Féile weekend has arrived!
20,000 to visit region for three days of fun and football
After over a year of planning, the 2015 Irish Pride Féile Peil na nOg is finally here with activity this weekend spread over the length and breadth of the south of Leinster with Wexford, a first-time host, the focal point for much of the competition.
As many as 20,000 people are expected to descend on the region in the coming days to participate and follow the biggest national competition in football for Under-14 boys and girls.
There are 156 teams slated to compete in the boys' section over ten divisions with each team getting two bites at the cherry.
The top two teams in each group will go forward into the cup quarter-finals and the third- and fourth-placed teams dropping into the shield, ensuring teams will get between four and six games each over the weekend.
All Wexford clubs are involved and are hosting another team from outside the region, with competitors coming from as far away as the United Kingdom and from Philadelphia, New York and San Francisco in the United States.
The Division 1 finals will take place at the brand new Ferns Centre of Excellence with Naomh Eanna, St. Martin's, Horeswood and Ballinastragh Gaels the Wexford representatives hoping to make it all the way to the title decider.
For the girls there are five sections with plenty of Wexford interest in Division 1 with five teams - Kilmore, Horeswood, St. Martin's, Taghmon-Camross and Shelmalier - all hoping to be vying for the silverware at the end of a long and exciting weekend.
Three colourful parades will also take place in the county over the weekend, with the version for the north Wexford clubs and their visitors starting at the Tesco car park in Gorey on Friday at 8.15pm.
A total of 26 teams will take part, 20 boys and six girls, along with three bands.
All young players and parents are especially encouraged to come along to enjoy the parade and the accompanying fun atmosphere..
As many as 700 boys and girls are expected to march in this parade plus one hundred mentors.
The teams will gather in the new Tesco car park from 7.30 p.m., with the first band and team setting off at 8.15 p.m.
The last teams arriving from their games in Carlow and Wicklow will depart around 8.30 p.m.
Including the music, it may take 30 minutes for the parade to pass any one location.
The distance of the parade is one mile, so will last 30 minutes from start to finish.
The route is from Tesco down The Avenue, right onto Main Street, down Esmonde Street, ending at the Community School and Lidl (old Tesco) car parks. There shall be a review platform and compere on Main Street, with the first team expected to reach this point at approximately 8.30 p.m., followed by the last no later than 9pm.
It is expected that the first buses and cars will have started to leave the end of parade car parks by 9 p.m., and all to have headed to their parishes by 9.30 p.m.
While there shall be some delays in traffic, the streets will be open all the time, even if only one-way.
There shall be many stewards and a number of Gardaí on duty. Bus Eireann and Wexford buses shall be given priority.
The organisers would like to thank Tesco, partly for the use of their car park, but mainly for their sponsorship of a goodie bag for each of the over 700 marchers.
The Féile parade always provides colour, craic and memories Long years after the players even forget against whom they played, they shall remember the parade" and the social night or disco in the clubs on the Saturday evening, so the aim is to keep that tradition going.
The Enniscorthy parade will take place on Saturday night, starting at 7.30 p.m. in the Showgrounds (beside the dog track) on the Ross Road, and working its way down town to the Market Square where it will stop and the crowning of the Strawberry Queen will take place.
After this the parade will make its way back to the Showgrounds. Before the clubs leave at the start there will be a novelty strawberry race where each club will enter a team of four for a prize of €200.
The Ferns parade also takes place on Saturday night, starting from St. Aidan's church at 7.30pm.
It will make its way up to Ferns castle in the centre of the village where entertainment and a barbeque will take place. This parade will include the local Ferns St. Aidan's team and their visitors from South London.
Another significant aspect of the weekend's activities is the staging of several finals at the new Ferns Centre of Excellence on Sunday.