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Springfield Ramblers U16 Premier League Side Trip to Nottingham



Cobh Ramblers V West Bridgford Colts

The Cobh Ramblers Under 16 Squad travelled to Nottingham for a visit to the Nottingham Forest Football Club on Sunday 20th February last. The trip was organised by Club Secretary John Coughlan who is a scout for the Nottingham club in the Cork area. Seventeen boys travelled along with John and team coaches Niall Abbott, Mossie O’Mahony and Frank Collins and committee member Anthony O’Donovan. The Nottingham Forest Academy kindly organised accommodation for the group in the Monty Hind Youth Club in the Lenton suburb of the city. This consisted of dormer accommodation for the group with excellent sleeping and kitchen facilities. The group also had access to the sports hall which included snooker, pool, table tennis and an indoor football arena. The duration of the trip was four days and it was an exhausting itinerary which kept the boys busy for every minute.

Jim Higgins Coaching The Squad

Sunday 20th

The group started out from Cork Airport early on Sunday morning on a flight to Liverpool. Arriving at John Lennon airport we picked up our hire cars for the drive across to the East Midlands. We arrived at the Monty Hind Youth Club in the mid afternoon and after we had settled in to our accommodation we made our way to a nearby restaurant for an excellent carvery lunch. After lunch the boys enjoyed the facilities of the youth club playing pool, table tennis and football. Later that evening we paid a visit to a local leisure complex where the boys played ten pin bowling and arcade games. We then retired to the youth club to get some rest after a long day calling of course to a local chipper on the way home.

Frank Called To The Bar

Monday 21st

Monday began early with breakfast at the youth centre. Then it was a twenty minute drive to the City Ground Stadium home of Nottingham Forest F.C. At the stadium we were greeted by Jim Higgins the Nottingham Forest Academy Recruitment Officer. Jim brought us the club’s Study Centre. Here under the umbrella of the Forest Academy, there are between 20 -30 boys on the full-time staff who play for the club’s representative teams at Under-18 and reserve level as well as getting the chance to take advantage of further education organised at the club’s own Study Centre. The boys were shown a coaching DVD by Jim Higgins while the coaching staff went to meet Academy Director Nick Marshall. We then returned to the players where Jim quizzed them on the DVD.

We were then taken on a tour of the City Ground Stadium by the club PRO. The whole group really enjoyed this part of the day as we learned about the history of the club, heard stories about famous players, and visited the board room where we viewed the trophy cabinet which of course included the two European Cups won by Forest in 1979 & 1980. We were then taken pitch side at the stadium where we viewed the Brian Clough Stand and heard stories of the great games that were played through the years.

The next stop was the club shop where the boys took advantage of the sale to purchase items of Nottingham Forest playing and training kit and club souvenirs. We then walked alongside the Trent River to the club training grounds where we watched the Forest Under 15s, 16s and 18s train under the tutelage of the Academy coaching staff. Notable among the coaching staff were former players Steve Sutton and Steve Hodge.

After lunch at a local hostelry we returned to the Monty Hind centre where the boys relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. In the evening we went to the cinema, called to the chipper on the way home and off to bed.

Up For The Match

Tuesday 22nd

We drove to the City Ground to meet with Jim Higgins and walked to the Nottingham Forest training ground. Jim then took the boys through a two hour training session. He put the lads through their paces in a number of drills which tested their skills in first touch, passing, communication, attacking and defensive exercises, counter attacking and finishing with a penalty shoot-out. The boys and the coaches really enjoyed this session as Jim imparted his knowledge and advice to the boys throughout the session.

After returning to the youth centre for a shower and to relax we travelled by taxi to a restaurant adjacent to the City Ground for dinner. Then it was off to the stadium where the Forest club had generously provided us with tickets to the Npower Championship Match against Preston North End. Seated high up in the Brian Clough Stand we had a great view of the game. It was a close affair with an exciting finish as Forest scored late in the game to take a 2-1 lead only for Preston to equalise to secure a very valuable point.

Tony O'Donovan Presents John Coughlan with Jersey

Wednesday 23rd

We drove to the City Ground to meet with Jim Higgins again, this time to be taken to the playing fields of West Bridgford Colts, a local club in Nottingham to play against their Under 16 side. The boys were looking forward to this as the main event of the trip. On a heavy pitch in constant rain Ramblers put up a great performance to win 3-2 on the day. The goals came from a great strike from Dave Curran and one each from Dave Cahill and Daniel Santry. What was especially pleasing about the game was the performance from the younger members of the squad as they stepped up to a higher grade.

After the game Jim Higgins brought us to the Nottingham Forest Academy. The facilities here were amazing and the whole group were highly impressed. The Club Physiotherapist kindly treated some of our injured players in the state of the art treatment room. We strolled around the grounds watching the young Academy players play a series of games against a visiting Luton Town group. We were shown the playing pitch where the first team play their practice matches and this was a sight to behold with its ‘Billiard Table’ surface. We had a cup of tea in the café and left the Academy grounds in good spirits.

Later that evening the players presented John Coughlan with a Nottingham Forest jersey with gratitude for organizing the trip and then we gathered in a local restaurant with Jim Higgins, his wife and other guests for dinner and to watch the Champions League game between Manchester United and Marseille. Then it was back to the Monty Hind centre for a final game of pool before bed.

Tally Wins The Cup

Thursday 24th

After a very early rise it was back in the cars for the two hour drive to Liverpool and the flight home to Cork. The whole group were tired after the trip but all agreed that it was a very enjoyable experience and a great success.

Old Big 'Ead & Cloughie

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