Whitecraigs Rugby Club held the annual St Cadocs Gala Day on Sunday, June 4th, in another extremely successful event for the youth club.
The event came just one day after the under-19s won the West of Scotland Cup for the club, coming back from 2-0 down to defeat Rutherglen Glencairn 4-2.
Thousands of people flocked in to the rugby club to take part in a variety of activities that were on show – including bubble football, crash courses, police and fire engine demonstrations, and beat the goalie.
An array of stalls selling a variety of goods were also on show, as well as a BBQ to keep the energy levels up on what was a beautiful day at Newton Mearns.
It was a fantastic day for all age levels, and it gave youngsters at every age group the chance to mingle with each other and keep in contact.
We spoke to organiser Liam O’Donnell, who was overwhelmed by the response of yet another successful gala day.
“The response has just been fabulous. It’s a real community event and I’m delighted to see so many people turning out.
“The weather’s been fabulous which has helped us a lot.
“The day was about bringing the whole club together and it was great yesterday that our under-19s won the West of Scotland Cup. That was great for the club, and we’re going to keep coming on leaps and bounds.
“The kids all love it, and it’s important to make them feel as though they belong here. That’s the main thing.”
Co-organiser Jane O’Neill praised the community spirit around the event, highlighting one particular award that showed the unity in the squads.
“A lot of work has been put into this, but the youth club is a real community and many, many people have helped us. So it’s great to welcome new faces to the club and for them to help out.
“One of our awards is Players’ Player of the Year and it’s lovely to see the players vote for their team-mates. It’s a real team effort here.”
The club invited YFS along to sample the gala, but also there to help with the presentations were Celtic’s Stuart Armstrong and Clyde 1’s Gavin Pearson.
We tried to get a comment from the Celtic midfielder about his thoughts on St Cadoc’s and youth football in general, but time constraints dictated otherwise.
2010s coach Matt Rumins welcomed the addition of Armstrong, and stressed how excited the boys were to meet the Scotland star.
“All of our boys came last year and had a fantastic time, and they kept asking us when it was coming back this year.
“Seeing a professional player come – the boys love to see that and to get a picture with him. They’ve seen him score some great goals for Celtic and play for Scotland so they’re all very keen and excited.
“It’s great for the coaches as well to see each other and speak to the boys at other age levels.”
The players at all age levels enjoyed themselves immensely and used it as an opportunity to build team morale.
Different age groups played in bounce games against each other throughout the day, with a lot of talent on show from this exciting youth club.
One of the players we spoke to, Matt McNichol of the 2001s, said that all the players look forward to the day and he would encourage other youth clubs to do the same.
“It’s a good opportunity to hang around with your friends. Obviously with the awards and the different stalls being up – it’s just a nice day for everyone.
“It’s important to have that recognition, but mainly it’s just a nice thing to have. It’s great for the team.
“It’s a great thing to build up to at the end of our season, and I would definitely encourage other youth clubs to do the same.”
The 2001s coach who led his side to a league and cup double this season, Dom Callan, believes the event makes the players understand the size of what they’re part of.
“I think they all look forward to it. It’s a great opportunity not just for them to get together as a team, but for the whole club to get together – then they can realise what they’re part of.
“It’s not just 18 boys, it’s around 800 kids we have at St Cadocs.
“We very much encourage the team and it’s great that the players get to vote for who they think has influenced their team the most.”
The event also included a prize-filled raffle, including an overnight stay at the Grand Central Hotel, 5 full hospitality tickets for Celtic Park for a league match next season, and two away tickets in the Celtic end for any away game next season including Ibrox or European games.
It was a very enjoyable event for everyone and is a real sign of just how big St Cadocs are.
The visitors all enjoyed their day, but the main thing was the enjoyment shown by the players and the staff of St Cadocs.
For now the stalls will come down and each group will start to prepare for the new season, but many can’t wait for the gala day to come round again next year.