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(l to r) Carla Rowe, Con O'Callaghan and Darran O'Sullivan, with attendees at today's announcement that Sky Sports will partner with the GAA on three major grassroots initiatives.
(l to r) Carla Rowe, Con O'Callaghan and Darran O'Sullivan, with attendees at today's announcement that Sky Sports will partner with the GAA on three major grassroots initiatives.

Sky Sports to invest €3m in GAA Grassroots partnership


Sky Sports today announced it is partnering with the GAA on three key grassroots initiatives which will see the broadcaster invest a total of €3m over five years. The three initiatives being supported include:

  • GAA Super Games Centres
  • #GAAyouth Forum
  • GAA Games Development Conference

The announcement was made today at the launch of The GAA Super Games Centres; the first of the three grassroots initiatives that Sky Sports will support. Dublin player and newly crowned All Ireland champion Con O’Callaghan and Sky mentors Carla Rowe and Darran O’Sullivan were at the launch to announce Sky Sports’ grassroots plans and take part in a number of Q&A sessions with 300 children from all over the country.

Throughout 2017 to 2021, Sky Sports will join forces with the GAA on the ground to encourage more kids to participate and get involved in Gaelic Games. Sky Sports will invest €3million over a five year period by leveraging its links to world-class elite sportspeople; 'visiting the SGC’s to meet participants and contributing to activities in Super Games Centres around the country; supporting the annual Youth Forum; and investing in training equipment.

On top of supporting the GAA Super Games Centres, Sky Sports has also pledged support and investment to the GAA Youth Forum, an annual forum taking place this year on 28th October, and the GAA Games Development Conference which takes place on the 12th and 13th January, 2018.

The initiatives

The GAA Super Games Centres in partnership with Sky Sports

The Super Games Centres have been established to reduce youth drop out which is the biggest worldwide problem in this sector. Research conducted by the GAA and University of Sterling prove the veracity of the SGC approach and the importance of giving this age cohort responsibility for the organisation of their own affairs. Sky Sports will provide support to each Super Games Centre in the form of kits and equipment. Regional visits with Sky Sports mentors will also be arranged throughout the year, with the aim to increase the number of Super Games Centres countrywide from 119 to 154 in 2017. With approximately 25 kids taking part in each Super Games Centre, the goal is to reach and encourage over 3,500 children annually.

Some of the mentors lined up to get involved in the Super Games Centres throughout the year include; Carla Rowe, Cora Staunton, Darran O’ Sullivan, Kevin Conlan, & Paul Geaney.

Dublin player and newly crowned All Ireland champion Con O’Callaghan and Sky mentors Carla Rowe and Darran O’Sullivan were in attendance to announce Sky Sports’ new grassroots partnership with the GAA.
Dublin player and newly crowned All Ireland champion Con O’Callaghan and Sky mentors Carla Rowe and Darran O’Sullivan were in attendance to announce Sky Sports’ new grassroots partnership with the GAA.

The #GAAyouth Forum in partnership with Sky Sports

The #GAAyouth Forum is a free annual event specifically for young GAA players – boys and girls – aged 12 to 21 years of age. It is designed for young players, by young players with the support of the GAA’s Youth Committee.

This year’s annual #GAAyouth Forum takes place in Croke Park, on Saturday 28th October. With some of the most experienced sports experts in its stable, Sky Sports will work with the GAA to provide a well-known sports personality to deliver expert advice and guidance to Ireland’s young GAA players on the day. Details will be announced in the coming weeks.

The application process is now open for all young players and there are 600 places available across three age-grades: 12 – 15 years; 16 – 18 years and 19 – 21 years. www.gaa.ie/gaayouth

GAA Games Development Conference in partnership with Sky Sports

The GAA Games Development Conference in partnership with Sky Sports is the flagship event of the GAA’s Coach Education programme.

Running since 2003 with over 800 of the GAA’s leading grassroots coaches in attendance, this year’s conference will take place over two days in Croke Park on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th January, 2018.

At the event, attendees will hear from some of the most influential voices in GAA and further afield with keynote addresses as well as workshops & seminars for smaller groups.

Pictured at Croke Park to announce Sky Sports’ commitment to grassroots were  JD Buckley, MD Sky Ireland and Aogán Ó Fearghaíl, Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchelas Gael.
Pictured at Croke Park to announce Sky Sports’ commitment to grassroots were JD Buckley, MD Sky Ireland and Aogán Ó Fearghaíl, Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchelas Gael.

Sky Sports will announce an elite sportsperson as keynote speaker in the coming months.

Commenting on Sky’s plans to invest €3million in grassroots GAA over the next five years, JD Buckley, Managing Director, Sky Ireland, said: “Our announcement today further demonstrates our commitment to GAA, not just in broadcasting the All Ireland Senior Championships, but also in supporting our stars of the future. We have enjoyed another wonderful season this year which saw 14 exclusive games air on Sky Sports and we look forward to working with the GAA across the Championship and at grassroots level for many years to come.”

Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael, Aogán Ó Fearghail, said: "I acknowledge the assistance of Sky Sports in supporting three very important initiatives in the ongoing development of our games at grassroots level with our young people.

"Our Super Games Centres, our Youth Forum and our extremely successful Games Development Conference are all organised with a view to engaging the young people who play our games and keeping them involved.

"This partnership complements the support Sky Sports have provided in showcasing our games to an international audience and I trust all three initiatives will go from strength to strength."

Commenting on the launch of today’s initiative, Pat Daly, GAA Director of Games Development & Research, said: "Where winning is concerned, many young people today are fighting a losing battle as reflected in the numbers who are dropping out of sport. The key principle where the Super Games Centre is concerned is that "everyone is good enough here". Instead of fighting a losing battle, every young person should battle to succeed - always. Then, everyone is a winner."

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