Sarcastic this Jude’s country players numbers bashing should really calm down. Alot of what’s said on here by those unhappy with the current make up of the team are throwing up stuff that’s not true or are totally uninformed about the clubs current situation and why some outsiders are joining. Before posting let’s remember Na Fianna Brigids Vins BBSE Kilmacud and many others, have all had periods where they used large numbers of country lads sometimes out of short term necessity and at others by ruthless design so while your club might be all homegrown it hasn’t always been. It’s swings and roundabouts for everyone and in our case it we need a few outsiders to plug a recession related temporary break in the internal production line. The full story for those with any interest in it comes from our senior teams development and the underage supply available to it at any given time and shows we have only once gone down the road of trying to manufacture success imports or so called mercenaries. Every other period including this is all in the long term interests of the club and about keeping the team as a standard barer and something to be aspired to playing in for the kids in the areas served. The 1990s saw Jude’s move rapidly from intermediate level all the way to senior division 1 and this team was a mix of home grown kids from the 70s, 80s and country born residents. Our first county players emerged Sheehy and O’Boyle. O’Connaill Boys legend Bassett was the manager having moved into the area many years earlier. He joined the club as a player in his twilight years and to help with underage teams. He wouldn’t have got a red cent for all the hours put in and in fairness this was the same nearly everywhere, people coached and managed as volunteers. The early 2000s being the era of the Celtic tiger, saw parishioners of even more success. And in our impatience we began to bring outside managers and coaches from what were then amongst the biggest names in town. The thinking was these lads could attract one or two top county players and few more top country club players, improve homegrown players and with finger on the pulse in terms of the latest training systems, educate younger coaches in the club. However, alot of top country players joined the club more than expected by the club. A division one league quickly won. However, a narrow semi final defeat to Kilmacud Crokes was as good as it got championship wise for this elite team. It was team was made up of some of Bassett’s original side that wee still going strong, a few more kids that came through like Enda Crennan who played for Dublin and the outsiders. Not as many young players as maybe could have come through actually did. The criticisms of Jude’s on here, are very correct if it was applied to this era. If young homegrown players didn’t hit the ground running at this time they where either lost to the club or ended up as panelists.
Coming into the mid way point of the decade and with a lot of members seeing how chasing the dream with out side players and coaches could be a little short sighted and ultimately unsustainable, the strategy changed. The clubs top brass knew it had more batches of very good kids coming through. Ones that were even better than those on Crennan’s coattails who could not breakthrough. Unlike before or today they were winning all round them at under age got to an U21 final in 02 and winning it a couple of years after that. That was really promising. Appointments went internal again and a local resident Mayo man Padraig Monoghan and the late great Don Lehane from Cork who had both trained this golden generation all the way up from juvenile level and took the second team backboned by the U21 teams into division 2 and an inter final in 05 got the senior team gig. As a result we soon had a team of almost entirely homegrown team with players like Brendan McMenamon, Ross O’Brien, Paul Cunningham and Guckian playing starring roles. The decision to promote within and go with the homegrown youth over outside ready made proved correct and in we got to the 2009 senior championship final. They lost by a couple of points on the day to a more slightly more experienced Ballyboden on the day. Surely it was a learning curve and they would go all the way in the next couple of years. Fast forward to 2018, Padraig was back leading the team and most of the 09 guys were still in situ many by now around the dreaded thirty mark. Young players were successfully integrated and others given chances but could not step up consistently enough. A league was won and 5 or 6 semi finals played. As the years rolled towards 2018 a small number of outside players joined in dribs and drabs. None were sought by the club they were a friend of a player, a relative of a club member or simply moved into area. In the last couple of years of this so close yet so far period, it was also becoming clear that the numbers available to play senior football internally from underage were not coming through. Investigators found it was due to population cycles of suburban areas rather than any lack of work or effort by anyone. Fortunately a few more country lads joined. They were a friends of previous country joiners and other who moved into the area. Then word gets around Jude’s a top tier senior team who came second last year are open to country players joining. If the doors now closed at other clubs and ours is open then they will come to us and the numbers don’t look great but I think it is good to accept them as a temporary lack of numbers coming through could cost them their place at the top table and quickly undo 30 years of progress. Other clubs have done this before and have fallen so far down they may never get back. Sometimes you just got to do whatever it takes and deal with the criticism.
With young families are now back in the area and the club having a big underage set up again the team will look more homegrown in the future.