U-10 football was the pinnacle of pressure-free football for many in Ireland.
Most were not yet at a level where the result really mattered, and instead you turned our every weekend for the run-around, the goal celebrations, and the possibility of your friend being allowed to come over and play after the match.
Your parents would have to get up on their day off and drive you around the county looking for the pitch, and when you got there the temperatures were below freezing, but there were so many memories to take away from those days.
Here are some that will no doubt stick out in everyone's memory:
Going To McDonalds (Or A Pub) After A Big Match
The greatest reward possible. A trip to McDonalds made every cup win even sweeter, or if you lost in the final, who cares!? We're going to McDonalds! Happy Meals all around and an absolute nightmare for the parents.
In places where there were no McDonalds withing a reasonable distance, then typically a reception at a local pub was the norm.
That Kid Who Could Score From Kick-Ins
Every young keeper's nightmare.
He was the best player on your team and would very soon move up to play at a more serious level, but while you had him, you loved him.
He would take the corners and goal-kicks if the keeper didn't have a big boot, but for those matches when throw-ins were much too advanced, kick-ins became a set-piece weapon as this guy lobbed them in from his own half over the hapless tiny goalkeeper.
Synonymous with birthday parties in bowling alleys, and post-match refreshments for every kid who grew up in Ireland.
Someone's parent had been to the cash-and-carry, and they delighted the team with a bottle of Cadet cola after the match. Sometimes it was the lemon-lime version, but either way, it was a fantastic way to ruin every parent's evening by pumping their child full of sugar when they would otherwise have been tired.
Ah the Convoy. "Arrive at the training pitch for 9am, the pitch is about 45 mins away, so we'll all head off together."
Cars full of children were carted all over Ireland, and before mobile phones became the norm, the rule was that if you lost somebody from your rear-view mirror, everyone had to pull over and wait.
The kids had fantastic craic in the backseat, making it even tougher for whoever was driving the car. Good times.
Someone's Dad Going Spare On The Touchline
It was inevitable.
There was always that one Dad who couldn't contain himself, and abused the referee time and time again. Despite it being an activity for children, you got the feeling that this guy's week was made or ruined by what happened on a Saturday morning.
Unspeakably embarrassing if it was your Dad.
Knowing Absolutely Nothing About Your Opponents
Ignorance is bliss, so showing up not knowing who you were playing, or how good they were, was vital for getting you into the car in the morning.
Of course there were local rivalries, but for the most part the league table was just a big list of random places that your parents would need to drive you to at some stage.
Planning Goal Celebrations Well In Advance
"It's been raining all night, it's perfect for a Klinsmann!"
Before the match kicked off you knew exactly which celebration that you saw on MOTD last night that you would perform, only you never scored the goal. Or, if you did, you just went mental and forgot about everything else anyway.
Not Being Allowed Back In The Car Covered In Mud
"Get back over there and clean the mud off your boots for Jaysis sake."
Newspapers were often laid over the seats of the car like a newborn puppy with an unreliable bladder was being taken home, and in fairness it was necessary. Children's football matches in Ireland were typically played in the muddiest conditions imaginable, so proper mitigation of potential damage to the car's interior was taken.
"On Your Bike!"
This term was invented for Irish children's football.
"On your bike, Conor!" Every, single, weekend.
If a player was in a bit of space, it was time for him to get on his bike. It's the only thing that football-Dads were absolutely sure of.
Getting A Write-Up In The Paper
There was no better feeling than the official confirmation that you were a bonafide footballing superstar which came in the form of having your name in the team for a 200 word write-up in the local paper.
"Dave Murphy ran the show from midfield.."
Dave Murphy walked into school the next day as if he had signed for Liverpool.
Jerseys That Used The Thinnest Possible Material
How was there so little insulation for a garment that was designed to be worn in the coldest possible conditions?
This thing was practically see-though, two sizes too big, and honestly did nothing other than make you colder out on the pitch. ProStar, I'm looking at you. I certainly hope additional layers have been added since.
Being Captain On Your Birthday
It was an honor that was usually reserved for the kid who could score from kick-ins, or the manager's son, but if word got out that it was your birthday, then you wore the armband on your big day.
It wasn't worth the birthday-pinches.
The Kid Who Really Didn't Want To Be There
Poor lad. Although he always seemed happy enough, sitting down making daisy-chains in the warm-up.
He had no interest in football, which is entirely fair enough, but his parents insisted he turn up when he would much rather be reading in his warm, cozy bed.
Shinpads That Provided No Use At All
Typically you weren't allowed play without a pair, but it didn't seem to matter that they served absolutely no purpose.
Stuffed into your comically oversized socks, these cheap bits of plastic were so ineffective you may as well have ripped a few pages out of your school copybook and lashed them down there.
Nobody was willing to shell out for a pair that actually worked, so shins were sore in school every Monday.