up to. On International Women’s Day, we celebrated our 30% female members aged 18 or under, female mentors and managers, ladies kick fit team and our female volunteers. Our girls team members reflected upon what sport and being part of Lusk United means to them. It was truly heart-warming to hear the girl’s thoughts and reflections. We were delighted to be joined by Jamie Finn, Irish International player. Jamie sent a contribution to the club’s International Women’s Day video, encouraging all girls to believe with determination and hard work anything is possible. Jamie has also been working via zoom with the U-11 girls team during lockdown…ready for the much awaited return to football.One of our academy coaches, left in October to go on tour with The Irish Army. A few months later a message was sent by Coach Paul asking if any jerseys or football boots could be collected and sent to Mali. An SOS call was sent out. We were overwhelmed by the response from the Lusk community, St. Michael’s House and from Paul Keogh of the FAI. A huge shipment was sent to Mali. We are delighted to hear it has arrived safely this week and Coach Paul is back doing what he does best…coaching soccer. All in all a busy month for us, but one which embraces our ethos #workhard #havefun.

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The recent Lusk 4 mile Virtual race was a tremendous success with over 700 registrations including over 200 Juvenile entries of the Thomas Ashe Dash. This was the highest number of juvenile entries in a Virtual race since lockdown began. We really appreciate the support of local athletes, other club runners and sponsors in making the event so successful. Thanks also to Annette Foy and Nicole Hodson for organising the event. There were some fantastic times recorded with Darren Ryan and Alex Bell retaining their titles as fastest male and female Lusk AC athletes.We would like to congratulate members for continuing their own training during this extended lockdown. Some of the times recorded over the last few months have been phenomenal and show the hard work being put in is really paying dividends. We are very excited to resume group training once allowed.The 40 day Sunrise Challenge is almost at an end. Well done to everyone who took part.

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There is an old saying – the secret to getting ahead is getting started and that’s what we at Junsa have done, instead of waiting for lockdown to finish, and an end to restrictions so we can train together safely , we have gone training , online, and separately but together.Even though our students are safely training at home they are training together where they can still see and chat ( but not too much !) to each other over our Zoom training sessions.While it’s still not the same the students are still keeping their fitness and Taekwondo skills up to date.The club made their kick pads available to the students for home training, which means they need someone to hold the pads,and in steps the mams and dadsw to help out.It’s great to see the parents and guardians getting involved in the students sport.Well done to everyone , and huge thank you to all for the support. Here are some of our students training at home via Zoom.A huge thank you to everyone who has kept up their training online and we hope to see everyone back for training face to face as soon as it’s safe to do so.

(This article first appeared in the Official Matchday Programme for Leinster Rugby’s Heineken Champions Cup clash with Northampton Saints on 19 December.)

‘One club for everyone’ - could be the motto for Malahide rugby club as it strives to become more deeply embedded in the community from which it derives its name.In September 2006, the club relocated to Estuary Road, leaving behind their old home on the Castle grounds. The move away from the picturesque village to the exposed coastline setting meant the club became a magnet as a home to players from the north Fingal area. “The demographic of the club is really interesting. We only have between 45-50 per cent of our members from Malahide,” said Paul Donegan, the Chairman of the club’s Business Committee.“The rest are drawn from areas of north Dublin and south Fingal such as Swords, Donabate, Portrane, Kinsealy, Portmarnock. If we weren’t coming up to the centenary of the club in 2022, we would be probably seen more as a Fingal rugby club. The history of the club, that connection to Malahide and our initial patron Lord Talbot, is very important and it is up to us to not only keep it but to build on it into the future.“Where we are, we compete with Gaelic clubs, like St Sylvester’s, Naomh Mearnóg, Fingallians, and the soccer clubs in the area as well as the rugby clubs, Skerries, Balbriggan and Suttonians.“Before we moved down into the estuary, we spent so many years beside Malahide Castle where it was seen as a closed club,” issued Donegan.“We have great numbers at mini and youths level. There would be 600 kids playing on a Sunday morning, benchmarked against 1,000 at St Sylvester’s and Naomh Mearnóg. As our kids grow into their teenage years, they tend to specialise in fewer sports and we lose others to rugby schools, like Belvedere and CUS. “The whole area around Swords, Donabate and Malahide is growing so much and we want to make the rugby club a stronger draw for all those places. We needed to be seen as more open, a more active part of the surrounding communities.” Competition has bred creativity. Malahide has not been slow to welcome initiatives devised by the IRFU and even come up with some of their own ideas.Last year, the club embraced the IRFU-driven ‘Give It A Try’ programme, designed to attract girls from ages 8-14 to learn how to play rugby in a safe and fun environment over the summer. Of course, this was compromised by the onset of Covid-19.There was nothing that could be done about that. There was so much uncertainty. That is when they came up with the ‘Safe Place Scheme’. “We had a call among the executive of the club to see if there was any way we could offer club services to help out within the local community. The local GAA club was offering a delivery service for the older people and vulnerable in our society, who could not get out as they felt unsafe in public.“As we were not located close to Malahide village, on the estuary between Malahide and Swords, we wanted to see what we could do to help

“Following conversations with the then Lord Mayor of Fingal, Eoghan O’Brien, and also members of An Garda Síochána in Malahide, we came up with the idea of a ‘Safe Place Scheme’.“We offered our grounds as a safe location for older people and those who feel vulnerable in the community to come out and walk. The parking available made it the perfect location that they could drive to and feel safe while they made use of the space.“Initially, we thought this was a great idea and wanted to publicise it on social media. However, due to Covid, we decided that the best way to help was to offer the club grounds to a closed list of local older people and vulnerable as well as the members of the club that fell into that bracket.“The lower pitch area of the club was made available and would be reserved for those who were cocooning and/or would like a safe outdoor space.“This area was initially made available to them between 8am and 1pm on a daily basis during the first lockdown and we extended it to 9am to 5pm during the summer months and into the current lockdown. “When the scheme began, the club built paths, upgraded entrances from the Seabury estate, re-doing a bridge, laying down tarmacadam where there previously could have been mud paths to ensure people could come in and walk safely around the grounds.”It has not only had a positive impact on allowing vulnerable people to park and walk around the grounds. It also gave some members a purpose to get out of the house and, within the guidelines, come down to prepare the ground for our walkers.“We want to keep that as a place to walk, long after Covid has been contained,” stated Donegan.“We have to think on our feet. We are getting more volunteers in, more people stepping up to help out. The energy from that is helping us to drive the club on.“It is not a huge club. We have 350-400 members. But, we have aspirations to double, even triple that over the next five years.”It is the commitment to growing those numbers and community-service action like the ‘Safe Place Scheme’ that may well make that achievable.

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As Level 5 drags on, our club group training is on hold and the weather at times has being a little cruel now more than ever we need to dig deep and stay upbeat. There is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s getting closer. We’re hopeful some groups can resume training in March. In the meantime stay active, exercise with one other household & partake in the club initiatives (Little Athletics zoom sessions, individual plans, Jerusalema Dance, 40 Day Challenge).There were some amazing times recorded by our athletes in the Raheny 5 mile virtual event. Mark Dunne was our fastest male finishing in a speedy 29:50 while Alex Bell’s brilliant 32:26 was enough for a top ten finish and along with Dara Harford and Sheila Bourke helped our ladies to third place in the team event.Congratulations to Sean Greensit on completing the Donadea Virtual 50k recently. Sean has competed at this event in Donadea forest every year since 2017 and this time was able to pick a route around the beautiful peninsula of Donabate and Portrane. Weather conditions were challenging with strong winds throughout but with the help of a brilliant support crew he finished in a great time of 4:07:39 securing a top ten place.February was a chance for the juveniles to complete a Marathon by running 42km over the course of the month. Well done to all who completed the challenge.We commenced our 40 day sunrise challenge on February 17th. It’s not too late to get involved. Your run starts at dawn from your own front door and it’s a great way to start your day. Check our facebook and instagram pages for all the details.Annual club membership is now overdue. 2020 insurance expired on 31st January so please complete your club registration as soon as possible via the club website. As always, do not hesitate to contact us with any financial concerns.The Lusk 4 mile road race is here again. This year’s event is a virtual one and can be completed any time between 28th February and 7th March. Registration is only €10 via the club’s website with options to purchase a t-shirt and medal. There is also the Thomas Ashe Dash for children to enter shorter races.

By Stuart Russell

While training is still not allowed , at Junsa we have started training online and keeping everyone busy.While it’s not same we are still trying to keep the training and fitness up to speed. There is a fantastic App called Strava which we have been using for the students to keep track on their training .Here is a few photos of our guys training online and a look back at some photos from our tournaments from 2015 to 2019. Kick for mental health, Kick for Pieta- Junsa and senior student Robbie Murphy will be holding an online fundraiser for Pieta house in the coming weeks, please watch our Facebook page for information and try to donate whatever you can for this great cause.

We hope that everyone is keeping well and safe and hope to see you soon.If you wish to try out Taekwondo even though it’s online please contact Master Stuart on 087 7775202

Runners LOVE running and we’re lucky we’ve chosen an exercise that can be done regardless of weather, the season or the lockdown. However, runners love running TOGETHER and of course this couldn’t have happened during most of the lockdown. So, with the help of social media – primarily our Facebook group page we were able to keep in touch with each other and many people have found innovate ways of running together virtually. Roadrunners Lee and Karen Maritz came up with a “Tag Marathon” whereby Roadrunners formed teams (with novel Disney names) of 8 who were to run 5.3km each and virtually tag the next group member and collectively (but separately) run a marathon. Each team tallied up their collective time to see which one ran the best marathon time. This ignited plenty of excitement on social media with lots of banter and photos online – to the point that there have been 4 “Tag Marathon” events over the 4 lockdowns. We have all really missed our Saturday parkrun up in Ardgillan so some regular parkrunners (Tom Reilly and Nicola ) devised a novel “Parkrace” whereby runners could do the parkrun route on a Saturday on their own schedule (socially distanced) and send in their time to these new “Parkrace” organisers. So still enjoying the buzz of doing a parkrun whilst adhering to COVID guidelines. We are looking forward to getting back together for scheduled runs in the near future – but keeping fit in the meantime.

The club ended the year on a high with a number of socially distanced events in December. Our Fit4Life group completed their 5k graduation run at Newbridge House and were well supported by coaches and fellow club members. The annual 5k charity run / walk took place on St Stephen’s Day and raised €850 for St Vincent de Paul. The following day many club members took part in a club challenge over 5k or 10k starting at Lusk NS. Most opted for the latter which included a tough uphill run to Man O War and back. A great way to run off the excesses of the previous few days. On January 1st we launched our ‘30 days of change’ with members following a daily plan of exercises throughout January. We continue to develop the field events at the COE along with the purchase of new equipment. All of these events are open to Juvenile, Senior and Masters members. We look forward to seeing our athletes back training after restrictions are lifted. We would like to remind members and parents that annual membership for 2021 is now overdue. Don’t forget to sign up for the Lusk Virtual 4 mile. Run and record your time between 28th February and 7th March. Shorter distances are available for juniors. Register at Luskathleticclub.ie