Category : Front Page News | Sub Category : Front Page Posted on 2023-03-31 12:48:01
Coming up on its tenth year, Emo rounders has become a stronghold name in underage rounders with many successes and has now evolved into a successful adult club.
The success and growth of the club is down to local Emo primary school teacher Michael Slevin after he came up with the idea of setting up an underage club in 2013.
Since the foundation of the club, Emo have gone from strength to strength and are a real force in the game at all levels.
After many years of underage success, Emo, incredibly announced themselves on the adult season with a bang last year with All-Ireland success in Junior mixed and Intermediate men with the Junior ladies losing to eventual winner St Clares of Cavan in the semi-finals.
Mick Slevin took time out to reflect on how the game has grown in the club and took us back to how it all started back in 2013 and ten years on, heâ€™s looking to build further on the success of the club last year.
After a successful stint in Community games throwball rounders event, Slevin decided to enter a U-14 mixed rounders team in the FÃ©ile and rounders in Emo was born.
Although Emo reached the final in their first competition it wasnâ€™t all plain sailing, but they never gave up and success soon came in 2016 when Emo U-13 girls triumphed in the Community games.
He said: â€œEmo Rounders started back in 2013 when I was approached by one of the parents in Emo National School as to whether Iâ€™d be interested in entering a team into Community Games U-11 throwball rounders.
â€œWe entered a mixed team in this competition and got all the way to the All-Ireland finals where we were narrowly beaten. In the same year we entered the U-14 Mixed FÃ©ile and were narrowly beaten by The Heath in the final.
â€œOver the next few years, we reached many All-Ireland finals but could never win an All-Ireland title. More than often, it was our neighbours, The Heath who would beat us. To be honest I often wondered if we would ever make the breakthrough, but the kids all stuck with it.
â€œI knew that the kids always had the ability but sometimes just lacked the self-belief. Finally, we had our first real success in 2016. In 2016, we won the U13 Girls Community Games Final.â€
The following year Emo built on the win in 2016 Community games and went from strength to strength adding three more titles with U-13 titles in both boysâ€™ and girlsâ€™ competitions and the U-14 mixed Feiles.
Since then, Emo have gone on to dominate for long periods at underage level paving the way for the club to enter adult teams last year.
Off the back of entering the novice tournament in 2021, the club decided to go all out and enter adult teams in Junior Ladies, Junior Mixed and also Intermediate men for the 2022 season.
The success was rapid for the club with double success for the men and mixed securing All-Ireland titles after Slevin decided to leave The Heath to start another chapter with Emo and pointed to the success at underage level to the adult success.
Mick said: â€œReluctantly, I left the Heath as it would have been too difficult to coach one club and play with another.
â€œThe success we had at underage level helped with establishing an adult club. Many of our adult players had watched their kids compete at underage level and thought that they could do just as well.
â€œAlso having players come up from underage to play adult was a great bonus. Most of the younger adult players had six/seven or eight underage All-Ireland titles already so they were well experienced and in fact the older players looked up to them.â€
Looking forward to the upcoming season Emo are looking ahead to an exciting season and Emo and Slevin have their eyes on a notable fixture with The Heath for the first time at senior level.
â€œWe know that we have a lot of work to do and many areas to improve upon. Our ladies will definitely be looking to move up to Intermediate level but also know that a target will be on their backs after last year.
â€œOur mixed team, now playing at Intermediate level can hopefully, make the semi-finals if we play to the best of our abilities.
â€œIâ€™d reckon though that our Menâ€™s team will have the toughest task as the Senior Menâ€™s Championship is so open. Therefore, our aim for this year is the be competitive and stay as a Senior team and build from there.
â€œItâ€™s going to be a strange one, when we come up against The Heath in the Menâ€™s Championship. I played with The Heath for seven years and was lucky enough to win many All-Irelands with great teams over the years.
â€œI learned lots from my time with The Heath and made many friends. At least we wonâ€™t have to travel too far for this match, only five minutes between both clubs.â€