June had arrived and that could mean only one thing ….the Castleknock Celtic FC Mini World Cup was back with 302 children representing 30 countries from all over the World descending on Porterstown Park for a festival of football like no other. Like the many nations taking part there were Boys & Girls from all over D15. The event is not just about football the emphasis is on participation and fun – not just for the kids but also for Parents, siblings and friends who take the opportunity to catch up with each other and catch up they did as we all basked in the good weather. Who needs Spain when you we have Costa del Dublin!!
While the event is for the young children of Dublin 15 Castleknock Celtic also took the opportunity to raise much needed funds for ST FRANCIS HOSPICE. €1,750 was raised via the BBQ with Castleknock Celtic matching the funds raised. Fr Dan Joe was on hand to receive a cheque for €3,500 from Club Chairman , Brian Cummins. WELL DONE and thanks to everyone for their support.

On the pitches, the watching crowds, which peaked at just under 1,000, were treated to a festival of football over 4 days as the young players played their hearts out to get to Saturdays finals. Amazingly all the teams made it to Finals Day which was only fitting given the effort, and not inconsiderable skill, the players displayed all week. And so finals day was upon us. What a spectacle as the young gladiators were welcomed onto the pitches via a tunnel of noisy supporters who cheered on their heroes. The “oohs and aahs” could be heard all over the Park. The scene was set., sun shining and when the whistle went the Boys and Girls gave a wonderful exhibition of football,
commitment and sportsmanship. It was only when the final whistle went could the boys and girls finally get a break. The applause that followed was deafening and well deserved.

What a week? Surely it couldn’t get any better or could it???? Well yes it could. As the Boys and Girls went to the presentation area to receive their medals and of course the now traditional surprise gift & goody bags they were greeted by a celebrity list that made it look like a Hollywood Red Carpet event. Minister Jack Chambers , Councillor Tom Kitt and ex footballer Mick Daly (who is a great supporter of St Francis Hospice) were on hand for the presentations but perhaps the biggest surprise was the arrival of Footballing Royalty as Irish Team Manager, Vera Pauw, along with ex Castleknock Celtic and current Irish international, Tara O’ Hanlon to present medals and gifts to the players. The Boys and girls were starstruck ,sorry correction, everyone was starstruck. Chairman Brian Cummins presented Tara with a small gift from Castleknock Celtic to Tara to recognise her first Cap in what will surely be a long footballing career. The theme of the Mini World Cup is always about community, about participation and about fun. It never fails to
deliver and the secret is the children themselves who set the tone. As we know if the children enjoy what they are doing they will stay in sport and keep coming back and that is what we see every year. Vera Pauw in speaking to the crowd spoke with warmth about how nice it was to see all the young boys and girls playing together and her word echoed those of the Castleknock Celtic organisers.

And so another Mini World Cup ends but the dreams only get bigger. Tara O’ Hanlon played in the Mini World Cup back in 2014 and 15 . She is now an Irish international. IT COULD BE YOU so remember believe in yourself, give 100% and keep dreaming. Your dreams may just come though.

A final thank you to all our players, parents and guests with a special thanks to Vera and Tara who both signed autographs for over an hour.  All in all a wonderful week and judging by all the smiles on Saturday it was another successful Mini World Cup as all departed the festival of football for a well deserved rest. As one event ends the planning begins for 2024…..see you ALL next year

Click to see more wonderful memories from a fabulous week with Castleknock Celtic