Under 16 Premier trip to Norwich FC Academy 2017

On Wednesday evening 19th April the U16 Premier team headed off on an inaugural trip to Norwich City FC and its academy. Travelling with 15 players, Kevin Ronayne, Coach, John Forrest, Asst Coach and Ml Barron, Tour Organiser, everyone was looking forward to a full and exciting itinerary. The connection had been established following Adam Idah's decision to head over as a trialist with Norwich City, where he hopes to sign a full professional contract on 1st July 2017.


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A close relationship has been established between Michael Barron and Gregg Broughton, Head of Academy Recruitment which resulted in a fantastic opportunity and schedule for the boys. On Thursday morning, having being collected by Norwich from their hotel, the team had a joint training session with the Norwich U15 Academy team. As they headed for the training pitch, the Norwich City 1st team were heading for their own training session, there was a lot of banter as our players identified the various Norwich players. The session itself gave the boys an immediate insight in to the condition, discipline and skill levels of the Academy players. At the end of the session there was a fun skills drill involving everyone, with Greg Crane, Norwich U15 Head Coach claiming he had been unbeaten in 10 years. However, little did he reckon on our own Scott Philpott who won the competition after sudden death.

In the afternoon, Republic of Ireland star, Wes Hoolahan came into the dressing to meet and shake hands with everyone, which was greatly appreciated before they played a Norwich City Academy team, this was certainly an eye opening experience. In a hard and energy sapping game, played on a 3G Astro, the same dimensions as Carrow Road, they came from 1 nil down to level the game in the last few minutes with a headed goal by Sean Dunlea. Everyone agreed this was a fair result. Later in the evening our hosts kindly brought us to Ipswich to watch Adam Idah play for the Norwich U16 team in the Hospital Cup against Ipswich. Adam did not disappoint, getting a goal and setting up another in a 4-1 win.


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On Friday morning, Colin Watts, N.C.F.C Youth Development officer, who has been with Norwich for over 30 years, brought everyone on a tour of Carrow Road, during this he shared his experiences with the boys, telling them what Norwich look for in a player. He also took them into Norwich itself pointing out some of the sights. Later in the afternoon everyone went to a trampoline centre before going to Norwich V Brighton in the Championship, with Norwich providing both the tickets and a 2 nil win against Brighton.


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Saturday morning saw the team play the Norfolk County team, the best players in the County not in an academy, Norwich Coaches were out in force to keep an eye on potential players. Our lads did not disappoint, going in at half time 1 nil up courtesy of a goal from Daragh Connell, in the 2nd half an early goal from Scott Philpott was followed up by a superb strike by Leo Barron finding the bottom corner of the net. Corinthians were playing some lovely football and another overlapping run from Leo saw the keeper spill his shot which was duly tapped in by Mattie O'Reilly.The best was saved to last with David Fox beating 3 defenders and firing an unstoppable shot past the keeper which sparked wild celebrations. From a team perspective this was the icing on the cake as it was David's first goal in a while having been out for 14 months with a serious knee injury.


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The tour was a fantastic success, with everyone thoroughly enjoying themselves, it is really important to acknowledge and thank some people without whose support this would not have happened. 

Gregg Broughton, Head of Recruitment, Norwich City, Gregg is a gentleman and a pleasure to deal with, he ensured everything was in place and that we were very well looked after.Chris Hedges, Norwich City Academy Physio who went above and beyond the call of duty when looking after Jack McFall and his injury, coming in on his day off and bringing Jack to hospital for an x-ray, which thankfully was clear.James Bemment, Norwich City Logistics Manager, who ensured we were collected and dropped wherever we needed to be with great efficiency and accuracy.Greg Crane, Norwich City U15 Academy Coach & Colin Watts, Youth Co-Ordinator for their hospitality, insight and time for us and all our players.

Richard Walsh, E3 Sports (http://e3-sports.co.uk) for his generous sponsorship which enabled us purchase gear for the team College Corinthians and Paul O'Callaghan for their support.

Most importantly, the parents, without whose support this would not have been possible, especially their financial support, there was never a problem only help. On behalf of everyone who travelled we would like to sincerely thank all the parents for their support as I said it would not have happened without you.

PS: Following an appeal,  a ruling has issued today from The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) an institution independent of any sports organisation, the team below have been declared the winners of the Inaugural Norwich Soccer Tennis competition. 

Congratulations to the 2 people involved.


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