Sligo footballers got chance to visit Bayern Munich’s youth academy
A total of 28 Benbulben players travelled on a trip of a lifetime on the 2nd of August to Germany. This 5-day training camp trip to a little village outside Passau in Germany was two years in the making. Peter Gau, who is one of the Benbulben FC coaches for the under U14 born 2008 age group, hails from this village and played and trained with FC Tiefenbach in his younger days. Peter now lives and works in Sligo and has been planning and fundraising for the trip over the last 14 months. Hundreds of hours were put into making fairy houses by Peter to contribute to fundraising for the trip. His wife Aileen has also held many cake sales to aid fundraising activities where all money raised contributed to cut the costs for the kids heading on the trip. Twenty-eight players along with their parents travelled to Germany for 5 days. The lads trained in the morning and relaxed in the afternoon, doing fun things, including swimming, a cycling tour in Munich city and visiting a local castle in Passau. One of the big highlights of the trip was the visit to Bayern Munich youth academy, where the lads got to see the academy stadium, both grass and Astro pitches and dressing rooms, accommodation where forty-five under eighteens live while training onsite. The lads also got to see some young talent training on the grounds while on the tour. The jerseys were kindly sponsored by Jayne Orr Foot Clinic in Ballyshannon and Garrison Parcel Depot. Jayne has been a podiatrist for 17 years and can provide medical diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle problems, including, sprains and fractures. Richie Evans owns Garrison Parcel Depot just across the border, the company takes in parcels from the UK saving money on postage. Ray Gillen who organised the jerseys proposed that parents could contribute €10 towards each jersey for a chosen charity. The parents gladly agreed, and this led to €300 raised. Ray who lost a good friend Gerry Moran to cancer last year and Peter who treated him were delighted that the funds would go to the SHOUT charity and all money raised went directly to the charity via the Shout website link. It must be noted that the sponsoring of the jerseys by both Jayne and Richie allowed this donation to be given and the club is incredibly grateful to them for this sponsorship. The trip included some training for the lads in the morning and at the end of the week they got to witness a local home game between Tiefenbach and Karpfham, Bart Flannery also a good friend of the late Gerry Moran, played the pipes to entertain the German crowd at half time. Unfortunately the home side, FC Tiefenbach came out the wrong side of a 3-1 game. After the home game, it was the lads’ turn to play some entertaining football that evening. A tournament was organised where teams were purposely mixed in the name of friendship between people from different nations. Competitiveness and results were not a priority here. It was about enjoying the game and the company, which is exactly what makes football so precious. Not just the battle for points and positions in the table. The tournament started with the Irish and German national anthems played on the bag pipes played by Bart, the young talents from Ireland and Tiefenbach marched on to the pitch. The very entertaining tournament lasted just over 3 hours with eight teams battling it out for the cup. The tournament was watched on by over fifty parents from both countries. After the Tournament there was a BBQ held by the local club where the local kids and adults mingled, chatted and laughed, a presentation from all the head coaches from both sides, to thank everyone for what was a brilliant experience in Germany for both kids and parents. All the parents and kids would like to thank Peter and Aileen on what was a trip of a lifetime and will be chatted about for years to come. Everyone who donated to the fundraiser for SHOUT were also greatly appreciated by the club.