Connacht Hurling Provincial Coaching Workshop
By Cian O’Connell
Since starting as National Hurling Development Manager in September Martin Fogarty has travelled throughout the country, eager to assist those with an interest in the game.
What has struck Fogarty most of all, though, is the passion that exists for hurling. Fogarty’s brief is to assist those willing to raise the standard of the sport in developing counties so Saturday’s Provincial Coaching Workshop at the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence is an ideal opportunity for people in the west to learn.
DJ Carey, Jamesie O’Connor, Ollie Canning, Eamon O’Shea, and Brendan Cummins will all be in attendance at the event which enthuses Fogarty.
“It is aimed at coaches from juvenile right through to adults, I suppose what makes it a little bit different is that it gives people a chance to get up close to these legends of the game, people who have been up there at the very top and get their views on it,” Fogarty says. “They can put whatever questions they have to them. That makes it a bit different, it isn't easy to get people together like that too often.”
While Galway are a top tier county in the west, Fogarty highlights the enduring work being carried out throughout the rest of the province. “If you take the four other counties in Connacht apart from Galway - Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon and Mayo. It would be easy to put this on in Galway, but we decided to go into the Centre of Excellence to give people from those counties an opportunity to come into this type of a set-up.
“Again there are pockets, I've been up around there a few times since September. In those counties you have a small core group of people who are working extremely hard. That is why we have moved it up there to give them an opportunity and anybody new interested in hurling and getting involved in coaching, it would be an ideal opportunity to introduce themselves to it.
“The activities won't exclude anybody. I'd be encouraging anybody at all with an interest in hurling to come along to attend the morning.”
Fogarty, the former Kilkenny selector, with a lifetime association with hurling, is thoroughly enjoying the role. “I had a pretty good handle on it anyway, from being involved with Kilkenny over the years you'd have been called all over the country to do little workshops,” Fogarty says.
“I was pretty familiar with it. It is good, I thoroughly enjoy it. The simplest way of putting it is that it is easy from my perspective to just get in there when there is plenty of hurling and action. It is easy to do that, but I would find that the biggest challenge and the biggest need is to try to get into areas where the numbers are small on the field as regards players and the numbers are small as regards people willing to coach the game.
“I want to try to help those people, to increase the number of coaches in those areas and indirectly increase the numbers that are actually playing. So that is the big challenge. It isn't that you are trying to change the world or anything, it is just that you are trying to make little differences in many places.”
Increasing the number of people involved in various clubs throughout the country is one of Fogarty’s main aims. “We want to get them more active and get them more help,” Fogarty remarks about the need to progress hurling throughout the country.
“There is unbelievable passion, just take those four counties. I was up there shortly before Christmas doing workshops. The weather was atrocious, it was night time, there was a little indoor and a little outdoor, but people turned up for those things.
“Players turned up, we were working with Celtic Challenge squads, giving them a bit of support, the players and coaches turned up. That is unbelievable really. The small number of people involved, they are almost having to do everything. They are having to do work in their clubs and with the Academy squads and do the county teams.
“If we can get more help, that is the key to it all. These workshops will be enjoyable. It isn't everyday you get to meet these people. DJ Carey, it isn't everyday you get to meet him, Eamon O'Shea, Ollie Canning, Jamesie O'Connor, Brendan Cummins, that in itself is our way of saying this part of the country is as important as Kilkenny or Tipperary. So that is why we are going to Ballyhaunis with this particular event.”
Provincial Coaching Workshop
Saturday May 20
Connacht Centre of Excellence, Ballyhaunis, 10.30am
Format: Practical and station based with participants rotating to each station, followed by Q & A session with the guest coaches.
Goalkeeping and goalkeeping plays
Fitness with the ball
The Basics of Defending
Attacking & Striking
Questions & Answers
Coaches: Lead coach at each station will be one of our high profile guest coaches supported by a local Games Development Officer.
DJ Carey (Kilkenny)
Jamesie O’ Connor (Clare)
Ollie Canning (Galway)
Eamon O’ Shea (Tipperary)
Brendan Cummins (Tipperary)
Bookings: http://learning.gaa.ie/node/269134 Early booking advisable as places are limited
Registration: €20 (includes lunch)
All enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org