Both the senior and Under 19 squads were put through their paces at the wonderful facility, although the first team were without Willie John Kiely, Seamus Long and Gary Keane, all three on the injured list. John Frost and Adam McSherry also sat out the action, but they went through a recovery session of their own with Laura Finnegan of the WIT Sports faculty.
After the drills and small-sided games, the two squads took each other on in a brief full-pitch match, and then it was inside for a presentation and Q&A session with the club management. The new Blues jersey was also on display, and there was a sneak preview of the white away shirt, albeit without logos as yet.
Blues manager Paul O’Brien gave a short but well-recieved presentation on the aims of the club for the season ahead, and the kind of systems in place to achieve those aims, including the top facilities at the WIT complex, and the tie-in with their Sports department which will monitor the players’ fitness through the year. He also spoke of the increased role the U19s will play in the first team squad this season.
A sluggish start to the Q&A section of proceedings was soon forgotten when the thorny issue was raised regarding the mindset of some of the players at certain times last season, but the Blues boss reassured those present of the determination on the staff and players’ part to give everything to make this campaign the success everyone has craved for the last five years, a sentiment echoed by Gary Dempsey.
The small but perfectly formed turn-out went away hopefully in a positive frame of mind, and looking forward to the League commencing in earnest in just under three weeks time. The club was delighted to be emailed by one such fan after the event:
“This is just a thank you to all the lads at Waterford Utd for a great morning concerning the open training session. My son Jack had a fantastic time meeting all the players and staff, and training with the under nineteens, he is telling the world how he was training with some of the future greats of Waterford.
Thanks again, yours, Brian Kavanagh”
To which Tommy Griffin replied:
“Jack was a lovely lad to work with, and has a great left leg! Now make sure he uses both feet, tell him he needs to practice every day. We will be watching out for him when he plays for his club. Give him our best wishes, from Deckie, Johnny & Tommy – U19 management team. The pleasure was ours to have him join us this morning.
Mia San Mia, Tommy”
Some pictures from the day follow below: