[{"Document":{"MediaType":"news","Sport":"","SeoTitle":"murphy-keen-to-fan-the-gaa-s-growing-flames-in-europe","Area":0,"Section":0,"Id":0,"Guid":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000","Title":"Murphy keen to fan the GAA's growing flames in Europe","Headline":"Murphy keen to fan the GAA's growing flames in Europe","Slug":"murphy-keen-to-fan-the-gaa-s-growing-flames-in-europe","Summary":"

By John Harrington\nDespite the chilling effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, new GAA clubs sparked into life all over Europe in 2020.\nZagreb in Croatia, Saint Columb and Strasbourg in France, Ulyanovsk in Russia, Torrevieja in Spain, and Budapest in Hungary have been added to the quickly growing list of

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The Europe Rovers Native Born Camogie squad during the Renault GAA World Games 2019 Day 2 at WIT Arena, Carriganore, Co. Waterford United.
\r\n

By John Harrington

\n\n

Despite the chilling effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, new GAA clubs sparked into life all over Europe in 2020.

\n\n

Zagreb in Croatia, Saint Columb and Strasbourg in France, Ulyanovsk in Russia, Torrevieja in Spain, and Budapest in Hungary have been added to the quickly growing list of Gaelic Games outposts all over the continent.

\n\n

The newest members of the European GAA family have accelerated a growing trend in so far as most of them have been founded by non-Irish and draw their players from the local population rather than Irish ex-pats.

\n\n

“We're at a place now in Europe where about 60 per cent of our 4,000 players are non-Irish,” Gaelic Games Europe’s Chairperson, John Murphy, told GAA.ie

\n\n

“We've reached the tipping point and we'll see more and more locals getting involved in the coming years.

\n\n

“The Galicians and the French have really driven it on if you want to pick regions that really stand out as representative of growing the sport. And then you’d also have a country like Germany where hurling is getting really quite popular.

\n\n

“And there's some great stories behind the new clubs that were established in 2020. Take Simbirsk Celts in Ulyanovsk in Russia.

\n\n

“Ulyanovsk is where Russia’s Olympic athletes train at the Russian Olympic Academy and they actually started playing Gaelic Football as a pass-time between sports.

\n\n

“So, you have all of these people who just love sport and have fallen in love with Gaelic Games.

\n\n

“In a year like 2020 where a lot of clubs are struggling and a lot of people are isolating and remote, to find people who have so much determination to start a club in a time like that I think bodes very well in Europe.

\n\n

“The embrace of the games by natives is a huge thing and it's something to be held up as to how our culture can spread.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Action\r\n\r\n
Action from a match between Moscow Shamrocks and the newly formed Simbirsk Celts Ulyanovsk last October. 
\r\n

Cork native Murphy was elected GGE Chairperson last year and is hugely passionate about growing the game further on the continent in the coming years.

\n\n

Around a quarter of Europe’s 90 GAA clubs have youth teams, and it’s here he hopes to see the greatest growth in the short-term in order to ensure an even brighter future in the longer-term.

\n\n

“Absolutely,” says Murphy. “In GAA clubs even in Ireland if you don't have a youth set-up then you're done. For us, Covid was a very good way of identifying that the Irish tap could turn off.

\n\n

“You have some clubs that would benefit from the influx of Erasmus students or, right now, you'd have a lot of English-speaking education in Europe so Budapest and Warsaw have very strong teams based around colleges there.

\n\n

“In other places it's more about the natives. Youth teams build a longevity and a sustainability to clubs, same as at home.

\n\n

“So, we're very much focusing on it. We're hoping to run our first formalised European Youth Games in 2021.

\n\n

What we have is five divisions in Europe - Nordics, Iberia, North West, Benelux and then Central East and we’re hoping to have youth clubs play one another in regional championships.

\n\n

“We have 24 clubs actively engaged with youth. Even talking about the subject of youth development more, we're seeing more clubs come to us who are interested in starting up.

\n\n

“The Youth Championships in the US, New York, Britain, and Asia are one of the big success stories they have had in terms of sustainability and we want to replicate that and get ours up and running. So the aim is to do that in 2021.

\n\n

“Ideally you'd want to have one centralised tournament, but we just want to get it started this year with the cluster approach in each of the regions to at least give the kids the opportunity to play games and make friends and allow the parents to network.

\n\n

“I think that's one of the things that undersold around the GAA, the network.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Gaelic\r\n\r\n
Gaelic Games Europe's new Chairperson, John Murphy. 
\r\n

Networking is certainly high on the agenda in Europe where Gaelic Games are as much a social outlet as a sporting one.

\n\n

Competitions are often played off in a blitz format that encourages clubs from across the continent to get to know one another and form relationships.

\n\n

And though everyone plays hard once a ball is thrown in, a premium is placed on fun and participation both on and off the pitch.

\n\n

“I would say with maybe the level of professionalism that has creeped into the game in Ireland at inter-county level and even at senior club level means it's not so much a labour of love to play the game any more,” says Murphy.

\n\n

“Playing for your county is an honour, absolutely, but the lads are putting 30 hours of full-time work into that and basically have two jobs.

\n\n

“You're also seeing that feed a bit into the senior club championships. Look at the condition of some of these senior club teams, there's no lad overweight or carrying a few Christmas pounds anymore, these lads are doing bleep tests and the rest even at club level.

\n\n

“Whereas I would say that in Europe we still maintain the fun and we have that camaraderie of it doesn't matter if we beat the sh*t out of one another on the pitch for 60 minutes, we'll still go for a beer after.

\n\n

“That's actually a huge appeal to me, especially with people coming over here, that fun is still a big part of the game in Europe.

\n\n

“Yes, there's competition and everyone loves to win, but at the end of the day you can all have a great night out together. The pure joy of playing the game is still what it's all about in Europe.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The Berlin GAA men and ladies football teams celebrating after being crowned Europe Central-East Champions in 2019.
\r\n

There are obvious challenges to growing the game in Europe where you’re dealing with a vast geographical swathe of countries, multiple languages, limited funds, and the challenge of finding adequate venues to play the games in.

\n\n

Murphy’s attitude is that where there’s a will there’s a way, but that it also pays to be smart.

\n\n

“We need to share ideas,” he says. “We run on a shoestring budget, but there's a lot of ingenuity around.

\n\n

“One of my favourite examples is Munich who have a youth club. And in order to help the parents so they don't have to buy a new hurley every year, a parent can rent a hurley for a child for a few euros and then at the end of the year the child gives back the hurley.

\n\n

“The following year they have grown a bit and need a bigger hurley so they rent one again which is a lot less expensive than buying a new hurley every year. It's a little thing, but it makes a difference.

\n\n

“It saves the parents money and it keeps the assets in the club so the club always has hurleys for kids.

\n\n

“We have 24 youth clubs, so there's 23 other clubs who could do something similar. For me, the GGE should be about giving people a platform for recognition and being collaborative.

\n\n

“Yes we provide guidance and strategy, but also a platform who are doing great things already.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The US Liffré Footballers from Brittany pictured after playing in Croke Park before the 2016 Allianz Football League Final where they defeated Kerry club Currow in an exhibition match.  
\r\n

Becoming GGE’s Chairperson at the height of a pandemic could be viewed as unfortunate timing, but Murphy isn’t the type to baulk at challenges.

\n\n

He’s a can-do type of character, and prefers to dwell on the potential opportunities he believes GGE could avail of from the other great upheaval of our times, Brexit.

\n\n

“I'd have five pillars I want to look at strengthening – youth; more native initiatives; brand awareness - we have some great stories but nobody knows them; commercialisation; and regionalisation,” he says.

\n\n

“The commercialisation is interesting, I think. With Brexit happening now there's going to be a lot more Irish companies who view Europe as their primary market. I think we should be engaging with them more.

\n\n

“There's a lot of Irish companies with people abroad and having lived internationally myself I know a concern for a company with putting employees in a new country is how are they going to settle in. Are they going to want to leave? What kind of community can they have?

\n\n

“The GAA can address a lot of that. We've seen it in Amsterdam where lads arrive here and all of a sudden they've something to do on the weekends so they have a sense of purpose outside of work and they have a community and a home away from home.

\n\n

“I think there's a big opportunity for Irish companies to work with us with more closely to help their employees feel more settled and for us to use the connections to drive more local initiatives and get partnerships with these companies going forward.

\n\n

“We have an opportunity to work more closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs. I think Brexit is kind of a blessing in disguise for us because a lot of companies are going to leapfrog to Europe and given our shoestring budget it makes sense for us to develop relationships with those companies.

\n\n

“Finally, the regionalisation. When you have clubs in Moscow and Lisbon it's very hard to have a detailed development plan for that to grow. So the aim is to give a framework to help regions flourish but also adapt to the local nuances.

\n\n

“There is a linguistic adaption needed in Spain and other countries. The regulations and rule books need to be in Spanish, the same in Germany, et cetera. Hurling seems to be more popular in Germany and football in other countries so the aim of the GGE is to create a framework but then allow the regions to be a bit more dynamic.

\n\n

“I use the analogy of a start-up company versus one that's long established. The GAA in Ireland where it has been there for 120 years and has its own long established structures and framework is almost like a General Electric whereas Europe is more of a start-up company.

\n\n

“We need to be a little more lean and agile in how we grow. So we have to walk that tight-rope of what do we think is structure and what do we think is overloading and infringing our growth.”

\n","RawBody":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

Despite the chilling effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, new GAA clubs sparked into life all over Europe in 2020.

\n\n

Zagreb in Croatia, Saint Columb and Strasbourg in France, Ulyanovsk in Russia, Torrevieja in Spain, and Budapest in Hungary have been added to the quickly growing list of Gaelic Games outposts all over the continent.

\n\n

The newest members of the European GAA family have accelerated a growing trend in so far as most of them have been founded by non-Irish and draw their players from the local population rather than Irish ex-pats.

\n\n

“We're at a place now in Europe where about 60 per cent of our 4,000 players are non-Irish,” Gaelic Games Europe’s Chairperson, John Murphy, told GAA.ie

\n\n

“We've reached the tipping point and we'll see more and more locals getting involved in the coming years.

\n\n

“The Galicians and the French have really driven it on if you want to pick regions that really stand out as representative of growing the sport. And then you’d also have a country like Germany where hurling is getting really quite popular.

\n\n

“And there's some great stories behind the new clubs that were established in 2020. Take Simbirsk Celts in Ulyanovsk in Russia.

\n\n

“Ulyanovsk is where Russia’s Olympic athletes train at the Russian Olympic Academy and they actually started playing Gaelic Football as a pass-time between sports.

\n\n

“So, you have all of these people who just love sport and have fallen in love with Gaelic Games.

\n\n

“In a year like 2020 where a lot of clubs are struggling and a lot of people are isolating and remote, to find people who have so much determination to start a club in a time like that I think bodes very well in Europe.

\n\n

“The embrace of the games by natives is a huge thing and it's something to be held up as to how our culture can spread.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Action\r\n\r\n
Action from a match between Moscow Shamrocks and the newly formed Simbirsk Celts Ulyanovsk last October. 
\r\n

Cork native Murphy was elected GGE Chairperson last year and is hugely passionate about growing the game further on the continent in the coming years.

\n\n

Around a quarter of Europe’s 90 GAA clubs have youth teams, and it’s here he hopes to see the greatest growth in the short-term in order to ensure an even brighter future in the longer-term.

\n\n

“Absolutely,” says Murphy. “In GAA clubs even in Ireland if you don't have a youth set-up then you're done. For us, Covid was a very good way of identifying that the Irish tap could turn off.

\n\n

“You have some clubs that would benefit from the influx of Erasmus students or, right now, you'd have a lot of English-speaking education in Europe so Budapest and Warsaw have very strong teams based around colleges there.

\n\n

“In other places it's more about the natives. Youth teams build a longevity and a sustainability to clubs, same as at home.

\n\n

“So, we're very much focusing on it. We're hoping to run our first formalised European Youth Games in 2021.

\n\n

What we have is five divisions in Europe - Nordics, Iberia, North West, Benelux and then Central East and we’re hoping to have youth clubs play one another in regional championships.

\n\n

“We have 24 clubs actively engaged with youth. Even talking about the subject of youth development more, we're seeing more clubs come to us who are interested in starting up.

\n\n

“The Youth Championships in the US, New York, Britain, and Asia are one of the big success stories they have had in terms of sustainability and we want to replicate that and get ours up and running. So the aim is to do that in 2021.

\n\n

“Ideally you'd want to have one centralised tournament, but we just want to get it started this year with the cluster approach in each of the regions to at least give the kids the opportunity to play games and make friends and allow the parents to network.

\n\n

“I think that's one of the things that undersold around the GAA, the network.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Gaelic\r\n\r\n
Gaelic Games Europe's new Chairperson, John Murphy. 
\r\n

Networking is certainly high on the agenda in Europe where Gaelic Games are as much a social outlet as a sporting one.

\n\n

Competitions are often played off in a blitz format that encourages clubs from across the continent to get to know one another and form relationships.

\n\n

And though everyone plays hard once a ball is thrown in, a premium is placed on fun and participation both on and off the pitch.

\n\n

“I would say with maybe the level of professionalism that has creeped into the game in Ireland at inter-county level and even at senior club level means it's not so much a labour of love to play the game any more,” says Murphy.

\n\n

“Playing for your county is an honour, absolutely, but the lads are putting 30 hours of full-time work into that and basically have two jobs.

\n\n

“You're also seeing that feed a bit into the senior club championships. Look at the condition of some of these senior club teams, there's no lad overweight or carrying a few Christmas pounds anymore, these lads are doing bleep tests and the rest even at club level.

\n\n

“Whereas I would say that in Europe we still maintain the fun and we have that camaraderie of it doesn't matter if we beat the sh*t out of one another on the pitch for 60 minutes, we'll still go for a beer after.

\n\n

“That's actually a huge appeal to me, especially with people coming over here, that fun is still a big part of the game in Europe.

\n\n

“Yes, there's competition and everyone loves to win, but at the end of the day you can all have a great night out together. The pure joy of playing the game is still what it's all about in Europe.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The Berlin GAA men and ladies football teams celebrating after being crowned Europe Central-East Champions in 2019.
\r\n

There are obvious challenges to growing the game in Europe where you’re dealing with a vast geographical swathe of countries, multiple languages, limited funds, and the challenge of finding adequate venues to play the games in.

\n\n

Murphy’s attitude is that where there’s a will there’s a way, but that it also pays to be smart.

\n\n

“We need to share ideas,” he says. “We run on a shoestring budget, but there's a lot of ingenuity around.

\n\n

“One of my favourite examples is Munich who have a youth club. And in order to help the parents so they don't have to buy a new hurley every year, a parent can rent a hurley for a child for a few euros and then at the end of the year the child gives back the hurley.

\n\n

“The following year they have grown a bit and need a bigger hurley so they rent one again which is a lot less expensive than buying a new hurley every year. It's a little thing, but it makes a difference.

\n\n

“It saves the parents money and it keeps the assets in the club so the club always has hurleys for kids.

\n\n

“We have 24 youth clubs, so there's 23 other clubs who could do something similar. For me, the GGE should be about giving people a platform for recognition and being collaborative.

\n\n

“Yes we provide guidance and strategy, but also a platform who are doing great things already.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The US Liffré Footballers from Brittany pictured after playing in Croke Park before the 2016 Allianz Football League Final where they defeated Kerry club Currow in an exhibition match.  
\r\n

Becoming GGE’s Chairperson at the height of a pandemic could be viewed as unfortunate timing, but Murphy isn’t the type to baulk at challenges.

\n\n

He’s a can-do type of character, and prefers to dwell on the potential opportunities he believes GGE could avail of from the other great upheaval of our times, Brexit.

\n\n

“I'd have five pillars I want to look at strengthening – youth; more native initiatives; brand awareness - we have some great stories but nobody knows them; commercialisation; and regionalisation,” he says.

\n\n

“The commercialisation is interesting, I think. With Brexit happening now there's going to be a lot more Irish companies who view Europe as their primary market. I think we should be engaging with them more.

\n\n

“There's a lot of Irish companies with people abroad and having lived internationally myself I know a concern for a company with putting employees in a new country is how are they going to settle in. Are they going to want to leave? What kind of community can they have?

\n\n

“The GAA can address a lot of that. We've seen it in Amsterdam where lads arrive here and all of a sudden they've something to do on the weekends so they have a sense of purpose outside of work and they have a community and a home away from home.

\n\n

“I think there's a big opportunity for Irish companies to work with us with more closely to help their employees feel more settled and for us to use the connections to drive more local initiatives and get partnerships with these companies going forward.

\n\n

“We have an opportunity to work more closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs. I think Brexit is kind of a blessing in disguise for us because a lot of companies are going to leapfrog to Europe and given our shoestring budget it makes sense for us to develop relationships with those companies.

\n\n

“Finally, the regionalisation. When you have clubs in Moscow and Lisbon it's very hard to have a detailed development plan for that to grow. So the aim is to give a framework to help regions flourish but also adapt to the local nuances.

\n\n

“There is a linguistic adaption needed in Spain and other countries. The regulations and rule books need to be in Spanish, the same in Germany, et cetera. Hurling seems to be more popular in Germany and football in other countries so the aim of the GGE is to create a framework but then allow the regions to be a bit more dynamic.

\n\n

“I use the analogy of a start-up company versus one that's long established. The GAA in Ireland where it has been there for 120 years and has its own long established structures and framework is almost like a General Electric whereas Europe is more of a start-up company.

\n\n

“We need to be a little more lean and agile in how we grow. So we have to walk that tight-rope of what do we think is structure and what do we think is overloading and infringing our growth.”

\n","AreaName":"","SectionName":"","Kind":0,"Date":"Wednesday 27 January 2021","DatePublished":"Wednesday 27 January 2021","DatePublishedAsDate":"2021-01-27T11:41:09.934Z","Thumbnail":{"Title":"The Europe Rovers Native Born Camogie squad during the Renault GAA World Games 2019 Day 2 at WIT Arena, Carriganore, Co. Waterford United.","TemplateUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/{formatInstructions}/v1611746260/yx4nw7kfvoqf2hr514ze","ThumbnailUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/w_250,h_250,c_thumb,g_auto,q_auto,f_jpg/v1611746260/yx4nw7kfvoqf2hr514ze","Format":"jpg","OverriddenFormats":{}},"HeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1611746260/yx4nw7kfvoqf2hr514ze.jpg","MobileHeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1611746260/yx4nw7kfvoqf2hr514ze.jpg","ThumbnailImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1611746260/yx4nw7kfvoqf2hr514ze.jpg","Images":{"ORIG":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/f_jpg/v1611746260/yx4nw7kfvoqf2hr514ze.jpg","HERO":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1611746260/yx4nw7kfvoqf2hr514ze.jpg","FEATURES":null,"MobileFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1611746260/yx4nw7kfvoqf2hr514ze.jpg","MobileStandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_372,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1611746260/yx4nw7kfvoqf2hr514ze.jpg","SmallFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_540,h_304,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1611746260/yx4nw7kfvoqf2hr514ze.jpg","StandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_440,h_248,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1611746260/yx4nw7kfvoqf2hr514ze.jpg","SmallThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1611746260/yx4nw7kfvoqf2hr514ze.jpg","SquareFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_661,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1611746260/yx4nw7kfvoqf2hr514ze.jpg"},"Match":null,"Competition":null,"CompetitionSeason":null,"CompetitionSeoName":null,"CompetitionName":null,"Url":"/news/murphy-keen-to-fan-the-gaa-s-growing-flames-in-europe/","HotlineUrl":"","IsHotlineUrlOpenedInANewWindow":true,"YoutubeID":null,"VideoId":null,"RelatedNewsArticles":null,"RelatedVideos":null,"RelatedPhotos":null,"RelatedAudios":null,"RelatedDocuments":[],"RelatedPhotoGalleries":null,"RelatedLinks":null,"RelatedMatches":[],"RelatedTeams":[],"RelatedFreeTags":[],"RelatedCustomEntities":[],"EditorialLabel":"Feature","AdditionalNotes":null,"Author":"John Harrington","DateUpdated":"2021-01-27T11:41:09.934Z","Tags":[{"Slug":"feature","Type":"tag","_translationId":"67c8a382-ee0b-425b-b072-740857296e94","_entityId":"124196a1-89c7-4419-b5e3-7698d55dd788","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/feature","Title":"Feature","NeutralSlug":"feature","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}}]},"AdditionalStyle":"","Href":"/news/murphy-keen-to-fan-the-gaa-s-growing-flames-in-europe/","Target":"","SportLabel":"","Skip":1,"ContentDate":"2021-01-27T00:00:00Z","SportTeller":115},{"Document":{"MediaType":"news","Sport":"","SeoTitle":"gaa-using-technology-to-tackle-rural-decline","Area":0,"Section":0,"Id":0,"Guid":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000","Title":"GAA using technology to tackle rural decline","Headline":"GAA using technology to tackle rural decline","Slug":"gaa-using-technology-to-tackle-rural-decline","Summary":"

By John Harrington\nThe GAA is ready to roll out a ground-breaking Geographic Information System (GIS) it hopes can help address the huge challenge posed by Ireland’s population shift from rural to urban areas.\nRural GAA clubs are struggling to field teams because they just don’t have the numbers, while

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Pictured\r\n\r\n
Pictured is O'Connor Park, the clubgrounds of Valentia Young Islanders.
\r\n

By John Harrington

\n\n

The GAA is ready to roll out a ground-breaking Geographic Information System (GIS) it hopes can help address the huge challenge posed by Ireland’s population shift from rural to urban areas.

\n\n

Rural GAA clubs are struggling to field teams because they just don’t have the numbers, while urban GAA clubs have issues catering for the surging populations in their catchment areas.

\n\n

The first of those increasingly problematic issues reared its head again last week when Valentia Young Islanders announced they wouldn’t be able to field a senior team this year and requested help from the South Kerry board to find a club they could amalgamate with at senior level.

\n\n

This trend is likely only going to accelerate in the coming years, but clubs and county boards will soon be in a position where they can anticipate these problems and plan for remedies rather than belatedly react to them.

\n\n

That’s thanks to a significant body of work carried out by the GAA’s Community Development, Urban and Rural committee chaired by Colm Cummins.

\n\n

As part of their work they have developed a GIS with Future Analytics that collates all demographic data relevant to GAA clubs from the Central Statistics Office, the Department of Education and equivalent bodies in the six counties.

\n\n

This will allow clubs and counties to know the birth-rate and population in their catchment area, how many players they have in their club at any one time at all age-groups, and what the participation rate is compared to the overall population in those age-groups.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The GAA's Geographic Information System (GIS) can show a club what percentage of each group in their catchment area are members of their teams at all age-groups. 
\r\n

The value of this information is obvious. For example, if a club knows that the birth-rate in its catchment has plummeted over a sustained period of time they’ll know they need to start planning now for possibly amalgamating with an another club at underage level in order to ensure the children in their catchment area will have a team to play with.

\n\n

The GIS has been successfully piloted in four counties - Kerry, Westmeath, Roscommon, and Tyrone – and now the plan is to roll it out to the 28 remaining counties, a process that will be spearheaded by the GAA’s Education Officer, Peter Horgan, and part-funded by the Sport Ireland Dormant Accounts Fund.

\n\n

The timing is serendipitous, because the GIS can now be synced with ‘Foireann’, the GAA’s recently launched new Games Management System which tracks club registration and playing numbers among many other features.

\n\n

This means it will be possible to continue updating the data on the GIS on a live basis.

\n\n

“For the pilot counties it was done with a questionnaire sent out to each club and that was completed by all clubs and sent back to the counties and uploaded and analysed,” Peter Horgan told GAA.ie.

\n\n

“That's obviously just a snapshot in time, so if we had gotten every county on board in 2020 we would just have had the 2020 data. 2021, 2022 and 2023 comes around quickly and if we gathered the data like we did for the pilot counties it would be a very labour intensive process each time.

\n\n

“What we want to happen is that the new Foireann system would be able to update the GIS project more or less on a live basis.

\n\n

“So, as clubs register their members and so on, that data would feed straight into the GIS which would mean that it's live as in we'd be able to see how the progress of the registration system is going, but also it would be consistently updated so we wouldn't have to do the survey of clubs each year.

\n\n

“It would just be a case that as clubs update their Foireann system each year that would automatically update the GIS system and we would build up a picture over a period of time.

\n\n

“Whereas you can imagine that if you were issuing a questionnaire to clubs every year it would get quite monotonous for everybody involved and quite difficult to build up that longitudinal approach to it.

\n\n

“At the moment we're working with Colm and his committee who are finishing up on a formal hand-over. But we're also looking at how we can progress their work over the rest of this year.

\n\n

“We're going to try to roll out the GIS to as many of the 28 counties as we can while focusing on maybe four to eight counties at a time.

\n\n

“Future Analytics are our partner is this project so they will assist us in uploading all that material to the GIS system and that obviously takes a bit of time and a bit of preparation work needs to go on in order for data from any individual county to be uploaded to the system and then to be utilised.

\n\n

“So we'll be working with them on doing that over the coming months. At the same time we'll be gathering information from counties and clubs around the country so we'll be able to do this as seamlessly as we can.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The overview of Westmeath's clubs and playing numbers on the GAA's Geographic Information System (GIS).
\r\n

The GIS is a very powerful tool that can be harnessed to provide the GAA with all sorts of valuable information.

\n\n

In the pilot counties it focused on the number of players active in a club and the participation rates in relation to the population in those catchment areas, but the possibilities are endless.

\n\n

For example, it could also quickly illustrate how many coaches are active in each club, what level they are qualified to, and what age-grades they are working with.

\n\n

Knowledge is power, but only if you put it to good use, and Horgan agrees how the GAA uses the information it collates will be just as critical as collecting it in the first place.

\n\n

“In a lot of cases the GIS is really going to give us data for what is happening, but we're going to have to interrogate that information to understand the hows and whys of it,\" he says.

\n\n

“We'll know a lot more about club numbers and population trends, we need to work on understanding what is happening that causes these numbers, what could assist clubs and how do we progress that.

\n\n

“How do we apply the information and knowledge we glean to policy change and potentially rule change within the organisation?

\n\n

“I think you can guarantee that it won't be a one size fits all solution.

\n\n

\"There's no two counties the same or even two clubs the same. That's why it's a little bit dangerous just going with raw numbers and information and not looking into the hows and whys of these things.

\n\n

“I think it is an important job and as an organisation I think we're becoming far more aware of the types of information that we have and how that might be useful to us in organising ourselves into best doing our business.

\n\n

“There's a lot of work involved in it. The four pilot counties that we had, there was a huge amount of things that we learned in working with those four pilot counties which will make the next step a little bit more manageable.

\n\n

“How we go about bringing the next 28 on board will be important. I think there will be good buy-in from clubs because I think the four counties that have been involved in the pilot will see the benefits from the information that they are getting.

\n\n

“It's going to be a tough process but I think it's something that when we look back on in three or four years time when we have the live information that we're going to see huge benefits from having a longitudinal approach to what we're doing instead of just having a snapshot from a single survey in a single year.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Tyrone's\r\n\r\n
Tyrone's population pyramid for 2016 on the pilot phase of the GAA's Geographic Information System (GIS). 
\r\n

As well as piloting the GIS in Kerry, Westmeath, Tyrone, and Roscommon, the Community Development, Urban and Rural committee chaired by Colm Cummins has also put considerable thought into how best use the information it has collated in those counties.

\n\n

Cummins believes the continued population shift from rural to urban areas will require the GAA to be open-minded about player eligibility to ensure that many rural clubs don’t go out of existence in the coming years.

\n\n

“We would suggest that we have to begin to introducing some element of flexibility to cater for the modern world and the way it works,” Cummins told GAA.ie

\n\n

“I think, we've just discussed this at a casual level, that you feel like the Association is maturing a bit and we don't have to be as strict in relation to eligibility rules if we could trust people to do the right thing.

\n\n

“There may be a bit of flexibility where a lad is, for example, living and working in Tralee and plays away with a club in Tralee but then could also get sanctioned for particular periods to go back and play championship with his home club in a rural part of Kerry or a club he has a connection with if they were under pressure.

\n\n

“The data would be there to say that a club like Valentia had only 12 registered players so, yes, we'll allow them an additional 10 sanctioned players from outside.

\n\n

“So, things like that, and they have been introduced previously in different ways such as weekend sanctions to go to play in the USA, et cetera. So we have precedents there.

\n\n

“It would help if we were able to introduce things like that to cater for the changing environment. It would be a terrible shame to let any other club go out of existence if there was a way of keeping it there.

\n\n

“They might just need to get over the hump for a couple of years, they might need that bit of flexibility just to keep the thing going and the numbers might show that some new families have moved into the area and in ten years the club could be back on its feet.

\n\n

“Again, it goes back to having the data and knowing that. Then you can make those informed calls which would be the important piece.

\n\n

“The question is whether are people are open to change, and I think they are. People will have to ask themselves would you rather introduce that flexibility or see these small clubs go out of existence.

\n\n

“To me, it would be about keeping our spread of clubs as we have them or even increase it. We should be increasing them as the population is growing and looking at new clubs in urban areas, but as a minimum we should hold what we have and that means introducing flexibility.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"A\r\n\r\n
A visual display of Valentia Young Islanders' playing numbers at all age-groups on the GAA's Geographic Information System (GIS). 
\r\n

Valentia are a topical case-study and suggest there’s a lot of merit in Cummins line of thinking.

\n\n

They don’t have enough players right now to field a senior team, but if they could provide an outlet for what senior players they do have through an amalgamation for the next few years, then further down the road they may be in a position to field a senior team of their own again.

\n\n

That’s what the data collated by the pilot phase of the GIS suggests at least, because Valentia have 45 registered players from U-10 to U-14 level who could provide the numbers required to field a senior team in the not too distant future.

\n\n

What’s for certain is that clubs and county boards in the coming years are going to have to be open-minded about such possibilities because the core issue is not going away, there will always be a natural move towards urbanisation in this country.

\n\n

“In fact, if anything, the rate of change is probably going to accelerate on two fronts,” says Cummins.

\n\n

“One is what was happening already in terms of the natural move towards urbanisation.

\n\n

“Another area that our group looked at over the duration of its term was planning policy and who the GAA should interact with planning policy.

\n\n

“We're lucky we had former minister Noel Dempsey on our committee and Noel did some great work in putting that together.

\n\n

“We sent out a lot of advice to clubs in terms of interacting with our county development plans. There is a big move within the county development plans because they now must be consistent with national policy.

\n\n

“And the national policy is dictating that for sustainable settlements they must be clustered. The day of single one-off housing is at its end.

\n\n

“What we're saying is that there's an opportunity here for the GAA that if counties and clubs engage correctly with the system, then we can push that development towards existing facilities.

\n\n

“So, if there is going to be a cluster of housing in a rural area, then let it be around the GAA pitch. That's one aspect we're looking at.”

\n\n

Ireland’s transformation from a largely rural society to an urban one presents a huge challenge for the GAA.

\n\n

But there is surely some encouragement to be drawn from the fact that the wit and the will exists within the Association to address it.

\n","RawBody":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

The GAA is ready to roll out a ground-breaking Geographic Information System (GIS) it hopes can help address the huge challenge posed by Ireland’s population shift from rural to urban areas.

\n\n

Rural GAA clubs are struggling to field teams because they just don’t have the numbers, while urban GAA clubs have issues catering for the surging populations in their catchment areas.

\n\n

The first of those increasingly problematic issues reared its head again last week when Valentia Young Islanders announced they wouldn’t be able to field a senior team this year and requested help from the South Kerry board to find a club they could amalgamate with at senior level.

\n\n

This trend is likely only going to accelerate in the coming years, but clubs and county boards will soon be in a position where they can anticipate these problems and plan for remedies rather than belatedly react to them.

\n\n

That’s thanks to a significant body of work carried out by the GAA’s Community Development, Urban and Rural committee chaired by Colm Cummins.

\n\n

As part of their work they have developed a GIS with Future Analytics that collates all demographic data relevant to GAA clubs from the Central Statistics Office, the Department of Education and equivalent bodies in the six counties.

\n\n

This will allow clubs and counties to know the birth-rate and population in their catchment area, how many players they have in their club at any one time at all age-groups, and what the participation rate is compared to the overall population in those age-groups.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The GAA's Geographic Information System (GIS) can show a club what percentage of each group in their catchment area are members of their teams at all age-groups. 
\r\n

The value of this information is obvious. For example, if a club knows that the birth-rate in its catchment has plummeted over a sustained period of time they’ll know they need to start planning now for possibly amalgamating with an another club at underage level in order to ensure the children in their catchment area will have a team to play with.

\n\n

The GIS has been successfully piloted in four counties - Kerry, Westmeath, Roscommon, and Tyrone – and now the plan is to roll it out to the 28 remaining counties, a process that will be spearheaded by the GAA’s Education Officer, Peter Horgan, and part-funded by the Sport Ireland Dormant Accounts Fund.

\n\n

The timing is serendipitous, because the GIS can now be synced with ‘Foireann’, the GAA’s recently launched new Games Management System which tracks club registration and playing numbers among many other features.

\n\n

This means it will be possible to continue updating the data on the GIS on a live basis.

\n\n

“For the pilot counties it was done with a questionnaire sent out to each club and that was completed by all clubs and sent back to the counties and uploaded and analysed,” Peter Horgan told GAA.ie.

\n\n

“That's obviously just a snapshot in time, so if we had gotten every county on board in 2020 we would just have had the 2020 data. 2021, 2022 and 2023 comes around quickly and if we gathered the data like we did for the pilot counties it would be a very labour intensive process each time.

\n\n

“What we want to happen is that the new Foireann system would be able to update the GIS project more or less on a live basis.

\n\n

“So, as clubs register their members and so on, that data would feed straight into the GIS which would mean that it's live as in we'd be able to see how the progress of the registration system is going, but also it would be consistently updated so we wouldn't have to do the survey of clubs each year.

\n\n

“It would just be a case that as clubs update their Foireann system each year that would automatically update the GIS system and we would build up a picture over a period of time.

\n\n

“Whereas you can imagine that if you were issuing a questionnaire to clubs every year it would get quite monotonous for everybody involved and quite difficult to build up that longitudinal approach to it.

\n\n

“At the moment we're working with Colm and his committee who are finishing up on a formal hand-over. But we're also looking at how we can progress their work over the rest of this year.

\n\n

“We're going to try to roll out the GIS to as many of the 28 counties as we can while focusing on maybe four to eight counties at a time.

\n\n

“Future Analytics are our partner is this project so they will assist us in uploading all that material to the GIS system and that obviously takes a bit of time and a bit of preparation work needs to go on in order for data from any individual county to be uploaded to the system and then to be utilised.

\n\n

“So we'll be working with them on doing that over the coming months. At the same time we'll be gathering information from counties and clubs around the country so we'll be able to do this as seamlessly as we can.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The overview of Westmeath's clubs and playing numbers on the GAA's Geographic Information System (GIS).
\r\n

The GIS is a very powerful tool that can be harnessed to provide the GAA with all sorts of valuable information.

\n\n

In the pilot counties it focused on the number of players active in a club and the participation rates in relation to the population in those catchment areas, but the possibilities are endless.

\n\n

For example, it could also quickly illustrate how many coaches are active in each club, what level they are qualified to, and what age-grades they are working with.

\n\n

Knowledge is power, but only if you put it to good use, and Horgan agrees how the GAA uses the information it collates will be just as critical as collecting it in the first place.

\n\n

“In a lot of cases the GIS is really going to give us data for what is happening, but we're going to have to interrogate that information to understand the hows and whys of it,\" he says.

\n\n

“We'll know a lot more about club numbers and population trends, we need to work on understanding what is happening that causes these numbers, what could assist clubs and how do we progress that.

\n\n

“How do we apply the information and knowledge we glean to policy change and potentially rule change within the organisation?

\n\n

“I think you can guarantee that it won't be a one size fits all solution.

\n\n

\"There's no two counties the same or even two clubs the same. That's why it's a little bit dangerous just going with raw numbers and information and not looking into the hows and whys of these things.

\n\n

“I think it is an important job and as an organisation I think we're becoming far more aware of the types of information that we have and how that might be useful to us in organising ourselves into best doing our business.

\n\n

“There's a lot of work involved in it. The four pilot counties that we had, there was a huge amount of things that we learned in working with those four pilot counties which will make the next step a little bit more manageable.

\n\n

“How we go about bringing the next 28 on board will be important. I think there will be good buy-in from clubs because I think the four counties that have been involved in the pilot will see the benefits from the information that they are getting.

\n\n

“It's going to be a tough process but I think it's something that when we look back on in three or four years time when we have the live information that we're going to see huge benefits from having a longitudinal approach to what we're doing instead of just having a snapshot from a single survey in a single year.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Tyrone's\r\n\r\n
Tyrone's population pyramid for 2016 on the pilot phase of the GAA's Geographic Information System (GIS). 
\r\n

As well as piloting the GIS in Kerry, Westmeath, Tyrone, and Roscommon, the Community Development, Urban and Rural committee chaired by Colm Cummins has also put considerable thought into how best use the information it has collated in those counties.

\n\n

Cummins believes the continued population shift from rural to urban areas will require the GAA to be open-minded about player eligibility to ensure that many rural clubs don’t go out of existence in the coming years.

\n\n

“We would suggest that we have to begin to introducing some element of flexibility to cater for the modern world and the way it works,” Cummins told GAA.ie

\n\n

“I think, we've just discussed this at a casual level, that you feel like the Association is maturing a bit and we don't have to be as strict in relation to eligibility rules if we could trust people to do the right thing.

\n\n

“There may be a bit of flexibility where a lad is, for example, living and working in Tralee and plays away with a club in Tralee but then could also get sanctioned for particular periods to go back and play championship with his home club in a rural part of Kerry or a club he has a connection with if they were under pressure.

\n\n

“The data would be there to say that a club like Valentia had only 12 registered players so, yes, we'll allow them an additional 10 sanctioned players from outside.

\n\n

“So, things like that, and they have been introduced previously in different ways such as weekend sanctions to go to play in the USA, et cetera. So we have precedents there.

\n\n

“It would help if we were able to introduce things like that to cater for the changing environment. It would be a terrible shame to let any other club go out of existence if there was a way of keeping it there.

\n\n

“They might just need to get over the hump for a couple of years, they might need that bit of flexibility just to keep the thing going and the numbers might show that some new families have moved into the area and in ten years the club could be back on its feet.

\n\n

“Again, it goes back to having the data and knowing that. Then you can make those informed calls which would be the important piece.

\n\n

“The question is whether are people are open to change, and I think they are. People will have to ask themselves would you rather introduce that flexibility or see these small clubs go out of existence.

\n\n

“To me, it would be about keeping our spread of clubs as we have them or even increase it. We should be increasing them as the population is growing and looking at new clubs in urban areas, but as a minimum we should hold what we have and that means introducing flexibility.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"A\r\n\r\n
A visual display of Valentia Young Islanders' playing numbers at all age-groups on the GAA's Geographic Information System (GIS). 
\r\n

Valentia are a topical case-study and suggest there’s a lot of merit in Cummins line of thinking.

\n\n

They don’t have enough players right now to field a senior team, but if they could provide an outlet for what senior players they do have through an amalgamation for the next few years, then further down the road they may be in a position to field a senior team of their own again.

\n\n

That’s what the data collated by the pilot phase of the GIS suggests at least, because Valentia have 45 registered players from U-10 to U-14 level who could provide the numbers required to field a senior team in the not too distant future.

\n\n

What’s for certain is that clubs and county boards in the coming years are going to have to be open-minded about such possibilities because the core issue is not going away, there will always be a natural move towards urbanisation in this country.

\n\n

“In fact, if anything, the rate of change is probably going to accelerate on two fronts,” says Cummins.

\n\n

“One is what was happening already in terms of the natural move towards urbanisation.

\n\n

“Another area that our group looked at over the duration of its term was planning policy and who the GAA should interact with planning policy.

\n\n

“We're lucky we had former minister Noel Dempsey on our committee and Noel did some great work in putting that together.

\n\n

“We sent out a lot of advice to clubs in terms of interacting with our county development plans. There is a big move within the county development plans because they now must be consistent with national policy.

\n\n

“And the national policy is dictating that for sustainable settlements they must be clustered. The day of single one-off housing is at its end.

\n\n

“What we're saying is that there's an opportunity here for the GAA that if counties and clubs engage correctly with the system, then we can push that development towards existing facilities.

\n\n

“So, if there is going to be a cluster of housing in a rural area, then let it be around the GAA pitch. That's one aspect we're looking at.”

\n\n

Ireland’s transformation from a largely rural society to an urban one presents a huge challenge for the GAA.

\n\n

But there is surely some encouragement to be drawn from the fact that the wit and the will exists within the Association to address it.

\n","AreaName":"","SectionName":"","Kind":0,"Date":"Tuesday 26 January 2021","DatePublished":"Tuesday 26 January 2021","DatePublishedAsDate":"2021-01-26T14:17:07.122Z","Thumbnail":{"Title":"Pictured is O'Connor Park, the clubgrounds of Valentia Young Islanders.","TemplateUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/{formatInstructions}/v1611668333/swlkl0wx6kf6mgysujcw","ThumbnailUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/w_250,h_250,c_thumb,g_auto,q_auto,f_jpg/v1611668333/swlkl0wx6kf6mgysujcw","Format":"jpg","OverriddenFormats":{}},"HeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1611668333/swlkl0wx6kf6mgysujcw.jpg","MobileHeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1611668333/swlkl0wx6kf6mgysujcw.jpg","ThumbnailImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1611668333/swlkl0wx6kf6mgysujcw.jpg","Images":{"ORIG":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/f_jpg/v1611668333/swlkl0wx6kf6mgysujcw.jpg","HERO":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1611668333/swlkl0wx6kf6mgysujcw.jpg","FEATURES":null,"MobileFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1611668333/swlkl0wx6kf6mgysujcw.jpg","MobileStandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_372,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1611668333/swlkl0wx6kf6mgysujcw.jpg","SmallFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_540,h_304,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1611668333/swlkl0wx6kf6mgysujcw.jpg","StandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_440,h_248,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1611668333/swlkl0wx6kf6mgysujcw.jpg","SmallThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1611668333/swlkl0wx6kf6mgysujcw.jpg","SquareFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_661,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1611668333/swlkl0wx6kf6mgysujcw.jpg"},"Match":null,"Competition":null,"CompetitionSeason":null,"CompetitionSeoName":null,"CompetitionName":null,"Url":"/news/gaa-using-technology-to-tackle-rural-decline/","HotlineUrl":"","IsHotlineUrlOpenedInANewWindow":true,"YoutubeID":null,"VideoId":null,"RelatedNewsArticles":null,"RelatedVideos":null,"RelatedPhotos":null,"RelatedAudios":null,"RelatedDocuments":[],"RelatedPhotoGalleries":null,"RelatedLinks":null,"RelatedMatches":[],"RelatedTeams":[],"RelatedFreeTags":[],"RelatedCustomEntities":[],"EditorialLabel":"Feature","AdditionalNotes":null,"Author":"John Harrington","DateUpdated":"2021-01-26T14:17:07.122Z","Tags":[{"Slug":"feature","Type":"tag","_translationId":"67c8a382-ee0b-425b-b072-740857296e94","_entityId":"124196a1-89c7-4419-b5e3-7698d55dd788","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/feature","Title":"Feature","NeutralSlug":"feature","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}}]},"AdditionalStyle":"","Href":"/news/gaa-using-technology-to-tackle-rural-decline/","Target":"","SportLabel":"","Skip":1,"ContentDate":"2021-01-26T00:00:00Z","SportTeller":115},{"Document":{"MediaType":"news","Sport":"","SeoTitle":"from-sea-to-shining-sea-gaa-in-the-usa","Area":0,"Section":0,"Id":0,"Guid":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000","Title":"From sea to shining sea - GAA in the USA","Headline":"From sea to shining sea - GAA in the USA","Slug":"from-sea-to-shining-sea-gaa-in-the-usa","Summary":"

By John Harrington\nFrom sea to shining sea, Gaelic Games are now being played all across the USA and the numbers participating continues to grow year on year.\nWhere once Gaelic Football and Hurling were only deeply rooted in the ex-pat Irish community in major migrant cities like New York,

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"USGAA\r\n\r\n
USGAA pictured at the 2019 Renault GAA World Games Opening Ceremony in Waterford.
\r\n

By John Harrington

\n\n

From sea to shining sea, Gaelic Games are now being played all across the USA and the numbers participating continues to grow year on year.

\n\n

Where once Gaelic Football and Hurling were only deeply rooted in the ex-pat Irish community in major migrant cities like New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco, now green shoots are sprouting up all over the States.

\n\n

USGAA is the governing body for promoting gaelic football, hurling, and camogie across the USA apart from in New York which has its own county board, and one of their biggest challenges in recent years has been accommodating the growth of the games.

\n\n

New clubs have formed in cities like Portland, Oregon; Butte, Montana; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Little Rock, Arkansas, and one of the most notable aspects of the development of the game in these areas is that it’s been driven by non-Irish who are totally new to Gaelic Games.

\n\n

“Yes, it's mostly amongst non-Irish outside of the traditional Irish population centres now where the growth is and even within that there's a sizable group that does not even have Irish ancestry,” says USGAA Games Development Officer, Rob Tierney.

\n\n

“You might have students who were studying in Ireland or maybe people just on vacation to Ireland and they saw it, particularly hurling, and they came back saying, 'Wow, we've got to play that here', and they introduce it whether it's within the college environment or if they look to get a group of friends together and they start off small and they form a team.

\n\n

“We’ve had new clubs formed in cities you might never almost have heard of and I think it has been aided by the fact we've got a pretty good development program here, we've come out with some solid initiatives in terms of new club development grants, new team development grants, pairing our game development administrators with emerging teams or emerging clubs.

\n\n

“Things like the Global Games Development Fund which is run by the department of foreign affairs and Croke Park and the World GAA Grant which we’re also very happy to get from Croke Park.

\n\n

\"We also get massive support from Munster GAA who we are partnered with. Pat O'Shea from Kerry and Joey Carton from Waterford traditionally come out once a year and provide massive help in terms of advice. They've been huge a huge help to myself as a Games Development Officer.\"

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"MidAtlantic\r\n\r\n
MidAtlantic goalkeeper John Blackburn in the Native Born Hurling Cup Semi-Final game against London during the Renault GAA World Games 2019 Day 4 at WIT Arena, Carriganore, Co. Waterford. 
\r\n

There are 142 senior GAA clubs in the USA outside of New York and 19 youth teams.

\n\n

In the space of a year the number of women playing gaelic football or camogie has grown by 25 per cent, and another interesting trend has been the rapid growth of hurling teams.

\n\n

“Hurling's growth has been quite tribal,” says Tierney. “You see a lot of folks with beards and tattoos and kilts when we have the national playoffs.

\n\n

“It's very much a kind of a tribal experience I think for people and that's what they're trying to connect it into.”

\n\n

It’s a combination of that desire to belong to a community as well as the opportunity to play team sport in a competitive environment that seems to be driving the growth of gaelic games in the USA where it can be difficult to find outlets for both.

\n\n

“The States would be a more individualistic society and trying to find that group of people that will welcome you can be tough,” says Tierney.

\n\n

“With us, I kind of think you're in until you work your way out of the group. There's a huge welcome and when you show up we're delighted to get you in and you're included straight away.

\n\n

“One of the great opportunities we have here and something that aids development is that American sports has a massive drop off after college.

\n\n

“If you're a handy sports player at whatever it is be it running, lacrosse, football, basketball, you might have played for your high school, you head off to college, and you come back to your city and you're kind of at a loss.

\n\n

“Yes, there are kind of recreational leagues that's more of an after-work getting together scene. But for competitive sport there isn't a lot here. Hurling, football, camogie are kind of fixing a hole that these athletes have.

\n\n

“In our own city here in Pittsburgh where I am we've recruited a lot of people that have finished college.

\n\n

“They didn't play in our youth program which is relatively new. They didn't play there, they came out of college, we're trying to do some recruitment locally as all cities do and then you find these athletes.

\n\n

“You're just going, 'wow', when you look at them. They're super-fit, they have ball skills. We have basketballers that come out and you can see immediately they have those hand skills.

\n\n

“They obviously have to work on their co-ordination and the skills when they play hurling and football for the first time, but they show up fit and that's a massive thing for us.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"A\r\n\r\n
A visual representation of where GAA clubs are located in the USA.
\r\n

One of the biggest challenges in administrating gaelic games is the USA is the sheer geographic size of the country as well as the explosion in the numbers playing the game.

\n\n

The country is divided into ten divisions, and many of those would cover sprawling areas where clubs are located many hours from one another which leads to obvious logistical challenges.

\n\n

“The South West Division goes all the way from San Diego on the coast up to Denver, and then out to Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin,” says Tierney.

\n\n

“So that's a massive area of the United States and that's a huge problem in terms of it's hard for them to create a championship.

\n\n

“In my own division (MidWest) we’re less than five hours away from everybody so it's a lot easier to create a championship situation than in some of those more remote areas.

\n\n

“Tied into the geography issue then is your meaningful games issue. So, somewhere like Denver would have a massive amount of practices, and the practice to games ratio is very high. Some cities have tried to and successfully created pub leagues.

\n\n

“Indianapolis in terms of the hurling or Milwaukee in terms of hurling have done massive work in creating city-wide leagues where they have drafts. It's a great social night where they have a draft very similar to what you'll see in American sports.

\n\n

“It's kind of selling this sport to the Americans in language they know, that's an important thing. So they have tackled the distance thing by having inner-city pub leagues where a pub or company sponsors this team and then they have a great competition.

\n\n

“So those are our biggest challenges - the practice to games ratio and the sheer geographic area we're working with.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Children\r\n\r\n
Children from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Cleveland pictured at the 2019 Continental Youth Championships. 
\r\n

If you want to really appreciate the growth of the game on the continent of North America as a whole, then look no further than the Continental Youth Championships (CYC) which is the largest Gaelic Sports competition outside of Ireland.

\n\n

Every year over 2,500 children aged from U-6 to U-18 and representing USGAA, New York GAA, and Canadian GAA play hundreds of matches organised over the course of four days.

\n\n

“A lot of parents are now starting to look at it as one of their weeks of vacation during the summer and they travel to whatever city is in,\" says Tierney. \"It's Chicago this year, Buffalo next year. There's a rotation that's been created.

\n\n

“But it's great, it's great for those kids. It's unbelievable when you see these children and teenagers playing these sports.

\n\n

“Look, it is the future. It's all very well that we have players coming out here during the summer on J1s, I see that as a rite of passage for young people in college, but also you have others who have come out to play and it's not very developmentally sound. You have teams that are only there because of that.

\n\n

“So, when you see the thousands of kids that are playing in the CYC, it's a really positive thing for the future but we need to do more work to encourage clubs to field teams at youth level and to develop gaelic games in schools and also local youth clubs.

\n\n

“We’ve had more growth in the last two to three years than in the previous ten, and it’s up to use to make sure that trend continues by doing our best to foster the new generation.”

\n","RawBody":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

From sea to shining sea, Gaelic Games are now being played all across the USA and the numbers participating continues to grow year on year.

\n\n

Where once Gaelic Football and Hurling were only deeply rooted in the ex-pat Irish community in major migrant cities like New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco, now green shoots are sprouting up all over the States.

\n\n

USGAA is the governing body for promoting gaelic football, hurling, and camogie across the USA apart from in New York which has its own county board, and one of their biggest challenges in recent years has been accommodating the growth of the games.

\n\n

New clubs have formed in cities like Portland, Oregon; Butte, Montana; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Little Rock, Arkansas, and one of the most notable aspects of the development of the game in these areas is that it’s been driven by non-Irish who are totally new to Gaelic Games.

\n\n

“Yes, it's mostly amongst non-Irish outside of the traditional Irish population centres now where the growth is and even within that there's a sizable group that does not even have Irish ancestry,” says USGAA Games Development Officer, Rob Tierney.

\n\n

“You might have students who were studying in Ireland or maybe people just on vacation to Ireland and they saw it, particularly hurling, and they came back saying, 'Wow, we've got to play that here', and they introduce it whether it's within the college environment or if they look to get a group of friends together and they start off small and they form a team.

\n\n

“We’ve had new clubs formed in cities you might never almost have heard of and I think it has been aided by the fact we've got a pretty good development program here, we've come out with some solid initiatives in terms of new club development grants, new team development grants, pairing our game development administrators with emerging teams or emerging clubs.

\n\n

“Things like the Global Games Development Fund which is run by the department of foreign affairs and Croke Park and the World GAA Grant which we’re also very happy to get from Croke Park.

\n\n

\"We also get massive support from Munster GAA who we are partnered with. Pat O'Shea from Kerry and Joey Carton from Waterford traditionally come out once a year and provide massive help in terms of advice. They've been huge a huge help to myself as a Games Development Officer.\"

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"MidAtlantic\r\n\r\n
MidAtlantic goalkeeper John Blackburn in the Native Born Hurling Cup Semi-Final game against London during the Renault GAA World Games 2019 Day 4 at WIT Arena, Carriganore, Co. Waterford. 
\r\n

There are 142 senior GAA clubs in the USA outside of New York and 19 youth teams.

\n\n

In the space of a year the number of women playing gaelic football or camogie has grown by 25 per cent, and another interesting trend has been the rapid growth of hurling teams.

\n\n

“Hurling's growth has been quite tribal,” says Tierney. “You see a lot of folks with beards and tattoos and kilts when we have the national playoffs.

\n\n

“It's very much a kind of a tribal experience I think for people and that's what they're trying to connect it into.”

\n\n

It’s a combination of that desire to belong to a community as well as the opportunity to play team sport in a competitive environment that seems to be driving the growth of gaelic games in the USA where it can be difficult to find outlets for both.

\n\n

“The States would be a more individualistic society and trying to find that group of people that will welcome you can be tough,” says Tierney.

\n\n

“With us, I kind of think you're in until you work your way out of the group. There's a huge welcome and when you show up we're delighted to get you in and you're included straight away.

\n\n

“One of the great opportunities we have here and something that aids development is that American sports has a massive drop off after college.

\n\n

“If you're a handy sports player at whatever it is be it running, lacrosse, football, basketball, you might have played for your high school, you head off to college, and you come back to your city and you're kind of at a loss.

\n\n

“Yes, there are kind of recreational leagues that's more of an after-work getting together scene. But for competitive sport there isn't a lot here. Hurling, football, camogie are kind of fixing a hole that these athletes have.

\n\n

“In our own city here in Pittsburgh where I am we've recruited a lot of people that have finished college.

\n\n

“They didn't play in our youth program which is relatively new. They didn't play there, they came out of college, we're trying to do some recruitment locally as all cities do and then you find these athletes.

\n\n

“You're just going, 'wow', when you look at them. They're super-fit, they have ball skills. We have basketballers that come out and you can see immediately they have those hand skills.

\n\n

“They obviously have to work on their co-ordination and the skills when they play hurling and football for the first time, but they show up fit and that's a massive thing for us.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"A\r\n\r\n
A visual representation of where GAA clubs are located in the USA.
\r\n

One of the biggest challenges in administrating gaelic games is the USA is the sheer geographic size of the country as well as the explosion in the numbers playing the game.

\n\n

The country is divided into ten divisions, and many of those would cover sprawling areas where clubs are located many hours from one another which leads to obvious logistical challenges.

\n\n

“The South West Division goes all the way from San Diego on the coast up to Denver, and then out to Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin,” says Tierney.

\n\n

“So that's a massive area of the United States and that's a huge problem in terms of it's hard for them to create a championship.

\n\n

“In my own division (MidWest) we’re less than five hours away from everybody so it's a lot easier to create a championship situation than in some of those more remote areas.

\n\n

“Tied into the geography issue then is your meaningful games issue. So, somewhere like Denver would have a massive amount of practices, and the practice to games ratio is very high. Some cities have tried to and successfully created pub leagues.

\n\n

“Indianapolis in terms of the hurling or Milwaukee in terms of hurling have done massive work in creating city-wide leagues where they have drafts. It's a great social night where they have a draft very similar to what you'll see in American sports.

\n\n

“It's kind of selling this sport to the Americans in language they know, that's an important thing. So they have tackled the distance thing by having inner-city pub leagues where a pub or company sponsors this team and then they have a great competition.

\n\n

“So those are our biggest challenges - the practice to games ratio and the sheer geographic area we're working with.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Children\r\n\r\n
Children from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Cleveland pictured at the 2019 Continental Youth Championships. 
\r\n

If you want to really appreciate the growth of the game on the continent of North America as a whole, then look no further than the Continental Youth Championships (CYC) which is the largest Gaelic Sports competition outside of Ireland.

\n\n

Every year over 2,500 children aged from U-6 to U-18 and representing USGAA, New York GAA, and Canadian GAA play hundreds of matches organised over the course of four days.

\n\n

“A lot of parents are now starting to look at it as one of their weeks of vacation during the summer and they travel to whatever city is in,\" says Tierney. \"It's Chicago this year, Buffalo next year. There's a rotation that's been created.

\n\n

“But it's great, it's great for those kids. It's unbelievable when you see these children and teenagers playing these sports.

\n\n

“Look, it is the future. It's all very well that we have players coming out here during the summer on J1s, I see that as a rite of passage for young people in college, but also you have others who have come out to play and it's not very developmentally sound. You have teams that are only there because of that.

\n\n

“So, when you see the thousands of kids that are playing in the CYC, it's a really positive thing for the future but we need to do more work to encourage clubs to field teams at youth level and to develop gaelic games in schools and also local youth clubs.

\n\n

“We’ve had more growth in the last two to three years than in the previous ten, and it’s up to use to make sure that trend continues by doing our best to foster the new generation.”

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By John Harrington\nThe physical and mental health of many of our young GAA players is being compromised by the mixed and often misleading messaging they are being exposed to in terms of body image and nutrition.\nIf you have an interest in sport, then there’s a good chance your

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Dr\r\n\r\n
Dr Sharon Madigan, Head of Performance Nutrition, Sport Ireland Institute, is a member of the Gaelic Games Sports Science Working Group's steering committee. 
\r\n

By John Harrington

\n\n

The physical and mental health of many of our young GAA players is being compromised by the mixed and often misleading messaging they are being exposed to in terms of body image and nutrition.

\n\n

If you have an interest in sport, then there’s a good chance your social media accounts are flooded with targeted advertising telling you how to achieve the perfect six-pack, what supplements you should take to help you in this endeavour, or why even intermittent fasting can transform your body for the better.

\n\n

The problem with this deluge of information is two-fold.

\n\n

Firstly, much of this unfiltered and unsolicited nutrition and exercise advice is misleading or even false to the extent that it can damage rather than enhance your heath.

\n\n

Secondly, the ‘body beautiful’ imagery that is usually used to push this messaging and the pressure to attain what is often unattainable poses a real threat to the mental as well as physical health of our young women and men.

\n\n

Dr. Sharon Madigan is the Head of Performance Nutrition with the Sport Ireland Institute and has real concerns about this growing trend.

\n\n

She hopes the newly formed Gaelic Games Sports Science Working Group that she is a member of can produce guidance that will help sift out the “cowboys and snake-oil salesmen” she believes are damaging the health of our young players.

\n\n

GAA.ie: Sharon, you have long history of working with both male and female GAA teams and players, isn’t that right?

\n\n

Sharon Madigan: I do. I started my trade with Burren back in the day in the 1990s. I spent many years with the Derry county team. I really felt that that's kind of where I learned my trade, before the days of structured service provision through institutes and high performance centres. And there was a great multidisciplinary team where I could learn from them and vice versa.

\n\n

There were no specialist courses on the island of Ireland and I had done mine in England and was a dietitian in the NHS. I was lucky enough to start a PhD in Jordanstown time around the time that the Sports Institute was being developed in Belfast. And GAA was one of the founder sports within the Northern Ireland Institute of Sports. A number of players from each of the counties in Ulster were selected receive support through the Institute in Jordanstown and I would have been working with the county Derry team at that stage as well. So, yeah, I have a long number of years experience of working with GAA players and teams, probably too many counties and clubs to mention. I've worked with a lot of great managers and coaches at county and club level and worked with both codes, men’s and women’s teams so I'd have a good range of experience.

\n\n

GAA.ie: Is one of the main goals of the new Gaelic Games Sports Science Working Group to drive a healthier message around nutrition to younger people through the GAA?

\n\n

SM: At the level county teams and club teams are at we're probably looking at some gains that can be made in terms of performance, but we're also looking at just the actual long term health and wellbeing of our players as well. That's our fundamental starting point.

\n\n

When you get to the level of an All-Ireland or national league the managers and coaches are looking to get as much as they can get out of the player. The player is looking to get as much as they can from their own performance. Nutrition can play a big part in that.

\n\n

When you're talking about underage, both of my kids used to play for clubs in Down and Antrim and both have hundreds of kids at all age levels there.

\n\n

Gaelic Games has such an opportunity to promote really good, healthy messages when it comes to nutrition. The club senior players and county players of whatever code can really encourage those messages down to those age-groups because they're hanging on their every word. They're watching everything they do and they want to be the same.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The Eatwell Guide.
\r\n

GAA.ie: Young people who use social media in particular are bombarded with unfiltered information on how to achieve a perfect body and what supplements they should use to help them. How damaging can it be for young people to be exposed to this?

\n

SM: I just think there are so many mixed messages out there. The big problem that we are struggling with is that a lot of individuals are very focused on what they see on Instagram or other social media outlets.

\n\n

Unfortunately, the body beautiful does influence a lot of our athletes across every sport, not just the GAA. And I think some of those messages are filtering down to our players at U-10, U-12, U-14, and U-16. Some of those messages are not appropriate and a lot of them are quite unhealthy.

\n\n

Supplements for me are the sprinkles on the cake. You have to have your cake right first with all of the basic ingredients there and the basic ingredients for someone who is 14 or 15 are very different than for someone who is 24 or 25. If the 14 or 15 year olds don't get the basic ingredients right, then they're going to run into trouble at 24/25. Because you're building resilience in particular in your bone health. At that age you're effectively paying into your bone pension in the teenage years and if they are following habits which can negatively affect that then it is a cause for concern. That's why calcium and iron rich foods are very, very important for boys and girls at that age group.

\n\n

That's why some of the messages that are coming out are so dangerous, messages like dairy isn't good, bread is not good for you or you could have an intolerance to it. Some people could have intolerances, don't get me wrong, but it's highly unlikely. But if people are substituting dairy with non-dairy alternatives, like rice milk and almond milk, and they think they're getting a like for like product they need to be aware that that is not the case when it comes to nutrition. We need to get across that it's the long-term health and wellbeing that's important, not the kind of short, sharp shock that's going to get you something tomorrow but is not lasting.

\n

Bone health is crucial for everyone. Some athletes appear to be more susceptible to bone injuries and we are looking to investigate if dietary aspects like lower carbohydrate intakes are linked. If you (or athletes who know) had 10mins to complete this https://t.co/WErxvwxnI7 pic.twitter.com/1tr1XhU1SN

— Sharon Madigan (@madigan_sharon) November 4, 2020
\n\n

GAA.ie: How big an issue is the growing obsession with body image having on the mental health of young people?

\n\n

SM: I've seen significant changes as the years have progressed. I'm now seeing more and more issues in terms of body image with boys and men as well as girls and women. There are issues here in terms of how people are thinking about their body image and the anxiety and stress that that is causing them because they're now so concerned with developing a six-pack or how they look in a shirt. Although most people will laugh it off, there are a significant bunch of people for who it causes some serious mental health issues. Many young sportspeople just aren't eating enough or are scared to eat because the messaging they're getting is not to eat too much because they'll become overweight.

\n\n

Quite often young players I work with seem very unsure when I come in and give them the message that they need to eat more to fuel what they're trying to do. I've seen some players in Universities who also play for their counties have breakfast at 10am, going into classes, going straight from classes to University training from 1pm to 2.30pm, getting into a car and driving to wherever county training is, doing that training, grabbing a quick sandwich if they're lucky and then getting back in the car back to Belfast and not eating again until 10am the next morning. And then they wonder why they have burn-out and suffer injuries.

\n\n

Supplements can have a place in sport and for some a really important place, but people don't know enough about them and understand how they work best and what is appropriate.

\n\n

I remember a few years ago a supplement was doing the rounds, all the rage, a stimulant, which had been implicated in a number of athlete deaths. That was on changing room tables at half-time for club level teams, and they didn't have a notion what it was going to do to them.

\n

Yes men and boys do get eating disorders and it’s common. There are huge pressures to get a certain look “lean” “leaner”. Even when the starting point is actually fine. There is also an idea that the lowest body fat you can get is the best. Not so https://t.co/tk3iz5KMza pic.twitter.com/6C1x5T5NWd

— Sharon Madigan (@madigan_sharon) August 4, 2020
\n\n

GAA.ie: Is there much of a correlation between incorrect nutrition and injuries in sport?

\n\n

SM: I believe there's a link between injuries and energy intakes and potentially links with bone injuries and low carbohydrate diets. I always try to educate players using the image of a fuel tank. So you have your fuel tank for training and your food gives you the fuel tank. Your food also fills up other tanks for good health, bone health, soft tissue health, blood health, hormones, immunity, et cetera.

\n\n

What a lot of players do in terms of their routine is to do the same thing every day and seem to forget on the day that they're training they will use more calories. They eat the same amount on those days or even less because they don't have the time to eat properly. So over a period of time the fuel going into those other tanks gets depleted to make sure there's enough fuel for the training tank. Then, 'bang', something happens. You'll find that the players who pick up colds during the winter are also the ones that get the hamstring and groin injuries.

\n\n

Some of them will say to you that they're cutting back on what they're eating because they want to lose weight and then they're also training very hard, but it's very difficult to do both at the same time.

\n\n

We do know that males are much more at risk of an injury happening just out of the blue. Females, because of the menstrual cycle, will have red flags that will be telling them that's something is not right, but they may not listen to it or they don’t know that it is a red flag. Whereas males don't have that. Now, let’s look at a player with a significantly labour intensive job, about 6' 5'', maybe 96 kilos. I would say easily for him his daily calorie expenditure was between 5000-7000 calories on a training day. And for lunch had had two packets of cooked chicken, some salad, and just one bread roll. He didn't want to eat carbohydrates because he wanted to keep his six-pack, and that's when you run into problems. There were lots of injuries.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"A\r\n\r\n
A female's menstrual cycle must be taken into consideration when it comes to sport and sports nutrition. 
\r\n

GAA.ie: What different considerations need to be given to the nutrition of female athletes compared to male athletes? You mentioned the menstrual cycle, is that something you have to take into consideration?

\n\n

SM: It is. Girls, like boys, would be concerned about body weight and body image. People mature and change body shape, particularly in their teenage years, at very different rates. So if you've got a girl that hasn't maybe matured as much at 12 or 13, she's maybe trying to do something different to a friend who has a different body shape. It can be hard at that age and you'll have girls who are cutting back on what they are eating and don't recognise how hard they are training. The overall cost is that they can end up actually not having a menstrual cycle. I have seen so many girls at the age of 16 or 17 who have not had a period because they're playing so much sport.

\n\n

What you have at the moment is a lot of young people doing extra running during this lockdown because they want to get fit and they think the way to achieve a change in body composition is to cut back on food. That's the first thing that goes when they're trying to change their body shape. Whereas if you eat appropriately and train appropriately, that's the best way to change your body shape. And when they don't have a menstrual cycle that is so important because that will tell us they're much more at risk of bone injuries and bone-health problems down the line because they haven't protected those bones. The other thing is that iron levels for females are different up to the age of 18. And their calcium becomes very important as well. So there are some considerations for females that are not massively different, but there is some difference there all the same.

\n

GAA.ie: There is little that can be done about all the mixed and misleading messaging that’s out there, but can the GAA at least strive to ensure its messaging in terms of nutrition is the best in class?

\n\n

SM:100 per cent. I think the key thing for us is that the messages that are being put out are appropriate for the age-group and the level that people are playing at. And also that the people who are delivering those messages are qualified to do so.

\n\n

That for me is a tricky situation because there was a long period of time when we didn't have the courses in Ireland to qualify people to deliver those messages, but we do now, and we have a lot of people who have gone away to do appropriate qualifications who have come back to Ireland.

\n\n

When I was working for any county team my first responsibility was the safety and wellbeing of the player. But I always felt I had a significant responsibility to the county board. If a county board buys supplements for players and those supplements are not appropriate or safe, then they're bringing a whole load of problems down on themselves.

\n\n

There are too many people swimming outside their lane across too many disciplines. I have called out colleagues and coaches when I felt they were saying things that were completely inappropriate. I think nutrition expertise can bring a lot to the party in terms of the health and wellbeing and safety of players at all levels. And it's not just about performance, it's the wider picture around nutrition for well-being throughout your life.

\n\n

GAA.ie: Can a system be put in place to make sure every GAA club has access to a qualified nutritionist they can go to for the right messaging?

\n\n

SM:That's one of the things we're looking at. We're looking first of all at what counties have that expertise in place already and whether those individuals could work across a region.

\n\n

As a starting point we would like to look at having appropriately qualified people within the provinces to figure out operationally what is required and support those practitioners within the counties. And then to try to build that up with all the people who are coming out of third level now with qualifications in sport, exercise, and nutrition.

\n\n

They can help deliver education programs for players, coaches and parents. They can add value to the overall multidisciplinary team. Ten years ago the big topic of conversation was burn-out, and part of that was due to this but we never really engaged the conversation that players weren't eating enough because maybe it sounds too basic.

\n

“Do you train the same way every day” “no” “Do you eat the same way every day” “yeah I have a good routine”. You need to fuel your training and periodisation of nutrition is crucial @LouiseMBurke @DairyCouncilNI #milkitNI pic.twitter.com/K2e4NCe7JH

— Sharon Madigan (@madigan_sharon) November 11, 2020
\n\n

GAA.ie: You sound enthusiastic about the plans the Gaelic Games Sports Science Working Group has and the potential impact of those plans?

\n\n

SM: Absolutely. There are enough people with appropriate qualifications in the country if we could just harness that in the right way.

\n\n

We've got a great sub-group of four people, two of which are based in third level and two of which are based in the Institute. We all come with a lot of experience with a range of counties, clubs and sports. All are practitioners.

\n\n

I don't know how many referrals I've had over lockdown of young boys and girls getting in trouble over over-training and under-eating. Some serious issues through the last six months which have been really very sad and so many people looking for help.

\n\n

There is a big body of work to be done and it can be a bit overwhelming when you look at it. The key is to start with evidence based recommendations and build and deliver on that so that all Clubs and Counties have access to appropriate resources for all their players.

\n\n

There are a lot of cowboys and snake oil salesmen out there and this group is aiming to produce guidance for the GAA to help sift them out.

\n\n

***

\n\n

The four members of the Gaelic Games Sports Science Working Group's nutrition sub-group are :

\n\n

Sharon Madigan - Head of Performance Nutrition with the Sport Ireland Institute

\n\n

Laura Mahony - Performance Nutrition Consultant with the Sport Ireland Institute

\n\n

Catherine Norton - Lecturer in Nutrition for Sports Performance in UL and Performance Nutritionist with Munster Rugby.

\n\n

Ronan Doherty - Performance Nutrition Consultant with the Sport Ireland Institute and Lecuter in LYIT.

\n
\r\n
Download The Food pyramid
\r\n
Download The Eatwell Guide
\r\n
Download Information on Sports Supplements
","RawBody":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

The physical and mental health of many of our young GAA players is being compromised by the mixed and often misleading messaging they are being exposed to in terms of body image and nutrition.

\n\n

If you have an interest in sport, then there’s a good chance your social media accounts are flooded with targeted advertising telling you how to achieve the perfect six-pack, what supplements you should take to help you in this endeavour, or why even intermittent fasting can transform your body for the better.

\n\n

The problem with this deluge of information is two-fold.

\n\n

Firstly, much of this unfiltered and unsolicited nutrition and exercise advice is misleading or even false to the extent that it can damage rather than enhance your heath.

\n\n

Secondly, the ‘body beautiful’ imagery that is usually used to push this messaging and the pressure to attain what is often unattainable poses a real threat to the mental as well as physical health of our young women and men.

\n\n

Dr. Sharon Madigan is the Head of Performance Nutrition with the Sport Ireland Institute and has real concerns about this growing trend.

\n\n

She hopes the newly formed Gaelic Games Sports Science Working Group that she is a member of can produce guidance that will help sift out the “cowboys and snake-oil salesmen” she believes are damaging the health of our young players.

\n\n

GAA.ie: Sharon, you have long history of working with both male and female GAA teams and players, isn’t that right?

\n\n

Sharon Madigan: I do. I started my trade with Burren back in the day in the 1990s. I spent many years with the Derry county team. I really felt that that's kind of where I learned my trade, before the days of structured service provision through institutes and high performance centres. And there was a great multidisciplinary team where I could learn from them and vice versa.

\n\n

There were no specialist courses on the island of Ireland and I had done mine in England and was a dietitian in the NHS. I was lucky enough to start a PhD in Jordanstown time around the time that the Sports Institute was being developed in Belfast. And GAA was one of the founder sports within the Northern Ireland Institute of Sports. A number of players from each of the counties in Ulster were selected receive support through the Institute in Jordanstown and I would have been working with the county Derry team at that stage as well. So, yeah, I have a long number of years experience of working with GAA players and teams, probably too many counties and clubs to mention. I've worked with a lot of great managers and coaches at county and club level and worked with both codes, men’s and women’s teams so I'd have a good range of experience.

\n\n

GAA.ie: Is one of the main goals of the new Gaelic Games Sports Science Working Group to drive a healthier message around nutrition to younger people through the GAA?

\n\n

SM: At the level county teams and club teams are at we're probably looking at some gains that can be made in terms of performance, but we're also looking at just the actual long term health and wellbeing of our players as well. That's our fundamental starting point.

\n\n

When you get to the level of an All-Ireland or national league the managers and coaches are looking to get as much as they can get out of the player. The player is looking to get as much as they can from their own performance. Nutrition can play a big part in that.

\n\n

When you're talking about underage, both of my kids used to play for clubs in Down and Antrim and both have hundreds of kids at all age levels there.

\n\n

Gaelic Games has such an opportunity to promote really good, healthy messages when it comes to nutrition. The club senior players and county players of whatever code can really encourage those messages down to those age-groups because they're hanging on their every word. They're watching everything they do and they want to be the same.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The Eatwell Guide.
\r\n

GAA.ie: Young people who use social media in particular are bombarded with unfiltered information on how to achieve a perfect body and what supplements they should use to help them. How damaging can it be for young people to be exposed to this?

\n

SM: I just think there are so many mixed messages out there. The big problem that we are struggling with is that a lot of individuals are very focused on what they see on Instagram or other social media outlets.

\n\n

Unfortunately, the body beautiful does influence a lot of our athletes across every sport, not just the GAA. And I think some of those messages are filtering down to our players at U-10, U-12, U-14, and U-16. Some of those messages are not appropriate and a lot of them are quite unhealthy.

\n\n

Supplements for me are the sprinkles on the cake. You have to have your cake right first with all of the basic ingredients there and the basic ingredients for someone who is 14 or 15 are very different than for someone who is 24 or 25. If the 14 or 15 year olds don't get the basic ingredients right, then they're going to run into trouble at 24/25. Because you're building resilience in particular in your bone health. At that age you're effectively paying into your bone pension in the teenage years and if they are following habits which can negatively affect that then it is a cause for concern. That's why calcium and iron rich foods are very, very important for boys and girls at that age group.

\n\n

That's why some of the messages that are coming out are so dangerous, messages like dairy isn't good, bread is not good for you or you could have an intolerance to it. Some people could have intolerances, don't get me wrong, but it's highly unlikely. But if people are substituting dairy with non-dairy alternatives, like rice milk and almond milk, and they think they're getting a like for like product they need to be aware that that is not the case when it comes to nutrition. We need to get across that it's the long-term health and wellbeing that's important, not the kind of short, sharp shock that's going to get you something tomorrow but is not lasting.

\n

Bone health is crucial for everyone. Some athletes appear to be more susceptible to bone injuries and we are looking to investigate if dietary aspects like lower carbohydrate intakes are linked. If you (or athletes who know) had 10mins to complete this https://t.co/WErxvwxnI7 pic.twitter.com/1tr1XhU1SN

— Sharon Madigan (@madigan_sharon) November 4, 2020
\n\n

GAA.ie: How big an issue is the growing obsession with body image having on the mental health of young people?

\n\n

SM: I've seen significant changes as the years have progressed. I'm now seeing more and more issues in terms of body image with boys and men as well as girls and women. There are issues here in terms of how people are thinking about their body image and the anxiety and stress that that is causing them because they're now so concerned with developing a six-pack or how they look in a shirt. Although most people will laugh it off, there are a significant bunch of people for who it causes some serious mental health issues. Many young sportspeople just aren't eating enough or are scared to eat because the messaging they're getting is not to eat too much because they'll become overweight.

\n\n

Quite often young players I work with seem very unsure when I come in and give them the message that they need to eat more to fuel what they're trying to do. I've seen some players in Universities who also play for their counties have breakfast at 10am, going into classes, going straight from classes to University training from 1pm to 2.30pm, getting into a car and driving to wherever county training is, doing that training, grabbing a quick sandwich if they're lucky and then getting back in the car back to Belfast and not eating again until 10am the next morning. And then they wonder why they have burn-out and suffer injuries.

\n\n

Supplements can have a place in sport and for some a really important place, but people don't know enough about them and understand how they work best and what is appropriate.

\n\n

I remember a few years ago a supplement was doing the rounds, all the rage, a stimulant, which had been implicated in a number of athlete deaths. That was on changing room tables at half-time for club level teams, and they didn't have a notion what it was going to do to them.

\n

Yes men and boys do get eating disorders and it’s common. There are huge pressures to get a certain look “lean” “leaner”. Even when the starting point is actually fine. There is also an idea that the lowest body fat you can get is the best. Not so https://t.co/tk3iz5KMza pic.twitter.com/6C1x5T5NWd

— Sharon Madigan (@madigan_sharon) August 4, 2020
\n\n

GAA.ie: Is there much of a correlation between incorrect nutrition and injuries in sport?

\n\n

SM: I believe there's a link between injuries and energy intakes and potentially links with bone injuries and low carbohydrate diets. I always try to educate players using the image of a fuel tank. So you have your fuel tank for training and your food gives you the fuel tank. Your food also fills up other tanks for good health, bone health, soft tissue health, blood health, hormones, immunity, et cetera.

\n\n

What a lot of players do in terms of their routine is to do the same thing every day and seem to forget on the day that they're training they will use more calories. They eat the same amount on those days or even less because they don't have the time to eat properly. So over a period of time the fuel going into those other tanks gets depleted to make sure there's enough fuel for the training tank. Then, 'bang', something happens. You'll find that the players who pick up colds during the winter are also the ones that get the hamstring and groin injuries.

\n\n

Some of them will say to you that they're cutting back on what they're eating because they want to lose weight and then they're also training very hard, but it's very difficult to do both at the same time.

\n\n

We do know that males are much more at risk of an injury happening just out of the blue. Females, because of the menstrual cycle, will have red flags that will be telling them that's something is not right, but they may not listen to it or they don’t know that it is a red flag. Whereas males don't have that. Now, let’s look at a player with a significantly labour intensive job, about 6' 5'', maybe 96 kilos. I would say easily for him his daily calorie expenditure was between 5000-7000 calories on a training day. And for lunch had had two packets of cooked chicken, some salad, and just one bread roll. He didn't want to eat carbohydrates because he wanted to keep his six-pack, and that's when you run into problems. There were lots of injuries.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"A\r\n\r\n
A female's menstrual cycle must be taken into consideration when it comes to sport and sports nutrition. 
\r\n

GAA.ie: What different considerations need to be given to the nutrition of female athletes compared to male athletes? You mentioned the menstrual cycle, is that something you have to take into consideration?

\n\n

SM: It is. Girls, like boys, would be concerned about body weight and body image. People mature and change body shape, particularly in their teenage years, at very different rates. So if you've got a girl that hasn't maybe matured as much at 12 or 13, she's maybe trying to do something different to a friend who has a different body shape. It can be hard at that age and you'll have girls who are cutting back on what they are eating and don't recognise how hard they are training. The overall cost is that they can end up actually not having a menstrual cycle. I have seen so many girls at the age of 16 or 17 who have not had a period because they're playing so much sport.

\n\n

What you have at the moment is a lot of young people doing extra running during this lockdown because they want to get fit and they think the way to achieve a change in body composition is to cut back on food. That's the first thing that goes when they're trying to change their body shape. Whereas if you eat appropriately and train appropriately, that's the best way to change your body shape. And when they don't have a menstrual cycle that is so important because that will tell us they're much more at risk of bone injuries and bone-health problems down the line because they haven't protected those bones. The other thing is that iron levels for females are different up to the age of 18. And their calcium becomes very important as well. So there are some considerations for females that are not massively different, but there is some difference there all the same.

\n

GAA.ie: There is little that can be done about all the mixed and misleading messaging that’s out there, but can the GAA at least strive to ensure its messaging in terms of nutrition is the best in class?

\n\n

SM:100 per cent. I think the key thing for us is that the messages that are being put out are appropriate for the age-group and the level that people are playing at. And also that the people who are delivering those messages are qualified to do so.

\n\n

That for me is a tricky situation because there was a long period of time when we didn't have the courses in Ireland to qualify people to deliver those messages, but we do now, and we have a lot of people who have gone away to do appropriate qualifications who have come back to Ireland.

\n\n

When I was working for any county team my first responsibility was the safety and wellbeing of the player. But I always felt I had a significant responsibility to the county board. If a county board buys supplements for players and those supplements are not appropriate or safe, then they're bringing a whole load of problems down on themselves.

\n\n

There are too many people swimming outside their lane across too many disciplines. I have called out colleagues and coaches when I felt they were saying things that were completely inappropriate. I think nutrition expertise can bring a lot to the party in terms of the health and wellbeing and safety of players at all levels. And it's not just about performance, it's the wider picture around nutrition for well-being throughout your life.

\n\n

GAA.ie: Can a system be put in place to make sure every GAA club has access to a qualified nutritionist they can go to for the right messaging?

\n\n

SM:That's one of the things we're looking at. We're looking first of all at what counties have that expertise in place already and whether those individuals could work across a region.

\n\n

As a starting point we would like to look at having appropriately qualified people within the provinces to figure out operationally what is required and support those practitioners within the counties. And then to try to build that up with all the people who are coming out of third level now with qualifications in sport, exercise, and nutrition.

\n\n

They can help deliver education programs for players, coaches and parents. They can add value to the overall multidisciplinary team. Ten years ago the big topic of conversation was burn-out, and part of that was due to this but we never really engaged the conversation that players weren't eating enough because maybe it sounds too basic.

\n

“Do you train the same way every day” “no” “Do you eat the same way every day” “yeah I have a good routine”. You need to fuel your training and periodisation of nutrition is crucial @LouiseMBurke @DairyCouncilNI #milkitNI pic.twitter.com/K2e4NCe7JH

— Sharon Madigan (@madigan_sharon) November 11, 2020
\n\n

GAA.ie: You sound enthusiastic about the plans the Gaelic Games Sports Science Working Group has and the potential impact of those plans?

\n\n

SM: Absolutely. There are enough people with appropriate qualifications in the country if we could just harness that in the right way.

\n\n

We've got a great sub-group of four people, two of which are based in third level and two of which are based in the Institute. We all come with a lot of experience with a range of counties, clubs and sports. All are practitioners.

\n\n

I don't know how many referrals I've had over lockdown of young boys and girls getting in trouble over over-training and under-eating. Some serious issues through the last six months which have been really very sad and so many people looking for help.

\n\n

There is a big body of work to be done and it can be a bit overwhelming when you look at it. The key is to start with evidence based recommendations and build and deliver on that so that all Clubs and Counties have access to appropriate resources for all their players.

\n\n

There are a lot of cowboys and snake oil salesmen out there and this group is aiming to produce guidance for the GAA to help sift them out.

\n\n

***

\n\n

The four members of the Gaelic Games Sports Science Working Group's nutrition sub-group are :

\n\n

Sharon Madigan - Head of Performance Nutrition with the Sport Ireland Institute

\n\n

Laura Mahony - Performance Nutrition Consultant with the Sport Ireland Institute

\n\n

Catherine Norton - Lecturer in Nutrition for Sports Performance in UL and Performance Nutritionist with Munster Rugby.

\n\n

Ronan Doherty - Performance Nutrition Consultant with the Sport Ireland Institute and Lecuter in LYIT.

\n
\r\n
Download The Food pyramid
\r\n
Download The Eatwell Guide
\r\n
Download Information on Sports Supplements
","AreaName":"","SectionName":"","Kind":0,"Date":"Friday 22 January 2021","DatePublished":"Friday 22 January 2021","DatePublishedAsDate":"2021-01-22T12:41:04.452Z","Thumbnail":{"Title":"Dr Sharon Madigan, Head of Performance Nutrition, Sport Ireland Institute, is a member of the Gaelic Games Sports Science Working Group's steering committee. ","TemplateUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/{formatInstructions}/hcstecs5m6jbhz7crnx9","ThumbnailUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/w_250,h_250,c_thumb,g_auto,q_auto,f_jpg/hcstecs5m6jbhz7crnx9","Format":"jpg","OverriddenFormats":{}},"HeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/hcstecs5m6jbhz7crnx9.jpg","MobileHeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/hcstecs5m6jbhz7crnx9.jpg","ThumbnailImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/hcstecs5m6jbhz7crnx9.jpg","Images":{"ORIG":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/f_jpg/hcstecs5m6jbhz7crnx9.jpg","HERO":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/hcstecs5m6jbhz7crnx9.jpg","FEATURES":null,"MobileFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/hcstecs5m6jbhz7crnx9.jpg","MobileStandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_372,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/hcstecs5m6jbhz7crnx9.jpg","SmallFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_540,h_304,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/hcstecs5m6jbhz7crnx9.jpg","StandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_440,h_248,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/hcstecs5m6jbhz7crnx9.jpg","SmallThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/hcstecs5m6jbhz7crnx9.jpg","SquareFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_661,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/hcstecs5m6jbhz7crnx9.jpg"},"Match":null,"Competition":null,"CompetitionSeason":null,"CompetitionSeoName":null,"CompetitionName":null,"Url":"/news/proper/","HotlineUrl":"","IsHotlineUrlOpenedInANewWindow":true,"YoutubeID":null,"VideoId":null,"RelatedNewsArticles":null,"RelatedVideos":null,"RelatedPhotos":null,"RelatedAudios":null,"RelatedDocuments":[],"RelatedPhotoGalleries":null,"RelatedLinks":null,"RelatedMatches":[],"RelatedTeams":[],"RelatedFreeTags":[],"RelatedCustomEntities":[],"EditorialLabel":"Feature","AdditionalNotes":null,"Author":"John Harrington","DateUpdated":"2021-01-22T12:42:07.958Z","Tags":[{"Slug":"feature","Type":"tag","_translationId":"67c8a382-ee0b-425b-b072-740857296e94","_entityId":"124196a1-89c7-4419-b5e3-7698d55dd788","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/feature","Title":"Feature","NeutralSlug":"feature","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}}]},"AdditionalStyle":"","Href":"/news/proper/","Target":"","SportLabel":"","Skip":1,"ContentDate":"2021-01-22T00:00:00Z","SportTeller":115},{"Document":{"MediaType":"news","Sport":"","SeoTitle":"joanne-o-riordan-encourages-gaa-clubs-to-embrace-inclusion-and-diversity","Area":0,"Section":0,"Id":0,"Guid":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000","Title":"Joanne O'Riordan encourages GAA clubs to embrace inclusion and diversity","Headline":null,"Slug":"joanne-o-riordan-encourages-gaa-clubs-to-embrace-inclusion-and-diversity","Summary":"

By John Harrington\nOne of only seven people in the world with Total Amelia, a condition where you’re born without your limbs, Joanne O’Riordan has never allowed herself be defined by her disability.\nRather than be constrained by a society that doesn’t always make it easy for people with disabilities

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Joanne\r\n\r\n
Joanne O'Riordan pictured with Legion GAA club-mate, James O'Donoghue, after victory over Dr. Crokes in the 2019 East Kerry Football Final. 
\r\n

By John Harrington

\n\n

One of only seven people in the world with Total Amelia, a condition where you’re born without your limbs, Joanne O’Riordan has never allowed herself be defined by her disability.

\n\n

Rather than be constrained by a society that doesn’t always make it easy for people with disabilities to live the life they want to live, the Cork woman has never been shy about demanding equal opportunities.

\n\n

This attitude combined with her vibrant communication skills has made her a powerful activist and advocate for people with disabilities.

\n\n

On Saturday, she’ll speak on the topic of Diversity and Inclusion at the 2021 GAA Healthy Clubs Conference.

\n\n

A sports journalist with the Irish Times and RedFM, her lifelong passion for sport and involvement in gaelic games makes her very qualified to spread the message of how the GAA can better include everyone in the community.

\n\n

“My family are absolutely mad into sport,” O’Riordan told GAA.ie

\n\n

“When I was just two weeks old my parents brought me to my first local GAA match, one of my brothers was playing.

\n\n

“That was basically where it all started. My siblings always got me involved. They'd bring me outside and put me in goals and literally kick footballs at my head until I was concussed!

\n\n

“Gaelic Football was always number one for me growing up. I loved watching the Cork footballers, both the men and women. I loved the whole excitement of it.

\n\n

“My Dad brought me to my first game when I was jour four years old. It was Cork against Kerry down in Fitzgerald Stadium and there's a picture of me in the Kerry's Eye with my Dad and he's throwing me up in the air after Cork scored a goal!”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Joanne\r\n\r\n
Joanne O'Riordan pictured with Cork players (clockwise) Deirdre O'Reilly, Valerie Mulcahy, Juliet Murphy, Briege Corkery and Geraldine O'Flynn with their 2013 TG4 Ladies Football All-Star Awards.
\r\n

When O’Riordan was ten years of age her parents signed her up for a power chaired soccer tournament in Tralee because they figured that might be a more suitable sporting arena that having footballs kicked at her by her siblings.

\n\n

But years of being treated no differently than anyone else made that a jarring experience for O’Riordan.

\n\n

The competitive instincts honed in her own back-garden reacted adversely to the concession of six goals and she had the dubious distinction of being red-carded for letting her team’s goalkeeper know in pretty agricultural terms just how lowly she rated his goalkeeping skills.

\n\n

“I literally made Roy Keane look like Mother Theresa!”, says O’Riordan. “I suppose I was just so accustomed participating in sport with my siblings and friends and not feeling any different to them.

\n\n

“So, when I went to a place that emphasised difference and that I was different and I didn't really enjoy that. That wasn't an environment that I wanted to be in. I wanted to be the same as others even thought I was different. I wanted to be involved.

\n\n

“If I had to adapt to play the sport, then so be it, everybody else had to change with me. I wasn't a person who wanted to find an environment that matched me, I was more of a person that wanted to change my environment as I went along and hopefully for the better.”

\n\n

O’Riordan’s own experience highlights the fact that there is no one size fits all approach to being inclusive to everyone in the community.

\n\n

For example, GAA clubs like Raheny, Scoil Ui Chonaill, Midleton, and Lucan Sarsfields all run hugely successful sports programmes for children with additional needs.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The Raheny All-Stars pictured at Áras an Uachtarain with President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina.
\r\n

But you can be sure too that some children with additional needs would prefer to receive specialist coaching that would allow them to play with all the other children in the GAA club rather than be segregated from them.

\n\n

“There's no one blueprint because every club and every person is different,” says O’Riordan.

\n\n

“I think diversity and inclusion starts with everyone. You know it's not just one disability group talking to other disability groups.

\n\n

“It's people talking to everyone in society and having a collaborative approach in order to make sure that at least we are on a bit of an equal footing.

\n\n

“I'm actually involved with Killarney Legion across the border in Kerry. Even small things they do like getting children involved in the Go Games even if they're not able to play.

\n\n

“They get them helping in some other way on the sideline giving out water or bibs or to just encourage their friends during games.

\n\n

“It's all very important in terms of integration. Not everyone is going to be able to kick a football and that's absolutely okay. You will always need volunteers in the GAA, you need managers, you need coaches, you need people to hand out the bibs and water boys and water girls.

\n\n

“It's great if you can kick the winner in a county final, but for others to even feel like they have played a small part along the way can make it all so much more worthwhile.

\n\n

“As James O'Donoghue once said to me, he's not playing for himself out there, he's playing for all the volunteers who have helped him along the way.

\n\n

“I just think it's important to have a diverse volunteer group. The only way you're going to know if other people want to get involved in other ways is to ask the people in your community. A quarter of the population have identified as having a disability, so there's definitely people with disabilities in every club across the country that you could get involved.

\n\n

“GAA clubs should reflect the community that they are part of, and all our communities are very diverse.

\n\n

“Clubs shouldn't feel under pressure to get it right the first time, but make the effort the first time then adapt and get it right the second or third time down the road.

\n\n

“That's why it's great to have a Community and Health department in the GAA now, a national group that can share different ideas to see which ones work best and how we can accommodate everyone.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"An\r\n\r\n
An inability to access press boxes is a source of frustration for Irish Times and Red FM sports journalist, Joanne O'Riordan. 
\r\n

The day to day obstacles that make life more difficult for people with disabilities often exist because those without disabilities simply don’t realise they’re there.

\n\n

The first step that many GAA clubs could make to becoming more inclusive is to make a genuine effort to see the not so visible barriers they have unconsciously put in the way of others.

\n\n

“Exactly, you wouldn't know the certain barriers that exist to someone with a disability until you are around someone with a disability every day,” says O’Riordan.

\n\n

“Even speaking for myself, for a long time I would have only seen the physical challenges someone like myself with no limbs would have experienced.

\n\n

“But then I was studying abroad in York in England and I saw that Manchester City were the first club in northern England to have an area in the stadium for fans with autism.

\n\n

“I had never seen anything like that before and it just blew my mind. It then seemed obvious then that this sort of integration was needed but I had never thought about it before.

\n\n

“It was basically a sound-proof box in the stand with a sensory room to help keep the children with autism calm.

\n\n

“I'm not saying every club needs to do something like that, but it's good to raise awareness because I wouldn't have previously thought about how to facilitate people with autism.

\n\n

“The more you open your club to the diversity in your community the more you'll learn.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Joanne\r\n\r\n
Joanne O'Riordan celebrates with the Legion footballers after victory over Dr. Crokes in the 2019 East Kerry Final. 
\r\n

Once you have that mindset, then practical initiatives to make GAA clubs more inclusive and diverse will follow more easily, and some should be more obvious than others.

\n\n

There’s no excuse for a GAA club not to be fully wheelchair accessible, and O’Riordan is right to be frustrated too that in her job as a sports journalist she has yet to find a press box she has been able to gain access too.

\n\n

“I'm going to go down in history as the only sports journalist who has never gotten into a press box,” she says. “It's going to be the tag-line on my gravestone!

\n\n

“I've had to get used to sitting out in monsoons in Ballybofey or freezing in Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Game of Thrones style, with ice hanging off my nose!

\n\n

“Access to press-boxes wasn't ever an issue until someone like me came along, but hopefully in the future it's something there will be more consideration given to.”

\n\n

The GAA has made significant efforts to be a more inclusive and diverse sporting organisation in recent years.

\n\n

Ger McTavish, the Association’s National Diversity and Inclusion Officer, has played a big role in that as have initiatives such as National Inclusive Fitness Day and the Responding to Racism education and awareness campaign.

\n\n

It’s important we keep pushing that conversation on how better to be more inclusive and diverse, and O’Riordan’s presentation on Saturday should certainly help in that regard to encourage GAA clubs and volunteers to open their minds and arms to everyone in their community.

\n\n

“Diversity and inclusion in the GAA is just so important,” she says. “We're so engrained in the community that it is important to make sure that everyone feels involved.

\n\n

“But I would also say that if your first attempt to be more inclusive as a club isn't necessarily a success, don't be discouraged.

\n\n

“It's important to remember what the foundations of sport and the GAA are and why we get involved, it's to create friendships, create a social group and to create a fun and learning environment that stimulates people and keeps them interested and healthy and active.

\n\n

“I think once you realise what your core foundation and your core objective is, then the rest of it should come seamlessly.

\n\n

“So I would say not to sweat the small stuff. Ask people who are in the know. And then just have fun, go with it, and see what happens.”

\n","RawBody":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

One of only seven people in the world with Total Amelia, a condition where you’re born without your limbs, Joanne O’Riordan has never allowed herself be defined by her disability.

\n\n

Rather than be constrained by a society that doesn’t always make it easy for people with disabilities to live the life they want to live, the Cork woman has never been shy about demanding equal opportunities.

\n\n

This attitude combined with her vibrant communication skills has made her a powerful activist and advocate for people with disabilities.

\n\n

On Saturday, she’ll speak on the topic of Diversity and Inclusion at the 2021 GAA Healthy Clubs Conference.

\n\n

A sports journalist with the Irish Times and RedFM, her lifelong passion for sport and involvement in gaelic games makes her very qualified to spread the message of how the GAA can better include everyone in the community.

\n\n

“My family are absolutely mad into sport,” O’Riordan told GAA.ie

\n\n

“When I was just two weeks old my parents brought me to my first local GAA match, one of my brothers was playing.

\n\n

“That was basically where it all started. My siblings always got me involved. They'd bring me outside and put me in goals and literally kick footballs at my head until I was concussed!

\n\n

“Gaelic Football was always number one for me growing up. I loved watching the Cork footballers, both the men and women. I loved the whole excitement of it.

\n\n

“My Dad brought me to my first game when I was jour four years old. It was Cork against Kerry down in Fitzgerald Stadium and there's a picture of me in the Kerry's Eye with my Dad and he's throwing me up in the air after Cork scored a goal!”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Joanne\r\n\r\n
Joanne O'Riordan pictured with Cork players (clockwise) Deirdre O'Reilly, Valerie Mulcahy, Juliet Murphy, Briege Corkery and Geraldine O'Flynn with their 2013 TG4 Ladies Football All-Star Awards.
\r\n

When O’Riordan was ten years of age her parents signed her up for a power chaired soccer tournament in Tralee because they figured that might be a more suitable sporting arena that having footballs kicked at her by her siblings.

\n\n

But years of being treated no differently than anyone else made that a jarring experience for O’Riordan.

\n\n

The competitive instincts honed in her own back-garden reacted adversely to the concession of six goals and she had the dubious distinction of being red-carded for letting her team’s goalkeeper know in pretty agricultural terms just how lowly she rated his goalkeeping skills.

\n\n

“I literally made Roy Keane look like Mother Theresa!”, says O’Riordan. “I suppose I was just so accustomed participating in sport with my siblings and friends and not feeling any different to them.

\n\n

“So, when I went to a place that emphasised difference and that I was different and I didn't really enjoy that. That wasn't an environment that I wanted to be in. I wanted to be the same as others even thought I was different. I wanted to be involved.

\n\n

“If I had to adapt to play the sport, then so be it, everybody else had to change with me. I wasn't a person who wanted to find an environment that matched me, I was more of a person that wanted to change my environment as I went along and hopefully for the better.”

\n\n

O’Riordan’s own experience highlights the fact that there is no one size fits all approach to being inclusive to everyone in the community.

\n\n

For example, GAA clubs like Raheny, Scoil Ui Chonaill, Midleton, and Lucan Sarsfields all run hugely successful sports programmes for children with additional needs.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The Raheny All-Stars pictured at Áras an Uachtarain with President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina.
\r\n

But you can be sure too that some children with additional needs would prefer to receive specialist coaching that would allow them to play with all the other children in the GAA club rather than be segregated from them.

\n\n

“There's no one blueprint because every club and every person is different,” says O’Riordan.

\n\n

“I think diversity and inclusion starts with everyone. You know it's not just one disability group talking to other disability groups.

\n\n

“It's people talking to everyone in society and having a collaborative approach in order to make sure that at least we are on a bit of an equal footing.

\n\n

“I'm actually involved with Killarney Legion across the border in Kerry. Even small things they do like getting children involved in the Go Games even if they're not able to play.

\n\n

“They get them helping in some other way on the sideline giving out water or bibs or to just encourage their friends during games.

\n\n

“It's all very important in terms of integration. Not everyone is going to be able to kick a football and that's absolutely okay. You will always need volunteers in the GAA, you need managers, you need coaches, you need people to hand out the bibs and water boys and water girls.

\n\n

“It's great if you can kick the winner in a county final, but for others to even feel like they have played a small part along the way can make it all so much more worthwhile.

\n\n

“As James O'Donoghue once said to me, he's not playing for himself out there, he's playing for all the volunteers who have helped him along the way.

\n\n

“I just think it's important to have a diverse volunteer group. The only way you're going to know if other people want to get involved in other ways is to ask the people in your community. A quarter of the population have identified as having a disability, so there's definitely people with disabilities in every club across the country that you could get involved.

\n\n

“GAA clubs should reflect the community that they are part of, and all our communities are very diverse.

\n\n

“Clubs shouldn't feel under pressure to get it right the first time, but make the effort the first time then adapt and get it right the second or third time down the road.

\n\n

“That's why it's great to have a Community and Health department in the GAA now, a national group that can share different ideas to see which ones work best and how we can accommodate everyone.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"An\r\n\r\n
An inability to access press boxes is a source of frustration for Irish Times and Red FM sports journalist, Joanne O'Riordan. 
\r\n

The day to day obstacles that make life more difficult for people with disabilities often exist because those without disabilities simply don’t realise they’re there.

\n\n

The first step that many GAA clubs could make to becoming more inclusive is to make a genuine effort to see the not so visible barriers they have unconsciously put in the way of others.

\n\n

“Exactly, you wouldn't know the certain barriers that exist to someone with a disability until you are around someone with a disability every day,” says O’Riordan.

\n\n

“Even speaking for myself, for a long time I would have only seen the physical challenges someone like myself with no limbs would have experienced.

\n\n

“But then I was studying abroad in York in England and I saw that Manchester City were the first club in northern England to have an area in the stadium for fans with autism.

\n\n

“I had never seen anything like that before and it just blew my mind. It then seemed obvious then that this sort of integration was needed but I had never thought about it before.

\n\n

“It was basically a sound-proof box in the stand with a sensory room to help keep the children with autism calm.

\n\n

“I'm not saying every club needs to do something like that, but it's good to raise awareness because I wouldn't have previously thought about how to facilitate people with autism.

\n\n

“The more you open your club to the diversity in your community the more you'll learn.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Joanne\r\n\r\n
Joanne O'Riordan celebrates with the Legion footballers after victory over Dr. Crokes in the 2019 East Kerry Final. 
\r\n

Once you have that mindset, then practical initiatives to make GAA clubs more inclusive and diverse will follow more easily, and some should be more obvious than others.

\n\n

There’s no excuse for a GAA club not to be fully wheelchair accessible, and O’Riordan is right to be frustrated too that in her job as a sports journalist she has yet to find a press box she has been able to gain access too.

\n\n

“I'm going to go down in history as the only sports journalist who has never gotten into a press box,” she says. “It's going to be the tag-line on my gravestone!

\n\n

“I've had to get used to sitting out in monsoons in Ballybofey or freezing in Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Game of Thrones style, with ice hanging off my nose!

\n\n

“Access to press-boxes wasn't ever an issue until someone like me came along, but hopefully in the future it's something there will be more consideration given to.”

\n\n

The GAA has made significant efforts to be a more inclusive and diverse sporting organisation in recent years.

\n\n

Ger McTavish, the Association’s National Diversity and Inclusion Officer, has played a big role in that as have initiatives such as National Inclusive Fitness Day and the Responding to Racism education and awareness campaign.

\n\n

It’s important we keep pushing that conversation on how better to be more inclusive and diverse, and O’Riordan’s presentation on Saturday should certainly help in that regard to encourage GAA clubs and volunteers to open their minds and arms to everyone in their community.

\n\n

“Diversity and inclusion in the GAA is just so important,” she says. “We're so engrained in the community that it is important to make sure that everyone feels involved.

\n\n

“But I would also say that if your first attempt to be more inclusive as a club isn't necessarily a success, don't be discouraged.

\n\n

“It's important to remember what the foundations of sport and the GAA are and why we get involved, it's to create friendships, create a social group and to create a fun and learning environment that stimulates people and keeps them interested and healthy and active.

\n\n

“I think once you realise what your core foundation and your core objective is, then the rest of it should come seamlessly.

\n\n

“So I would say not to sweat the small stuff. Ask people who are in the know. And then just have fun, go with it, and see what happens.”

\n","AreaName":"","SectionName":"","Kind":0,"Date":"Thursday 21 January 2021","DatePublished":"Thursday 21 January 2021","DatePublishedAsDate":"2021-01-21T13:04:47.586Z","Thumbnail":{"Title":"Joanne O'Riordan pictured with Legion GAA club-mate, James O'Donoghue, after victory over Dr. Crokes in the 2019 East Kerry Football Final. ","TemplateUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/{formatInstructions}/vtgntpr01mkwyil5e7dd","ThumbnailUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/w_250,h_250,c_thumb,g_auto,q_auto,f_jpg/vtgntpr01mkwyil5e7dd","Format":"jpg","OverriddenFormats":{}},"HeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/vtgntpr01mkwyil5e7dd.jpg","MobileHeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/vtgntpr01mkwyil5e7dd.jpg","ThumbnailImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/vtgntpr01mkwyil5e7dd.jpg","Images":{"ORIG":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/f_jpg/vtgntpr01mkwyil5e7dd.jpg","HERO":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/vtgntpr01mkwyil5e7dd.jpg","FEATURES":null,"MobileFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/vtgntpr01mkwyil5e7dd.jpg","MobileStandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_372,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/vtgntpr01mkwyil5e7dd.jpg","SmallFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_540,h_304,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/vtgntpr01mkwyil5e7dd.jpg","StandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_440,h_248,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/vtgntpr01mkwyil5e7dd.jpg","SmallThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/vtgntpr01mkwyil5e7dd.jpg","SquareFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_661,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/vtgntpr01mkwyil5e7dd.jpg"},"Match":null,"Competition":null,"CompetitionSeason":null,"CompetitionSeoName":null,"CompetitionName":null,"Url":"/news/joanne-o-riordan-encourages-gaa-clubs-to-embrace-inclusion-and-diversity/","HotlineUrl":"","IsHotlineUrlOpenedInANewWindow":true,"YoutubeID":null,"VideoId":null,"RelatedNewsArticles":null,"RelatedVideos":null,"RelatedPhotos":null,"RelatedAudios":null,"RelatedDocuments":[],"RelatedPhotoGalleries":null,"RelatedLinks":null,"RelatedMatches":[],"RelatedTeams":[],"RelatedFreeTags":[],"RelatedCustomEntities":[],"EditorialLabel":"Feature","AdditionalNotes":null,"Author":"John Harrington","DateUpdated":"2021-01-21T13:10:42.108Z","Tags":[{"Slug":"feature","Type":"tag","_translationId":"67c8a382-ee0b-425b-b072-740857296e94","_entityId":"124196a1-89c7-4419-b5e3-7698d55dd788","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/feature","Title":"Feature","NeutralSlug":"feature","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}}]},"AdditionalStyle":"","Href":"/news/joanne-o-riordan-encourages-gaa-clubs-to-embrace-inclusion-and-diversity/","Target":"","SportLabel":"","Skip":1,"ContentDate":"2021-01-21T00:00:00Z","SportTeller":115},{"Document":{"MediaType":"news","Sport":"2","SeoTitle":"limerick-city-s-hurling-revolution","Area":0,"Section":0,"Id":0,"Guid":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000","Title":"Limerick City's hurling revolution ","Headline":"Limerick City's hurling revolution ","Slug":"limerick-city-s-hurling-revolution","Summary":"

By John Harrington\nThese are boom times for hurling in Limerick city.\nYear on year more and more children are playing at underage level with both clubs and schools, and most clubs in the city are tracking an upward graph.\nIt wasn’t always thus. In fact, it’s no exaggeration to

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Thousands\r\n\r\n
Thousands of Limerick supporters follow the Limerick hurling team's bus over Sarsfield bridge in Limerick city for the 2018 All-Ireland SHC winner's homecoming. 
\r\n

By John Harrington

\n\n

These are boom times for hurling in Limerick city.

\n\n

Year on year more and more children are playing at underage level with both clubs and schools, and most clubs in the city are tracking an upward graph.

\n\n

It wasn’t always thus. In fact, it’s no exaggeration to describe the recent explosion in the numbers playing the game in Limerick city and the feel-good factor around the sport as a sudden revolution.

\n\n

Because when Pat Culhane was appointed Limerick City’s first dedicated Hurling Development Officer in 2005, the vista was not nearly so rosy.

\n\n

Just eight of the 36 primary schools in the city competed in the U-10 Cumann na mBunscol hurling games programme, and just five of the 15 clubs in the city had nursery programmes for their youngest players.

\n\n

The low numbers wasn’t the only problem he identified, the win at all costs culture in those schools and clubs that were hurling hot-spots was another major concern.

\n\n

So, when Culhane first set out on his role, he was as much trying to change minds as win hearts.

\n\n

“Most of my work was in the inner city, coaching in schools and clubs, often in socio-economically disadvantaged communities,” he told GAA.ie.

\n\n

“I’d drive around in my old Reanult Megane hatchback full of hurleys, sliotars and footballs, doing my best to inspire coaches and children to get or stay involved in the games.

\n\n

“I felt that I played a key role in the development of a long-term strategy called 'Lifting the Treaty' regenerating how we managed underage Gaelic games in Limerick – everything from fixtures administration to the county development squad system.

\n\n

“Children’s regular participation was almost doubled during this period. The culture of where winning and performance took precedence over participation had been reversed, for the most part.

\n\n

“The beautiful irony was that when we started focusing more on participation, performance started improving internally in county championships and externally in intercounty and school competitions.

\n\n

“I remembered John Lyle’s articles from my college days and in one of them he said that ‘Excellence in sport in a byproduct of effective administration”.

\n\n

“We had settled for too long for mediocrity in Limerick – in a Gaelic games context, but also as a city and county.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Former\r\n\r\n
Former Limerick City Hurling Development Officer, Pat Culhane, is now a National Development Officer for the GAA.
\r\n

Culhane’s impact in his role was measurable. By 2010, the number of schools competing at U-10 Cumann na mBunscol level had jumped from eight to 22, the number of clubs running nursery programmes had jumped from five to 10, and participation numbers at U-8, U-10, and U-12 level had also increased significantly.

\n\n

By 2011, according to the five-year Limerick Strategic plan, 57 per cent of primary school children in Limerick city were now playing Gaelic Games as opposed to just eight per cent five years earlier.

\n\n

As Culhane points out himself, the work he did chimed nicely with ‘Lifting the Treaty’, Limerick GAA's gaelic games development plan first outlined in 2008 and which in little over 10 years has done so much to transform Limerick hurling from serial underachievement to best in class.

\n\n

There were many strands to the ‘Lifting the Treaty’ blueprint. It did away with divisional boards at underage level, introduced the Go-Games model for juvenile matches, and established the underage development squads and academy system that is now the engine driving gaelic games at an elite level in the county.

\n\n

On the ground in Limerick City, a focus on quality coaching and establishing or strengthening club-school links became a real focus.

\n\n

With the benefit of hindsight, from fairly early on in that process there were all sorts of signposts that pointed towards a brighter future for hurling in Limerick City.

\n\n

For example, in 2007 Limerick City won the Mackey Cup, a competition for primary school divisional selections, for the first time in six years and featured future Limerick senior stars such as Cian Lynch, William O’Donoghue, and David Dempsey.

\n

A blast from the past!
Many of the lads who were on the victorious Limerick City Mackey Cup team in 2007 will be in action for their @LimerickGAA clubs this weekend.@AllianzIreland @cnambnaisiunta @firstpastdpost @NapGAA pic.twitter.com/IkiCt2nL2E

— The Green and White (@LimerickGAAzine) August 7, 2020
\n\n

And as the game grew stronger and stronger at primary school level in the city, that then had a knock-on effect at secondary school level.

\n\n

Ardscoil Ris established themselves as one of the foremost hurling nurseries in the country, winning five Harty Cups in nine years from 2010 to 2018.

\n

Perhaps even more remarkable was Castletroy College’s transformation from a renowned rugby school to one that also excelled at hurling.

\n\n

They were Munster Schools Senior Cup rugby champions in 2008, but within a few short years many of the best sportsmen in the school like current Limerick hurling star Gearoid Hegarty were opting for hurling rather than rugby.

\n\n

“No, I never really played any rugby,” Hegarty told GAA.ie. “I was involved in the first ever Harty Cup team in Castletroy College. When I was sixth year I captained the first Harty Cup team that Castletroy had ever entered into.

\n\n

“I was lucky that there was a load of us who are now on the Limerick panel that went to Castletroy. We weren't all in the same year but we were all close. Dan Morrissey was a year ahead of me, Barry Nash and Tom (Morrissey), they were two years behind me, so we were all close enough. All of those lads would have been on that Harty Cup team. It was kind of a good batch that came through at the same time and kind of changed the culture of that school.

\n\n

“It was unreal to be involved in the Harty Cup. When you're in sixth year Harty Cup is the biggest thing ever in the world at the time.

\n\n

“It's great to get that exposure to top-level hurling when we were in school. I think you can see that a good few of us who played in Castletroy College are still on the county panel so we put a lot of good work in when we were in school.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Current\r\n\r\n
Current Limerick hurling captain, Declan Hannon, pictured after scoring a goal for Ard Scoil Ris when they defeated Thurles CBS to win their first ever Harty Cup in 2010. 
\r\n

What Limerick City has now is a hurling culture. The success of the senior inter-county team in recent years has risen the profile of the game massively, and now the sight of children walking around with hurleys in their hands is much more common-place than it would have been ten years ago.

\n\n

These days Limerick senior footballer, Peter Nash, is doing great work in Culhane’s former role as Limerick City Hurling Development Officer, but he prefers to give the bulk of the credit for hurling’s growing appeal in the city to the volunteer club coaches and mentors who he works with.

\n\n

“It's down to good people in a lot of areas doing a lot of good work,” Nash told GAA.ie. “It's about having that shared view of where they wanted it to go and where they wanted to end up.

\n\n

“And, even then, that's a constantly growing structure. You get to where you think you wanted to be and then you see something slightly further down the road and you think, yeah, we can work towards that now and make ourselves a more sustainable and more competitive club.

\n\n

“There's great competition in the city as well. You have some huge clubs with huge numbers and you have smaller clubs who are just as committed to the cause. I've been hugely impressed how in the last 18 months that people have turned their potential challenges into opportunities.

\n\n

“Now, within Limerick inner-city, there's a lot of work that still has to be done, there’s still areas in the city we need to give more help to.

\n\n

“That's something we want to continue growing going forward. My role and the role of the other GDAs in Limerick is to facilitate that growth as best as we possibly can.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Limerick\r\n\r\n
Limerick footballer, Peter Nash, is also Limerick City Hurling Development Officer. 
\r\n

More than half of the potential hurling population of Limerick resides in Limerick City which presents challenges as well as opportunities.

\n\n

Servicing the coaching needs of such big numbers is no easy thing, and something the Limerick Coaching and Games department has put a lot of effort into improving.

\n\n

“That would have been the case over the last few years, alright, but there's a few bodies now in Limerick city GDA-wise,” says Nash.

\n\n

“You have Paul Browne and Gary McCarthy in there too so our bases are being covered a hell of a lot better in the last 18 months to two years.

\n\n

\"We were lucky with people in the city in the last couple of years as well. Eoin Ryan had a lot of work done in the city.

\n\n

“You had Sean Madden doing great work in the city as well. You had Ger Downes in before me, he was the person I took over my role from, and he had an unbelievable amount of work done and an unbelievable base laid within Limerick city as well.

\n\n

“Look, it's things going in cycles as well. At the moment there's a huge amount of motivation, a huge amount of pride in the Limerick jersey and our county hurling team. It's about using that energy as best as we possibly can.

\n\n

“We are covering our bases fairly well since I've been in the role as far as I can see. But there is a lot to be done in certain areas and getting around to primary schools and getting to clubs on a regular basis when you have so many clubs as a GDA which is the case with pretty much every GDA in the country.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"11\r\n\r\n
11 years after winning a Mackey Cup together with a Limerick City primary schools selection, Cian Lynch (l) and William O'Donoghue were part of the 2018 All-Ireland winning Limerick senior hurling team. 
\r\n

When Nash talks about his role in the development of hurling in Limerick city, enthusiasm is his default attitude.

\n\n

It’s not just the young players in the city who have been energised and inspired by the success of the Limerick hurlers in the last few years, so too have the coaches.

\n\n

Limerick hurling under-achieved for a very long time and now that they are finally top of the pile, everyone associated with developing the game in the county is determined that they stay there.

\n\n

“Absolutely,” says Nash. “Personally though I don't feel that the work has never not been done on the ground. I don't think the work element has changed, that has always been there.

\n\n

“There has always been a real graft, a real want, a real motivation to improve and, on an individual basis within clubs, to produce players.

\n\n

“But now I think there's a real belief as well, that's the big thing, because belief will take you a long way.

\n\n

“That belief gives you energy and drives your forward. When there's energy in what you're doing and when there's that real deep down grit to say, \"Yes, we can do this,\" and, \"Yes, we have done this,\" and, \"Yes, we will continue to do this\", then I think that really makes a difference to the work being done.”

\n\n

Hurling in Limerick City has come a long way in a short space of time, and the growth of the game doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon.

\n","RawBody":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

These are boom times for hurling in Limerick city.

\n\n

Year on year more and more children are playing at underage level with both clubs and schools, and most clubs in the city are tracking an upward graph.

\n\n

It wasn’t always thus. In fact, it’s no exaggeration to describe the recent explosion in the numbers playing the game in Limerick city and the feel-good factor around the sport as a sudden revolution.

\n\n

Because when Pat Culhane was appointed Limerick City’s first dedicated Hurling Development Officer in 2005, the vista was not nearly so rosy.

\n\n

Just eight of the 36 primary schools in the city competed in the U-10 Cumann na mBunscol hurling games programme, and just five of the 15 clubs in the city had nursery programmes for their youngest players.

\n\n

The low numbers wasn’t the only problem he identified, the win at all costs culture in those schools and clubs that were hurling hot-spots was another major concern.

\n\n

So, when Culhane first set out on his role, he was as much trying to change minds as win hearts.

\n\n

“Most of my work was in the inner city, coaching in schools and clubs, often in socio-economically disadvantaged communities,” he told GAA.ie.

\n\n

“I’d drive around in my old Reanult Megane hatchback full of hurleys, sliotars and footballs, doing my best to inspire coaches and children to get or stay involved in the games.

\n\n

“I felt that I played a key role in the development of a long-term strategy called 'Lifting the Treaty' regenerating how we managed underage Gaelic games in Limerick – everything from fixtures administration to the county development squad system.

\n\n

“Children’s regular participation was almost doubled during this period. The culture of where winning and performance took precedence over participation had been reversed, for the most part.

\n\n

“The beautiful irony was that when we started focusing more on participation, performance started improving internally in county championships and externally in intercounty and school competitions.

\n\n

“I remembered John Lyle’s articles from my college days and in one of them he said that ‘Excellence in sport in a byproduct of effective administration”.

\n\n

“We had settled for too long for mediocrity in Limerick – in a Gaelic games context, but also as a city and county.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Former\r\n\r\n
Former Limerick City Hurling Development Officer, Pat Culhane, is now a National Development Officer for the GAA.
\r\n

Culhane’s impact in his role was measurable. By 2010, the number of schools competing at U-10 Cumann na mBunscol level had jumped from eight to 22, the number of clubs running nursery programmes had jumped from five to 10, and participation numbers at U-8, U-10, and U-12 level had also increased significantly.

\n\n

By 2011, according to the five-year Limerick Strategic plan, 57 per cent of primary school children in Limerick city were now playing Gaelic Games as opposed to just eight per cent five years earlier.

\n\n

As Culhane points out himself, the work he did chimed nicely with ‘Lifting the Treaty’, Limerick GAA's gaelic games development plan first outlined in 2008 and which in little over 10 years has done so much to transform Limerick hurling from serial underachievement to best in class.

\n\n

There were many strands to the ‘Lifting the Treaty’ blueprint. It did away with divisional boards at underage level, introduced the Go-Games model for juvenile matches, and established the underage development squads and academy system that is now the engine driving gaelic games at an elite level in the county.

\n\n

On the ground in Limerick City, a focus on quality coaching and establishing or strengthening club-school links became a real focus.

\n\n

With the benefit of hindsight, from fairly early on in that process there were all sorts of signposts that pointed towards a brighter future for hurling in Limerick City.

\n\n

For example, in 2007 Limerick City won the Mackey Cup, a competition for primary school divisional selections, for the first time in six years and featured future Limerick senior stars such as Cian Lynch, William O’Donoghue, and David Dempsey.

\n

A blast from the past!
Many of the lads who were on the victorious Limerick City Mackey Cup team in 2007 will be in action for their @LimerickGAA clubs this weekend.@AllianzIreland @cnambnaisiunta @firstpastdpost @NapGAA pic.twitter.com/IkiCt2nL2E

— The Green and White (@LimerickGAAzine) August 7, 2020
\n\n

And as the game grew stronger and stronger at primary school level in the city, that then had a knock-on effect at secondary school level.

\n\n

Ardscoil Ris established themselves as one of the foremost hurling nurseries in the country, winning five Harty Cups in nine years from 2010 to 2018.

\n

Perhaps even more remarkable was Castletroy College’s transformation from a renowned rugby school to one that also excelled at hurling.

\n\n

They were Munster Schools Senior Cup rugby champions in 2008, but within a few short years many of the best sportsmen in the school like current Limerick hurling star Gearoid Hegarty were opting for hurling rather than rugby.

\n\n

“No, I never really played any rugby,” Hegarty told GAA.ie. “I was involved in the first ever Harty Cup team in Castletroy College. When I was sixth year I captained the first Harty Cup team that Castletroy had ever entered into.

\n\n

“I was lucky that there was a load of us who are now on the Limerick panel that went to Castletroy. We weren't all in the same year but we were all close. Dan Morrissey was a year ahead of me, Barry Nash and Tom (Morrissey), they were two years behind me, so we were all close enough. All of those lads would have been on that Harty Cup team. It was kind of a good batch that came through at the same time and kind of changed the culture of that school.

\n\n

“It was unreal to be involved in the Harty Cup. When you're in sixth year Harty Cup is the biggest thing ever in the world at the time.

\n\n

“It's great to get that exposure to top-level hurling when we were in school. I think you can see that a good few of us who played in Castletroy College are still on the county panel so we put a lot of good work in when we were in school.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Current\r\n\r\n
Current Limerick hurling captain, Declan Hannon, pictured after scoring a goal for Ard Scoil Ris when they defeated Thurles CBS to win their first ever Harty Cup in 2010. 
\r\n

What Limerick City has now is a hurling culture. The success of the senior inter-county team in recent years has risen the profile of the game massively, and now the sight of children walking around with hurleys in their hands is much more common-place than it would have been ten years ago.

\n\n

These days Limerick senior footballer, Peter Nash, is doing great work in Culhane’s former role as Limerick City Hurling Development Officer, but he prefers to give the bulk of the credit for hurling’s growing appeal in the city to the volunteer club coaches and mentors who he works with.

\n\n

“It's down to good people in a lot of areas doing a lot of good work,” Nash told GAA.ie. “It's about having that shared view of where they wanted it to go and where they wanted to end up.

\n\n

“And, even then, that's a constantly growing structure. You get to where you think you wanted to be and then you see something slightly further down the road and you think, yeah, we can work towards that now and make ourselves a more sustainable and more competitive club.

\n\n

“There's great competition in the city as well. You have some huge clubs with huge numbers and you have smaller clubs who are just as committed to the cause. I've been hugely impressed how in the last 18 months that people have turned their potential challenges into opportunities.

\n\n

“Now, within Limerick inner-city, there's a lot of work that still has to be done, there’s still areas in the city we need to give more help to.

\n\n

“That's something we want to continue growing going forward. My role and the role of the other GDAs in Limerick is to facilitate that growth as best as we possibly can.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Limerick\r\n\r\n
Limerick footballer, Peter Nash, is also Limerick City Hurling Development Officer. 
\r\n

More than half of the potential hurling population of Limerick resides in Limerick City which presents challenges as well as opportunities.

\n\n

Servicing the coaching needs of such big numbers is no easy thing, and something the Limerick Coaching and Games department has put a lot of effort into improving.

\n\n

“That would have been the case over the last few years, alright, but there's a few bodies now in Limerick city GDA-wise,” says Nash.

\n\n

“You have Paul Browne and Gary McCarthy in there too so our bases are being covered a hell of a lot better in the last 18 months to two years.

\n\n

\"We were lucky with people in the city in the last couple of years as well. Eoin Ryan had a lot of work done in the city.

\n\n

“You had Sean Madden doing great work in the city as well. You had Ger Downes in before me, he was the person I took over my role from, and he had an unbelievable amount of work done and an unbelievable base laid within Limerick city as well.

\n\n

“Look, it's things going in cycles as well. At the moment there's a huge amount of motivation, a huge amount of pride in the Limerick jersey and our county hurling team. It's about using that energy as best as we possibly can.

\n\n

“We are covering our bases fairly well since I've been in the role as far as I can see. But there is a lot to be done in certain areas and getting around to primary schools and getting to clubs on a regular basis when you have so many clubs as a GDA which is the case with pretty much every GDA in the country.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"11\r\n\r\n
11 years after winning a Mackey Cup together with a Limerick City primary schools selection, Cian Lynch (l) and William O'Donoghue were part of the 2018 All-Ireland winning Limerick senior hurling team. 
\r\n

When Nash talks about his role in the development of hurling in Limerick city, enthusiasm is his default attitude.

\n\n

It’s not just the young players in the city who have been energised and inspired by the success of the Limerick hurlers in the last few years, so too have the coaches.

\n\n

Limerick hurling under-achieved for a very long time and now that they are finally top of the pile, everyone associated with developing the game in the county is determined that they stay there.

\n\n

“Absolutely,” says Nash. “Personally though I don't feel that the work has never not been done on the ground. I don't think the work element has changed, that has always been there.

\n\n

“There has always been a real graft, a real want, a real motivation to improve and, on an individual basis within clubs, to produce players.

\n\n

“But now I think there's a real belief as well, that's the big thing, because belief will take you a long way.

\n\n

“That belief gives you energy and drives your forward. When there's energy in what you're doing and when there's that real deep down grit to say, \"Yes, we can do this,\" and, \"Yes, we have done this,\" and, \"Yes, we will continue to do this\", then I think that really makes a difference to the work being done.”

\n\n

Hurling in Limerick City has come a long way in a short space of time, and the growth of the game doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon.

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Le Jamie Ó Tuama\nSan eagrán is deireanaí seo de ‘Ár gCluichí, Ár Laochra’, cuireann muid 20 ceist sciobthaí ar Dhiarmaid Carney. Tá fear óg Cheiltigh na Muinchille ag imirt leis an gCabhán le dhá bhliain anuas agus é ag súil go mór le bheith ag caitheamh gheansaí a chontae

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Laoch\r\n\r\n
Laoch an Chabháin - Diarmaid Carney
\r\n

Le Jamie Ó Tuama

\n\n

San eagrán is deireanaí seo de ‘Ár gCluichí, Ár Laochra’, cuireann muid 20 ceist sciobthaí ar Dhiarmaid Carney. Tá fear óg Cheiltigh na Muinchille ag imirt leis an gCabhán le dhá bhliain anuas agus é ag súil go mór le bheith ag caitheamh gheansaí a chontae go ceann tamaill fhada!

\n\n

‘’Tá ról lárnach ag an nGaeilge i mo shaol, labhraím í gach lá agus is cuid de mo phearsantacht agus mo stíl mhaireachtála í. Tá an Ghaeilge an-tábhachtach dom maidir le féiniúlacht mar is linne í an Ghaeilge agus is féidir linn a bheith fíor-bhródúil aisti,’’

\n\n

Diarmaid Carney, Eanáir, 2021

\n\n

Seo mar a d’fhreagair Diarmaid ár gcuid ceisteanna!

\n\n

Ainm: Diarmaid Carney

\n\n

Aois: 21

\n\n

Club: Ceiltigh na Muinchille

\n\n

Contae: An Cabhán

\n\n

An scannán is fearr leat? Home Alone 2

\n\n

An banna ceoil is fearr leat? Ní éistim le banna ceoil áirithe, ach is maith liom Christy Moore agus Gerry Cinnamon

\n\n

An áit is fearr leat? An Mhuinchille, mo bhaile féin!

\n\n

An bia is fearr leat? Stobhach a dhéanann mo mháthair!

\n\n

Clár teilifíse is fearr leat? The Office US

\n\n

An t-imreoir ab fhearr leat nuair a bhí tú óg: Seán Óg Ó hAilpín

\n\n

An chéad chuimhne CLG atá agat: M’athair ag tabhairt mo chéad bhróga peile dom agus muid thuas sa pháirc pheile ag cleachtadh

\n\n

An chéad uair ar imir tú le do chontae: i gcoinne Liatroma, 2019 sa tSraith Allianz

\n\n

An t-imreoir is fearr le himirt leat: Mo dheartháireacha, John agus Caoimhín

\n\n

An t-imreoir is fearr le himirt i do aghaidh: Rory McHugh, Sligeach

\n\n

An cluiche is fearr a d’imir tú riamh: Cluiche Ceannais Iomána na hÉireann Fresher B 2019, ar son St. Pats i gcoinne DCU!

\n\n

Buaicphointe (highlight) do shaoil imeartha le do chontae go dtí seo: Ag imirt le mo bheirt deartháireacha

\n\n

Buaicphointe do shaoil imeartha (career) le do chlub go dtí seo: Ag imirt le mo chairde ó bhí mé faoi 10 go dtí an fhoireann shinseareach

\n\n

An duine is mó a raibh tionchar (influence) aige/aici ar do shaol imeartha go dtí seo: Mo chlann, go háirithe m’athair

\n\n

Aon chomhairle (advice) agat do imreoirí óga? Bain taitneamh as!

\n\n

Aon chaitheamh aimsire eile? Imrím Peil Ghaelach le mo chlub freisin. Leanaim Celtic sa sacar, cé go mbriseann said mo chroí go minic.

\n\n

Laoch spóirt agat taobh amuigh de CLG? Neil Lennon, Leo Messi

\n\n

Gluais / Glossary

\n\n

CLG Cheiltigh na Muinchille – Cootehillgeansaí a chontae – his county jerseyról lárnach – central rolestíl mhaireachtála – lifestyleféiniúlacht – identity áirithe – certain go minic – often

\n","RawBody":"

Le Jamie Ó Tuama

\n\n

San eagrán is deireanaí seo de ‘Ár gCluichí, Ár Laochra’, cuireann muid 20 ceist sciobthaí ar Dhiarmaid Carney. Tá fear óg Cheiltigh na Muinchille ag imirt leis an gCabhán le dhá bhliain anuas agus é ag súil go mór le bheith ag caitheamh gheansaí a chontae go ceann tamaill fhada!

\n\n

‘’Tá ról lárnach ag an nGaeilge i mo shaol, labhraím í gach lá agus is cuid de mo phearsantacht agus mo stíl mhaireachtála í. Tá an Ghaeilge an-tábhachtach dom maidir le féiniúlacht mar is linne í an Ghaeilge agus is féidir linn a bheith fíor-bhródúil aisti,’’

\n\n

Diarmaid Carney, Eanáir, 2021

\n\n

Seo mar a d’fhreagair Diarmaid ár gcuid ceisteanna!

\n\n

Ainm: Diarmaid Carney

\n\n

Aois: 21

\n\n

Club: Ceiltigh na Muinchille

\n\n

Contae: An Cabhán

\n\n

An scannán is fearr leat? Home Alone 2

\n\n

An banna ceoil is fearr leat? Ní éistim le banna ceoil áirithe, ach is maith liom Christy Moore agus Gerry Cinnamon

\n\n

An áit is fearr leat? An Mhuinchille, mo bhaile féin!

\n\n

An bia is fearr leat? Stobhach a dhéanann mo mháthair!

\n\n

Clár teilifíse is fearr leat? The Office US

\n\n

An t-imreoir ab fhearr leat nuair a bhí tú óg: Seán Óg Ó hAilpín

\n\n

An chéad chuimhne CLG atá agat: M’athair ag tabhairt mo chéad bhróga peile dom agus muid thuas sa pháirc pheile ag cleachtadh

\n\n

An chéad uair ar imir tú le do chontae: i gcoinne Liatroma, 2019 sa tSraith Allianz

\n\n

An t-imreoir is fearr le himirt leat: Mo dheartháireacha, John agus Caoimhín

\n\n

An t-imreoir is fearr le himirt i do aghaidh: Rory McHugh, Sligeach

\n\n

An cluiche is fearr a d’imir tú riamh: Cluiche Ceannais Iomána na hÉireann Fresher B 2019, ar son St. Pats i gcoinne DCU!

\n\n

Buaicphointe (highlight) do shaoil imeartha le do chontae go dtí seo: Ag imirt le mo bheirt deartháireacha

\n\n

Buaicphointe do shaoil imeartha (career) le do chlub go dtí seo: Ag imirt le mo chairde ó bhí mé faoi 10 go dtí an fhoireann shinseareach

\n\n

An duine is mó a raibh tionchar (influence) aige/aici ar do shaol imeartha go dtí seo: Mo chlann, go háirithe m’athair

\n\n

Aon chomhairle (advice) agat do imreoirí óga? Bain taitneamh as!

\n\n

Aon chaitheamh aimsire eile? Imrím Peil Ghaelach le mo chlub freisin. Leanaim Celtic sa sacar, cé go mbriseann said mo chroí go minic.

\n\n

Laoch spóirt agat taobh amuigh de CLG? Neil Lennon, Leo Messi

\n\n

Gluais / Glossary

\n\n

CLG Cheiltigh na Muinchille – Cootehillgeansaí a chontae – his county jerseyról lárnach – central rolestíl mhaireachtála – lifestyleféiniúlacht – identity áirithe – certain go minic – often

\n","AreaName":"","SectionName":"","Kind":0,"Date":"Saturday 16 January 2021","DatePublished":"Saturday 16 January 2021","DatePublishedAsDate":"2021-01-16T16:56:29.24Z","Thumbnail":{"Title":"Laoch an Chabháin - Diarmaid Carney","TemplateUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/{formatInstructions}/ncrdtnuvhya9bhpfqefz","ThumbnailUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/w_250,h_250,c_thumb,g_auto,q_auto,f_jpg/ncrdtnuvhya9bhpfqefz","Format":"jpg","OverriddenFormats":{}},"HeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ncrdtnuvhya9bhpfqefz.jpg","MobileHeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ncrdtnuvhya9bhpfqefz.jpg","ThumbnailImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ncrdtnuvhya9bhpfqefz.jpg","Images":{"ORIG":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/f_jpg/ncrdtnuvhya9bhpfqefz.jpg","HERO":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ncrdtnuvhya9bhpfqefz.jpg","FEATURES":null,"MobileFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ncrdtnuvhya9bhpfqefz.jpg","MobileStandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_372,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ncrdtnuvhya9bhpfqefz.jpg","SmallFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_540,h_304,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ncrdtnuvhya9bhpfqefz.jpg","StandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_440,h_248,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ncrdtnuvhya9bhpfqefz.jpg","SmallThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ncrdtnuvhya9bhpfqefz.jpg","SquareFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_661,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ncrdtnuvhya9bhpfqefz.jpg"},"Match":null,"Competition":null,"CompetitionSeason":null,"CompetitionSeoName":null,"CompetitionName":null,"Url":"/news/ar-gcluichi-ar-laochra-22-diarmaid-carney/","HotlineUrl":"","IsHotlineUrlOpenedInANewWindow":true,"YoutubeID":null,"VideoId":null,"RelatedNewsArticles":null,"RelatedVideos":null,"RelatedPhotos":null,"RelatedAudios":null,"RelatedDocuments":[],"RelatedPhotoGalleries":null,"RelatedLinks":null,"RelatedMatches":[],"RelatedTeams":[],"RelatedFreeTags":[],"RelatedCustomEntities":[],"EditorialLabel":"Feature","AdditionalNotes":null,"Author":"Jamie O Tuama","DateUpdated":"2021-01-16T16:57:37.099Z","Tags":[{"Slug":"feature","Type":"tag","_translationId":"67c8a382-ee0b-425b-b072-740857296e94","_entityId":"124196a1-89c7-4419-b5e3-7698d55dd788","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/feature","Title":"Feature","NeutralSlug":"feature","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}},{"Slug":"diarmaid-carney","Type":"tag","_translationId":"e43f7e4c-c3c4-4474-8e33-80fb71b94710","_entityId":"89656232-a4cb-4fea-8f2d-2c92f399f86b","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/diarmaid-carney","Title":"Diarmaid Carney","NeutralSlug":"diarmaid-carney","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}},{"Slug":"gaeilge","Type":"tag","_translationId":"05d3bf45-d1d0-476d-a213-8209442a9fa0","_entityId":"2a7a5bc5-f245-4410-b266-3de6ca4fef8b","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/gaeilge","Title":"Gaeilge","NeutralSlug":"gaeilge","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}}]},"AdditionalStyle":"","Href":"/news/ar-gcluichi-ar-laochra-22-diarmaid-carney/","Target":"","SportLabel":"","Skip":1,"ContentDate":"2021-01-16T00:00:00Z","SportTeller":115},{"Document":{"MediaType":"news","Sport":"","SeoTitle":"all-go-for-scor-activity-in-the-absence-of-competition","Area":0,"Section":0,"Id":0,"Guid":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000","Title":"All go for Scór activity in the absence of competition","Headline":null,"Slug":"all-go-for-scor-activity-in-the-absence-of-competition","Summary":"

By Jamie Ó Tuama\nIt has been over ten long months now since Covid 19 hit Irish shores and lockdown became a thing in Ireland. As a result, and like everything else in Irish life, the Scór GAA calendar has been turned upside down.\nWith the Scór Sinsir 2020 finals,

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Bronagh\r\n\r\n
Bronagh Lennon and Joe McDonald from the Naomh Muire, Achadh Gallan, 2015 Scór Sinsir All-Ireland winning Bailéad-Ghrúpa
\r\n

By Jamie Ó Tuama

\n\n

It has been over ten long months now since Covid 19 hit Irish shores and lockdown became a thing in Ireland. As a result, and like everything else in Irish life, the Scór GAA calendar has been turned upside down.

\n\n

With the Scór Sinsir 2020 finals, which were due to take place back way back in April, postponed and uncertainty over the continuation of Scór competition in the near future, the Scór family has been treated to much activity, albeit in a new and virtual kind of way. Níl aon cheist faoi sin!

\n\n

Among the various different projects undertaken on-line since last March have been events such as ‘Virtual Scór’ that attracted hundreds of thousands of social media interactions and which led to collaborations and plaudits from stars in the music world such as Dana and Nathan Carter. Other such on-line events have included quizzes form Scór Chonnacht, ‘Culture Night 2020’ as well other talent nights where the Scór GAA family got a chance to come together on the Scór Facebook page to showcase their talents.

\n\n

I caught up with, Bronagh Lennon, whose term as Oifigeach Cultúrtha/Gaeilge Aontroma recently came to an end, although it is quite clear that Bronagh is not finished promoting and developing Scór activity. Bronagh was involved in many of the above projects and commented:

\n\n

‘’I thought the online activities during lockdown were very beneficial to everybody. It gave people a chance who were not involved in Scór to get involved and maybe to see what Scór was all about.’’

\n\n

‘’There were a lot of new people posting videos who had never been involved before and who were starting to find something new or see a new aspect of the GAA.’’

\n\n

‘’I, myself, thought it was brilliant because, you know, if you were a footballer, a camóg or a hurler you could always go outside and kick a few points and play with a family member. Scór is much more than just a competition. There is a big social circle of friends and that is what Scór goers really miss the most – the circle of friends and that community feeling.’’

\n\n

‘’We very much got that with the online collaboration videos and, also, during ‘Virtual Scór’. You were seeing friends posting videos and songs that you had heard them singing before. I thought that was great.’’

\n\n

At present Bronagh is conducting on-line ‘Amhránaíocht Aonair’ or solo singing workshops on behalf of Scór that include three classes for three different age groups, once a week and over four weeks. With over 180 people, young and old, registered for the online classes Bronagh was not overly surprised by the huge interested expressed in the workshops:

\n\n

‘’I was and I wasn’t surprised with the amount of people taking part in the Amhránaíocht Aonair workshop. I think there is a huge interest there for it, especially now in lockdown whenever people’s hobbies are not as readily available to everyone.’’

\n\n

‘’Parents and children are wanting to get involved in more things so it is a good time to promote things like this. I knew there would be a good response when I did the Antrim workshops. We had over 60 taking part so I knew there would be a hunger for it and I’m just delighted so many have signed up and hopefully a huge number of those people who mightn’t haven’t taken part in Scór before will in the future.’’

\n\n

As part of these workshops, participants get to learn different songs as well as learning about marking systems and other technical parts of Scór competition.

\n\n

‘’The aim of the workshops is to teach a song a week, a different song for every age group, to encourage Scór participation so that when the Scór season resumes post Covid that children, teenagers and adults will have one, two, three or even four songs ready so that they can take part in either of the solo-singing or ballad group competitions.’’

\n\n

‘’As well as that, we have been looking at the marking schemes for Scór and how important it is to add different aspects into singing, so they learn all the skills you need to be a good singer. Most importantly, we are having fun!’’

\n\n

Bronagh has been a regular participant in Scór for many years and was part of a successful All-Ireland winning ballad group. In the GAA world, players who played at the highest level often dominate managerial and coaching positions on inter-county set-ups and see such participation as a way of giving back. Bronagh sees her own roll in encouraging participation in Scór in a similar way:

\n\n

‘’I think that is important for people who have been successful at Scór to encourage participation in Scór. However, I do not think you need to be successful in Scór or in the GAA to be able to promote it.’’

\n\n

‘’The very ethos of the GAA is that there is a place for everyone – tá áit dúinn uilig ann – so everyone in every parish in Ireland has someone who is talented in one, two or three areas. All it takes is for these people to be encouraged and to be made aware of what Scór is and to be taught how to promote it effectively. With that comes a spiralling effect. You only need to inspire one person in a parish, which shouldn’t be hard to do, if you have the right contacts.’’

\n\n

‘’So, no, I don’t think it is vital that you have people who have been successful but, yes, it helps. I think there are a lot of talented people in communities all over Ireland who are ready and waiting to get involved in things like this.’’

\n\n

Agus í ag labhairt faoina taithí féin mar iomaitheoir i Scór, dúirt Bronagh:

\n\n

‘’Ghlac mé páirt i gComórtas Scór nuair a bhí mé iontach óg. Bhínn ag ceol agus ag damhsa ag Scór na nÓg ar feadh na mblianta.’’

\n\n

‘’Nuair a chuaigh mé chuig an ollscoil ghlac mé sos mar bhí mé i mo chónaí i mBéal Feirste. Bhí me ag obair ‘is ag staidéar agus ní raibh an t-am céanna agam, ach, bhí mo chroí i gcónaí istigh sa chultúr agus mé ag staidéar i gColáiste na hOllscoile, Naomh Muire, don chéim Ghaeilge.’’

\n\n

‘’Thosaigh mé arís ag glacadh páirte i Scór sa chomórtas ‘Bailéad-Ghrúpa’ le Naomh Muire, Achadh Gallann, agus bhain mé 6 Chraobh Chontae, 4 Chraobh Uladh agus bhain mé Craobh na hÉireann uair amháin ó shin.’’

\n\n

Workshops in other Scór disciplines are currently being considered as well as a youth forum and future on-line quizzes. To keep up to date with all the Scór activity visit the Irish and cultural section of the GAA’s website here or, alternatively, visit Scór’s FB page here .

\n","RawBody":"

By Jamie Ó Tuama

\n\n

It has been over ten long months now since Covid 19 hit Irish shores and lockdown became a thing in Ireland. As a result, and like everything else in Irish life, the Scór GAA calendar has been turned upside down.

\n\n

With the Scór Sinsir 2020 finals, which were due to take place back way back in April, postponed and uncertainty over the continuation of Scór competition in the near future, the Scór family has been treated to much activity, albeit in a new and virtual kind of way. Níl aon cheist faoi sin!

\n\n

Among the various different projects undertaken on-line since last March have been events such as ‘Virtual Scór’ that attracted hundreds of thousands of social media interactions and which led to collaborations and plaudits from stars in the music world such as Dana and Nathan Carter. Other such on-line events have included quizzes form Scór Chonnacht, ‘Culture Night 2020’ as well other talent nights where the Scór GAA family got a chance to come together on the Scór Facebook page to showcase their talents.

\n\n

I caught up with, Bronagh Lennon, whose term as Oifigeach Cultúrtha/Gaeilge Aontroma recently came to an end, although it is quite clear that Bronagh is not finished promoting and developing Scór activity. Bronagh was involved in many of the above projects and commented:

\n\n

‘’I thought the online activities during lockdown were very beneficial to everybody. It gave people a chance who were not involved in Scór to get involved and maybe to see what Scór was all about.’’

\n\n

‘’There were a lot of new people posting videos who had never been involved before and who were starting to find something new or see a new aspect of the GAA.’’

\n\n

‘’I, myself, thought it was brilliant because, you know, if you were a footballer, a camóg or a hurler you could always go outside and kick a few points and play with a family member. Scór is much more than just a competition. There is a big social circle of friends and that is what Scór goers really miss the most – the circle of friends and that community feeling.’’

\n\n

‘’We very much got that with the online collaboration videos and, also, during ‘Virtual Scór’. You were seeing friends posting videos and songs that you had heard them singing before. I thought that was great.’’

\n\n

At present Bronagh is conducting on-line ‘Amhránaíocht Aonair’ or solo singing workshops on behalf of Scór that include three classes for three different age groups, once a week and over four weeks. With over 180 people, young and old, registered for the online classes Bronagh was not overly surprised by the huge interested expressed in the workshops:

\n\n

‘’I was and I wasn’t surprised with the amount of people taking part in the Amhránaíocht Aonair workshop. I think there is a huge interest there for it, especially now in lockdown whenever people’s hobbies are not as readily available to everyone.’’

\n\n

‘’Parents and children are wanting to get involved in more things so it is a good time to promote things like this. I knew there would be a good response when I did the Antrim workshops. We had over 60 taking part so I knew there would be a hunger for it and I’m just delighted so many have signed up and hopefully a huge number of those people who mightn’t haven’t taken part in Scór before will in the future.’’

\n\n

As part of these workshops, participants get to learn different songs as well as learning about marking systems and other technical parts of Scór competition.

\n\n

‘’The aim of the workshops is to teach a song a week, a different song for every age group, to encourage Scór participation so that when the Scór season resumes post Covid that children, teenagers and adults will have one, two, three or even four songs ready so that they can take part in either of the solo-singing or ballad group competitions.’’

\n\n

‘’As well as that, we have been looking at the marking schemes for Scór and how important it is to add different aspects into singing, so they learn all the skills you need to be a good singer. Most importantly, we are having fun!’’

\n\n

Bronagh has been a regular participant in Scór for many years and was part of a successful All-Ireland winning ballad group. In the GAA world, players who played at the highest level often dominate managerial and coaching positions on inter-county set-ups and see such participation as a way of giving back. Bronagh sees her own roll in encouraging participation in Scór in a similar way:

\n\n

‘’I think that is important for people who have been successful at Scór to encourage participation in Scór. However, I do not think you need to be successful in Scór or in the GAA to be able to promote it.’’

\n\n

‘’The very ethos of the GAA is that there is a place for everyone – tá áit dúinn uilig ann – so everyone in every parish in Ireland has someone who is talented in one, two or three areas. All it takes is for these people to be encouraged and to be made aware of what Scór is and to be taught how to promote it effectively. With that comes a spiralling effect. You only need to inspire one person in a parish, which shouldn’t be hard to do, if you have the right contacts.’’

\n\n

‘’So, no, I don’t think it is vital that you have people who have been successful but, yes, it helps. I think there are a lot of talented people in communities all over Ireland who are ready and waiting to get involved in things like this.’’

\n\n

Agus í ag labhairt faoina taithí féin mar iomaitheoir i Scór, dúirt Bronagh:

\n\n

‘’Ghlac mé páirt i gComórtas Scór nuair a bhí mé iontach óg. Bhínn ag ceol agus ag damhsa ag Scór na nÓg ar feadh na mblianta.’’

\n\n

‘’Nuair a chuaigh mé chuig an ollscoil ghlac mé sos mar bhí mé i mo chónaí i mBéal Feirste. Bhí me ag obair ‘is ag staidéar agus ní raibh an t-am céanna agam, ach, bhí mo chroí i gcónaí istigh sa chultúr agus mé ag staidéar i gColáiste na hOllscoile, Naomh Muire, don chéim Ghaeilge.’’

\n\n

‘’Thosaigh mé arís ag glacadh páirte i Scór sa chomórtas ‘Bailéad-Ghrúpa’ le Naomh Muire, Achadh Gallann, agus bhain mé 6 Chraobh Chontae, 4 Chraobh Uladh agus bhain mé Craobh na hÉireann uair amháin ó shin.’’

\n\n

Workshops in other Scór disciplines are currently being considered as well as a youth forum and future on-line quizzes. To keep up to date with all the Scór activity visit the Irish and cultural section of the GAA’s website here or, alternatively, visit Scór’s FB page here .

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By John Harrington\nWhen Alexandre San Martin Costa watched his first game of Gaelic Football in 2012 it was a life-changing experience.\nHe was part of a cultural association that helped organise an ‘international’ match between a team from his native Galicia in Spain and Brittany in France, but until

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Alex\r\n\r\n
Alex Sanmartin Costa pictured with GAA President, John Horan, at GAA Annual Congress 2019.
\r\n

By John Harrington

\n\n

When Alexandre San Martin Costa watched his first game of Gaelic Football in 2012 it was a life-changing experience.

\n\n

He was part of a cultural association that helped organise an ‘international’ match between a team from his native Galicia in Spain and Brittany in France, but until the ball was thrown in he didn’t quite know what to expect.

\n\n

When you consider that less than eight years later he was appointed Gaelic Games Europe’s Coaching and Games Development Officer, it’s fair to say the Gaelic Games bug bit him bad.

\n\n

After that match between Galicia and Brittany he returned home to his native Santiago de Compostela with the zeal of a convert, determined to establish a GAA club there.

\n\n

“When I saw Gaelic Football for the first time that day I just fell in love with the game,” Sanmartin Costa told GAA.ie

\n\n

“Myself and most of my friends played together on a soccer team so I asked them if they want to play Gaelic Football.

\n\n

“So they asked me, \"What's that? What's Gaelic Football?\" So I showed them a few videos on YouTube and they liked the game so we transformed our soccer club into a Gaelic Football Club.

\n\n

“In Galicia by that time there were three or four clubs and we played in a small league among these four clubs and we won our first game and the players were like, \"Okay, we have to continue, this game is amazing!\" So that's how it started.”

\n\n

“Gaelic Football has a lot of skills related with soccer and basketball so it was quite easy for us to adapt or at least to try to play.

\n\n

“At the start we were very amateur and playing something only similar to Gaelic football because at the beginning we played a mixture of Gaelic football and soccer. At the beginning we didn't know all the skills well so sometimes we used soccer skills but after only one year we started to play real Gaelic football.

\n\n

“We started to play against Irish players in the Iberian championship, we started to watch more videos, read and learn about the rules, and that's how we started to get better.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The Estrela Vermelha team pictured before their second ever competitive match of Gaelic Football after transitioning from a soccer club into a GAA club. 
\r\n

Sanmartin Costa’s club, Estrela Vermelha, quickly established themselves as the dominant force in the Galician League and have grown stronger year on year.

\n\n

With players who are all born and bred Galicians, they now more than hold their own against teams stacked with Irish players across the Iberian penisula and beyond.

\n\n

“In the Iberian championship we have reached the final several times. But Madrid is the strongest team here as most of their players are Irish. They have beaten us in the final several times, but we are close to them. Hopefully in the near future we can beat them.

\n\n

“All of our team are locals, all of them are Galicians. Most of them from my city of Santiago de Compostela.

\n\n

“The standard is getting better. Last year we had almost 50 men in the club for the summer. We had two teams in the league, an A team and a B team. Also we have the women's team and we started last year with the kids.”

\n\n

When a shoulder injury prevented Sanmartin Costa from playing the game for a period, he decided to coach the team instead and quickly found he had a flair for it.

\n\n

He completed his Foundation Award and Award 1 coaching courses in Galicia and then a tutor coaching course with Leinster GAA through Colm Clear and Gerard O’Connor.

\n\n

He was then invited to Down by Ulster GAA’s Coach Development Manager, Roger Keenan, where he completed his Award 2 coaching course which set him on the path to becoming Gaelic Games Europe’s Coaching and Games Development Officer last year.

\n\n

“I love coaching,\" he says. \"Once I'm on the pitch I forget about everything. All the problems, your work, your life, everything.

\n\n

“I concentrate on the on the on the game, the drills, so I forget about everything.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Alexandre\r\n\r\n
Alexandre Sanmartin Costa pictured coaching the Galician men's team at the 2019 Renault GAA World Games. 
\r\n

The timing of the Coronavirus pandemic couldn’t have been worse from Sanmartin Costa’s point of view because it has limited the work he has been able to do in his role.

\n\n

Webinars are a very useful tool, but from a coaching point of view nothing beats getting boots on pitches and interacting with fellow coaches and players face to face.

\n\n

The challenge for the European board is that they are responsible for such a sprawling geographic area that is now divided into five divisions – Benelux, Central East, North West, Iberia, and Nordics.

\n\n

Each division has a coaching officer that Sanmartin Costa works with, and he is also responsible for a tutor coaching group that runs coaching courses and clinics.

\n\n

Coaching is particularly crucial in Europe because new clubs are springing up all the time (there are now 90 on the continent) and are increasingly made up of players who are totally new to gaelic football and hurling.

\n\n

“The game is rapidly growing in Europe and mainly that growth has been among natives starting to play gaelic football and hurling,” says Sanmartin Costa.

\n\n

“Every year we have more natives and we now play a European Cup for natives where you have teams from all over Europe coming together for one weekend, and they play a type of nations cup.

\n\n

“We have a lot of Irish people in Europe playing Gaelic Games, but, at the same time, more and more natives playing every year.

\n\n

“For example, in France, they have a lot of players, over 1,000 (native) players and around 25 clubs and every year they have more and more natives playing which is great to see.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The Galicia team celebrate after winning the Ladies Football Native Shield Final during Day 3 of the Etihad Airways GAA World Games 2016 at UCD in Dublin. 
\r\n

More and more European clubs now have juvenile teams too, and Sanmartin Costa believes that a focus on coaching and development at underage level will be what drives the next acceleration in the game’s growth on the continent.

\n\n

“Here in Galicia we have a generation of players now but in five years we will need another generation,” he says.

\n\n

“So, we have to work on that. We have to work like five or six years in advance. We have to create now this generation for five years later.

\n\n

“Because in five years this current generation of players won't be playing anymore because they'll be too old so we have to get ready for that moment and work now on bringing through the next generation. So that's where we are putting all of our efforts.

\n\n

“We're trying to introduce Gaelic Games into the schools in Galicia and in Brittany they already have a plan for introducing Gaelic games into the schools.

\n\n

“It is a big project, it is a very good project. Brittany sometimes acts as our big brother because they started earlier than us.

\n\n

“We see what they do because they are quite similar to us in that they have all native players so we always look at what they do and try to follow in their footsteps.

\n\n

“They have a very good project about working in schools and we would like to do the same. But just in this moment with the coronavirus situation it is difficult, but we have big plans for the future.

\n\n

“I'm personally working on a book with another coach in Galicia which will focus on secondary schools and teach young players the story of Gaelic Games, how it has developed in Galicia, and some skills and drills. It would be mainly for PE teachers, that's just another idea we have for promoting the game.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The men's and women's Galician gaelic football teams pictured at the 2019 Renault GAA World Games. 
\r\n

If you have a good product then people will buy it, but is there more to the growth of Gaelic Games in Europe than the simple fact that gaelic football and hurling are great sports?

\n\n

“In my experience in Galicia it is due to three main themes,” says Sanmartin Costa.

\n\n

“First, Gaelic football is a sport that sounds quite similar to soccer, so it gets your attention straight away when you first hear about it.

\n\n

“Secondly, because of the culture. In Galicia our culture is related to the celtic culture and have somewhat similar celtic roots and traditions and culture.

\n\n

“And, finally, probably because of the opportunity Gaelic Games gives you to play for a Galician team.

\n\n

“The Galician team is the selection of the best players in Galicia and we compete against other countries in the World Games.

\n\n

“And for Galicians to put on the jersey of Galicia is just the best feeling. Those who do it feel very, very proud to represent Galicia. The jersey of Galicia represents so much for us.

\n\n

“So I think these three things are the most important things for getting players involved in Galica.”

\n\n

For human beings there are few more important needs than feeling like you are part of a community.

\n\n

That is why the GAA is such a positive force in Irish society, and, increasingly, beyond these shores too.

\n\n

Pride in the jersey is what it’s all about whether you’re from Galway or Galicia.

\n","RawBody":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

When Alexandre San Martin Costa watched his first game of Gaelic Football in 2012 it was a life-changing experience.

\n\n

He was part of a cultural association that helped organise an ‘international’ match between a team from his native Galicia in Spain and Brittany in France, but until the ball was thrown in he didn’t quite know what to expect.

\n\n

When you consider that less than eight years later he was appointed Gaelic Games Europe’s Coaching and Games Development Officer, it’s fair to say the Gaelic Games bug bit him bad.

\n\n

After that match between Galicia and Brittany he returned home to his native Santiago de Compostela with the zeal of a convert, determined to establish a GAA club there.

\n\n

“When I saw Gaelic Football for the first time that day I just fell in love with the game,” Sanmartin Costa told GAA.ie

\n\n

“Myself and most of my friends played together on a soccer team so I asked them if they want to play Gaelic Football.

\n\n

“So they asked me, \"What's that? What's Gaelic Football?\" So I showed them a few videos on YouTube and they liked the game so we transformed our soccer club into a Gaelic Football Club.

\n\n

“In Galicia by that time there were three or four clubs and we played in a small league among these four clubs and we won our first game and the players were like, \"Okay, we have to continue, this game is amazing!\" So that's how it started.”

\n\n

“Gaelic Football has a lot of skills related with soccer and basketball so it was quite easy for us to adapt or at least to try to play.

\n\n

“At the start we were very amateur and playing something only similar to Gaelic football because at the beginning we played a mixture of Gaelic football and soccer. At the beginning we didn't know all the skills well so sometimes we used soccer skills but after only one year we started to play real Gaelic football.

\n\n

“We started to play against Irish players in the Iberian championship, we started to watch more videos, read and learn about the rules, and that's how we started to get better.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The Estrela Vermelha team pictured before their second ever competitive match of Gaelic Football after transitioning from a soccer club into a GAA club. 
\r\n

Sanmartin Costa’s club, Estrela Vermelha, quickly established themselves as the dominant force in the Galician League and have grown stronger year on year.

\n\n

With players who are all born and bred Galicians, they now more than hold their own against teams stacked with Irish players across the Iberian penisula and beyond.

\n\n

“In the Iberian championship we have reached the final several times. But Madrid is the strongest team here as most of their players are Irish. They have beaten us in the final several times, but we are close to them. Hopefully in the near future we can beat them.

\n\n

“All of our team are locals, all of them are Galicians. Most of them from my city of Santiago de Compostela.

\n\n

“The standard is getting better. Last year we had almost 50 men in the club for the summer. We had two teams in the league, an A team and a B team. Also we have the women's team and we started last year with the kids.”

\n\n

When a shoulder injury prevented Sanmartin Costa from playing the game for a period, he decided to coach the team instead and quickly found he had a flair for it.

\n\n

He completed his Foundation Award and Award 1 coaching courses in Galicia and then a tutor coaching course with Leinster GAA through Colm Clear and Gerard O’Connor.

\n\n

He was then invited to Down by Ulster GAA’s Coach Development Manager, Roger Keenan, where he completed his Award 2 coaching course which set him on the path to becoming Gaelic Games Europe’s Coaching and Games Development Officer last year.

\n\n

“I love coaching,\" he says. \"Once I'm on the pitch I forget about everything. All the problems, your work, your life, everything.

\n\n

“I concentrate on the on the on the game, the drills, so I forget about everything.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Alexandre\r\n\r\n
Alexandre Sanmartin Costa pictured coaching the Galician men's team at the 2019 Renault GAA World Games. 
\r\n

The timing of the Coronavirus pandemic couldn’t have been worse from Sanmartin Costa’s point of view because it has limited the work he has been able to do in his role.

\n\n

Webinars are a very useful tool, but from a coaching point of view nothing beats getting boots on pitches and interacting with fellow coaches and players face to face.

\n\n

The challenge for the European board is that they are responsible for such a sprawling geographic area that is now divided into five divisions – Benelux, Central East, North West, Iberia, and Nordics.

\n\n

Each division has a coaching officer that Sanmartin Costa works with, and he is also responsible for a tutor coaching group that runs coaching courses and clinics.

\n\n

Coaching is particularly crucial in Europe because new clubs are springing up all the time (there are now 90 on the continent) and are increasingly made up of players who are totally new to gaelic football and hurling.

\n\n

“The game is rapidly growing in Europe and mainly that growth has been among natives starting to play gaelic football and hurling,” says Sanmartin Costa.

\n\n

“Every year we have more natives and we now play a European Cup for natives where you have teams from all over Europe coming together for one weekend, and they play a type of nations cup.

\n\n

“We have a lot of Irish people in Europe playing Gaelic Games, but, at the same time, more and more natives playing every year.

\n\n

“For example, in France, they have a lot of players, over 1,000 (native) players and around 25 clubs and every year they have more and more natives playing which is great to see.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The Galicia team celebrate after winning the Ladies Football Native Shield Final during Day 3 of the Etihad Airways GAA World Games 2016 at UCD in Dublin. 
\r\n

More and more European clubs now have juvenile teams too, and Sanmartin Costa believes that a focus on coaching and development at underage level will be what drives the next acceleration in the game’s growth on the continent.

\n\n

“Here in Galicia we have a generation of players now but in five years we will need another generation,” he says.

\n\n

“So, we have to work on that. We have to work like five or six years in advance. We have to create now this generation for five years later.

\n\n

“Because in five years this current generation of players won't be playing anymore because they'll be too old so we have to get ready for that moment and work now on bringing through the next generation. So that's where we are putting all of our efforts.

\n\n

“We're trying to introduce Gaelic Games into the schools in Galicia and in Brittany they already have a plan for introducing Gaelic games into the schools.

\n\n

“It is a big project, it is a very good project. Brittany sometimes acts as our big brother because they started earlier than us.

\n\n

“We see what they do because they are quite similar to us in that they have all native players so we always look at what they do and try to follow in their footsteps.

\n\n

“They have a very good project about working in schools and we would like to do the same. But just in this moment with the coronavirus situation it is difficult, but we have big plans for the future.

\n\n

“I'm personally working on a book with another coach in Galicia which will focus on secondary schools and teach young players the story of Gaelic Games, how it has developed in Galicia, and some skills and drills. It would be mainly for PE teachers, that's just another idea we have for promoting the game.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The men's and women's Galician gaelic football teams pictured at the 2019 Renault GAA World Games. 
\r\n

If you have a good product then people will buy it, but is there more to the growth of Gaelic Games in Europe than the simple fact that gaelic football and hurling are great sports?

\n\n

“In my experience in Galicia it is due to three main themes,” says Sanmartin Costa.

\n\n

“First, Gaelic football is a sport that sounds quite similar to soccer, so it gets your attention straight away when you first hear about it.

\n\n

“Secondly, because of the culture. In Galicia our culture is related to the celtic culture and have somewhat similar celtic roots and traditions and culture.

\n\n

“And, finally, probably because of the opportunity Gaelic Games gives you to play for a Galician team.

\n\n

“The Galician team is the selection of the best players in Galicia and we compete against other countries in the World Games.

\n\n

“And for Galicians to put on the jersey of Galicia is just the best feeling. Those who do it feel very, very proud to represent Galicia. The jersey of Galicia represents so much for us.

\n\n

“So I think these three things are the most important things for getting players involved in Galica.”

\n\n

For human beings there are few more important needs than feeling like you are part of a community.

\n\n

That is why the GAA is such a positive force in Irish society, and, increasingly, beyond these shores too.

\n\n

Pride in the jersey is what it’s all about whether you’re from Galway or Galicia.

\n","AreaName":"","SectionName":"","Kind":0,"Date":"Friday 15 January 2021","DatePublished":"Friday 15 January 2021","DatePublishedAsDate":"2021-01-15T11:22:47.075Z","Thumbnail":{"Title":"Alex Sanmartin Costa pictured with GAA President, John Horan, at GAA Annual Congress 2019.","TemplateUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/{formatInstructions}/v1610708469/wwgg41ilnsnd1lhp9shd","ThumbnailUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/w_250,h_250,c_thumb,g_auto,q_auto,f_jpg/v1610708469/wwgg41ilnsnd1lhp9shd","Format":"jpg","OverriddenFormats":{}},"HeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1610708469/wwgg41ilnsnd1lhp9shd.jpg","MobileHeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1610708469/wwgg41ilnsnd1lhp9shd.jpg","ThumbnailImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1610708469/wwgg41ilnsnd1lhp9shd.jpg","Images":{"ORIG":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/f_jpg/v1610708469/wwgg41ilnsnd1lhp9shd.jpg","HERO":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1610708469/wwgg41ilnsnd1lhp9shd.jpg","FEATURES":null,"MobileFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1610708469/wwgg41ilnsnd1lhp9shd.jpg","MobileStandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_372,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1610708469/wwgg41ilnsnd1lhp9shd.jpg","SmallFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_540,h_304,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1610708469/wwgg41ilnsnd1lhp9shd.jpg","StandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_440,h_248,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1610708469/wwgg41ilnsnd1lhp9shd.jpg","SmallThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1610708469/wwgg41ilnsnd1lhp9shd.jpg","SquareFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_661,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1610708469/wwgg41ilnsnd1lhp9shd.jpg"},"Match":null,"Competition":null,"CompetitionSeason":null,"CompetitionSeoName":null,"CompetitionName":null,"Url":"/news/alexandre-san-martin-costa-s-zeal-of-the-converted/","HotlineUrl":"","IsHotlineUrlOpenedInANewWindow":true,"YoutubeID":null,"VideoId":null,"RelatedNewsArticles":null,"RelatedVideos":null,"RelatedPhotos":null,"RelatedAudios":null,"RelatedDocuments":[],"RelatedPhotoGalleries":null,"RelatedLinks":null,"RelatedMatches":[],"RelatedTeams":[],"RelatedFreeTags":[],"RelatedCustomEntities":[],"EditorialLabel":"Feature","AdditionalNotes":null,"Author":"John Harrington","DateUpdated":"2021-01-15T11:22:47.075Z","Tags":[{"Slug":"feature","Type":"tag","_translationId":"67c8a382-ee0b-425b-b072-740857296e94","_entityId":"124196a1-89c7-4419-b5e3-7698d55dd788","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/feature","Title":"Feature","NeutralSlug":"feature","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}}]},"AdditionalStyle":"","Href":"/news/alexandre-san-martin-costa-s-zeal-of-the-converted/","Target":"","SportLabel":"","Skip":1,"ContentDate":"2021-01-15T00:00:00Z","SportTeller":115},{"Document":{"MediaType":"news","Sport":"","SeoTitle":"how-your-club-can-save-thousands-and-be-kinder-to-the-environment","Area":0,"Section":0,"Id":0,"Guid":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000","Title":"How your club can save thousands and be kinder to the environment","Headline":"How your club can save thousands and be kinder to the environment","Slug":"how-your-club-can-save-thousands-and-be-kinder-to-the-environment","Summary":"

By John Harrington\nWould you like your GAA club to save thousands of euros a year while also being much kinder to the environment?\nOf course you would, it’s a no-brainer, and Louth club Clan na Gael have proven it is entirely possible to do.\nA mentor club with the

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Dundalk\r\n\r\n
Dundalk club Clan na Gael have installed state of the art LED floodlights that will save the club thousands and significantly reduce their carbon footprint. 
\r\n

By John Harrington

\n\n

Would you like your GAA club to save thousands of euros a year while also being much kinder to the environment?

\n\n

Of course you would, it’s a no-brainer, and Louth club Clan na Gael have proven it is entirely possible to do.

\n\n

A mentor club with the GAA’s new Green Club Programme, Clan na Gael recently completed an energy saving project that will result in annual energy and maintenance savings of €10,000 per annum and a massive reduction in CO2 emissions.

\n\n

Padraig Fallon was a member of the committe that spearheaded the Dundalk club’s ambitious sustainability drive and believes all GAA clubs can save money and be kinder to the environment by following in their footsteps.

\n\n

“My own background is engineering and one of the big topics going on in the world at the moment is environmental sustainability and energy improvements and carbon footprints and that kind of stuff so that put me and a couple of the guys in the club thinking as to how we were doing things down in the Clans,” Fallon told GAA.ie

\n\n

“We have a fully functioning bar, and a lot of activity in our facilities, between offices and night classes, the blood transfusion service coming using our facilities, stuff like that.

\n\n

“Our main pitch had got high energy halogen bulbs. I had an idea that probably we certainly were using a lot of energy so I got our electricity and oil bills for exactly three years and I analysed them and what I found then was quite startling.

\n\n

“We were probably spending about €18,000 a year on electricity and oil, which when you did the math equated to 52 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the air every year being emitted by the club. Straight away I knew that this was wrong that there was no way the numbers should be anything like that.

\n\n

“I started asking some of the older people about the club facilities, when they were built. They were built in the 60s and obviously there was no insulation put in cavities or attics or anything like that so to have a comfort level inside everything was always on the max.

\n\n

“The temperature was turned up high, the oil was always on because that was the only way you could make the place comfortable.

\n\n

“Then the big one was our floodlights. We have quite a busy pitch and when I studied the bulbs we had 24 two kilowatt halogen bulbs that required almost 50 units of electricity an hour just to put our pitch going and have a game on it.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Dundalk\r\n\r\n
Dundalk Credit Union Ltd. are one of a number of local companies and individuals who supported Clan na Gael in their energy saving initiative.
\r\n

With Fallon’s report in hand, Clan na Gael went to Louth County Council who along with the Louth Energy Sustainable Energy Community helped them receive 50% of the funding they needed for the project with an SEAI grant.

\n\n

“The whole body of work cost €84,000, inclusive of VAT,” says Fallon. “So we were on the hook for €42,000 of that. And we were actually registered for VAT so you take away five grand VAT it was costing us €37,000.

\n\n

“The big challenge was always going to be finding the lump of money to make the initial investment that would then pay for itself.

\n\n

“Our banks were supporting us pre-Covid, but when Covid came they weren't as keen to give us the money they had promised us. We had to move to plan B very quickly and we raised every penny from the local community and club members.

\n\n

“Plan B was we needed to raise €25,000 overnight. So four or five people, some businessmen, gave loans overnight, that allowed us to get our first 50% paid. And then we went to the community and local businesses, and we raised enough money to pay all the loans back, and pay for the project. And we still have some left over.

\n\n

“It was the best example of what a GAA club should be all about. It was the best example of people coming together that I had ever seen.

\n\n

“Just looking at the money that we spent, we'll get a payback in less than three years because I’ll put my neck on the line and say that we'll save €10,000 a year and only be spending around €7,000 or €8,000 now.

\n\n

“The other area you’re saving big money in is maintenance.

\n\n

“We were having to spend a lot of money on the maintenance of the floodlights because when a halogen bulb goes you can't just go out with your stepladder and put it in, these things are 18 metres high so you have to get electricians and you have to get a hire out height for hire. To change a bulb could cost you between €700 and €800.

\n\n

“And we were probably spending somewhere between €3,000 and €5,000 a year on just maintaining our floodlights which wasn't sustainable. That now has totally disappeared.

\n\n

“The lights we've put in have a warranty for five years so if we go down one day and a light isn't working, I just call the guys up and tell them one of our lights working. And, even at that, the LED floodlights are expected to last 50,000 hours which I won't see out, shall I say.\"

\n

Fallon believes that energy improvements can be made to any club building that was built more than 15 years ago, but if you’re looking to save significan money quickly, then he’ll point you in the direction of LED floodlights.

\n\n

Not only are the ones Clan na Gael installed far better than their halogen predecessors, they’re much cheaper to run too.

\n\n

“They was a big surge of floodlights installed in clubs this last 20 years, but the technology being used by 99.99% of them is halogen floodlights,” says Fallon.

\n\n

“There's a massive, massive energy, draw on those. Massive maintenance costs. We're fortunate our electricity comes from the grid and we have three phase power coming into our building and that was the only way we could operate our floodlights.

\n\n

“But I’d say many clubs around the country use diesel generators to run halogen lights. If we were running our old Halogen lights off generators it would have been costing us about €50 to €60 an hour of diesel to run the generator and that leaves a mind-blowing carbon footprint too.

\n\n

“Whereas, in comparison, to run our LED floodlights today for an hour costs us €4.50 and is much kinder to the environment.

\n\n

“I actually believe we should be looking to outlaw the use of generators. Clubs should be looking to try to get proper electricity feeds into their complexes because driving floodlights off big generators is extremely expensive and detrimental to the environment.

\n\n

“A big generator costs €25,000 and clubs do not appreciate then what they cost to run on top of that. The guys fill up the big diesel tank and, you know, it runs out in the middle of the game sometimes and they just fill it up again the next week, nobody is looking at the figures. I've done the figures and I was astonished.”

\n\n

Clan na Gael's expected savings of €10,000 per annum will make will be make a huge difference to all sorts of projects the club embark on in the coming years, but Fallon derives just as much satisfaction from the positive impact on the environment.

\n\n

“That was the one factor that stuck me, that we were pumping out a tonne of carbon dioxide a week,” he says.

\n\n

“It wasn't the money, it wasn't the 18 grand, it was the 52 tonne of carbon dioxide that we were responsible for.

\n\n

“I was trying to, you know, visualize carbon dioxide for the guys because some people can't get it. Basically, if you have a box that's eight metres, by eight metres by eight metres and you fill it up with carbon dioxide, that's a tonne of carbon dioxide.

\n\n

“We would have certainly knocked 30 tonnes from our 52 tonnes of carbon dioxide that we were producing and we still have ambitions to reduce that much further.

\n\n

“We want to eliminate oil altogether, that would involve putting in heat pumps. Maybe just one pretty sizable heat pump which would eliminate the oil. And then we also have ample space to put in any amount of solar panels which will give us free electricity.

\n\n

“So, the calculations I have done, definitely show that we can actually become carbon neutral and even produce surplus electricity that will then go back to the grid and be used by someone else.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"A\r\n\r\n
A new GAA Green Club programme will see 45 clubs and two regional venues participate in a 12-month initiative to assist the GAA, LGFA, and Camogie, develop a sustainability toolkit for all their units. Pictured at Croke Park last year when the GAA and local authorities pledged to work together as SDG champions of the Irish government, are: LGFA CEO Helen O'Rourke, Chairman of CCMA Michael Walsh, Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael John Horan, Chairman of Local Authority Climate Change Steering Group Ciarán Hayes, Camogie Operations Manager Alan Malone, DCCAE Katie Aherne, and former Wexford hurler Diarmuid Lyng.
\r\n

Clan na Gael’s energy saving project hasn’t just produced a financial and environmental dividend, it is having a social impact too.

\n\n

Their state of the art LED floodlights have transformed their playing pitch, and their newly insulated facilities are a much more comfortable environment for club-members.

\n\n

“We got the Louth hurlers down a week or two before the Lory Meagher Final which was the ultimate test for us, and they were blown away by the lights,” says Fallon.

\n\n

“My own young lad plays with the Louth hurlers and he said you could see the sliotar coming from miles off even if it was 30 metres in the air which wouldn't have been the case in any pitch they'd ever played in before with the exception of Croke Park. So that was the ultimate test.

\n\n

“We have a floodlit pitch now which I can say for sure myself personally is definitely the best floodlit club pitch around. Our lux levels are over 250 Lux levels which is putting us up to championship hurling level, and I believe the lights are even good enough to broadcast matches for TV cameras if you wanted to.

\n\n

“None of our adult teams got to play underneath the lights yet because of Covid, but for a number of weeks when we were allowed we had underage groups of 15 down training.

\n\n

“The managers were competing to get out onto the field because they just loved it. The kids weren't cold, because the lights were that good.

\n\n

“It wasn't that the lights were emitting heat, it was the psychological effect because the lights were that good and that bright that the kids were didn't feel the cold. They were just so enthused to get out on the field that they ran out in the field and they didn't stop running until the coaches blew the whistle.

\n\n

“We got to use our facilities for a number of weeks in between lockdowns too, and I remember being down there one of the nights and the bar manager come over to me and he says, \"Padraig, we have a problem. I says, \"What's the problem, Kevin?\" He says all the customers are complaining that it was too warm.

\n\n

“Everybody had turned up the dials to the normal place where they had always been and because we now had such good insulation the temperatures were off the scale. So that was a good complaint!”

\n\n

Clan na Gael have lit the way. When you consider the environmental, financial, and social benefits, expect other clubs to soon follow the same greener, cleaner path.

\n\n

***

\n\n

The following Clan na Gael club-members were involved in the energy saving project.

\n\n\n
","RawBody":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

Would you like your GAA club to save thousands of euros a year while also being much kinder to the environment?

\n\n

Of course you would, it’s a no-brainer, and Louth club Clan na Gael have proven it is entirely possible to do.

\n\n

A mentor club with the GAA’s new Green Club Programme, Clan na Gael recently completed an energy saving project that will result in annual energy and maintenance savings of €10,000 per annum and a massive reduction in CO2 emissions.

\n\n

Padraig Fallon was a member of the committe that spearheaded the Dundalk club’s ambitious sustainability drive and believes all GAA clubs can save money and be kinder to the environment by following in their footsteps.

\n\n

“My own background is engineering and one of the big topics going on in the world at the moment is environmental sustainability and energy improvements and carbon footprints and that kind of stuff so that put me and a couple of the guys in the club thinking as to how we were doing things down in the Clans,” Fallon told GAA.ie

\n\n

“We have a fully functioning bar, and a lot of activity in our facilities, between offices and night classes, the blood transfusion service coming using our facilities, stuff like that.

\n\n

“Our main pitch had got high energy halogen bulbs. I had an idea that probably we certainly were using a lot of energy so I got our electricity and oil bills for exactly three years and I analysed them and what I found then was quite startling.

\n\n

“We were probably spending about €18,000 a year on electricity and oil, which when you did the math equated to 52 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the air every year being emitted by the club. Straight away I knew that this was wrong that there was no way the numbers should be anything like that.

\n\n

“I started asking some of the older people about the club facilities, when they were built. They were built in the 60s and obviously there was no insulation put in cavities or attics or anything like that so to have a comfort level inside everything was always on the max.

\n\n

“The temperature was turned up high, the oil was always on because that was the only way you could make the place comfortable.

\n\n

“Then the big one was our floodlights. We have quite a busy pitch and when I studied the bulbs we had 24 two kilowatt halogen bulbs that required almost 50 units of electricity an hour just to put our pitch going and have a game on it.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Dundalk\r\n\r\n
Dundalk Credit Union Ltd. are one of a number of local companies and individuals who supported Clan na Gael in their energy saving initiative.
\r\n

With Fallon’s report in hand, Clan na Gael went to Louth County Council who along with the Louth Energy Sustainable Energy Community helped them receive 50% of the funding they needed for the project with an SEAI grant.

\n\n

“The whole body of work cost €84,000, inclusive of VAT,” says Fallon. “So we were on the hook for €42,000 of that. And we were actually registered for VAT so you take away five grand VAT it was costing us €37,000.

\n\n

“The big challenge was always going to be finding the lump of money to make the initial investment that would then pay for itself.

\n\n

“Our banks were supporting us pre-Covid, but when Covid came they weren't as keen to give us the money they had promised us. We had to move to plan B very quickly and we raised every penny from the local community and club members.

\n\n

“Plan B was we needed to raise €25,000 overnight. So four or five people, some businessmen, gave loans overnight, that allowed us to get our first 50% paid. And then we went to the community and local businesses, and we raised enough money to pay all the loans back, and pay for the project. And we still have some left over.

\n\n

“It was the best example of what a GAA club should be all about. It was the best example of people coming together that I had ever seen.

\n\n

“Just looking at the money that we spent, we'll get a payback in less than three years because I’ll put my neck on the line and say that we'll save €10,000 a year and only be spending around €7,000 or €8,000 now.

\n\n

“The other area you’re saving big money in is maintenance.

\n\n

“We were having to spend a lot of money on the maintenance of the floodlights because when a halogen bulb goes you can't just go out with your stepladder and put it in, these things are 18 metres high so you have to get electricians and you have to get a hire out height for hire. To change a bulb could cost you between €700 and €800.

\n\n

“And we were probably spending somewhere between €3,000 and €5,000 a year on just maintaining our floodlights which wasn't sustainable. That now has totally disappeared.

\n\n

“The lights we've put in have a warranty for five years so if we go down one day and a light isn't working, I just call the guys up and tell them one of our lights working. And, even at that, the LED floodlights are expected to last 50,000 hours which I won't see out, shall I say.\"

\n

Fallon believes that energy improvements can be made to any club building that was built more than 15 years ago, but if you’re looking to save significan money quickly, then he’ll point you in the direction of LED floodlights.

\n\n

Not only are the ones Clan na Gael installed far better than their halogen predecessors, they’re much cheaper to run too.

\n\n

“They was a big surge of floodlights installed in clubs this last 20 years, but the technology being used by 99.99% of them is halogen floodlights,” says Fallon.

\n\n

“There's a massive, massive energy, draw on those. Massive maintenance costs. We're fortunate our electricity comes from the grid and we have three phase power coming into our building and that was the only way we could operate our floodlights.

\n\n

“But I’d say many clubs around the country use diesel generators to run halogen lights. If we were running our old Halogen lights off generators it would have been costing us about €50 to €60 an hour of diesel to run the generator and that leaves a mind-blowing carbon footprint too.

\n\n

“Whereas, in comparison, to run our LED floodlights today for an hour costs us €4.50 and is much kinder to the environment.

\n\n

“I actually believe we should be looking to outlaw the use of generators. Clubs should be looking to try to get proper electricity feeds into their complexes because driving floodlights off big generators is extremely expensive and detrimental to the environment.

\n\n

“A big generator costs €25,000 and clubs do not appreciate then what they cost to run on top of that. The guys fill up the big diesel tank and, you know, it runs out in the middle of the game sometimes and they just fill it up again the next week, nobody is looking at the figures. I've done the figures and I was astonished.”

\n\n

Clan na Gael's expected savings of €10,000 per annum will make will be make a huge difference to all sorts of projects the club embark on in the coming years, but Fallon derives just as much satisfaction from the positive impact on the environment.

\n\n

“That was the one factor that stuck me, that we were pumping out a tonne of carbon dioxide a week,” he says.

\n\n

“It wasn't the money, it wasn't the 18 grand, it was the 52 tonne of carbon dioxide that we were responsible for.

\n\n

“I was trying to, you know, visualize carbon dioxide for the guys because some people can't get it. Basically, if you have a box that's eight metres, by eight metres by eight metres and you fill it up with carbon dioxide, that's a tonne of carbon dioxide.

\n\n

“We would have certainly knocked 30 tonnes from our 52 tonnes of carbon dioxide that we were producing and we still have ambitions to reduce that much further.

\n\n

“We want to eliminate oil altogether, that would involve putting in heat pumps. Maybe just one pretty sizable heat pump which would eliminate the oil. And then we also have ample space to put in any amount of solar panels which will give us free electricity.

\n\n

“So, the calculations I have done, definitely show that we can actually become carbon neutral and even produce surplus electricity that will then go back to the grid and be used by someone else.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"A\r\n\r\n
A new GAA Green Club programme will see 45 clubs and two regional venues participate in a 12-month initiative to assist the GAA, LGFA, and Camogie, develop a sustainability toolkit for all their units. Pictured at Croke Park last year when the GAA and local authorities pledged to work together as SDG champions of the Irish government, are: LGFA CEO Helen O'Rourke, Chairman of CCMA Michael Walsh, Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael John Horan, Chairman of Local Authority Climate Change Steering Group Ciarán Hayes, Camogie Operations Manager Alan Malone, DCCAE Katie Aherne, and former Wexford hurler Diarmuid Lyng.
\r\n

Clan na Gael’s energy saving project hasn’t just produced a financial and environmental dividend, it is having a social impact too.

\n\n

Their state of the art LED floodlights have transformed their playing pitch, and their newly insulated facilities are a much more comfortable environment for club-members.

\n\n

“We got the Louth hurlers down a week or two before the Lory Meagher Final which was the ultimate test for us, and they were blown away by the lights,” says Fallon.

\n\n

“My own young lad plays with the Louth hurlers and he said you could see the sliotar coming from miles off even if it was 30 metres in the air which wouldn't have been the case in any pitch they'd ever played in before with the exception of Croke Park. So that was the ultimate test.

\n\n

“We have a floodlit pitch now which I can say for sure myself personally is definitely the best floodlit club pitch around. Our lux levels are over 250 Lux levels which is putting us up to championship hurling level, and I believe the lights are even good enough to broadcast matches for TV cameras if you wanted to.

\n\n

“None of our adult teams got to play underneath the lights yet because of Covid, but for a number of weeks when we were allowed we had underage groups of 15 down training.

\n\n

“The managers were competing to get out onto the field because they just loved it. The kids weren't cold, because the lights were that good.

\n\n

“It wasn't that the lights were emitting heat, it was the psychological effect because the lights were that good and that bright that the kids were didn't feel the cold. They were just so enthused to get out on the field that they ran out in the field and they didn't stop running until the coaches blew the whistle.

\n\n

“We got to use our facilities for a number of weeks in between lockdowns too, and I remember being down there one of the nights and the bar manager come over to me and he says, \"Padraig, we have a problem. I says, \"What's the problem, Kevin?\" He says all the customers are complaining that it was too warm.

\n\n

“Everybody had turned up the dials to the normal place where they had always been and because we now had such good insulation the temperatures were off the scale. So that was a good complaint!”

\n\n

Clan na Gael have lit the way. When you consider the environmental, financial, and social benefits, expect other clubs to soon follow the same greener, cleaner path.

\n\n

***

\n\n

The following Clan na Gael club-members were involved in the energy saving project.

\n\n\n
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By John Harrington\nJohn O’Brien was just 22 years old when he was told he would never walk again.\nThe Nobber club-man’s life was changed forever when a car journey to Navan for a bag of chips after football ended tragically when his car collided with cattle on the N3

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"John\r\n\r\n
John O'Brien pictured with his brother Stephen (left) and the Mattie McDonnell Cup after Nobber's victory over Trim in the 2019 Meath Intermediate Football Final. 
\r\n

By John Harrington

\n\n

John O’Brien was just 22 years old when he was told he would never walk again.

\n\n

The Nobber club-man’s life was changed forever when a car journey to Navan for a bag of chips after football ended tragically when his car collided with cattle on the N3 in August 2012.

\n\n

The impact left him with a spinal injury that paralysed him from the chest down, but it’s a testament to O’Brien’s strength of character that he has never let his disability define him.

\n\n

In recent years he has completed courses in sports journalism, sports psychology, and social care and counselling.

\n\n

Currently he’s taking courses in counselling and psychotherapy as well as public speaking.

\n\n

He’s also the inspirational club captain of Nobber GAA and one of the men behind the hugely popular Meath GAA Lad Podcast along with Gearoid Rennicks.

\n\n

But for all the impressive milestones that he has reached and the ones he’s eying further down the road, he’s not going to pretend the journey along the way has been an easy one.

\n\n

When your life as you know it is shattered forever, glueing the shards together to create something new is a difficult task.

\n\n

“Yeah, very hard,” O’Brien told GAA.ie. “I would have went through a lot of emotions from my accident.

\n\n

“Maybe in the early stages I didn't understand the seriousness of it. It happened in August and I was thinking I'd be grand and be out before Christmas.

\n\n

“Slowly you realise this is serious stuff, this is big stuff, and then when you realise then that you're not going to walk again and when the nurses tell you that, it's kind of like, \"Why me? Did I do something wrong? Did I deserve this?\"

\n\n

“Those sort of feelings of self-pity. Then you have anger. And then you take the anger out on the wrong people and then you're sad. All of those emotions in the early days.

\n\n

“I probably had to come through all of that to learn. My emotions now would be completely different. I'd like to think that I'm positive enough.

\n\n

“Now, I do have negative days, but I'd like to think the positive ones outweigh the negative ones. I'd like to think I'm more determined and focused now.”

\n\n

He has gained strength along the way from the solidarity of others.

\n\n

The O’Brien family have always been stalwart supporters of Nobber GAA club, and when their need was greatest the club rallied to their aid.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"John\r\n\r\n
John O'Brien pictured shortly after moving into his specially adapted home which was built thanks to a fundraising drive by his Nobber GAA club and community. 
\r\n

Along with other clubs in the surrounding borderlands of Meath, Louth, Monaghan, and Cavan, volunteers from Nobber GAA club spearheaded a community drive that raised €250,000 for the construction of a wheelchair adapted extension to the O’Brien family home.

\n\n

“That's something that will never leave me,” says O’Brien. “At the time of my accident I was rushed to Drogheda Hospital and then I was in the Mater in Dublin, the spinal unit for a while, and then I was brought to the NRH (National Rehabilitation Hospital) in Dun Laoghaire.

\n\n

“My Mam and Dad and my brother and sister would have told me what was going on at home in terms of fund-raising.

\n\n

“The work was just unbelievable. Larry McEntee would have been a big Nobber man and one of the people involved in getting the fund-raising going in Nobber.

\n\n

“Not just even in Nobber, the whole GAA community in Meath and a lot of clubs all over the county just did so many different fundraisers for me to help me. I couldn't believe it, it made me very emotional when I was in hospital but it helped give me that fighting spirit to keep going.

\n\n

“It wasn't even the clubs in Meath. Where I live I'm quite close to the Meath/Cavan/Monaghan border. So in around Kingscourt and Magheracloone where my mam is from, they would have done fundraisers as well. We're not far from Louth either and the likes of Ardee and other local areas like that helped out too.

\n\n

“I'm lucky that where I live in the country we had room to build on to the house. Where I am today I have my own adapted home, all wheelchair accessible, and I have all my equipment in it. My ceiling hoist and my special bed and my exercise equipment and my own bathroom, everything.

\n\n

“I do think about it a lot, the way the people really rallied around me and helped me so much. I suppose in a way when I got an opportunity to help Nobber football club I had to because they helped me so much back in 2012/2013.

\n\n

“So I wanted to help them and I hope I have and I hope I can continue to do so, just to repay the community back.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"John\r\n\r\n
John O'Brien pictured with some of the €1,000 worth of equipment which he won for Nobber GAA club through Leinster GAA's Beko Club Champion competition. 
\r\n

The most recent way that O’Brien helped his club was by entering Nobber in the Beko Club Champion Competition in association with Leinster GAA before Christmas.

\n\n

In an emotional video interview he put together as part of the entry he explained how the club had done so much for his own mental health over the years and had been a force of good in the community during the Covid 19 pandemic.

\n\n

Thanks to O’Brien’s testimony, Nobber won the Beko Club Champion Award for Meath which netted the club €1,000 worth of equipment.

\n\n

What you can’t put a monetary value on is the priceless contribution that O’Brien has made to Nobber as their club captain since he was asked to take on the role in March 2019.

\n\n

The players will tell you he was a vital source of inspiration for them as they beat the odds to win the Meath Intermediate Football Championship that year.

\n\n

It was a mutually beneficial arrangement, because being closely involved with the team was a huge boost for O’Brien’s mental health at a time when he needed it.

\n\n

“It was just unbelievable to be asked and just a shock at first because I never expected something like that,” he says.

\n\n

“They just said they wanted me to be on board with the panel and any ideas I had that they wanted to hear them. They wanted me to be at training sessions and be with the team before games in the dressing-room and things like that.

\n\n

“Straight away it was a shock, but then I was thinking, \"This is class, what can I do to help?\" The championship was coming up in April and my focus was on that, we were playing Oldcastle and I was just thinking what could I do to help the lads?>

\n\n

“We were in the Intermediate grade at the time and what we wanted to do was win the Championship, deep down that would have been our goal. That was something in the back of my head, if I could help the lads do that it would be great.

\n\n

“It just gave such a huge boost. I have people who come in to help me, personal assistants, because I need help with basically everything that I do.

\n\n

“Getting up out of bed in the morning, the preparing of my meals, setting me up to do my exercise, bringing me to the gym when I could do that pre-Covid.

\n\n

“I have a wheelchair adapted van so they would drive me. I need help with everything and this just gave me a real boost. My brother is involved and plays football with the team and it kind of gave me a purpose.

\n\n

“My accident was in August 2012 and I know this was 2019, seven years later, but it probably took me a long time to really push myself because I was probably in a comfort zone here at home for a while.

\n\n

“By being asked to become part of the football group it made me get out of that comfort zone because I had to go to training and matches and speak to people whereas beforehand I might have shied away from that kind of thing. So it really helped my confidence and over time it was huge for my self-belief and self-confidence.

\n\n

“Looking back to March 2019 compared to now, it's just completely different, it changed me massively.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"John\r\n\r\n
John O'Brien picured celebrating with Nobber team-mates and supporters after the club's victory over Trim in the 2019 Meath Intermediate Football Final. 
\r\n

O’Brien made good use of his qualification in sports psychology as he became an integral part of the team during their unbeaten run to the Meath Intermediate Football title.

\n\n

Underdogs going into the County Final against Trim, they played the game of their lives to triumph by 15 points.

\n\n

O’Brien was a lightning rod for the explosion of emotion that followed the final whistle, and framed photos of those moments now hang as proud mementos on his walls.

\n\n

“They're class memories and they'll never leave me. It was just so emotional,” he says.

\n\n

“For a long time before and afterwards I couldn't stop thinking about it. It basically took over my life.

\n\n

“At home when I'd go to bed I'd think about it before I went to sleep and when I'd wake up in the morning I'd be visualising again us winning the championship. So it was just brilliant that it came through.

\n\n

“I got my Intermediate medal, we had our dinner dance last January, and it's just something that will never leave me. It's a brilliant memory.

\n\n

“And that day in Navan when we were out on the pitch and everyone was hugging you and high-fiving you and wanting to take pictures with me. I was like, \"What's going on here?\", it was a bit unbelievable. I nearly felt like a celebrity.

\n\n

“Then Brian Farrell who was our joint-captain with Brendan Heffernan came up to me and said, \"Are you coming over to get this Cup or what?\"

\n\n

“I was like, \"What are you on about?\", because the Cup is always presented up in the stand and there are steps up to it so I was presuming I'd be with the supporters on the pitch looking up at the lads lifting the Cup.

\n\n

“But the Meath County Board, and this was the first time I've ever seen anything like it, had set up a table on the pitch and the Cup was presented there so I could be there with the team and they presented the Cup to me.

\n\n

“It was a moment that will always live with me, it was just unbelievable.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Stephen\r\n\r\n
Stephen O'Brien pictured with Meath football Legend Mark O'Reilly who he interviewed for his Meath GAA Lad podcast series. 
\r\n

Nobber will have new management whenever the club scene resumes in 2021 but O’Brien has already been asked to stay on as club captain and is only too happy to do so.

\n\n

He has has to be extra-cautious during this Covid-19 pandemic, but he’s still keeping himself very busy.

\n\n

His latest podcast for Meath GAA TV is an excellent interview with his fellow Nobber club-man and former county star, Brian Farrell, and intends to keep that flame for sports journalism lit.

\n\n

What he wants to focus on most in the future though is to earn the qualifications required to help people deal with the sort of adversity he’s overcome himself.

\n\n

The course he completed with eight distinctions out of eight in social care and counselling skills last year has set him on a path he intends to explore further.

\n\n

“I've done work experience in SOSAD in Navan and I really enjoyed that and I recently just started an online certificate in counselling and psychotherapy,” he says.

\n\n

“That's all online for the year. I've been doing that once a week since September and I'm really enjoying that.

\n\n

“My hope is to go into counselling and psychotherapy. I know that will be another three years of study but the hope would be to eventually get a bit of work in that sphere if the course goes well.

\n\n

“I'd love to see myself as a counsellor or psychotherapist in three or four years time.

\n\n

“I'd like to be able to help people in years to come who might be going through something that I have gone through and continue to go through.

\n\n

“It is a life-changing thing and there are a lot of dark days but you have to overcome them and reach your full potential and I’d love to help others do the same.”

\n\n

You don't doubt that he will.

\n","RawBody":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

John O’Brien was just 22 years old when he was told he would never walk again.

\n\n

The Nobber club-man’s life was changed forever when a car journey to Navan for a bag of chips after football ended tragically when his car collided with cattle on the N3 in August 2012.

\n\n

The impact left him with a spinal injury that paralysed him from the chest down, but it’s a testament to O’Brien’s strength of character that he has never let his disability define him.

\n\n

In recent years he has completed courses in sports journalism, sports psychology, and social care and counselling.

\n\n

Currently he’s taking courses in counselling and psychotherapy as well as public speaking.

\n\n

He’s also the inspirational club captain of Nobber GAA and one of the men behind the hugely popular Meath GAA Lad Podcast along with Gearoid Rennicks.

\n\n

But for all the impressive milestones that he has reached and the ones he’s eying further down the road, he’s not going to pretend the journey along the way has been an easy one.

\n\n

When your life as you know it is shattered forever, glueing the shards together to create something new is a difficult task.

\n\n

“Yeah, very hard,” O’Brien told GAA.ie. “I would have went through a lot of emotions from my accident.

\n\n

“Maybe in the early stages I didn't understand the seriousness of it. It happened in August and I was thinking I'd be grand and be out before Christmas.

\n\n

“Slowly you realise this is serious stuff, this is big stuff, and then when you realise then that you're not going to walk again and when the nurses tell you that, it's kind of like, \"Why me? Did I do something wrong? Did I deserve this?\"

\n\n

“Those sort of feelings of self-pity. Then you have anger. And then you take the anger out on the wrong people and then you're sad. All of those emotions in the early days.

\n\n

“I probably had to come through all of that to learn. My emotions now would be completely different. I'd like to think that I'm positive enough.

\n\n

“Now, I do have negative days, but I'd like to think the positive ones outweigh the negative ones. I'd like to think I'm more determined and focused now.”

\n\n

He has gained strength along the way from the solidarity of others.

\n\n

The O’Brien family have always been stalwart supporters of Nobber GAA club, and when their need was greatest the club rallied to their aid.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"John\r\n\r\n
John O'Brien pictured shortly after moving into his specially adapted home which was built thanks to a fundraising drive by his Nobber GAA club and community. 
\r\n

Along with other clubs in the surrounding borderlands of Meath, Louth, Monaghan, and Cavan, volunteers from Nobber GAA club spearheaded a community drive that raised €250,000 for the construction of a wheelchair adapted extension to the O’Brien family home.

\n\n

“That's something that will never leave me,” says O’Brien. “At the time of my accident I was rushed to Drogheda Hospital and then I was in the Mater in Dublin, the spinal unit for a while, and then I was brought to the NRH (National Rehabilitation Hospital) in Dun Laoghaire.

\n\n

“My Mam and Dad and my brother and sister would have told me what was going on at home in terms of fund-raising.

\n\n

“The work was just unbelievable. Larry McEntee would have been a big Nobber man and one of the people involved in getting the fund-raising going in Nobber.

\n\n

“Not just even in Nobber, the whole GAA community in Meath and a lot of clubs all over the county just did so many different fundraisers for me to help me. I couldn't believe it, it made me very emotional when I was in hospital but it helped give me that fighting spirit to keep going.

\n\n

“It wasn't even the clubs in Meath. Where I live I'm quite close to the Meath/Cavan/Monaghan border. So in around Kingscourt and Magheracloone where my mam is from, they would have done fundraisers as well. We're not far from Louth either and the likes of Ardee and other local areas like that helped out too.

\n\n

“I'm lucky that where I live in the country we had room to build on to the house. Where I am today I have my own adapted home, all wheelchair accessible, and I have all my equipment in it. My ceiling hoist and my special bed and my exercise equipment and my own bathroom, everything.

\n\n

“I do think about it a lot, the way the people really rallied around me and helped me so much. I suppose in a way when I got an opportunity to help Nobber football club I had to because they helped me so much back in 2012/2013.

\n\n

“So I wanted to help them and I hope I have and I hope I can continue to do so, just to repay the community back.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"John\r\n\r\n
John O'Brien pictured with some of the €1,000 worth of equipment which he won for Nobber GAA club through Leinster GAA's Beko Club Champion competition. 
\r\n

The most recent way that O’Brien helped his club was by entering Nobber in the Beko Club Champion Competition in association with Leinster GAA before Christmas.

\n\n

In an emotional video interview he put together as part of the entry he explained how the club had done so much for his own mental health over the years and had been a force of good in the community during the Covid 19 pandemic.

\n\n

Thanks to O’Brien’s testimony, Nobber won the Beko Club Champion Award for Meath which netted the club €1,000 worth of equipment.

\n\n

What you can’t put a monetary value on is the priceless contribution that O’Brien has made to Nobber as their club captain since he was asked to take on the role in March 2019.

\n\n

The players will tell you he was a vital source of inspiration for them as they beat the odds to win the Meath Intermediate Football Championship that year.

\n\n

It was a mutually beneficial arrangement, because being closely involved with the team was a huge boost for O’Brien’s mental health at a time when he needed it.

\n\n

“It was just unbelievable to be asked and just a shock at first because I never expected something like that,” he says.

\n\n

“They just said they wanted me to be on board with the panel and any ideas I had that they wanted to hear them. They wanted me to be at training sessions and be with the team before games in the dressing-room and things like that.

\n\n

“Straight away it was a shock, but then I was thinking, \"This is class, what can I do to help?\" The championship was coming up in April and my focus was on that, we were playing Oldcastle and I was just thinking what could I do to help the lads?>

\n\n

“We were in the Intermediate grade at the time and what we wanted to do was win the Championship, deep down that would have been our goal. That was something in the back of my head, if I could help the lads do that it would be great.

\n\n

“It just gave such a huge boost. I have people who come in to help me, personal assistants, because I need help with basically everything that I do.

\n\n

“Getting up out of bed in the morning, the preparing of my meals, setting me up to do my exercise, bringing me to the gym when I could do that pre-Covid.

\n\n

“I have a wheelchair adapted van so they would drive me. I need help with everything and this just gave me a real boost. My brother is involved and plays football with the team and it kind of gave me a purpose.

\n\n

“My accident was in August 2012 and I know this was 2019, seven years later, but it probably took me a long time to really push myself because I was probably in a comfort zone here at home for a while.

\n\n

“By being asked to become part of the football group it made me get out of that comfort zone because I had to go to training and matches and speak to people whereas beforehand I might have shied away from that kind of thing. So it really helped my confidence and over time it was huge for my self-belief and self-confidence.

\n\n

“Looking back to March 2019 compared to now, it's just completely different, it changed me massively.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"John\r\n\r\n
John O'Brien picured celebrating with Nobber team-mates and supporters after the club's victory over Trim in the 2019 Meath Intermediate Football Final. 
\r\n

O’Brien made good use of his qualification in sports psychology as he became an integral part of the team during their unbeaten run to the Meath Intermediate Football title.

\n\n

Underdogs going into the County Final against Trim, they played the game of their lives to triumph by 15 points.

\n\n

O’Brien was a lightning rod for the explosion of emotion that followed the final whistle, and framed photos of those moments now hang as proud mementos on his walls.

\n\n

“They're class memories and they'll never leave me. It was just so emotional,” he says.

\n\n

“For a long time before and afterwards I couldn't stop thinking about it. It basically took over my life.

\n\n

“At home when I'd go to bed I'd think about it before I went to sleep and when I'd wake up in the morning I'd be visualising again us winning the championship. So it was just brilliant that it came through.

\n\n

“I got my Intermediate medal, we had our dinner dance last January, and it's just something that will never leave me. It's a brilliant memory.

\n\n

“And that day in Navan when we were out on the pitch and everyone was hugging you and high-fiving you and wanting to take pictures with me. I was like, \"What's going on here?\", it was a bit unbelievable. I nearly felt like a celebrity.

\n\n

“Then Brian Farrell who was our joint-captain with Brendan Heffernan came up to me and said, \"Are you coming over to get this Cup or what?\"

\n\n

“I was like, \"What are you on about?\", because the Cup is always presented up in the stand and there are steps up to it so I was presuming I'd be with the supporters on the pitch looking up at the lads lifting the Cup.

\n\n

“But the Meath County Board, and this was the first time I've ever seen anything like it, had set up a table on the pitch and the Cup was presented there so I could be there with the team and they presented the Cup to me.

\n\n

“It was a moment that will always live with me, it was just unbelievable.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Stephen\r\n\r\n
Stephen O'Brien pictured with Meath football Legend Mark O'Reilly who he interviewed for his Meath GAA Lad podcast series. 
\r\n

Nobber will have new management whenever the club scene resumes in 2021 but O’Brien has already been asked to stay on as club captain and is only too happy to do so.

\n\n

He has has to be extra-cautious during this Covid-19 pandemic, but he’s still keeping himself very busy.

\n\n

His latest podcast for Meath GAA TV is an excellent interview with his fellow Nobber club-man and former county star, Brian Farrell, and intends to keep that flame for sports journalism lit.

\n\n

What he wants to focus on most in the future though is to earn the qualifications required to help people deal with the sort of adversity he’s overcome himself.

\n\n

The course he completed with eight distinctions out of eight in social care and counselling skills last year has set him on a path he intends to explore further.

\n\n

“I've done work experience in SOSAD in Navan and I really enjoyed that and I recently just started an online certificate in counselling and psychotherapy,” he says.

\n\n

“That's all online for the year. I've been doing that once a week since September and I'm really enjoying that.

\n\n

“My hope is to go into counselling and psychotherapy. I know that will be another three years of study but the hope would be to eventually get a bit of work in that sphere if the course goes well.

\n\n

“I'd love to see myself as a counsellor or psychotherapist in three or four years time.

\n\n

“I'd like to be able to help people in years to come who might be going through something that I have gone through and continue to go through.

\n\n

“It is a life-changing thing and there are a lot of dark days but you have to overcome them and reach your full potential and I’d love to help others do the same.”

\n\n

You don't doubt that he will.

\n","AreaName":"","SectionName":"","Kind":0,"Date":"Tuesday 12 January 2021","DatePublished":"Tuesday 12 January 2021","DatePublishedAsDate":"2021-01-12T13:43:22.961Z","Thumbnail":{"Title":"John O'Brien pictured with his brother Stephen (left) and the Mattie McDonnell Cup after Nobber's victory over Trim in the 2019 Meath Intermediate Football Final. ","TemplateUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/{formatInstructions}/v1610457078/vyo1b5psaqutif1mvicr","ThumbnailUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/w_250,h_250,c_thumb,g_auto,q_auto,f_jpg/v1610457078/vyo1b5psaqutif1mvicr","Format":"jpg","OverriddenFormats":{}},"HeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1610457078/vyo1b5psaqutif1mvicr.jpg","MobileHeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1610457078/vyo1b5psaqutif1mvicr.jpg","ThumbnailImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1610457078/vyo1b5psaqutif1mvicr.jpg","Images":{"ORIG":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/f_jpg/v1610457078/vyo1b5psaqutif1mvicr.jpg","HERO":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1610457078/vyo1b5psaqutif1mvicr.jpg","FEATURES":null,"MobileFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1610457078/vyo1b5psaqutif1mvicr.jpg","MobileStandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_372,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1610457078/vyo1b5psaqutif1mvicr.jpg","SmallFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_540,h_304,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1610457078/vyo1b5psaqutif1mvicr.jpg","StandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_440,h_248,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1610457078/vyo1b5psaqutif1mvicr.jpg","SmallThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1610457078/vyo1b5psaqutif1mvicr.jpg","SquareFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_661,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1610457078/vyo1b5psaqutif1mvicr.jpg"},"Match":null,"Competition":null,"CompetitionSeason":null,"CompetitionSeoName":null,"CompetitionName":null,"Url":"/news/john-o-brien-s-courage-in-the-face-of-adversity/","HotlineUrl":"","IsHotlineUrlOpenedInANewWindow":true,"YoutubeID":null,"VideoId":null,"RelatedNewsArticles":null,"RelatedVideos":null,"RelatedPhotos":null,"RelatedAudios":null,"RelatedDocuments":[],"RelatedPhotoGalleries":null,"RelatedLinks":null,"RelatedMatches":[],"RelatedTeams":[],"RelatedFreeTags":[],"RelatedCustomEntities":[],"EditorialLabel":"Feature","AdditionalNotes":null,"Author":"John Harrington","DateUpdated":"2021-01-12T13:43:22.961Z","Tags":[{"Slug":"feature","Type":"tag","_translationId":"67c8a382-ee0b-425b-b072-740857296e94","_entityId":"124196a1-89c7-4419-b5e3-7698d55dd788","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/feature","Title":"Feature","NeutralSlug":"feature","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}}]},"AdditionalStyle":"","Href":"/news/john-o-brien-s-courage-in-the-face-of-adversity/","Target":"","SportLabel":"","Skip":1,"ContentDate":"2021-01-12T00:00:00Z","SportTeller":115},{"Document":{"MediaType":"news","Sport":"1","SeoTitle":"niall-carew-excited-about-carlow-s-potential","Area":0,"Section":0,"Id":0,"Guid":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000","Title":"Niall Carew excited about Carlow's potential","Headline":null,"Slug":"niall-carew-excited-about-carlow-s-potential","Summary":"

By Cian O’Connell\n“It has just been mad - that is the only word,” Niall Carew says about being back in inter-county management during a pandemic.\nPreviously a selector with Kildare, Carew then took charge of Waterford and Sligo enjoying his stint at the highest level.\nLast summer when the

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Manager\r\n\r\n
Manager Niall Carew believes significant potential exists in the Carlow senior football panel.
\r\n

By Cian O’Connell

\n\n

“It has just been mad - that is the only word,” Niall Carew says about being back in inter-county management during a pandemic.

\n\n

Previously a selector with Kildare, Carew then took charge of Waterford and Sligo enjoying his stint at the highest level.

\n\n

Last summer when the totemic Turlough O’Brien opted to leave the stage, Carew became interested in building on the solid foundation established.

\n\n

Undoubtedly 2020 was a year like no other with Carew in the rare position of inheriting a coaching job during a fractured campaign.

\n\n

“It was just a big rollercoaster,” Carew admits. “With all of that happening my poor old ma died in between.

\n\n

“So it was bittersweet going back at it. I suppose it took my mind off the grief and all of that with my mum. I was able to throw myself right into it which was good.

\n\n

“The Carlow County Board were very helpful, I met with Turlough O'Brien, who was very helpful too. We just started getting into trial matches, that is what we did.

\n\n

“The Carlow Championship hadn't finished so we were still without a lot of players. We really only had four weeks then to prepare for the Championship.

\n\n

“It was tough, but it was good too. We tried to get as much done as we could in terms of a structure of play and trying to get lads to buy into that because they were playing a different system to what we had introduced with the new coaching staff obviously.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Carlow\r\n\r\n
Carlow selector Ger Brennan and manager Niall Carew.
\r\n

“We were really cramming stuff in with the Sligo and Offaly games. It was mad.”

\n\n

Ultimately it is Carlow’s potential which caught Carew’s attention: missions can be accomplished. “Absolutely, even in the lockdown our lads are buying into everything,” Carew remarks. “We are keeping the panel tight.

\n\n

“There is massive potential in this group. If you go through a lot of the players Jordan Morrissey, Ross Dunphy, and then the older players Sean Gannon, Darragh Foley, Eoghan Ruth, and Shane Redmond.

\n\n

“These lads are really buying into everything that is being put in front of them. We feel there is massive potential in this group and we really want to drive it on going forward.

\n\n

“Their appetite and everything we put in front of them, they are eating it up. They are good lads and we just can't wait to get back into collective training, to start coaching again.”

\n\n

That is an aspect of the job Carew enjoys, trying to improve players. An interesting backroom team was stitched together by Carew including the decorated Ger Brennan, who offers significant experience.

\n\n

“Ger Brennan is my coach along with Victor Doyle from Rathvilly and Simon Rea from Eire Og,” Carew comments.

\n\n

“Three excellent coaches with me. On the strength and conditioning Ciaran Nolan is excellent too. We are very thrilled with the backroom and the physio Gary Nolan.

\n\n

“They are good lads and Carlow men. We have a new Chairman coming on board too, Jim Bolger, is after taking over from Sean Campion.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Niall\r\n\r\n
Niall Carew is happy to be back operating at inter-county level.
\r\n

“Sean was a lovely lad, he wanted to drive the whole thing on and I met with Jim Bolger for a couple of hours just before Christmas, social distancing obviously. We met and that went very well, he is very keen to drive the whole thing on.”

\n\n

It is one of the reasons that Carew remains confident about the future of this Carlow outfit. “Every manager is only as good as his backroom team and the players at his disposal,” Carew continues.

\n\n

“The big thing is everyone is on the same page, that there is nobody trying to deviate from the plan, everyone has the same philosophy in thinking what way the game should be played.

\n\n

“That is why Ger and myself get on very well. We have known each other for a long time now anyway. Then very lucky that we have Victor and Simon on the same wavelength as ourselves.”

\n\n

Carew is encouraged about the connection forged off the field too, a real desire exists for Carlow to stay relevant and competitive.

\n\n

“For a small county population wise and even the pool of players we have to pick from, you only have eight senior clubs in Carlow,” Carew states.

\n\n

“It is a small pool of players, but there certainly is a good passion amongst the football contingent down there, who really want the county team to develop and to go well.

\n\n

“It is an exciting time when you know that they really want them team to progress. They are doing everything they can to make sure that happens.”

\n\n

Becoming involved once more at inter-county was a challenge Carew embraced. “There was an interest about whether I would talk and I said I'd meet them anyway,” Carew replies.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Niall\r\n\r\n
Niall Carew operated as a Kildare selector when Kieran McGeeney was in charge of the Lilywhites.
\r\n

“That was it and it kinda snowballed from there. The three lads I met were very enthusiastic about driving the whole thing forward, Sean Campion was one of them. The committee were very keen and that is what floated my boat. I suppose I really wanted it then after that.”

\n\n

Suddenly Carew sensed the possibilities. “I spoke to Ger Brennan, who was very interested in coming on board, and it snowballed from there,” Carew adds. “It is like you never have left inter-county management then because it is all or nothing at inter-county level, 24-7.

\n\n

“Everyday you are doing something in relation to your team, trying to keep on top of everything, and making sure everything is done right. Every inter-county manager will tell you that, every single day, whether it is on the phone or meetings, everday you are doing something.

\n\n

“It is certainly a big undertaking again, but it is something I'm relishing. I've great appetite because it was three years since I was involved in it. I finished up with Sligo in 2017, at the moment we are itching to get back on to the field. We are doing other things online, that is all good.”

\n\n

O’Brien’s ambition and drive will be fondly remembered in the Carlow football story. Carew forged a relationship with O’Brien. “I met Turlough when I managed Waterford a few times,” Carew comments.

\n\n

“I found him to be a gentleman, he only wants Carlow to do well. Obviously he has a vested interest with his son, Darragh, playing too on the team, an excellent footballer with such a good attitude.

\n\n

“I met Turlough for a couple of hours, he gave me a lot of information that I used and was very helpful. I think that transition was very important. In fairness to him he was very willing to help me, he gave me his time, and I appreciate that a lot.”

\n\n

Similarly Carew tries to assist others. It has been a central part of his own coaching journey.

\n\n

Ensuring Carlow are primed for action when Gaelic Football returns is Carew’s brief.

\n","RawBody":"

By Cian O’Connell

\n\n

“It has just been mad - that is the only word,” Niall Carew says about being back in inter-county management during a pandemic.

\n\n

Previously a selector with Kildare, Carew then took charge of Waterford and Sligo enjoying his stint at the highest level.

\n\n

Last summer when the totemic Turlough O’Brien opted to leave the stage, Carew became interested in building on the solid foundation established.

\n\n

Undoubtedly 2020 was a year like no other with Carew in the rare position of inheriting a coaching job during a fractured campaign.

\n\n

“It was just a big rollercoaster,” Carew admits. “With all of that happening my poor old ma died in between.

\n\n

“So it was bittersweet going back at it. I suppose it took my mind off the grief and all of that with my mum. I was able to throw myself right into it which was good.

\n\n

“The Carlow County Board were very helpful, I met with Turlough O'Brien, who was very helpful too. We just started getting into trial matches, that is what we did.

\n\n

“The Carlow Championship hadn't finished so we were still without a lot of players. We really only had four weeks then to prepare for the Championship.

\n\n

“It was tough, but it was good too. We tried to get as much done as we could in terms of a structure of play and trying to get lads to buy into that because they were playing a different system to what we had introduced with the new coaching staff obviously.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Carlow\r\n\r\n
Carlow selector Ger Brennan and manager Niall Carew.
\r\n

“We were really cramming stuff in with the Sligo and Offaly games. It was mad.”

\n\n

Ultimately it is Carlow’s potential which caught Carew’s attention: missions can be accomplished. “Absolutely, even in the lockdown our lads are buying into everything,” Carew remarks. “We are keeping the panel tight.

\n\n

“There is massive potential in this group. If you go through a lot of the players Jordan Morrissey, Ross Dunphy, and then the older players Sean Gannon, Darragh Foley, Eoghan Ruth, and Shane Redmond.

\n\n

“These lads are really buying into everything that is being put in front of them. We feel there is massive potential in this group and we really want to drive it on going forward.

\n\n

“Their appetite and everything we put in front of them, they are eating it up. They are good lads and we just can't wait to get back into collective training, to start coaching again.”

\n\n

That is an aspect of the job Carew enjoys, trying to improve players. An interesting backroom team was stitched together by Carew including the decorated Ger Brennan, who offers significant experience.

\n\n

“Ger Brennan is my coach along with Victor Doyle from Rathvilly and Simon Rea from Eire Og,” Carew comments.

\n\n

“Three excellent coaches with me. On the strength and conditioning Ciaran Nolan is excellent too. We are very thrilled with the backroom and the physio Gary Nolan.

\n\n

“They are good lads and Carlow men. We have a new Chairman coming on board too, Jim Bolger, is after taking over from Sean Campion.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Niall\r\n\r\n
Niall Carew is happy to be back operating at inter-county level.
\r\n

“Sean was a lovely lad, he wanted to drive the whole thing on and I met with Jim Bolger for a couple of hours just before Christmas, social distancing obviously. We met and that went very well, he is very keen to drive the whole thing on.”

\n\n

It is one of the reasons that Carew remains confident about the future of this Carlow outfit. “Every manager is only as good as his backroom team and the players at his disposal,” Carew continues.

\n\n

“The big thing is everyone is on the same page, that there is nobody trying to deviate from the plan, everyone has the same philosophy in thinking what way the game should be played.

\n\n

“That is why Ger and myself get on very well. We have known each other for a long time now anyway. Then very lucky that we have Victor and Simon on the same wavelength as ourselves.”

\n\n

Carew is encouraged about the connection forged off the field too, a real desire exists for Carlow to stay relevant and competitive.

\n\n

“For a small county population wise and even the pool of players we have to pick from, you only have eight senior clubs in Carlow,” Carew states.

\n\n

“It is a small pool of players, but there certainly is a good passion amongst the football contingent down there, who really want the county team to develop and to go well.

\n\n

“It is an exciting time when you know that they really want them team to progress. They are doing everything they can to make sure that happens.”

\n\n

Becoming involved once more at inter-county was a challenge Carew embraced. “There was an interest about whether I would talk and I said I'd meet them anyway,” Carew replies.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Niall\r\n\r\n
Niall Carew operated as a Kildare selector when Kieran McGeeney was in charge of the Lilywhites.
\r\n

“That was it and it kinda snowballed from there. The three lads I met were very enthusiastic about driving the whole thing forward, Sean Campion was one of them. The committee were very keen and that is what floated my boat. I suppose I really wanted it then after that.”

\n\n

Suddenly Carew sensed the possibilities. “I spoke to Ger Brennan, who was very interested in coming on board, and it snowballed from there,” Carew adds. “It is like you never have left inter-county management then because it is all or nothing at inter-county level, 24-7.

\n\n

“Everyday you are doing something in relation to your team, trying to keep on top of everything, and making sure everything is done right. Every inter-county manager will tell you that, every single day, whether it is on the phone or meetings, everday you are doing something.

\n\n

“It is certainly a big undertaking again, but it is something I'm relishing. I've great appetite because it was three years since I was involved in it. I finished up with Sligo in 2017, at the moment we are itching to get back on to the field. We are doing other things online, that is all good.”

\n\n

O’Brien’s ambition and drive will be fondly remembered in the Carlow football story. Carew forged a relationship with O’Brien. “I met Turlough when I managed Waterford a few times,” Carew comments.

\n\n

“I found him to be a gentleman, he only wants Carlow to do well. Obviously he has a vested interest with his son, Darragh, playing too on the team, an excellent footballer with such a good attitude.

\n\n

“I met Turlough for a couple of hours, he gave me a lot of information that I used and was very helpful. I think that transition was very important. In fairness to him he was very willing to help me, he gave me his time, and I appreciate that a lot.”

\n\n

Similarly Carew tries to assist others. It has been a central part of his own coaching journey.

\n\n

Ensuring Carlow are primed for action when Gaelic Football returns is Carew’s brief.

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By John Harrington\nIn the face of considerable adversity in 2020, GAA clubs in Asia showed great resolve and imagination to rise to the challenge.\nGAA on the continent is in a stronger place now than it was this time last year which is remarkable really considering the difficulties posed

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Pictured\r\n\r\n
Pictured are members of the Saigon Gaels and Na Fianna Ho Chi Minh GAA clubs who did fantastic work in 2020 helping those affected by diastrous flooding in central Vietnam. 
\r\n

By John Harrington

\n\n

In the face of considerable adversity in 2020, GAA clubs in Asia showed great resolve and imagination to rise to the challenge.

\n\n

GAA on the continent is in a stronger place now than it was this time last year which is remarkable really considering the difficulties posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

\n\n

The GAA has always been a community organisation as much as a sporting one, and that has been the main reason GAA clubs in Asia didn’t just survive, but thrived in 2020, thanks in no small part to significant help from the Global Games Development Fund which has always been a vital lifeline for our international units.

\n\n

When the pandemic hit, all the Asian countries quickly locked down which meant that plans for cross-continental tournaments had to be quickly shelved.

\n\n

Clubs were told to focus instead on their own individual communities, and to take care of the mental as well as physical health of their own members.

\n\n

According to the Asian County Board’s Assistant Development Officer, Joe Trolan, every club rose to that challenge with a heart and a half.

\n\n

“Thankfully, actually amazingly, clubs really took it on themselves,” says Trolan.

\n\n

“Our smaller clubs in South Asia were brilliant. In Vietnamyou had Saigon Gaels, you had Na Fianna Ho Chi Minh City, you had Viet Celts in Hanoi.

\n\n

“You had Cambodia Phnom Penh, you had Taiwan, you had Thailand, You know these clubs really stepped up to the plate as did clubs in Singapore and Malaysia. Likewise, China really took on the mantle of 'I'm going to lead here'.

\n\n

“And part of that was because of the Global Game Development Fund, it gave them a tool, and give them the opportunity where they you know they could engage in their local community thanks to that funding.

\n\n

“Because a lot of the members in these countries potentially lost their jobs, potentially had limited jobs, limited income.

\n\n

“You know, not everybody who lives in Asia is here on one of those expat salaries. Many of us are teachers, many of us work for NGOs, so they always have that worry in the background about the economic cost of of participating in a club.

\n\n

“The fund allows that to be de-stressed so that the players can focus on just fun and community. And this year, thanks to those clubs, community has been a big focus. To give an outlet to those members in the community.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Taiwan\r\n\r\n
Taiwan Celts marked their 25th anniversary with their biggest ever in-house club tournament. 
\r\n

GAA activity across Asia increased in every way in 2020. There were more matches played on a local level, and bonds between clubs across the continent were strengthened despite the absence of tournaments.

\n\n

Taiwan Celts are a good example of a club that went from strength to strength. They finished their 25th anniversary year on a high by hosting a domestic tournament for men and women that saw 90 players represented on six teams, the largest they've ever held.

\n\n

“The number of local games increased massively,” says Trolan. “In Vietnam, you had cross-community work between the sports organisations, AFL, soccer, great engagement, and it was the same in Cambodia, the same in Thailand.

\n\n

“Taiwan, Shanghai, Singapore, Beijing, Japan all likewise. All focused on the community. The support from GAA HQ, and the support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has allowed this to grow.

\n\n

“You know we could have had a smaller footprint, but the funding and support from back home has allowed that footprint to grow. And that's the amazing thing.

\n\n

“We've had virtual runs, we've had virtual quizzes, 80-90 people engaged on a computer screen that maybe wouldn't talk to each other for six months are now laughing and joking together.

\n\n

“Or a virtual run, we've had so many online engagements. We had our AYC (Asian Youth Championship) virtually where we had kids clubs from Japan Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Malaysia, all doing online skills challenges in different circumstances but community based.

\n\n

“It's not about winning it's not about losing it's just about engaging and enjoying it. And that's down to the funding from the Global Games Development.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"GAA\r\n\r\n
GAA clubs like Saigon Gaels do wonderful work engaging with their local communities. This fantastic photo was taken at a cultural exchange day organised with the club's primary sponsors, vsource.io. 
\r\n

GAA clubs outside of Ireland have long been as much a social outlet as a sporting one.

\n\n

Traditionally they were hubs for ex-pats to meet up and feel a connection to home, but in most cases they’re now much more than that.

\n\n

The real success of international clubs has been the way they’ve opened their arms to the local community and encouraged non-Irish to get involved in Gaelic Games.

\n\n

We saw in Ireland how the outstanding work of GAA clubs to help those who have needed it the most during this pandemic has deepened the sense of the club being the heartbeat of the local community.

\n\n

That same sense of togetherness has also been strengthened by the proactive attitude of GAA clubs in Asia to ensure those in their local community were happy and healthy.

\n\n

“The overall idea was we wanted to focus on ensuring our club members would have access to an outlet that would help probably mental fatigue, or isolation that they have,” says Trolan.

\n\n

“Whether they're fantastic at football, hurling and camogie or absolutely terrible at everything, we don't care and have never cared.

\n\n

“There's always a place for somebody in Asia to play a sport at different levels, different engagement. If you want to come a couple times and play and have fun and then just socialise after, that's fine.

\n\n

“This year was stressful, but thanks to support from Aine (Gibney) and Kayleen (Iwasaki) in the international office in Croke Park and from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with the Global Game Development Fund, that stress was taken away.

\n\n

“It's allowed us to really engage with clubs. And, from my perspective, I didn't really have to be overly engaged with the clubs because they took it on themselves. They were proactive about it. And I was able to stand back and just make sure that everything was going well and to help where needed if there was problems here or equipment was needed there.

\n\n

“The clubs were proactive, the clubs saw a need to engage with the community. And their focus was community, their focus was making sure that their members were fine.

\n\n

“And it was absolutely amazing to see and a lot of it was down to the security of knowing that there was support and funding there behind the scenes to cover extraneous costs such as pitch rentals, such as equipment that we don't have, it was there for them.

\n\n

“And I would say this year even though with the pandemic even with the COVID-19, our clubs have engaged more between themselves than ever before.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Vietnamese\r\n\r\n
Vietnamese displaced by diastrous flooding in 2020 receiving aid donated by the GAA clubs of Vietnam. 
\r\n

To extent to which GAA clubs abroad are now proactive in their wider community was underlined by the response the floods and landslides in Vietnam late last year that displaced around 100,000 people.

\n\n

Saigon Gaels, Na Fianna in Ho Chi Minh city, and the VietCelts in Hanoi raised over €1,500 for those most affected by the natural disaster and further donations were made by GAA clubs across the continent.

\n\n

When the need was greatest in Saigon, 650 families in the Central Vietnam region were supported thanks to donations from sporting clubs in Saigon, including Saigon Gaels.

\n\n

“The three Vietnamese GAA clubs were really at the forefront of sports clubs in Vietnam of raising money for equipment, food, blankets, and other supplies,” says Trolan.

\n\n

“Shanghai also donated money to them, other clubs have donated supplies. The Asian County Board, we raised over €500 with a virtual run.

\n\n

“The main thing was community and the smaller clubs and the clubs in general have really taken that mantle on and focused on community.

\n\n

“And when we focus on community we knew we were going to battle and win any concept or any ideas of isolation, mental fatigue, physical fatigue by supporting the community.

\n\n

“So I'm very proud of our clubs, I'm very proud of the support that we've had from the county board, and I'm extremely proud of the support, even during tough times in Ireland, that the GAA, and the LGFA, the community organisations and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has shown us, despite probably immense pressure at home financially, economically, they have not forgotten us out here in Asia.”

\n","RawBody":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

In the face of considerable adversity in 2020, GAA clubs in Asia showed great resolve and imagination to rise to the challenge.

\n\n

GAA on the continent is in a stronger place now than it was this time last year which is remarkable really considering the difficulties posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

\n\n

The GAA has always been a community organisation as much as a sporting one, and that has been the main reason GAA clubs in Asia didn’t just survive, but thrived in 2020, thanks in no small part to significant help from the Global Games Development Fund which has always been a vital lifeline for our international units.

\n\n

When the pandemic hit, all the Asian countries quickly locked down which meant that plans for cross-continental tournaments had to be quickly shelved.

\n\n

Clubs were told to focus instead on their own individual communities, and to take care of the mental as well as physical health of their own members.

\n\n

According to the Asian County Board’s Assistant Development Officer, Joe Trolan, every club rose to that challenge with a heart and a half.

\n\n

“Thankfully, actually amazingly, clubs really took it on themselves,” says Trolan.

\n\n

“Our smaller clubs in South Asia were brilliant. In Vietnamyou had Saigon Gaels, you had Na Fianna Ho Chi Minh City, you had Viet Celts in Hanoi.

\n\n

“You had Cambodia Phnom Penh, you had Taiwan, you had Thailand, You know these clubs really stepped up to the plate as did clubs in Singapore and Malaysia. Likewise, China really took on the mantle of 'I'm going to lead here'.

\n\n

“And part of that was because of the Global Game Development Fund, it gave them a tool, and give them the opportunity where they you know they could engage in their local community thanks to that funding.

\n\n

“Because a lot of the members in these countries potentially lost their jobs, potentially had limited jobs, limited income.

\n\n

“You know, not everybody who lives in Asia is here on one of those expat salaries. Many of us are teachers, many of us work for NGOs, so they always have that worry in the background about the economic cost of of participating in a club.

\n\n

“The fund allows that to be de-stressed so that the players can focus on just fun and community. And this year, thanks to those clubs, community has been a big focus. To give an outlet to those members in the community.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Taiwan\r\n\r\n
Taiwan Celts marked their 25th anniversary with their biggest ever in-house club tournament. 
\r\n

GAA activity across Asia increased in every way in 2020. There were more matches played on a local level, and bonds between clubs across the continent were strengthened despite the absence of tournaments.

\n\n

Taiwan Celts are a good example of a club that went from strength to strength. They finished their 25th anniversary year on a high by hosting a domestic tournament for men and women that saw 90 players represented on six teams, the largest they've ever held.

\n\n

“The number of local games increased massively,” says Trolan. “In Vietnam, you had cross-community work between the sports organisations, AFL, soccer, great engagement, and it was the same in Cambodia, the same in Thailand.

\n\n

“Taiwan, Shanghai, Singapore, Beijing, Japan all likewise. All focused on the community. The support from GAA HQ, and the support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has allowed this to grow.

\n\n

“You know we could have had a smaller footprint, but the funding and support from back home has allowed that footprint to grow. And that's the amazing thing.

\n\n

“We've had virtual runs, we've had virtual quizzes, 80-90 people engaged on a computer screen that maybe wouldn't talk to each other for six months are now laughing and joking together.

\n\n

“Or a virtual run, we've had so many online engagements. We had our AYC (Asian Youth Championship) virtually where we had kids clubs from Japan Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Malaysia, all doing online skills challenges in different circumstances but community based.

\n\n

“It's not about winning it's not about losing it's just about engaging and enjoying it. And that's down to the funding from the Global Games Development.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"GAA\r\n\r\n
GAA clubs like Saigon Gaels do wonderful work engaging with their local communities. This fantastic photo was taken at a cultural exchange day organised with the club's primary sponsors, vsource.io. 
\r\n

GAA clubs outside of Ireland have long been as much a social outlet as a sporting one.

\n\n

Traditionally they were hubs for ex-pats to meet up and feel a connection to home, but in most cases they’re now much more than that.

\n\n

The real success of international clubs has been the way they’ve opened their arms to the local community and encouraged non-Irish to get involved in Gaelic Games.

\n\n

We saw in Ireland how the outstanding work of GAA clubs to help those who have needed it the most during this pandemic has deepened the sense of the club being the heartbeat of the local community.

\n\n

That same sense of togetherness has also been strengthened by the proactive attitude of GAA clubs in Asia to ensure those in their local community were happy and healthy.

\n\n

“The overall idea was we wanted to focus on ensuring our club members would have access to an outlet that would help probably mental fatigue, or isolation that they have,” says Trolan.

\n\n

“Whether they're fantastic at football, hurling and camogie or absolutely terrible at everything, we don't care and have never cared.

\n\n

“There's always a place for somebody in Asia to play a sport at different levels, different engagement. If you want to come a couple times and play and have fun and then just socialise after, that's fine.

\n\n

“This year was stressful, but thanks to support from Aine (Gibney) and Kayleen (Iwasaki) in the international office in Croke Park and from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with the Global Game Development Fund, that stress was taken away.

\n\n

“It's allowed us to really engage with clubs. And, from my perspective, I didn't really have to be overly engaged with the clubs because they took it on themselves. They were proactive about it. And I was able to stand back and just make sure that everything was going well and to help where needed if there was problems here or equipment was needed there.

\n\n

“The clubs were proactive, the clubs saw a need to engage with the community. And their focus was community, their focus was making sure that their members were fine.

\n\n

“And it was absolutely amazing to see and a lot of it was down to the security of knowing that there was support and funding there behind the scenes to cover extraneous costs such as pitch rentals, such as equipment that we don't have, it was there for them.

\n\n

“And I would say this year even though with the pandemic even with the COVID-19, our clubs have engaged more between themselves than ever before.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Vietnamese\r\n\r\n
Vietnamese displaced by diastrous flooding in 2020 receiving aid donated by the GAA clubs of Vietnam. 
\r\n

To extent to which GAA clubs abroad are now proactive in their wider community was underlined by the response the floods and landslides in Vietnam late last year that displaced around 100,000 people.

\n\n

Saigon Gaels, Na Fianna in Ho Chi Minh city, and the VietCelts in Hanoi raised over €1,500 for those most affected by the natural disaster and further donations were made by GAA clubs across the continent.

\n\n

When the need was greatest in Saigon, 650 families in the Central Vietnam region were supported thanks to donations from sporting clubs in Saigon, including Saigon Gaels.

\n\n

“The three Vietnamese GAA clubs were really at the forefront of sports clubs in Vietnam of raising money for equipment, food, blankets, and other supplies,” says Trolan.

\n\n

“Shanghai also donated money to them, other clubs have donated supplies. The Asian County Board, we raised over €500 with a virtual run.

\n\n

“The main thing was community and the smaller clubs and the clubs in general have really taken that mantle on and focused on community.

\n\n

“And when we focus on community we knew we were going to battle and win any concept or any ideas of isolation, mental fatigue, physical fatigue by supporting the community.

\n\n

“So I'm very proud of our clubs, I'm very proud of the support that we've had from the county board, and I'm extremely proud of the support, even during tough times in Ireland, that the GAA, and the LGFA, the community organisations and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has shown us, despite probably immense pressure at home financially, economically, they have not forgotten us out here in Asia.”

\n","AreaName":"","SectionName":"","Kind":0,"Date":"Friday 8 January 2021","DatePublished":"Friday 8 January 2021","DatePublishedAsDate":"2021-01-08T13:04:19.268Z","Thumbnail":{"Title":"Pictured are members of the Saigon Gaels and Na Fianna Ho Chi Minh GAA clubs who did fantastic work in 2020 helping those affected by diastrous flooding in central Vietnam. ","TemplateUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/{formatInstructions}/v7dmhnot5bkrgqksmgnq","ThumbnailUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/w_250,h_250,c_thumb,g_auto,q_auto,f_jpg/v7dmhnot5bkrgqksmgnq","Format":"jpg","OverriddenFormats":{}},"HeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v7dmhnot5bkrgqksmgnq.jpg","MobileHeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v7dmhnot5bkrgqksmgnq.jpg","ThumbnailImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v7dmhnot5bkrgqksmgnq.jpg","Images":{"ORIG":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/f_jpg/v7dmhnot5bkrgqksmgnq.jpg","HERO":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v7dmhnot5bkrgqksmgnq.jpg","FEATURES":null,"MobileFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v7dmhnot5bkrgqksmgnq.jpg","MobileStandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_372,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v7dmhnot5bkrgqksmgnq.jpg","SmallFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_540,h_304,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v7dmhnot5bkrgqksmgnq.jpg","StandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_440,h_248,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v7dmhnot5bkrgqksmgnq.jpg","SmallThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v7dmhnot5bkrgqksmgnq.jpg","SquareFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_661,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v7dmhnot5bkrgqksmgnq.jpg"},"Match":null,"Competition":null,"CompetitionSeason":null,"CompetitionSeoName":null,"CompetitionName":null,"Url":"/news/asian-gaa-clubs-rose-to-the-challenge-in-2020/","HotlineUrl":"","IsHotlineUrlOpenedInANewWindow":true,"YoutubeID":null,"VideoId":null,"RelatedNewsArticles":null,"RelatedVideos":null,"RelatedPhotos":null,"RelatedAudios":null,"RelatedDocuments":[],"RelatedPhotoGalleries":null,"RelatedLinks":null,"RelatedMatches":[],"RelatedTeams":[],"RelatedFreeTags":[],"RelatedCustomEntities":[],"EditorialLabel":"Feature","AdditionalNotes":null,"Author":"John Harrington","DateUpdated":"2021-01-08T13:04:19.268Z","Tags":[{"Slug":"feature","Type":"tag","_translationId":"67c8a382-ee0b-425b-b072-740857296e94","_entityId":"124196a1-89c7-4419-b5e3-7698d55dd788","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/feature","Title":"Feature","NeutralSlug":"feature","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}}]},"AdditionalStyle":"","Href":"/news/asian-gaa-clubs-rose-to-the-challenge-in-2020/","Target":"","SportLabel":"","Skip":1,"ContentDate":"2021-01-08T00:00:00Z","SportTeller":115},{"Document":{"MediaType":"news","Sport":"","SeoTitle":"cuala-teenager-showing-how-to-keep-girls-playing-gaelic-games","Area":0,"Section":0,"Id":0,"Guid":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000","Title":"Cuala teenager showing how to keep girls playing Gaelic Games","Headline":"Cuala teenager showing how to keep girls playing Gaelic Games","Slug":"cuala-teenager-showing-how-to-keep-girls-playing-gaelic-games","Summary":"

By John Harrington\nAisling Nig Ruairc is a shining example of how young people can be influential leaders in their own clubs and communities.\nEmpowered by her experience of taking part in the Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Initiative (DEYLI), she is using the tools she developed there to address what

\n","Body":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

Aisling Nig Ruairc is a shining example of how young people can be influential leaders in their own clubs and communities.

\n\n

Empowered by her experience of taking part in the Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Initiative (DEYLI), she is using the tools she developed there to address what is a huge issue for underage camogie and ladies football teams up and down the country – the high drop-out rate of players.

\n\n

The 17-year old has had a hugely positive sporting journey herself playing camogie and football with Cuala in Dublin, which is why she is so passionate about the benefits of team sport for teenage girls.

\n\n

And her ‘Keeping Girls Playing Project’ is having such a positive impact in Cuala that it will hopefully give other clubs some really helpful food for thought as to how best to keep girls involved in team sport.

\n\n

“As part of my second module in the Dermot Early Young Leadership Initiative I gave a presentation on what the GAA means to me as a female,” Nig Ruairc told GAA.ie

\n\n

“When I was researching this I came across a survey saying that one of two girls will drop out of team sport by the age of 13 and are three times more likely to give it up than boys are.

\n\n

“It kind of shocked me at first because I know from my own personal experience of all the benefits that come from playing team sport.

\n\n

“But when I thought about it made sense because my own team lost around half of our players by the time we were 13 and struggled to field a team at that age.

\n\n

“My third (DEYLI) module was a community project, and I really wanted to focus on doing something that would help our club retain girls.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Aisling\r\n\r\n
Aisling Nig Ruairc (right) pictured with her Cuala football and camogie minor team-mate, Róisín Ní Drisceoil. 
\r\n

Nig Ruairc identified the three groups she felt could be most influential in keeping young girls involved in sport – coaches, parents, and older girls – and set about creating resources that would help all three groups more positively impact the 12 and 13 year old girls playing football and camogie for Cuala.

\n\n

“We decided to do a Microsoft Sway presentation for the parents and coaches giving them tips on how to support the girls just that better give and give them more of an awareness of the importance of playing sport,” says Nig Ruairc.

\n\n

“For coaches, we weren't going to tell them how to improve because they're obviously much more educated them myself, but just kind of give them a few different websites to look at or just collect some information that might be useful for them.

\n\n

“And then the final one was the older girls because I think girls especially are influenced by their peers so we thought the girls coming in from the teams above just even showing that there is a future in sport was very important.”

\n\n

The plan was that Transition Year students who played for Cuala would mentor the younger players and join them for a training session once a month.

\n\n

Covid-19, unfortunately, made that impossible, but Nig Ruairc is the sort of person who makes lemonade when life gives her lemons and came up with a variety of new strategies instead.

\n\n

“Last month, I went down with a box of Christmas cards with a team-member's name on each of the cards and the girls fished around the box and took a card and they basically had to write on the card a nice Christmas message, but also what that girl whose name was on the card brings to the team.

\n\n

“It can be anything, because the most important thing we thought is making sure the girls feels valued on the team.

\n\n

“Like, it doesn't have to be that she takes the best sideline cuts. It can be, but it can also be things like she's at every training or she always has a smile on her face or something that makes the girls feel special and that everyone recognizes that they're bringing something valuable to the group.

\n\n

“We’ve been making videos every month for the coaches and the Sway presentations which are basically presentation slides with different messages, photos, videos or whatever we thought might be useful.

\n\n

“We're hoping to do an awards ceremony for the girls so I have made out these badges and on each budget is listed a different kind of trait for each girl like 'best shot', 'most smiley', 'hardest working', or 'never late'.

\n\n

“Each badge has something like that so the coaches have been asked to look at the list of the badges, and choose one for each girl.

\n\n

“We've also asked a parent to be a team photographer and we're hoping to do a nice little slideshow of photos of the girls over the course of the year.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The pre-match parade prior to the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Galway at Croke Park in Dublin
\r\n

The 20x20 campaign has highlighted the power of making women’s sport more visible and giving potential role-models a greater platform in order to encourage young girls to participate in sport.

\n\n

Nig Ruairc has also embraced a similar approach with her own project.

\n\n

“We've written to about 60 names of important female role models in Irish sport and world sport, different people who we think should have more credit given to them,” she says.

\n\n

“So we're hoping these role models will do a short little video and then we're going to do a Zoom call and maybe watch through the video so the girls all get our understanding of who each person, who they can look up to, and what they have worked towards.

\n\n

“We've also given the parents a list of documentaries they can watch with their girls on some of these role models. The girls seem to really enjoy these kinds of interactive bits.\"

\n\n

Every player is an individual and has their own reasons for deciding to drop out of team sport, but quite often the causes for pushing them towards that decision are common ones.

\n\n

So, what sort of advice would Nig Ruairc gave to parents and coaches who want to do all the can to keep their own children or players involved in team sport for as long as possible?

\n\n

“What I think is most important is making sure the player feels valued,” she says. “Just get them back to enjoying it because girls at that age, I think it's important to think of the long run, not just by the short term goals like winning matches. Enjoyment is really a key thing in the retention of players.

\n\n

“So, making sure even if she's quiet or not the best player that she is still enjoying her sport and that she feels like if she can go to sport she can still get something out of it.

\n\n

“Maybe if it's improving one thing or, you know, if a coach gives her a special bit of attention then she might not feel like she's not needed on the team and nobody will notice if she goes or whatever.

\n\n

“I think that's the most important thing and just making sure that they, the coaches, kind of see the person behind the player, not just the player. So, you know, if you ask them about themselves, or let them have five minutes where they can talk to one another and experience the social side of sport.

\n\n

“The social side of sport is so important for that age group as well as they're transitioning from primary school to secondary school they might not see their primary school friends as much so you want to give them that time to get to know other girls or better know the girls in their new school. So I think that's really important.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Loreto,\r\n\r\n
Loreto, Clonmel supporters at the 2019 Lidl All-Ireland Post-Primary Schools Senior A Final match between Loreto, Clonmel, and Scoil Chríost Rí, Portlaoise, at John Locke Park in Callan, Co Kilkenny.
\r\n

The series of Covid-19 Lockdowns that have interrupted training and matches for underage players could easily act as an accelerant for player drop-out.

\n\n

Not having the opportunity to play could be a handy excuse some girls to disengage mentally from their sport and then not make the effort to get involved again when it is possible to do so.

\n\n

In this latest Lockdown we are now experiencing, Nig Ruairc believes coaches and parents should still make an effort to remind young players why team sport can be such a positive in their lives.

\n\n

“Definitely, I think that's so important,” she says. “When you're not continuously doing your sport or training with your team once or twice a week you do tend to kind of push it to the side and maybe if your parents aren't that involved in the GAA themselves maybe it can be kind of pushed to the side or overlooked.

\n\n

“So I think it's so important for coaches just to kind of keep in contact and make sure the girls know that it will be resuming, and it will be as fun as ever.

\n\n

“Try to encourage the girls to think about the good times they've had in sport during the years they've been playing it and how important it is to stick with it.”

\n\n

A study commissioned by Lidl Ireland for the Ladies Gaelic Football Association in 2017 found that girls that play sport have a higher body confidence and better mental wellbeing.

\n\n

80 per cent of girls who played sports rated their mental wellbeing at a score of 7-10 compared to 67% of girls who didn’t play sport.

\n\n

While zero per cent of girls who played sport reported feeling lonely compared to 10 per cent of girls who didn’t play sport said that they did feel lonely on a daily basis.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Aisling\r\n\r\n
Aisling Nig Ruairc pictured mentoring younger girls in her club Cuala. 
\r\n

Personal testimonies can be even more powerful than statistics, and Nig Ruairc herself paints a very convincing picture of just how beneficial sport can be for young girls.

\n\n

“I don't even know where to start, It's been amazing,” she says of her own experience of playing Gaelic Games.

\n\n

“I started when I was five and I would say I was the worst player on the pitch until I was about 12. I was the sort who would volunteer to be a substitute or just sit down on the pitch and play with dandelions!

\n\n

“But then, it was funny, it kind of just clicked for me when I was 12. So, it's really important to continue with it because it could click for you when you're five or it could click for you when you're 16, it varies for everyone.

\n\n

“I'm shocked my parents kept bringing me to training because I was a nightmare. I'm so glad they did because it's genuinely one of the best things in my life, and I just love every minute of it.

\n\n

“It's taught me discipline, it's brought me friends. It's brought me so many lifelong skills I think I’ll probably even use some day in the workplace.

\n\n

“It's just been amazing and I miss it a lot now. I miss just seeing my teammates and everything. I think it's just such a good sport, but it doesn't just have to be about playing Gaelic Games, what's important is that girls continue playing sport in general whatever that sport may be.

\n\n

“All sports have their benefits and I don't think there's any that will bring you one benefit. So, I would just love to make girls aware of that.

\n\n

“That even maybe you don't have that much time to still give it a shot because sport has so, so many benefits that you wouldn't even think of, like teaching you to be modest and hard-working, which is very important.

\n\n

“There are all sorts of skills that maybe aren't visible on the pitch but are very visible off the pitch.”

\n

Many of those skills that Nig Ruairc developed playing team-sport have been enhanced even more by her involvement in the Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Initiative, and she believes it can have a similarly positive impact on any other young people who might be interested in taking part.

\n\n

“When I first joined I was definitely a quiet enough person,” she says.

\n\n

“And it was interesting because there was people from other clubs, but there was also people from my own club that I didn't really know but by the end of the project you're getting a great understanding of leadership.

\n\n

“And I think the community project really in the third module is a great step to kind of show what you've learned and to help the community in any way possible..

\n\n

“I'd highly recommend getting involved in the Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Initiative if you can.”

\n\n\n
\r\n
Download Hello Parents....
\r\n
Download February′s thought - Your daughter′s mindset
\r\n
Download March thought- How to be a good supporter at your daughter′s matches
","RawBody":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

Aisling Nig Ruairc is a shining example of how young people can be influential leaders in their own clubs and communities.

\n\n

Empowered by her experience of taking part in the Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Initiative (DEYLI), she is using the tools she developed there to address what is a huge issue for underage camogie and ladies football teams up and down the country – the high drop-out rate of players.

\n\n

The 17-year old has had a hugely positive sporting journey herself playing camogie and football with Cuala in Dublin, which is why she is so passionate about the benefits of team sport for teenage girls.

\n\n

And her ‘Keeping Girls Playing Project’ is having such a positive impact in Cuala that it will hopefully give other clubs some really helpful food for thought as to how best to keep girls involved in team sport.

\n\n

“As part of my second module in the Dermot Early Young Leadership Initiative I gave a presentation on what the GAA means to me as a female,” Nig Ruairc told GAA.ie

\n\n

“When I was researching this I came across a survey saying that one of two girls will drop out of team sport by the age of 13 and are three times more likely to give it up than boys are.

\n\n

“It kind of shocked me at first because I know from my own personal experience of all the benefits that come from playing team sport.

\n\n

“But when I thought about it made sense because my own team lost around half of our players by the time we were 13 and struggled to field a team at that age.

\n\n

“My third (DEYLI) module was a community project, and I really wanted to focus on doing something that would help our club retain girls.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Aisling\r\n\r\n
Aisling Nig Ruairc (right) pictured with her Cuala football and camogie minor team-mate, Róisín Ní Drisceoil. 
\r\n

Nig Ruairc identified the three groups she felt could be most influential in keeping young girls involved in sport – coaches, parents, and older girls – and set about creating resources that would help all three groups more positively impact the 12 and 13 year old girls playing football and camogie for Cuala.

\n\n

“We decided to do a Microsoft Sway presentation for the parents and coaches giving them tips on how to support the girls just that better give and give them more of an awareness of the importance of playing sport,” says Nig Ruairc.

\n\n

“For coaches, we weren't going to tell them how to improve because they're obviously much more educated them myself, but just kind of give them a few different websites to look at or just collect some information that might be useful for them.

\n\n

“And then the final one was the older girls because I think girls especially are influenced by their peers so we thought the girls coming in from the teams above just even showing that there is a future in sport was very important.”

\n\n

The plan was that Transition Year students who played for Cuala would mentor the younger players and join them for a training session once a month.

\n\n

Covid-19, unfortunately, made that impossible, but Nig Ruairc is the sort of person who makes lemonade when life gives her lemons and came up with a variety of new strategies instead.

\n\n

“Last month, I went down with a box of Christmas cards with a team-member's name on each of the cards and the girls fished around the box and took a card and they basically had to write on the card a nice Christmas message, but also what that girl whose name was on the card brings to the team.

\n\n

“It can be anything, because the most important thing we thought is making sure the girls feels valued on the team.

\n\n

“Like, it doesn't have to be that she takes the best sideline cuts. It can be, but it can also be things like she's at every training or she always has a smile on her face or something that makes the girls feel special and that everyone recognizes that they're bringing something valuable to the group.

\n\n

“We’ve been making videos every month for the coaches and the Sway presentations which are basically presentation slides with different messages, photos, videos or whatever we thought might be useful.

\n\n

“We're hoping to do an awards ceremony for the girls so I have made out these badges and on each budget is listed a different kind of trait for each girl like 'best shot', 'most smiley', 'hardest working', or 'never late'.

\n\n

“Each badge has something like that so the coaches have been asked to look at the list of the badges, and choose one for each girl.

\n\n

“We've also asked a parent to be a team photographer and we're hoping to do a nice little slideshow of photos of the girls over the course of the year.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The pre-match parade prior to the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Galway at Croke Park in Dublin
\r\n

The 20x20 campaign has highlighted the power of making women’s sport more visible and giving potential role-models a greater platform in order to encourage young girls to participate in sport.

\n\n

Nig Ruairc has also embraced a similar approach with her own project.

\n\n

“We've written to about 60 names of important female role models in Irish sport and world sport, different people who we think should have more credit given to them,” she says.

\n\n

“So we're hoping these role models will do a short little video and then we're going to do a Zoom call and maybe watch through the video so the girls all get our understanding of who each person, who they can look up to, and what they have worked towards.

\n\n

“We've also given the parents a list of documentaries they can watch with their girls on some of these role models. The girls seem to really enjoy these kinds of interactive bits.\"

\n\n

Every player is an individual and has their own reasons for deciding to drop out of team sport, but quite often the causes for pushing them towards that decision are common ones.

\n\n

So, what sort of advice would Nig Ruairc gave to parents and coaches who want to do all the can to keep their own children or players involved in team sport for as long as possible?

\n\n

“What I think is most important is making sure the player feels valued,” she says. “Just get them back to enjoying it because girls at that age, I think it's important to think of the long run, not just by the short term goals like winning matches. Enjoyment is really a key thing in the retention of players.

\n\n

“So, making sure even if she's quiet or not the best player that she is still enjoying her sport and that she feels like if she can go to sport she can still get something out of it.

\n\n

“Maybe if it's improving one thing or, you know, if a coach gives her a special bit of attention then she might not feel like she's not needed on the team and nobody will notice if she goes or whatever.

\n\n

“I think that's the most important thing and just making sure that they, the coaches, kind of see the person behind the player, not just the player. So, you know, if you ask them about themselves, or let them have five minutes where they can talk to one another and experience the social side of sport.

\n\n

“The social side of sport is so important for that age group as well as they're transitioning from primary school to secondary school they might not see their primary school friends as much so you want to give them that time to get to know other girls or better know the girls in their new school. So I think that's really important.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Loreto,\r\n\r\n
Loreto, Clonmel supporters at the 2019 Lidl All-Ireland Post-Primary Schools Senior A Final match between Loreto, Clonmel, and Scoil Chríost Rí, Portlaoise, at John Locke Park in Callan, Co Kilkenny.
\r\n

The series of Covid-19 Lockdowns that have interrupted training and matches for underage players could easily act as an accelerant for player drop-out.

\n\n

Not having the opportunity to play could be a handy excuse some girls to disengage mentally from their sport and then not make the effort to get involved again when it is possible to do so.

\n\n

In this latest Lockdown we are now experiencing, Nig Ruairc believes coaches and parents should still make an effort to remind young players why team sport can be such a positive in their lives.

\n\n

“Definitely, I think that's so important,” she says. “When you're not continuously doing your sport or training with your team once or twice a week you do tend to kind of push it to the side and maybe if your parents aren't that involved in the GAA themselves maybe it can be kind of pushed to the side or overlooked.

\n\n

“So I think it's so important for coaches just to kind of keep in contact and make sure the girls know that it will be resuming, and it will be as fun as ever.

\n\n

“Try to encourage the girls to think about the good times they've had in sport during the years they've been playing it and how important it is to stick with it.”

\n\n

A study commissioned by Lidl Ireland for the Ladies Gaelic Football Association in 2017 found that girls that play sport have a higher body confidence and better mental wellbeing.

\n\n

80 per cent of girls who played sports rated their mental wellbeing at a score of 7-10 compared to 67% of girls who didn’t play sport.

\n\n

While zero per cent of girls who played sport reported feeling lonely compared to 10 per cent of girls who didn’t play sport said that they did feel lonely on a daily basis.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Aisling\r\n\r\n
Aisling Nig Ruairc pictured mentoring younger girls in her club Cuala. 
\r\n

Personal testimonies can be even more powerful than statistics, and Nig Ruairc herself paints a very convincing picture of just how beneficial sport can be for young girls.

\n\n

“I don't even know where to start, It's been amazing,” she says of her own experience of playing Gaelic Games.

\n\n

“I started when I was five and I would say I was the worst player on the pitch until I was about 12. I was the sort who would volunteer to be a substitute or just sit down on the pitch and play with dandelions!

\n\n

“But then, it was funny, it kind of just clicked for me when I was 12. So, it's really important to continue with it because it could click for you when you're five or it could click for you when you're 16, it varies for everyone.

\n\n

“I'm shocked my parents kept bringing me to training because I was a nightmare. I'm so glad they did because it's genuinely one of the best things in my life, and I just love every minute of it.

\n\n

“It's taught me discipline, it's brought me friends. It's brought me so many lifelong skills I think I’ll probably even use some day in the workplace.

\n\n

“It's just been amazing and I miss it a lot now. I miss just seeing my teammates and everything. I think it's just such a good sport, but it doesn't just have to be about playing Gaelic Games, what's important is that girls continue playing sport in general whatever that sport may be.

\n\n

“All sports have their benefits and I don't think there's any that will bring you one benefit. So, I would just love to make girls aware of that.

\n\n

“That even maybe you don't have that much time to still give it a shot because sport has so, so many benefits that you wouldn't even think of, like teaching you to be modest and hard-working, which is very important.

\n\n

“There are all sorts of skills that maybe aren't visible on the pitch but are very visible off the pitch.”

\n

Many of those skills that Nig Ruairc developed playing team-sport have been enhanced even more by her involvement in the Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Initiative, and she believes it can have a similarly positive impact on any other young people who might be interested in taking part.

\n\n

“When I first joined I was definitely a quiet enough person,” she says.

\n\n

“And it was interesting because there was people from other clubs, but there was also people from my own club that I didn't really know but by the end of the project you're getting a great understanding of leadership.

\n\n

“And I think the community project really in the third module is a great step to kind of show what you've learned and to help the community in any way possible..

\n\n

“I'd highly recommend getting involved in the Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Initiative if you can.”

\n\n\n
\r\n
Download Hello Parents....
\r\n
Download February′s thought - Your daughter′s mindset
\r\n
Download March thought- How to be a good supporter at your daughter′s matches
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By Cian O’Connell\nThe end of James Skehill’s inter-county adventure eventually brought a little space for deliberation on the memories and medals.\nLeaving the Galway set-up following a decade and a half on the inter-county beat from minor, Under 21, through to senior, Skehill can look back with the utmost

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"James\r\n\r\n
James Skehill recently announced his retirement from inter-county hurling with Galway.
\r\n

By Cian O’Connell

\n\n

The end of James Skehill’s inter-county adventure eventually brought a little space for deliberation on the memories and medals.

\n\n

Leaving the Galway set-up following a decade and a half on the inter-county beat from minor, Under 21, through to senior, Skehill can look back with the utmost satisfaction on his contribution to the maroon cause.

\n\n

“This is the first time in a good while where I actually had a chance to go back through the past - what I played, what I achieved, what we have won as a group,” Skehill says. “You don't realise it, but when you are in the mix playing it you nearly half forget what you've played or what you've won.

\n\n

Staying focused is simply the brief. “The most important game is the next one,” Skehill replies. “The most important Championship is the next one. So you are never counting your medals.

\n\n

“If you are counting your medals you are already finished, you are done. Whenever you are in that bubble as a county player all you are focused on is the next game, the preparation for the next team, the analysis of that team.

\n\n

“That just keeps rolling and rolling. It is only in the last week that I've had an opportunity to reflect back and take pride on what we achieved as a group and a county over the last 10 or 12, 13 years.”

\n\n

Skehill’s own personal journey with Galway commenced in 2005 when All Ireland minor glory was sampled. On the same afternoon Galway lost the senior decider to Cork, but being part of a Croke Park occasion gave Skehill an insight into sport at an elite level.

\n\n

“It does, the minor grade was always a milestone grade for any young player hoping to make a step up into the senior ranks,” Skehill states.

\n\n

“It was always the grade that if you cut your cloth at minor, you were on the cusp of something good for senior. That 2005 day, I don't know why it sticks with me so much, I just think it was my first ever day of exposure to a large crowd, the first day in Croke Park.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"James\r\n\r\n
James Skehill celebrates following Galway's dramatic 2018 All Ireland SHC semi-final replay win over Clare at Semple Stadium.
\r\n

“My memories of it are so vivid, I can still remember certain puckouts and certain balls coming to me. Even some of the calls and instances in the game, they are so vivid, it feels like only a year or two ago that I actually played the game.

\n\n

“That is a vital grade, it really set me up. Once you got a taste of it then it became like a drug. That motivated for me for the following year and then for Under 21s and it had a snowball effect after.”

\n\n

Hope was a constant companion for Galway hurling enthusiasts, but Skehill is adamant about the consistency that has been attained during the past decade. It matters deeply.

\n\n

“I think myself - yes we won the All Ireland in 2017 - but from '12 upwards and to this day Galway can be considered a serious contender,” Skehill remarks.

\n\n

“They always have the capability and ability to win the Championship. In those years and in the years going forward there is a like minded group, who understand what it takes to win a Championship and understands what it takes to be very competitive in a Championship.

\n\n

“I think in years previous that wasn't there. Galway supporters, I can't put my finger on it, but there is an extremely high expectation. It is hard to understand why when you consider we don't have a fraction of the All Irelands the likes of the big three have.

\n\n

“It could be down to our club game because that is so strong and the plethora of youth we have. Maybe that is what causes the high expectation in supporters, and the anxiousness that it creates.

\n\n

“That day I think may have passed because we have the groups of people, definitely in the senior squad and the Under 20s coming through. We have people over the teams who can facilitate these players to compete.”

\n\n

Colm Callanan and James Skehill’s desire was to wear the Galway goalkeeping jersey. Despite that rivalry there was a friendship and bond, a willingness to improve each other. “It is strange, you aren't the first person to ask me or to enquire about how that dynamic worked,” Skehill laughs.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Former\r\n\r\n
Former Galway goalkepeers Colm Callanan and James Skehill.
\r\n

“Colm and I came into the squad in the same year. Instantly we were really good friends outside of the training environment, so there never was any bad mindedness or maliciousness or any negative thinking towards one another.

\n\n

“Yes there was competition, but it was very healthy competition. There was a mutual respect to know we were vying for the same jersey, but also we wanted to win All Irelands.

\n\n

“One thing being on the team and it is nice to get the number one jersey, but if you don't win anything in my view it dampens the experience an awful lot. There is no use being in goals and not being competitive and winning. It was never said or mentioned.

\n\n

“Not once did we say this is what we have to do, but it was a simple gesture, mannerisms between the two of us. Then it was commonly accepted we'd push each other as hard as we could, let the best man win.”

\n\n

Christy O’Connor’s days as Galway goalkeeping coach added another layer of class. O’Connor had the guile to assist the two challengers. Conversations took place, hard work, and fun were part of the mix. The Doora-Barefield custodian knew precisely what it felt like to be an inter-county understudy.

\n\n

“In all the years we played together the jersey went back and forth, back and forth, but it was business as usual whoever had the jersey,” Skehill comments.

\n\n

“We both trained as hard as possible, Christy was a great man to have in the middle of all that. He had his own experiences behind Davy Fitz, trying to get a jersey and the difficulties that brings when you aren't getting game time etc.

\n\n

“So if ever one of us was feeling a bit discontented at a time Christy was the perfect antidote to that.”

\n\n

Undoubtedly challenging hurdles needed to be cleared. Sometimes it was a serious mental test to deal with not being in the team.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"James\r\n\r\n
James Skehill was involved at inter-county level for more than a decade.
\r\n

“Of course, it is different to being an outfield player when you could be on the replacements bench for matchday,” Skehill acknowledges.

\n\n

“You have a pretty high chance of coming on. Nowadays you have 26 on a matchday squad, when you take out the sub goalkeeper that leaves you with 10 guys who are coming on.

\n\n

“Nine times out of 10 they'd use five replacements so you have a 50 per cent chance of coming on as an outfield player. Whereas in all of my years supporting Colm I've never come on.

\n\n

That itself is a challenge in itself. It is a bit of a double edged sword because you have to - A. be prepared physically and mentally because at any moment something could happen and B. at the back of your mind you have the devil on your shoulder telling you to relax, there is no game time, to sit back to watch it.

\n\n

“So it is a fine split, but I was always of the opinion that every game I went into that if I was playing a supporting role I would be ready. I'd watch the game on an analysis basis and that if something happened to the goalkeeper and I had to go in I'd have a headstart on how the opposition was setting up and playing.

\n\n

“That was hugely important. It was a challenge, it was taxing at times, but I understand the position, I understand the baggage that came with it. I choose to keep powering through. Colm and I would do the same thing for each other.”

\n\n

Cappatagle’s remarkable rise has been one of the compelling club stories Corribside. Four Galway SHC semi-finals in a row have been reached by a constantly improving outfit.

\n\n

“The mindset of our club has changed over the past couple of years. I'd be the first to admit that a lot of the players and even people in the community had, and I mean no disrespect, but they had an Intermediate mindset,” is Skehill’s honest appraisal.

\n\n

“That is a lot of what the club had known in its history. We as players had to change that mindset and to change our oppositions mindset too. There was a lot - and I use the word disrespect- and it is a bit loose, but every club we played in our first couple of years at senior, they were expecting to beat us.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"James\r\n\r\n
James Skehill during the 2005 All Ireland MHC Final.
\r\n

“Where we are at now is we are looking to win a Championship. End of story. When you finish your career as a club player nobody gives a shit what games you played in.

\n\n

“They want to know how many medals you have. If I was to look back in 20 years time I'm not going to remember four semi-finals, I don't want to remember four semi-finals unless I have a medal in my pocket.”

\n\n

Changing ways of thinking, generating momentum, and increasing belief isn’t easy to accomplish.

\n\n

“What you have in our club traditionally is exposure,” Skehill responds. “A lot of players have exposure to inter-county environments. You take Damien Joyce, who came before me, then I was next and coming after me Ja Mannion, Deccie Cronin, we have a plethora of ex minors Dara Dolan etc.

\n\n

“When you get exposure to inter-county environments, you see how other club players operate within that environment. The competitive nature it raises, that automatically feeds back into the club, especially when you have guys starting at inter-county.

\n\n

“You know then that you can compete, that you are the best or at least in the top two in your position. Straightaway when those players come back into the club environment, at the moment we have myself, Joyce, James Egan, who won a county final for Loughmore in Tipperary, Deccie Cronin, Ja Mannion, Donal Mannion, all these guys I could name them off. We know we have quality there, we know for sure we have.”

\n\n

Cappataggle want to remain prominent, the task currently being embraced. “Then there is a realisation we can't accept sub standard. Now sub standard for us where we are coming from is a loss. In Championship that is sub standard.

\n\n

“You could draw a line across any team and say they could be in a county final at any stage. It takes a lot of commitment, sacrifice, pain, and repetition, to get back to a semi-final first of all. To get to a final is proving very difficult, but we have to keep going. That is it, keep going.”

\n\n

Passionate as ever, Skehill doesn’t know any other way.

\n","RawBody":"

By Cian O’Connell

\n\n

The end of James Skehill’s inter-county adventure eventually brought a little space for deliberation on the memories and medals.

\n\n

Leaving the Galway set-up following a decade and a half on the inter-county beat from minor, Under 21, through to senior, Skehill can look back with the utmost satisfaction on his contribution to the maroon cause.

\n\n

“This is the first time in a good while where I actually had a chance to go back through the past - what I played, what I achieved, what we have won as a group,” Skehill says. “You don't realise it, but when you are in the mix playing it you nearly half forget what you've played or what you've won.

\n\n

Staying focused is simply the brief. “The most important game is the next one,” Skehill replies. “The most important Championship is the next one. So you are never counting your medals.

\n\n

“If you are counting your medals you are already finished, you are done. Whenever you are in that bubble as a county player all you are focused on is the next game, the preparation for the next team, the analysis of that team.

\n\n

“That just keeps rolling and rolling. It is only in the last week that I've had an opportunity to reflect back and take pride on what we achieved as a group and a county over the last 10 or 12, 13 years.”

\n\n

Skehill’s own personal journey with Galway commenced in 2005 when All Ireland minor glory was sampled. On the same afternoon Galway lost the senior decider to Cork, but being part of a Croke Park occasion gave Skehill an insight into sport at an elite level.

\n\n

“It does, the minor grade was always a milestone grade for any young player hoping to make a step up into the senior ranks,” Skehill states.

\n\n

“It was always the grade that if you cut your cloth at minor, you were on the cusp of something good for senior. That 2005 day, I don't know why it sticks with me so much, I just think it was my first ever day of exposure to a large crowd, the first day in Croke Park.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"James\r\n\r\n
James Skehill celebrates following Galway's dramatic 2018 All Ireland SHC semi-final replay win over Clare at Semple Stadium.
\r\n

“My memories of it are so vivid, I can still remember certain puckouts and certain balls coming to me. Even some of the calls and instances in the game, they are so vivid, it feels like only a year or two ago that I actually played the game.

\n\n

“That is a vital grade, it really set me up. Once you got a taste of it then it became like a drug. That motivated for me for the following year and then for Under 21s and it had a snowball effect after.”

\n\n

Hope was a constant companion for Galway hurling enthusiasts, but Skehill is adamant about the consistency that has been attained during the past decade. It matters deeply.

\n\n

“I think myself - yes we won the All Ireland in 2017 - but from '12 upwards and to this day Galway can be considered a serious contender,” Skehill remarks.

\n\n

“They always have the capability and ability to win the Championship. In those years and in the years going forward there is a like minded group, who understand what it takes to win a Championship and understands what it takes to be very competitive in a Championship.

\n\n

“I think in years previous that wasn't there. Galway supporters, I can't put my finger on it, but there is an extremely high expectation. It is hard to understand why when you consider we don't have a fraction of the All Irelands the likes of the big three have.

\n\n

“It could be down to our club game because that is so strong and the plethora of youth we have. Maybe that is what causes the high expectation in supporters, and the anxiousness that it creates.

\n\n

“That day I think may have passed because we have the groups of people, definitely in the senior squad and the Under 20s coming through. We have people over the teams who can facilitate these players to compete.”

\n\n

Colm Callanan and James Skehill’s desire was to wear the Galway goalkeeping jersey. Despite that rivalry there was a friendship and bond, a willingness to improve each other. “It is strange, you aren't the first person to ask me or to enquire about how that dynamic worked,” Skehill laughs.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Former\r\n\r\n
Former Galway goalkepeers Colm Callanan and James Skehill.
\r\n

“Colm and I came into the squad in the same year. Instantly we were really good friends outside of the training environment, so there never was any bad mindedness or maliciousness or any negative thinking towards one another.

\n\n

“Yes there was competition, but it was very healthy competition. There was a mutual respect to know we were vying for the same jersey, but also we wanted to win All Irelands.

\n\n

“One thing being on the team and it is nice to get the number one jersey, but if you don't win anything in my view it dampens the experience an awful lot. There is no use being in goals and not being competitive and winning. It was never said or mentioned.

\n\n

“Not once did we say this is what we have to do, but it was a simple gesture, mannerisms between the two of us. Then it was commonly accepted we'd push each other as hard as we could, let the best man win.”

\n\n

Christy O’Connor’s days as Galway goalkeeping coach added another layer of class. O’Connor had the guile to assist the two challengers. Conversations took place, hard work, and fun were part of the mix. The Doora-Barefield custodian knew precisely what it felt like to be an inter-county understudy.

\n\n

“In all the years we played together the jersey went back and forth, back and forth, but it was business as usual whoever had the jersey,” Skehill comments.

\n\n

“We both trained as hard as possible, Christy was a great man to have in the middle of all that. He had his own experiences behind Davy Fitz, trying to get a jersey and the difficulties that brings when you aren't getting game time etc.

\n\n

“So if ever one of us was feeling a bit discontented at a time Christy was the perfect antidote to that.”

\n\n

Undoubtedly challenging hurdles needed to be cleared. Sometimes it was a serious mental test to deal with not being in the team.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"James\r\n\r\n
James Skehill was involved at inter-county level for more than a decade.
\r\n

“Of course, it is different to being an outfield player when you could be on the replacements bench for matchday,” Skehill acknowledges.

\n\n

“You have a pretty high chance of coming on. Nowadays you have 26 on a matchday squad, when you take out the sub goalkeeper that leaves you with 10 guys who are coming on.

\n\n

“Nine times out of 10 they'd use five replacements so you have a 50 per cent chance of coming on as an outfield player. Whereas in all of my years supporting Colm I've never come on.

\n\n

That itself is a challenge in itself. It is a bit of a double edged sword because you have to - A. be prepared physically and mentally because at any moment something could happen and B. at the back of your mind you have the devil on your shoulder telling you to relax, there is no game time, to sit back to watch it.

\n\n

“So it is a fine split, but I was always of the opinion that every game I went into that if I was playing a supporting role I would be ready. I'd watch the game on an analysis basis and that if something happened to the goalkeeper and I had to go in I'd have a headstart on how the opposition was setting up and playing.

\n\n

“That was hugely important. It was a challenge, it was taxing at times, but I understand the position, I understand the baggage that came with it. I choose to keep powering through. Colm and I would do the same thing for each other.”

\n\n

Cappatagle’s remarkable rise has been one of the compelling club stories Corribside. Four Galway SHC semi-finals in a row have been reached by a constantly improving outfit.

\n\n

“The mindset of our club has changed over the past couple of years. I'd be the first to admit that a lot of the players and even people in the community had, and I mean no disrespect, but they had an Intermediate mindset,” is Skehill’s honest appraisal.

\n\n

“That is a lot of what the club had known in its history. We as players had to change that mindset and to change our oppositions mindset too. There was a lot - and I use the word disrespect- and it is a bit loose, but every club we played in our first couple of years at senior, they were expecting to beat us.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"James\r\n\r\n
James Skehill during the 2005 All Ireland MHC Final.
\r\n

“Where we are at now is we are looking to win a Championship. End of story. When you finish your career as a club player nobody gives a shit what games you played in.

\n\n

“They want to know how many medals you have. If I was to look back in 20 years time I'm not going to remember four semi-finals, I don't want to remember four semi-finals unless I have a medal in my pocket.”

\n\n

Changing ways of thinking, generating momentum, and increasing belief isn’t easy to accomplish.

\n\n

“What you have in our club traditionally is exposure,” Skehill responds. “A lot of players have exposure to inter-county environments. You take Damien Joyce, who came before me, then I was next and coming after me Ja Mannion, Deccie Cronin, we have a plethora of ex minors Dara Dolan etc.

\n\n

“When you get exposure to inter-county environments, you see how other club players operate within that environment. The competitive nature it raises, that automatically feeds back into the club, especially when you have guys starting at inter-county.

\n\n

“You know then that you can compete, that you are the best or at least in the top two in your position. Straightaway when those players come back into the club environment, at the moment we have myself, Joyce, James Egan, who won a county final for Loughmore in Tipperary, Deccie Cronin, Ja Mannion, Donal Mannion, all these guys I could name them off. We know we have quality there, we know for sure we have.”

\n\n

Cappataggle want to remain prominent, the task currently being embraced. “Then there is a realisation we can't accept sub standard. Now sub standard for us where we are coming from is a loss. In Championship that is sub standard.

\n\n

“You could draw a line across any team and say they could be in a county final at any stage. It takes a lot of commitment, sacrifice, pain, and repetition, to get back to a semi-final first of all. To get to a final is proving very difficult, but we have to keep going. That is it, keep going.”

\n\n

Passionate as ever, Skehill doesn’t know any other way.

\n","AreaName":"","SectionName":"","Kind":0,"Date":"Wednesday 6 January 2021","DatePublished":"Wednesday 6 January 2021","DatePublishedAsDate":"2021-01-06T09:42:17.244Z","Thumbnail":{"Title":"James Skehill recently announced his retirement from inter-county hurling with Galway.","TemplateUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/{formatInstructions}/v1609858076/bmus6o1b4nfntsulvtbz","ThumbnailUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/w_250,h_250,c_thumb,g_auto,q_auto,f_jpg/v1609858076/bmus6o1b4nfntsulvtbz","Format":"jpg","OverriddenFormats":{}},"HeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1609858076/bmus6o1b4nfntsulvtbz.jpg","MobileHeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1609858076/bmus6o1b4nfntsulvtbz.jpg","ThumbnailImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1609858076/bmus6o1b4nfntsulvtbz.jpg","Images":{"ORIG":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/f_jpg/v1609858076/bmus6o1b4nfntsulvtbz.jpg","HERO":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1609858076/bmus6o1b4nfntsulvtbz.jpg","FEATURES":null,"MobileFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1609858076/bmus6o1b4nfntsulvtbz.jpg","MobileStandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_372,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1609858076/bmus6o1b4nfntsulvtbz.jpg","SmallFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_540,h_304,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1609858076/bmus6o1b4nfntsulvtbz.jpg","StandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_440,h_248,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1609858076/bmus6o1b4nfntsulvtbz.jpg","SmallThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1609858076/bmus6o1b4nfntsulvtbz.jpg","SquareFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_661,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1609858076/bmus6o1b4nfntsulvtbz.jpg"},"Match":null,"Competition":null,"CompetitionSeason":null,"CompetitionSeoName":null,"CompetitionName":null,"Url":"/hurling/news/james-skehill-ends-interesting-galway-adventure/","HotlineUrl":"","IsHotlineUrlOpenedInANewWindow":true,"YoutubeID":null,"VideoId":null,"RelatedNewsArticles":null,"RelatedVideos":null,"RelatedPhotos":null,"RelatedAudios":null,"RelatedDocuments":[],"RelatedPhotoGalleries":null,"RelatedLinks":null,"RelatedMatches":[],"RelatedTeams":[{"TeamId":"2164","OfficialName":"Galway","ShortName":"Galway","WebName":"Galway","TeamTypeId":null}],"RelatedFreeTags":[],"RelatedCustomEntities":[],"EditorialLabel":"Feature","AdditionalNotes":null,"Author":"Cian O'Connell","DateUpdated":"2021-01-06T09:42:37.217Z","Tags":[{"Slug":"hurling","Type":"tag","_translationId":"c2cac090-0e11-4bb9-bd61-1912e130936a","_entityId":"e1681653-e066-4666-b382-7095cc72d8d2","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/hurling","Title":"Hurling","NeutralSlug":"hurling","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}},{"Slug":"galway","Type":"tag","_translationId":"17888c1a-6bdc-491e-99b0-5489d510d853","_entityId":"c269d317-3efc-4b45-a795-f0463df980d2","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/galway","Title":"Galway","NeutralSlug":"galway","ExternalSourceName":"teams","ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":"2164","SourceName":"teams"},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}},{"Slug":"feature","Type":"tag","_translationId":"67c8a382-ee0b-425b-b072-740857296e94","_entityId":"124196a1-89c7-4419-b5e3-7698d55dd788","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/feature","Title":"Feature","NeutralSlug":"feature","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}},{"Slug":"james-skehill","Type":"tag","_translationId":"1f4f79da-4436-4db7-bee2-d6ca96fb8ba9","_entityId":"d899aeaa-ac5b-488c-b6b2-3ff79e03c3ad","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/james-skehill","Title":"James Skehill","NeutralSlug":"james-skehill","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}}]},"AdditionalStyle":"","Href":"/hurling/news/james-skehill-ends-interesting-galway-adventure/","Target":"","SportLabel":"Hurling","Skip":1,"ContentDate":"2021-01-06T00:00:00Z","SportTeller":115},{"Document":{"MediaType":"news","Sport":"","SeoTitle":"st-john-s-hit-the-ground-running-in-2021","Area":0,"Section":0,"Id":0,"Guid":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000","Title":"St. John's hit the ground running in 2021","Headline":"St. John's hit the ground running in 2021","Slug":"st-john-s-hit-the-ground-running-in-2021","Summary":"

By John Harrington\nSt John’s GAA Club in Sligo are determined to hit the ground running in 2021.\nThis Wednesday, January 6th, they’ll be embark on ‘St John’s GAA OT21’, an eight week Operation Transformation that will engage around 180 members of their club and local community.\nThe programme will

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Members\r\n\r\n
Members of St. John's GAA Club in Sligo pictured taking part in the club's Lockdown Challenge before Christmas. 
\r\n

By John Harrington

\n\n

St John’s GAA Club in Sligo are determined to hit the ground running in 2021.

\n\n

This Wednesday, January 6th, they’ll be embark on ‘St John’s GAA OT21’, an eight week Operation Transformation that will engage around 180 members of their club and local community.

\n\n

The programme will include nutritional workshops, a couch to 5k, yoga, sports psychology, a weight-loss workshop, mapped walking/running routes, and Q&A’s with fitness experts.

\n\n

Most of this will take place virtually through Microsoft teams, and all physical exercise will be socially distant and within a 5km radius of each person’s home.

\n\n

That might sound like an ambitious programme of events, but it’s nothing the vibrant Carraroe club haven’t already done before, and in the very recent past too.

\n\n

OT21 is building on the very solid foundations already in place after the hugely successful Lockdown Challenge the club ran before Christmas.

\n\n

“That’s right, it's a follow-on from the lockdown challenge which really engaged the whole community,” says club Chairman Seamus Casey.

\n\n

“We had over 150 people participate in that over the six weeks and it was well received, it was a massive success.

\n\n

“What we did was we got 18 mapped routes all within the 5k and there were varying distances from 1k up to a half marathon.

\n\n

“We set up a group and we loaded all the maps on to that. And then people had to do 12 of the 18 routes or as many as they wanted, really, it was just about getting them out and getting them being positive.

\n\n

“The group took on a life of its own with recipes going up on it every day and various different things. There was great banter within it and it got people motivated.

\n\n

“When you did your walk you'd put up your route on the group for the others to see. So over the whole day you'd have people putting up their routes and that just kept everyone motivated.

\n\n

“The mapped routes were really successful. The whole aim of it was to get out walking in places they normally wouldn't walk, different estates and various other areas in the town. It was really good. Most people got a half marathon done in the last week of it which was a great success in itself.

\n\n

“EOT21 is now kicking off this Wednesday evening and that will run until March 3rd. So far we have about 140 people signed up for that and in the next couple of days I'd say we'll hit 160, 180 people on this I would imagine.

\n\n

“It's all positive and obviously it will all be done socially distant. A lot of it will be virtual as well on Microsoft teams and mentoring on the web, that type of thing.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Dublin\r\n\r\n
Dublin and Raheny footballer Brian Fenton presents the 'Hero Award' to Seamus Casey Sr. of St. John's GAA Club during the 2018 GAA National Healthy Club Conference at Croke Park Stadium, in Dublin.
\r\n

St John’s have been very proactive members of the GAA’s Healthy Club Project since 2018 and Casey himself won a ‘Hero Award’ the same year for implementing a very successful Operation Transformation programme and making the club the first non-smoking one in Sligo.

\n\n

He’s long been an enthusiastic advocate of the Healthy Club Project, but now more than ever after personally benefitting so much from St. John’s Lockdown Challenge.

\n\n

“My target when I became chairperson was to get involved in the Healthy Clubs and, to be honest, I was the last person you would expect to push something like that because I was seriously overweight myself,” admits Casey.

\n\n

“I was conscious that I was portraying as well and people just rowed in behind the thing because they saw that everyone was trying. 

\n\n

“Thank God this year it worked and I lost seven and a half stone myself this year. I suppose I'm leading from the front at last having talked a good game up to that. I'm actually doing it now myself too. 

\n\n

“It's win-win all round. There's a great vibe around the club and I'm not blowing our own trumpet but I genuinely think we've set the bar high here in Sligo for what we're doing in the locality.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"St.\r\n\r\n
St. John's GAA Club Chairman, Seamus Casey, lost over seven stone taking part in the club's Locdown Challenge before Christmas. 
\r\n

The common experience of GAA clubs that have taken part in the Healthy Clubs Project is that it puts their club at the heart of the community in a more real way than it had been hitherto.

\n\n

By engaging with members of the community who may not have been previously club-members and getting them involved in various initiatives, the club quickly becomes a hub for more than just those of a playing age and draws in new people who can make it stronger in all sorts of ways.

\n\n

“When I started the Operation Transformation with the club back in 2018 we had yoga in the clubhouse on a Saturday morning,” says Casey.

\n\n

“A woman came to me one day and said she had paid ten pound a month for the building of the clubhouse twenty odd years previously and didn't think she'd ever get to use it or even step foot inside it because she had no children. But now that she was doing the yoga there, she said it made her contribution all the more worthwhile now that she was getting something from it.

\n\n

“It definitely has engaged the community as opposed to just GAA members. An awful lot of people living in the locality that we would previously hardly have known, we now know very well, and they'll now continue to support different aspects of the club going forward.

\n\n

“I'd say there were maybe 70 per cent of people who participated in our Lockdown Challenge before Christmas weren't club members. The whole thinking behind it was to try to engage the whole community rather than just the GAA club itself.

\n\n

“So, the more we got in that never kicked a football, the bigger the bonus. Lots of more people now feel a real part of our club because they got something worthwhile out of it.

\n\n

“They'll support the club now in other ways as the years go on now because they're getting something out of it. It's not just about the football team. The football team is just an aside to it, really.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Everyone\r\n\r\n
Everyone who completed St. John's Lockdown Challenge received a specially commissioned medal for the achievement. 
\r\n

Casey himself is proof of the physical benefits of taking part in Healthy Club initiatives like Operation Transformation, but he believes the mental boost it gives people is just as important.

\n\n

At a time when the country is under another lockdown and we can’t engage with friends and family like we normally would, he expects St. John’s OT21 challenge will give people in the area a much needed social outlet, even if it is a virtual one, and distract them from the harsh reality of a Covid winter.

\n\n

“Definitely, the mental aspect of it is nearly as important,” he said. “The six-week lockdown programme we had before Christmas kept people massively positive and engaged in the whole thing.

\n\n

“The lockdown nearly became a side issue with a lot of people. It was about getting out, getting that daily walk in and communicating about it with one another. The interaction was unreal.

\n\n

“Most people engaged in the healthy recipes and some of the senior players who would be on the county panel, the likes of Paul McNamara, gave some tips in the nutrition videos we put out and that type of stuff. There were a lot of strands to it and one would back up the next one.

\n\n

“Everyone who took part got a medal of participation. We had a drive-through prize-giving ceremony and had absolutely class participation medals made up.

\n\n

“They all had a picture of the club and the crest and different images that they would have seen over the six weeks, scenic areas they would have walked around, the likes of Ben Bulben, printed on the ribbon. It was just a lovely keepsake for the year that was in it.”

\n

St. John’s GAA OT21 🇧🇼

Have a look below and see what’s on the menu, which will take place over Microsoft Teams. All for €30.

Book your place now by texting 085 2498067.

Looking forward to rolling it out over the next few weeks. #OneClubOneCommunity 🙌🏼 pic.twitter.com/DhRsRVgk6u

— St Johns GAA Sligo (@StJohnsGAASligo) January 4, 2021
\n\n

St John’s have also been canny enough to use their Operation Transformation programmes as a way of both raising much needed funds for their club as well as charitable causes.

\n\n

It was €25 euros to take part in their Lockdown challenge before Christmas which raised €1,200 for the club and the same amount again for good causes in the community.

\n\n

The latter was donated in the form of vouchers for local shops, which meant local businesses also benefited from the club’s initiatives and further good-will was generated in the community.

\n\n

“The voice that the club gives you in your locality is unreal,” says Casey.

\n\n

“My whole thinking is that football is brilliant, but there's an awful lot more to a GAA club than just football. What it does is it gives you a platform in the community.

\n\n

“That's what you have to build on. You can win silverware and medals, but there are a lot of other things you can win that might not be as tangible, but are arguably even more important.”

\n","RawBody":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

St John’s GAA Club in Sligo are determined to hit the ground running in 2021.

\n\n

This Wednesday, January 6th, they’ll be embark on ‘St John’s GAA OT21’, an eight week Operation Transformation that will engage around 180 members of their club and local community.

\n\n

The programme will include nutritional workshops, a couch to 5k, yoga, sports psychology, a weight-loss workshop, mapped walking/running routes, and Q&A’s with fitness experts.

\n\n

Most of this will take place virtually through Microsoft teams, and all physical exercise will be socially distant and within a 5km radius of each person’s home.

\n\n

That might sound like an ambitious programme of events, but it’s nothing the vibrant Carraroe club haven’t already done before, and in the very recent past too.

\n\n

OT21 is building on the very solid foundations already in place after the hugely successful Lockdown Challenge the club ran before Christmas.

\n\n

“That’s right, it's a follow-on from the lockdown challenge which really engaged the whole community,” says club Chairman Seamus Casey.

\n\n

“We had over 150 people participate in that over the six weeks and it was well received, it was a massive success.

\n\n

“What we did was we got 18 mapped routes all within the 5k and there were varying distances from 1k up to a half marathon.

\n\n

“We set up a group and we loaded all the maps on to that. And then people had to do 12 of the 18 routes or as many as they wanted, really, it was just about getting them out and getting them being positive.

\n\n

“The group took on a life of its own with recipes going up on it every day and various different things. There was great banter within it and it got people motivated.

\n\n

“When you did your walk you'd put up your route on the group for the others to see. So over the whole day you'd have people putting up their routes and that just kept everyone motivated.

\n\n

“The mapped routes were really successful. The whole aim of it was to get out walking in places they normally wouldn't walk, different estates and various other areas in the town. It was really good. Most people got a half marathon done in the last week of it which was a great success in itself.

\n\n

“EOT21 is now kicking off this Wednesday evening and that will run until March 3rd. So far we have about 140 people signed up for that and in the next couple of days I'd say we'll hit 160, 180 people on this I would imagine.

\n\n

“It's all positive and obviously it will all be done socially distant. A lot of it will be virtual as well on Microsoft teams and mentoring on the web, that type of thing.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Dublin\r\n\r\n
Dublin and Raheny footballer Brian Fenton presents the 'Hero Award' to Seamus Casey Sr. of St. John's GAA Club during the 2018 GAA National Healthy Club Conference at Croke Park Stadium, in Dublin.
\r\n

St John’s have been very proactive members of the GAA’s Healthy Club Project since 2018 and Casey himself won a ‘Hero Award’ the same year for implementing a very successful Operation Transformation programme and making the club the first non-smoking one in Sligo.

\n\n

He’s long been an enthusiastic advocate of the Healthy Club Project, but now more than ever after personally benefitting so much from St. John’s Lockdown Challenge.

\n\n

“My target when I became chairperson was to get involved in the Healthy Clubs and, to be honest, I was the last person you would expect to push something like that because I was seriously overweight myself,” admits Casey.

\n\n

“I was conscious that I was portraying as well and people just rowed in behind the thing because they saw that everyone was trying. 

\n\n

“Thank God this year it worked and I lost seven and a half stone myself this year. I suppose I'm leading from the front at last having talked a good game up to that. I'm actually doing it now myself too. 

\n\n

“It's win-win all round. There's a great vibe around the club and I'm not blowing our own trumpet but I genuinely think we've set the bar high here in Sligo for what we're doing in the locality.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"St.\r\n\r\n
St. John's GAA Club Chairman, Seamus Casey, lost over seven stone taking part in the club's Locdown Challenge before Christmas. 
\r\n

The common experience of GAA clubs that have taken part in the Healthy Clubs Project is that it puts their club at the heart of the community in a more real way than it had been hitherto.

\n\n

By engaging with members of the community who may not have been previously club-members and getting them involved in various initiatives, the club quickly becomes a hub for more than just those of a playing age and draws in new people who can make it stronger in all sorts of ways.

\n\n

“When I started the Operation Transformation with the club back in 2018 we had yoga in the clubhouse on a Saturday morning,” says Casey.

\n\n

“A woman came to me one day and said she had paid ten pound a month for the building of the clubhouse twenty odd years previously and didn't think she'd ever get to use it or even step foot inside it because she had no children. But now that she was doing the yoga there, she said it made her contribution all the more worthwhile now that she was getting something from it.

\n\n

“It definitely has engaged the community as opposed to just GAA members. An awful lot of people living in the locality that we would previously hardly have known, we now know very well, and they'll now continue to support different aspects of the club going forward.

\n\n

“I'd say there were maybe 70 per cent of people who participated in our Lockdown Challenge before Christmas weren't club members. The whole thinking behind it was to try to engage the whole community rather than just the GAA club itself.

\n\n

“So, the more we got in that never kicked a football, the bigger the bonus. Lots of more people now feel a real part of our club because they got something worthwhile out of it.

\n\n

“They'll support the club now in other ways as the years go on now because they're getting something out of it. It's not just about the football team. The football team is just an aside to it, really.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Everyone\r\n\r\n
Everyone who completed St. John's Lockdown Challenge received a specially commissioned medal for the achievement. 
\r\n

Casey himself is proof of the physical benefits of taking part in Healthy Club initiatives like Operation Transformation, but he believes the mental boost it gives people is just as important.

\n\n

At a time when the country is under another lockdown and we can’t engage with friends and family like we normally would, he expects St. John’s OT21 challenge will give people in the area a much needed social outlet, even if it is a virtual one, and distract them from the harsh reality of a Covid winter.

\n\n

“Definitely, the mental aspect of it is nearly as important,” he said. “The six-week lockdown programme we had before Christmas kept people massively positive and engaged in the whole thing.

\n\n

“The lockdown nearly became a side issue with a lot of people. It was about getting out, getting that daily walk in and communicating about it with one another. The interaction was unreal.

\n\n

“Most people engaged in the healthy recipes and some of the senior players who would be on the county panel, the likes of Paul McNamara, gave some tips in the nutrition videos we put out and that type of stuff. There were a lot of strands to it and one would back up the next one.

\n\n

“Everyone who took part got a medal of participation. We had a drive-through prize-giving ceremony and had absolutely class participation medals made up.

\n\n

“They all had a picture of the club and the crest and different images that they would have seen over the six weeks, scenic areas they would have walked around, the likes of Ben Bulben, printed on the ribbon. It was just a lovely keepsake for the year that was in it.”

\n

St. John’s GAA OT21 🇧🇼

Have a look below and see what’s on the menu, which will take place over Microsoft Teams. All for €30.

Book your place now by texting 085 2498067.

Looking forward to rolling it out over the next few weeks. #OneClubOneCommunity 🙌🏼 pic.twitter.com/DhRsRVgk6u

— St Johns GAA Sligo (@StJohnsGAASligo) January 4, 2021
\n\n

St John’s have also been canny enough to use their Operation Transformation programmes as a way of both raising much needed funds for their club as well as charitable causes.

\n\n

It was €25 euros to take part in their Lockdown challenge before Christmas which raised €1,200 for the club and the same amount again for good causes in the community.

\n\n

The latter was donated in the form of vouchers for local shops, which meant local businesses also benefited from the club’s initiatives and further good-will was generated in the community.

\n\n

“The voice that the club gives you in your locality is unreal,” says Casey.

\n\n

“My whole thinking is that football is brilliant, but there's an awful lot more to a GAA club than just football. What it does is it gives you a platform in the community.

\n\n

“That's what you have to build on. You can win silverware and medals, but there are a lot of other things you can win that might not be as tangible, but are arguably even more important.”

\n","AreaName":"","SectionName":"","Kind":0,"Date":"Tuesday 5 January 2021","DatePublished":"Tuesday 5 January 2021","DatePublishedAsDate":"2021-01-05T10:21:34.187Z","Thumbnail":{"Title":"Members of St. John's GAA Club in Sligo pictured taking part in the club's Lockdown Challenge before Christmas. ","TemplateUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/{formatInstructions}/ean2xu9nb6qvtqpqv1jf","ThumbnailUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/w_250,h_250,c_thumb,g_auto,q_auto,f_jpg/ean2xu9nb6qvtqpqv1jf","Format":"jpg","OverriddenFormats":{}},"HeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ean2xu9nb6qvtqpqv1jf.jpg","MobileHeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ean2xu9nb6qvtqpqv1jf.jpg","ThumbnailImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ean2xu9nb6qvtqpqv1jf.jpg","Images":{"ORIG":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/f_jpg/ean2xu9nb6qvtqpqv1jf.jpg","HERO":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ean2xu9nb6qvtqpqv1jf.jpg","FEATURES":null,"MobileFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ean2xu9nb6qvtqpqv1jf.jpg","MobileStandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_372,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ean2xu9nb6qvtqpqv1jf.jpg","SmallFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_540,h_304,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ean2xu9nb6qvtqpqv1jf.jpg","StandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_440,h_248,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ean2xu9nb6qvtqpqv1jf.jpg","SmallThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ean2xu9nb6qvtqpqv1jf.jpg","SquareFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_661,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ean2xu9nb6qvtqpqv1jf.jpg"},"Match":null,"Competition":null,"CompetitionSeason":null,"CompetitionSeoName":null,"CompetitionName":null,"Url":"/news/st-john-s-hit-the-ground-running-in-2021/","HotlineUrl":"","IsHotlineUrlOpenedInANewWindow":true,"YoutubeID":null,"VideoId":null,"RelatedNewsArticles":null,"RelatedVideos":null,"RelatedPhotos":null,"RelatedAudios":null,"RelatedDocuments":[],"RelatedPhotoGalleries":null,"RelatedLinks":null,"RelatedMatches":[],"RelatedTeams":[],"RelatedFreeTags":[],"RelatedCustomEntities":[],"EditorialLabel":"Feature","AdditionalNotes":null,"Author":"John Harrington","DateUpdated":"2021-01-05T10:21:34.187Z","Tags":[{"Slug":"feature","Type":"tag","_translationId":"67c8a382-ee0b-425b-b072-740857296e94","_entityId":"124196a1-89c7-4419-b5e3-7698d55dd788","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/feature","Title":"Feature","NeutralSlug":"feature","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}}]},"AdditionalStyle":"","Href":"/news/st-john-s-hit-the-ground-running-in-2021/","Target":"","SportLabel":"","Skip":1,"ContentDate":"2021-01-05T00:00:00Z","SportTeller":115},{"Document":{"MediaType":"news","Sport":"","SeoTitle":"connecting-with-local-community-crucial-for-clontarf-gaa","Area":0,"Section":0,"Id":0,"Guid":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000","Title":"Connecting with local community crucial for Clontarf GAA","Headline":null,"Slug":"connecting-with-local-community-crucial-for-clontarf-gaa","Summary":"

By Cian O’Connell\nQuickly adapting to changed circumstances was the chief method of surival in a year like no other. For Clontarf GAA club serving the community mattered deeply in a most trying 2020.\nSport always counts, but affairs away from the field of play dominated the agenda with Clontarf,

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Clontarf\r\n\r\n
Clontarf GAA continues to provide a significant service to the local community.
\r\n

By Cian O’Connell

\n\n

Quickly adapting to changed circumstances was the chief method of surival in a year like no other. For Clontarf GAA club serving the community mattered deeply in a most trying 2020.

\n\n

Sport always counts, but affairs away from the field of play dominated the agenda with Clontarf, part of the latest wave of GAA Healthy Clubs, keen to make a substantial impact. That is precisely what happened with an admirable volunteering effort and significant fundraising initiatives undertaken.

\n\n

In September, though, the club wanted to truly assess what was required to further improve their offering for all concerned. So a community consultation took place with Clontarf GAA Healthy Club Officer Ciaran Doran explaining how it all unfolded.

\n\n

“It was prompted by the Healthy Clubs programme, we applied to take part in the Healthy Clubs programme before Christmas in 2019,” Doran says.

\n\n

“We were accepted on to the fourth wave of the Healthy Clybs programme. I'm the Healthy Clubs Officer in Clontarf, we have gone through webinars and there was a conference in Croke Park in February.

\n\n

“We know that it is good practice to reach out to the community, to seek views on what areas of focus people would like us to particularly concentrate on.

\n\n

“So we knew it was a good idea to do this, we were very keen to do it. To get an idea of what people in the club and also in the local community, what areas they feel we should focus on under our Healthy Clubs programme. That was the origin of it.”

\n\n

Ultimately, a GAA club is about much more than simply fielding teams at various age groups. “Absolutely, that has really come to us, particularly recently,” Doran admits. “Just with everything that has happened, you would obviously reflect, but in a way it is kind of obvious.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Clontarf\r\n\r\n
Clontarf clubman Jack McCaffrey during the 2020 Dublin SFC.
\r\n

“It really came home with us being able to play so few games, training has been so disrupted. We sort of realised for people involved in a club, how much they would get out of it over and above what they might have thought in terms of a bit of fitness, taking part in a team sport.

\n\n

“All of the other benefits you get in your wellbeing from being involved in a club, whether as a player or a parent or a coach or whatever. Also I think like a lot of GAA clubs we'd be very conscious of our place in the community. I know this is probably more clearcut in a rural community, but even in a completely urban community, like we are in Clontarf.

\n\n

“We really feel like we are in the heart of the community and we want to give back as much as possible. It really fits with the ethos.

\n\n

“The whole Healthy Clubs idea is how we would be predisposed anyway. Then the idea of doing a community consultation is just such a great idea. We shouldn't assume that we know what people might like us to focus on. It is really good to ask their opinion, if that makes sense.”

\n\n

Presently a demand for knowledge exists in the world and Doran was struck by some of the findings and things people want to be explored and developed by the club.

\n\n

“Particularly around the area of mental fitness and I think the GAA have coined that phrase to cover anything to do with positive mental health and resilience,” Doran replies.

\n\n

“There is a thirst for knowledge and information around that. We are really trying to take away the stigma about it, to support people in terms of positive mental health.

\n\n

“That term is so good - mental fitness - it just conveys the point. Physical fitness you can work on it and improve it. Sometimes you might get injured or not be as strong as other times in the year or whatever. It is dynamic.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Clontarf\r\n\r\n
Clontarf and Raheny combined for a hugely successful fundraiser in 2020.
\r\n

So now, in this deeply uncertain time, what are the next steps that can be taken by the Clontarf GAA Healthy Clubs group?

\n\n

“The outcome of the consultation gave us some very clear direction,” Doran remarks. “It actually lined up with feedback we got already. So basically we give people the choice for different areas of focus and asked them to prioritise them.

\n\n

“Mental fitness came through very strongly, basically as a number one priority for people. The second one is social inclusion and they are both very broad.

\n\n

“Social inclusion can mean a range of things, but it is basically about involving people in the club or reaching out, helping people, who wouldn't normally be your target demographic, if you like, young boys and girls, who would be playing age.

\n\n

“The consultation has given us a really clear direction that those are the two priorities for people, not that the other areas aren't important. When you ask what are we going to do next? The first thing is we have thought about those two areas and we have looked at what we can do with Covid and everything else.”

\n\n

So Clontarf GAA now want to ensure that the various panels within the club embrace some of the new initiatives and methods.

\n\n

“We planned to put a particular emphasis on mental fitness in January,” Doran adds. “We have lined up a really good speaker towards the end of January to talk about it for all of our mentors and anyone in the club interested.

\n\n

“Following that we are going to put out a request and expectation that every team as part of their preparation for the season has a discussion in this space. That is difficult because when teams come together they want to talk about training and matches or playing.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Clontarf\r\n\r\n
Clontarf GAA held a community consultation in 2020.
\r\n

“We want and are asking the mentors to have mental fitness as part of the conversation, to have positive mental health in the conversation with their teams. That is the immediate focus in that respect. Social inclusion, we have lots of things we'd love to do and a lot of them we just can't do right now.

\n\n

“We are definitely going to take part in 'Ireland Lights Up' the walking initiative. I know that may be challenged with Covid restrictions, but even if people have to do it virtually or on their own, we are definitely going to encourage everybody involved in the club, and we are going to get it out into the local community, to take part in that walking challenge, to get out walking in the months of January and February.”

\n\n

Doran has found the Clontarf GAA executive committee to be extremely proactive and helpful. That is vital for the successful implementation of Healthy Club projects.

\n\n

“There is no doubt that we have it, and we are delighted with that,” Doran states. “I think we have taken on board the lessons from previous waves of Healthy Clubs and listened to what people have said to us in terms of what works and what doesn't.

\n\n

“That point about buy in, it is really important. One person or even one group of people can't do this on their own, especially with a relatively big club like Clontarf. We have a Healthy Clubs project team which has nine people on it, two of them are executive members.

\n\n

“This is a standing item in the executive every month. I give a monthly update, but also informing the Healthy Clubs project team, the executive have been excellent. In terms of everything we have done so far the executive have been really helpful, the chair and the other members.

\n\n

“They have helped us for instance put together a Healthy Clubs project team which is really representative of the club. It is a real cross section, it isn't necessarily people who have been involved with the club before.

\n\n

“We have representatives of mentors, players, parents, and people who really didn't have any involvement with the club. So the executive have helped us form a really good, strong project team - they definitely are behind us and supporting us all of the way.”

\n","RawBody":"

By Cian O’Connell

\n\n

Quickly adapting to changed circumstances was the chief method of surival in a year like no other. For Clontarf GAA club serving the community mattered deeply in a most trying 2020.

\n\n

Sport always counts, but affairs away from the field of play dominated the agenda with Clontarf, part of the latest wave of GAA Healthy Clubs, keen to make a substantial impact. That is precisely what happened with an admirable volunteering effort and significant fundraising initiatives undertaken.

\n\n

In September, though, the club wanted to truly assess what was required to further improve their offering for all concerned. So a community consultation took place with Clontarf GAA Healthy Club Officer Ciaran Doran explaining how it all unfolded.

\n\n

“It was prompted by the Healthy Clubs programme, we applied to take part in the Healthy Clubs programme before Christmas in 2019,” Doran says.

\n\n

“We were accepted on to the fourth wave of the Healthy Clybs programme. I'm the Healthy Clubs Officer in Clontarf, we have gone through webinars and there was a conference in Croke Park in February.

\n\n

“We know that it is good practice to reach out to the community, to seek views on what areas of focus people would like us to particularly concentrate on.

\n\n

“So we knew it was a good idea to do this, we were very keen to do it. To get an idea of what people in the club and also in the local community, what areas they feel we should focus on under our Healthy Clubs programme. That was the origin of it.”

\n\n

Ultimately, a GAA club is about much more than simply fielding teams at various age groups. “Absolutely, that has really come to us, particularly recently,” Doran admits. “Just with everything that has happened, you would obviously reflect, but in a way it is kind of obvious.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Clontarf\r\n\r\n
Clontarf clubman Jack McCaffrey during the 2020 Dublin SFC.
\r\n

“It really came home with us being able to play so few games, training has been so disrupted. We sort of realised for people involved in a club, how much they would get out of it over and above what they might have thought in terms of a bit of fitness, taking part in a team sport.

\n\n

“All of the other benefits you get in your wellbeing from being involved in a club, whether as a player or a parent or a coach or whatever. Also I think like a lot of GAA clubs we'd be very conscious of our place in the community. I know this is probably more clearcut in a rural community, but even in a completely urban community, like we are in Clontarf.

\n\n

“We really feel like we are in the heart of the community and we want to give back as much as possible. It really fits with the ethos.

\n\n

“The whole Healthy Clubs idea is how we would be predisposed anyway. Then the idea of doing a community consultation is just such a great idea. We shouldn't assume that we know what people might like us to focus on. It is really good to ask their opinion, if that makes sense.”

\n\n

Presently a demand for knowledge exists in the world and Doran was struck by some of the findings and things people want to be explored and developed by the club.

\n\n

“Particularly around the area of mental fitness and I think the GAA have coined that phrase to cover anything to do with positive mental health and resilience,” Doran replies.

\n\n

“There is a thirst for knowledge and information around that. We are really trying to take away the stigma about it, to support people in terms of positive mental health.

\n\n

“That term is so good - mental fitness - it just conveys the point. Physical fitness you can work on it and improve it. Sometimes you might get injured or not be as strong as other times in the year or whatever. It is dynamic.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Clontarf\r\n\r\n
Clontarf and Raheny combined for a hugely successful fundraiser in 2020.
\r\n

So now, in this deeply uncertain time, what are the next steps that can be taken by the Clontarf GAA Healthy Clubs group?

\n\n

“The outcome of the consultation gave us some very clear direction,” Doran remarks. “It actually lined up with feedback we got already. So basically we give people the choice for different areas of focus and asked them to prioritise them.

\n\n

“Mental fitness came through very strongly, basically as a number one priority for people. The second one is social inclusion and they are both very broad.

\n\n

“Social inclusion can mean a range of things, but it is basically about involving people in the club or reaching out, helping people, who wouldn't normally be your target demographic, if you like, young boys and girls, who would be playing age.

\n\n

“The consultation has given us a really clear direction that those are the two priorities for people, not that the other areas aren't important. When you ask what are we going to do next? The first thing is we have thought about those two areas and we have looked at what we can do with Covid and everything else.”

\n\n

So Clontarf GAA now want to ensure that the various panels within the club embrace some of the new initiatives and methods.

\n\n

“We planned to put a particular emphasis on mental fitness in January,” Doran adds. “We have lined up a really good speaker towards the end of January to talk about it for all of our mentors and anyone in the club interested.

\n\n

“Following that we are going to put out a request and expectation that every team as part of their preparation for the season has a discussion in this space. That is difficult because when teams come together they want to talk about training and matches or playing.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Clontarf\r\n\r\n
Clontarf GAA held a community consultation in 2020.
\r\n

“We want and are asking the mentors to have mental fitness as part of the conversation, to have positive mental health in the conversation with their teams. That is the immediate focus in that respect. Social inclusion, we have lots of things we'd love to do and a lot of them we just can't do right now.

\n\n

“We are definitely going to take part in 'Ireland Lights Up' the walking initiative. I know that may be challenged with Covid restrictions, but even if people have to do it virtually or on their own, we are definitely going to encourage everybody involved in the club, and we are going to get it out into the local community, to take part in that walking challenge, to get out walking in the months of January and February.”

\n\n

Doran has found the Clontarf GAA executive committee to be extremely proactive and helpful. That is vital for the successful implementation of Healthy Club projects.

\n\n

“There is no doubt that we have it, and we are delighted with that,” Doran states. “I think we have taken on board the lessons from previous waves of Healthy Clubs and listened to what people have said to us in terms of what works and what doesn't.

\n\n

“That point about buy in, it is really important. One person or even one group of people can't do this on their own, especially with a relatively big club like Clontarf. We have a Healthy Clubs project team which has nine people on it, two of them are executive members.

\n\n

“This is a standing item in the executive every month. I give a monthly update, but also informing the Healthy Clubs project team, the executive have been excellent. In terms of everything we have done so far the executive have been really helpful, the chair and the other members.

\n\n

“They have helped us for instance put together a Healthy Clubs project team which is really representative of the club. It is a real cross section, it isn't necessarily people who have been involved with the club before.

\n\n

“We have representatives of mentors, players, parents, and people who really didn't have any involvement with the club. So the executive have helped us form a really good, strong project team - they definitely are behind us and supporting us all of the way.”

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O'Connell","DateUpdated":"2021-01-05T11:46:50.908Z","Tags":[{"Slug":"gaa-healthy-clubs","Type":"tag","_translationId":"ac65016c-93c5-4044-aa28-ef5a20e04e22","_entityId":"f4f11618-d380-4957-80f5-dcef66850132","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/gaa-healthy-clubs","Title":"GAA Healthy 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2020","Headline":null,"Slug":"top-10-gaelic-football-moments-of-2020","Summary":"

Ultimately, it culminated in another All Ireland SFC Final triumph for a decorated Dublin outfit, who continue to set a seriously high standard.\nDessie Farrell's first year in charge ended with Stephen Cluxton accepting the Sam Maguire Cup on behalf of a great Dublin team.\nOverall there was no shortage

\n","Body":"

Ultimately, it culminated in another All Ireland SFC Final triumph for a decorated Dublin outfit, who continue to set a seriously high standard.

\n\n

Dessie Farrell's first year in charge ended with Stephen Cluxton accepting the Sam Maguire Cup on behalf of a great Dublin team.

\n\n

Overall there was no shortage of drama in a knockout Championship which featured thrilling provincial triumphs for Cavan and Tipperary.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Conor\r\n\r\n
Conor Sweeney landed a brilliant point from a sideline kick for Tipperary against Limerick at the LIT Gaelic Grounds.
\r\n

10. Conor Sweeney's point for Tipperary against Limerick

\n\n

Considering what unfolded at Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Conor Sweeney's intervention in the previous round against Limerick at the LIT Gaelic Grounds mattered deeply. Limerick were on the verge of securing a second successive Munster SFC win over Tipperary, but Conor Sweeney rifled over a gorgeous point from under the Mackey Stand. Skill and composure.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Conor\r\n\r\n
Conor Cunningham scored a goal for Corofin in the 2020 AIB All Ireland Club SFC Final.
\r\n

9. Corofin goal against Kilcoo

\n\n

It was a tight and tense AIB All Ireland Club SFC Final, but Corofin eventually prevailed. A three in a row was collected, but Kilcoo brought Corofin the distance. Delicately poised, Corofin delivered in extra-time with Conor Cunningham's major decorating another Croke Park triumph.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The Dublin team pictured at Hill 16 following the Leinster SFC final.
\r\n

8. Dublin players and management at Hill 16 Bloody Sunday anniversary weekend

\n\n

On a memorable GAA weekend, the Bloody Sunday 100 year anniversary brought a dignified response. Dublin claimed the Leinster title with the minimum of fuss, but after the match the players and management paid a warm tribute at the Hill 16 End of Croke Park.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The Tipperary team following the All Ireland SFC semi-final defeat against Mayo.
\r\n

7. Tipperary players and management at Hill 16 following All Ireland SFC semi-final

\n\n

When Tipperary's rollicking 2020 adventure ended David Power and his team went to Hill 16, similar to what Dublin had done a couple of weeks previously. GAA matters deeply in Tipperary and having ended an 85 year search for a provincial crown, the blue and gold outfit were defeated by Mayo. Still when it was all over Tipperary went to respect their past, particulary Michael Hogan, who sadly died 100 years ago.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Raymond\r\n\r\n
Raymond Galligan kicked a pressure free for Cavan against Monaghan in the Ulster SFC.
\r\n

6. Raymond Galligan point against Monaghan

\n\n

It was an Ulster Championship sprinkled with daring Cavan comebacks. At St Tiernach's Park Raymond Galligan's heroic last gasp point ensured Cavan overcame Monaghan in a wild and dramatic finish. Cavan were just starting to generate momentum.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Mark\r\n\r\n
Mark Keane scored a last gasp goal for Cork against Kerry in the Munster SFC semi-final.
\r\n

5. Mark Keane goal for Cork against Kerry

\n\n

Injury time winning goals are always coated in drama. That was precisely the case at Pairc Ui Chaoimh when Cork stunned Kerry at the death. Mark Keane's fetch and goal ensured one of the All Ireland favourites were dumped out of the Championship. Cork had watched Kerry dictate the agenda in Munster, but Keane's crisp finish shook the Gaelic Football world.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Cillian\r\n\r\n
Cillian O'Connor scored 4-9 for Mayo against Tipperary.
\r\n

4. Cillian O'Connor's 4-9 v Tipperary

\n\n

What a prolific showing from the ace Mayo marksman Cillian O'Connor at Croke Park. Tipperary just couldn't contain the brilliant Ballintubber forward, who struck 4-9 during Mayo's All Ireland SFC semi-final success. By the interval O'Connor had notched 3-6. It was a remarkable afternoon of scoring.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Con\r\n\r\n
Con O'Callaghan netted a crucial goal for Dublin against Mayo in the All Ireland SFC final.
\r\n

3. Con O'Callaghan goal in All Ireland SFC Final

\n\n

Mayo brought trademark intensity and industry, but just when Dublin required a drop of inspiration Con O'Callaghan went to centre stage. The Cuala forward remains an influential figure for Dublin. O'Callaghan's willingness to drive for goal was critical and his powerful fisted effort in the All Ireland decider was a critical moment.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Cavan\r\n\r\n
Cavan defeated Donegal in the Ulster SFC final at the Athletic Grounds.
\r\n

2. Cavan winning Ulster title

\n\n

Tears of joy and relief meant the Ulster SFC Final will be fondly recalled in Cavan for quite some time. Without an Anglo Celt since 1997, Cavan enjoyed a most productive campaign under the shrewd stewardship of Mickey Graham. Cavan simply found a way to escape from tricky situations and when the issue was delicately poised against Donegal, Cavan closed out the deal in impressive fashion.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Tipperary\r\n\r\n
Tipperary claimed a first Munster SFC title in 85 years.
\r\n

1. Tipperary Munster final victory

\n\n

It was a weekend peppered with sub plots. Ultimately Tipperary won their first Munster title in 85 years. A century on from Bloody Sunday, Tipperary football was back firmly on the agenda. Wearing white and green jerseys, Tipperary summoned a dynamic display with Conor Sweeney and Michael Quinlivan delightful.

\n","RawBody":"

Ultimately, it culminated in another All Ireland SFC Final triumph for a decorated Dublin outfit, who continue to set a seriously high standard.

\n\n

Dessie Farrell's first year in charge ended with Stephen Cluxton accepting the Sam Maguire Cup on behalf of a great Dublin team.

\n\n

Overall there was no shortage of drama in a knockout Championship which featured thrilling provincial triumphs for Cavan and Tipperary.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Conor\r\n\r\n
Conor Sweeney landed a brilliant point from a sideline kick for Tipperary against Limerick at the LIT Gaelic Grounds.
\r\n

10. Conor Sweeney's point for Tipperary against Limerick

\n\n

Considering what unfolded at Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Conor Sweeney's intervention in the previous round against Limerick at the LIT Gaelic Grounds mattered deeply. Limerick were on the verge of securing a second successive Munster SFC win over Tipperary, but Conor Sweeney rifled over a gorgeous point from under the Mackey Stand. Skill and composure.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Conor\r\n\r\n
Conor Cunningham scored a goal for Corofin in the 2020 AIB All Ireland Club SFC Final.
\r\n

9. Corofin goal against Kilcoo

\n\n

It was a tight and tense AIB All Ireland Club SFC Final, but Corofin eventually prevailed. A three in a row was collected, but Kilcoo brought Corofin the distance. Delicately poised, Corofin delivered in extra-time with Conor Cunningham's major decorating another Croke Park triumph.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The Dublin team pictured at Hill 16 following the Leinster SFC final.
\r\n

8. Dublin players and management at Hill 16 Bloody Sunday anniversary weekend

\n\n

On a memorable GAA weekend, the Bloody Sunday 100 year anniversary brought a dignified response. Dublin claimed the Leinster title with the minimum of fuss, but after the match the players and management paid a warm tribute at the Hill 16 End of Croke Park.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The Tipperary team following the All Ireland SFC semi-final defeat against Mayo.
\r\n

7. Tipperary players and management at Hill 16 following All Ireland SFC semi-final

\n\n

When Tipperary's rollicking 2020 adventure ended David Power and his team went to Hill 16, similar to what Dublin had done a couple of weeks previously. GAA matters deeply in Tipperary and having ended an 85 year search for a provincial crown, the blue and gold outfit were defeated by Mayo. Still when it was all over Tipperary went to respect their past, particulary Michael Hogan, who sadly died 100 years ago.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Raymond\r\n\r\n
Raymond Galligan kicked a pressure free for Cavan against Monaghan in the Ulster SFC.
\r\n

6. Raymond Galligan point against Monaghan

\n\n

It was an Ulster Championship sprinkled with daring Cavan comebacks. At St Tiernach's Park Raymond Galligan's heroic last gasp point ensured Cavan overcame Monaghan in a wild and dramatic finish. Cavan were just starting to generate momentum.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Mark\r\n\r\n
Mark Keane scored a last gasp goal for Cork against Kerry in the Munster SFC semi-final.
\r\n

5. Mark Keane goal for Cork against Kerry

\n\n

Injury time winning goals are always coated in drama. That was precisely the case at Pairc Ui Chaoimh when Cork stunned Kerry at the death. Mark Keane's fetch and goal ensured one of the All Ireland favourites were dumped out of the Championship. Cork had watched Kerry dictate the agenda in Munster, but Keane's crisp finish shook the Gaelic Football world.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Cillian\r\n\r\n
Cillian O'Connor scored 4-9 for Mayo against Tipperary.
\r\n

4. Cillian O'Connor's 4-9 v Tipperary

\n\n

What a prolific showing from the ace Mayo marksman Cillian O'Connor at Croke Park. Tipperary just couldn't contain the brilliant Ballintubber forward, who struck 4-9 during Mayo's All Ireland SFC semi-final success. By the interval O'Connor had notched 3-6. It was a remarkable afternoon of scoring.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Con\r\n\r\n
Con O'Callaghan netted a crucial goal for Dublin against Mayo in the All Ireland SFC final.
\r\n

3. Con O'Callaghan goal in All Ireland SFC Final

\n\n

Mayo brought trademark intensity and industry, but just when Dublin required a drop of inspiration Con O'Callaghan went to centre stage. The Cuala forward remains an influential figure for Dublin. O'Callaghan's willingness to drive for goal was critical and his powerful fisted effort in the All Ireland decider was a critical moment.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Cavan\r\n\r\n
Cavan defeated Donegal in the Ulster SFC final at the Athletic Grounds.
\r\n

2. Cavan winning Ulster title

\n\n

Tears of joy and relief meant the Ulster SFC Final will be fondly recalled in Cavan for quite some time. Without an Anglo Celt since 1997, Cavan enjoyed a most productive campaign under the shrewd stewardship of Mickey Graham. Cavan simply found a way to escape from tricky situations and when the issue was delicately poised against Donegal, Cavan closed out the deal in impressive fashion.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Tipperary\r\n\r\n
Tipperary claimed a first Munster SFC title in 85 years.
\r\n

1. Tipperary Munster final victory

\n\n

It was a weekend peppered with sub plots. Ultimately Tipperary won their first Munster title in 85 years. A century on from Bloody Sunday, Tipperary football was back firmly on the agenda. Wearing white and green jerseys, Tipperary summoned a dynamic display with Conor Sweeney and Michael Quinlivan delightful.

\n","AreaName":"","SectionName":"","Kind":0,"Date":"Thursday 24 December 2020","DatePublished":"Thursday 24 December 2020","DatePublishedAsDate":"2020-12-24T06:47:31.658Z","Thumbnail":{"Title":"Conor Sweeney landed a brilliant point from a sideline kick for Tipperary against Limerick at the LIT Gaelic Grounds.","TemplateUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/{formatInstructions}/ccmg1s5h6ewn2l2wezdp","ThumbnailUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/w_250,h_250,c_thumb,g_auto,q_auto,f_jpg/ccmg1s5h6ewn2l2wezdp","Format":"jpg","OverriddenFormats":{}},"HeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ccmg1s5h6ewn2l2wezdp.jpg","MobileHeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ccmg1s5h6ewn2l2wezdp.jpg","ThumbnailImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ccmg1s5h6ewn2l2wezdp.jpg","Images":{"ORIG":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/f_jpg/ccmg1s5h6ewn2l2wezdp.jpg","HERO":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ccmg1s5h6ewn2l2wezdp.jpg","FEATURES":null,"MobileFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ccmg1s5h6ewn2l2wezdp.jpg","MobileStandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_372,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ccmg1s5h6ewn2l2wezdp.jpg","SmallFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_540,h_304,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ccmg1s5h6ewn2l2wezdp.jpg","StandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_440,h_248,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ccmg1s5h6ewn2l2wezdp.jpg","SmallThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ccmg1s5h6ewn2l2wezdp.jpg","SquareFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_661,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/ccmg1s5h6ewn2l2wezdp.jpg"},"Match":null,"Competition":null,"CompetitionSeason":null,"CompetitionSeoName":null,"CompetitionName":null,"Url":"/football/news/top-10-gaelic-football-moments-of-2020/","HotlineUrl":"","IsHotlineUrlOpenedInANewWindow":true,"YoutubeID":null,"VideoId":null,"RelatedNewsArticles":null,"RelatedVideos":null,"RelatedPhotos":null,"RelatedAudios":null,"RelatedDocuments":[],"RelatedPhotoGalleries":null,"RelatedLinks":null,"RelatedMatches":[],"RelatedTeams":[],"RelatedFreeTags":[],"RelatedCustomEntities":[],"EditorialLabel":"Feature","AdditionalNotes":null,"Author":"Cian O'Connell","DateUpdated":"2020-12-24T07:00:17.304Z","Tags":[{"Slug":"football","Type":"tag","_translationId":"9c4905b9-f311-4399-b335-6e4b973a7291","_entityId":"2c49c344-b1de-4854-8094-4f6616d2239d","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/football","Title":"Football","NeutralSlug":"football","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}},{"Slug":"feature","Type":"tag","_translationId":"67c8a382-ee0b-425b-b072-740857296e94","_entityId":"124196a1-89c7-4419-b5e3-7698d55dd788","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/feature","Title":"Feature","NeutralSlug":"feature","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}}]},"AdditionalStyle":"","Href":"/football/news/top-10-gaelic-football-moments-of-2020/","Target":"","SportLabel":"Football","Skip":1,"ContentDate":"2020-12-24T00:00:00Z","SportTeller":115},{"Document":{"MediaType":"news","Sport":"2","SeoTitle":"top-10-hurling-moments-of-2020","Area":0,"Section":0,"Id":0,"Guid":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000","Title":"Top 10 Hurling Moments of 2020","Headline":"Top 10 Hurling Moments of 2020","Slug":"top-10-hurling-moments-of-2020","Summary":"

By John Harrington\nIn a year we will never forget, the hurling championships produced some really memorable moments.\nThere are always going to be sins of omission in a piece like this, but no-one can argue the ten we’ve chosen, in descending order, were all very special.

\n","Body":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

In a year we will never forget, the hurling championships produced some really memorable moments.

\n\n

There are always going to be sins of omission in a piece like this, but no-one can argue the ten we’ve chosen, in descending order, were all very special.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Aidan\r\n\r\n
Aidan Harte celebrates after scoring the decisive goal for Galway against Tipperary in last Saturday's All Ireland SHC quarter-final at the LIT Gaelic Grounds.
\r\n

10: Aidan Harte’s goal for Galway against Tipperary

\n\n

There were just four minutes of normal time remaining in the All-Ireland SHC quarter-final and 14-man Tipperary were stubbornly holding on to a two point lead. Then came a moment of real class from Galway that finally broke their resistance. Joe Canning did well to block Paddy Cadell’s attempted clearance and Brian Concannon picked up the breaking ball. He jinked past a couple of Tipperary tacklers before off-loading to Jason Flynn who immediately picked out fellow substitute Adrian Tuohey. With an overlap now created, Tuohey pass to the unmarked Harte who unleashed a rasper of a shot from around 25 yards out that zipped past Brian Hogan into the corner of the net.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Conor\r\n\r\n
Conor McCann lifts the Joe McDonagh Cup at Croke Park.
\r\n

9: Conor McCann lifts the Joe McDonagh Cup for Antrim hurling

\n\n

After a six year wait, Antrim hurling will be dining at hurling’s top table again in 2021 thanks to their Joe McDonagh Cup Final victory over Kerry which secured promotion to the Liam MacCarthy Cup. The Saffrons have worked hard to raise their standards in the past couple of years and this victory is a reward for that. With the Gaelfast project starting to gain real momentum, having the county senior team back in the shop-window of the All-Ireland Senior Championships will be a massive boost to Antrim hurling’s hearts and minds campaign as they seek to inspire a new generation in the county.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Tony\r\n\r\n
Tony Kelly scores a point for Clare against Wexford in the All-Ireland SHC Qualifiers. 
\r\n

8: Tony Kelly’s performance against Wexford in the All-Ireland SHC Qualifiers

\n\n

Tony Kelly was simply outstanding in every championship match he played for Clare this year but the best of the bunch was his display against Wexford in the All-Ireland Qualifiers. He scored 1-15 of his team’s 1-21 total, 1-6 of it from play. Two of the points he scored were so outrageously good they’ll surely feature in highlight reels for years to come, and the goal was a cracker too. It truly was a pleasure to watch a hurler of such class play to his full potential.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Joe\r\n\r\n
Joe Canning converts one of four sideline cuts he scored for Galway against Limerick in the All-Ireland SHC semi-final. 
\r\n

7: Joe Canning converts four sidelines in All-Ireland semi-final against Limerick

\n\n

Even by Joe Canning’s lofty standards, scoring four points from four sidelines in the All-Ireland SHC semi-final against Limerick was an audacious exhibition of skill. It set a new senior championship record, beating the three each that Michael Moroney of Clare (1977 v Tipperary) and Wexford’s Martin Storey (1993 v Kilkenny) had previously managed. Canning has now scored a remarkable 28 points from sideline cuts in Championship hurling.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Limeirck's\r\n\r\n
Limeirck's Gearoid Hegarty on his way to scoring one of his seven points from play in the All-Ireland SHC Final. 
\r\n

6: Gearoid Hegarty’s All-Ireland Final performance

\n\n

Already a top contender for Hurler of the Year coming into the All-Ireland Final, there’s a very good chance Gearoid Hegarty sealed that accolade thanks to his performance in the most important match of the year. He scored a remarkable seven points from play but contributed so much more too thanks to his hard tackling, ceaseless running, and accurate distribution of the ball.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Stephen\r\n\r\n
Stephen Bennett of Waterford races clear of Paddy Deegan of Kilkenny on his way to scoring a point during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Kilkenny and Waterford at Croke Park in Dublin.
\r\n

5: Stephen Bennett’s point against Kilkenny in the All-Ireland SHC semi-final

\n\n

Trailing by 2-10 to 0-8 in the 33rd minute of the All-Ireland SHC semi-final, Waterford badly needed some inspiration and Stephen Bennett provided it. Collecting a pass from Kevin Moran deep in his own half he took off on a jet-heeled solo-run that left four Kilkenny would-be tacklers in his wake and brought him as far as the opposition 21-yard line before the struck the ball over the bar off his hurley for a truly magnificent point.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Waterford\r\n\r\n
Waterford goalkeeper Stephen O'Keeffe saves a shot at goal from Kyle Hayes of Limerick during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Limerick and Waterford at Croke Park in Dublin. 
\r\n

4: Stephen O’Keeffe’s double-save in All-Ireland Final

\n\n

Stephen O’Keeffe’s double-save in the All-Ireland SHC Final against Limerick defied belief. Kyle Hayes looked sure to score a goal when he raced onto a hand-pass from Cian Lynch and uncorked a close-range shot that O’Keeffe somehow got a hurley to. The ball rebounded to the onrushing Lynch who doubled on it from six yards out. Once again O’Keeffe did the incredible by getting his hurley to the sliotar which rebounded back out past the 21 yard line so fiercely struck was Lynch’s shot. It’s hard to believe there has ever been a better piece of goalkeeping in an All-Ireland Final.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Scorer\r\n\r\n
Scorer of the winning goal, Bryan McLoughney of Kiladangan, is congratulated after the Tipperary County Senior Hurling Championship Final match between Kiladangan and Loughmore-Castleiney at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Tipperary. 
\r\n

3: Bryan McLoughney’s goal for Kiladangan in the last minute of the Tipperary SHC Final

\n\n

Noel McGrath looked like he had won the Tipperary SHC for Loughmore-Castleiney when he pointed a ’65 in the injury-time of extra-time against Kiladangan. But Joe Gallagher won the ball from the quickly taken puck-out that followed and hand-passed to McLoughney who raced towards goal. He could have tapped over a point that would have levelled the game and brought it to a penalty shoot-out, but instead he went for glory by hammering the ball to the roof of the net. It was Hollywood studio stuff as Kiladangan were crowned Tipperary champions for the first time in their history.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Richie\r\n\r\n
Richie Hogan of Kilkenny shoots to score his side's first goal during the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Galway at Croke Park in Dublin. 
\r\n

2: Richie Hogan’s goal for Kilkenny against Galway in the Leinster SHC Final

\n\n

Galway looked set to win the Leinster SHC Final until a sublime Richie Hogan goal ignited a Kilkenny comeback.

\n\n

With his first touch he killed a high-ball down into his path, with his second he dinked it away from onrushing Galway goalkeeper Éanna Murphy, with his third he controlled it on his hurley, and with his fourth he doubled it to the back of the net.

\n\n

If there has ever been a wristier goal scored in a match of this magnitude, I’d love to see it.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Limerick\r\n\r\n
Limerick captain Declan Hannon during his acceptance speech after the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Limerick and Waterford at Croke Park in Dublin. 
\r\n

1: Declan Hannon thanks front line workers in All-Ireland winning speech

\n\n

Declan Hannon gave one of the great All-Ireland winning captain’s speeches after Limerick’s victory over Waterford. The highlight was when he paid tribute to the front-line workers who have done so much to keep us all safe and healthy during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a fitting way to draw the curtain down on a year like no other.

\n\n

\"I want to mention the frontline staff who've worked so tirelessly throughout this pandemic,” said Hannon.

\n\n

\"The respect that we have for you all, in going out there each day to keep us safe, is absolutely fantastic. It doesn't go unnoticed by us, so thank you very, very much.

\n\n

\"2020 has been an incredibly tough year. Businesses have been closed, people have lost their jobs, I know a lot of loved ones have passed away this year who really would have loved to be here.

\n\n

\"To those families, we think of you every day. You inspire us, we wish you were here, but no doubt they're all looking down from heaven on top of us today, smiling their way down.\"

\n","RawBody":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

In a year we will never forget, the hurling championships produced some really memorable moments.

\n\n

There are always going to be sins of omission in a piece like this, but no-one can argue the ten we’ve chosen, in descending order, were all very special.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Aidan\r\n\r\n
Aidan Harte celebrates after scoring the decisive goal for Galway against Tipperary in last Saturday's All Ireland SHC quarter-final at the LIT Gaelic Grounds.
\r\n

10: Aidan Harte’s goal for Galway against Tipperary

\n\n

There were just four minutes of normal time remaining in the All-Ireland SHC quarter-final and 14-man Tipperary were stubbornly holding on to a two point lead. Then came a moment of real class from Galway that finally broke their resistance. Joe Canning did well to block Paddy Cadell’s attempted clearance and Brian Concannon picked up the breaking ball. He jinked past a couple of Tipperary tacklers before off-loading to Jason Flynn who immediately picked out fellow substitute Adrian Tuohey. With an overlap now created, Tuohey pass to the unmarked Harte who unleashed a rasper of a shot from around 25 yards out that zipped past Brian Hogan into the corner of the net.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Conor\r\n\r\n
Conor McCann lifts the Joe McDonagh Cup at Croke Park.
\r\n

9: Conor McCann lifts the Joe McDonagh Cup for Antrim hurling

\n\n

After a six year wait, Antrim hurling will be dining at hurling’s top table again in 2021 thanks to their Joe McDonagh Cup Final victory over Kerry which secured promotion to the Liam MacCarthy Cup. The Saffrons have worked hard to raise their standards in the past couple of years and this victory is a reward for that. With the Gaelfast project starting to gain real momentum, having the county senior team back in the shop-window of the All-Ireland Senior Championships will be a massive boost to Antrim hurling’s hearts and minds campaign as they seek to inspire a new generation in the county.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Tony\r\n\r\n
Tony Kelly scores a point for Clare against Wexford in the All-Ireland SHC Qualifiers. 
\r\n

8: Tony Kelly’s performance against Wexford in the All-Ireland SHC Qualifiers

\n\n

Tony Kelly was simply outstanding in every championship match he played for Clare this year but the best of the bunch was his display against Wexford in the All-Ireland Qualifiers. He scored 1-15 of his team’s 1-21 total, 1-6 of it from play. Two of the points he scored were so outrageously good they’ll surely feature in highlight reels for years to come, and the goal was a cracker too. It truly was a pleasure to watch a hurler of such class play to his full potential.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Joe\r\n\r\n
Joe Canning converts one of four sideline cuts he scored for Galway against Limerick in the All-Ireland SHC semi-final. 
\r\n

7: Joe Canning converts four sidelines in All-Ireland semi-final against Limerick

\n\n

Even by Joe Canning’s lofty standards, scoring four points from four sidelines in the All-Ireland SHC semi-final against Limerick was an audacious exhibition of skill. It set a new senior championship record, beating the three each that Michael Moroney of Clare (1977 v Tipperary) and Wexford’s Martin Storey (1993 v Kilkenny) had previously managed. Canning has now scored a remarkable 28 points from sideline cuts in Championship hurling.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Limeirck's\r\n\r\n
Limeirck's Gearoid Hegarty on his way to scoring one of his seven points from play in the All-Ireland SHC Final. 
\r\n

6: Gearoid Hegarty’s All-Ireland Final performance

\n\n

Already a top contender for Hurler of the Year coming into the All-Ireland Final, there’s a very good chance Gearoid Hegarty sealed that accolade thanks to his performance in the most important match of the year. He scored a remarkable seven points from play but contributed so much more too thanks to his hard tackling, ceaseless running, and accurate distribution of the ball.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Stephen\r\n\r\n
Stephen Bennett of Waterford races clear of Paddy Deegan of Kilkenny on his way to scoring a point during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Kilkenny and Waterford at Croke Park in Dublin.
\r\n

5: Stephen Bennett’s point against Kilkenny in the All-Ireland SHC semi-final

\n\n

Trailing by 2-10 to 0-8 in the 33rd minute of the All-Ireland SHC semi-final, Waterford badly needed some inspiration and Stephen Bennett provided it. Collecting a pass from Kevin Moran deep in his own half he took off on a jet-heeled solo-run that left four Kilkenny would-be tacklers in his wake and brought him as far as the opposition 21-yard line before the struck the ball over the bar off his hurley for a truly magnificent point.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Waterford\r\n\r\n
Waterford goalkeeper Stephen O'Keeffe saves a shot at goal from Kyle Hayes of Limerick during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Limerick and Waterford at Croke Park in Dublin. 
\r\n

4: Stephen O’Keeffe’s double-save in All-Ireland Final

\n\n

Stephen O’Keeffe’s double-save in the All-Ireland SHC Final against Limerick defied belief. Kyle Hayes looked sure to score a goal when he raced onto a hand-pass from Cian Lynch and uncorked a close-range shot that O’Keeffe somehow got a hurley to. The ball rebounded to the onrushing Lynch who doubled on it from six yards out. Once again O’Keeffe did the incredible by getting his hurley to the sliotar which rebounded back out past the 21 yard line so fiercely struck was Lynch’s shot. It’s hard to believe there has ever been a better piece of goalkeeping in an All-Ireland Final.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Scorer\r\n\r\n
Scorer of the winning goal, Bryan McLoughney of Kiladangan, is congratulated after the Tipperary County Senior Hurling Championship Final match between Kiladangan and Loughmore-Castleiney at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Tipperary. 
\r\n

3: Bryan McLoughney’s goal for Kiladangan in the last minute of the Tipperary SHC Final

\n\n

Noel McGrath looked like he had won the Tipperary SHC for Loughmore-Castleiney when he pointed a ’65 in the injury-time of extra-time against Kiladangan. But Joe Gallagher won the ball from the quickly taken puck-out that followed and hand-passed to McLoughney who raced towards goal. He could have tapped over a point that would have levelled the game and brought it to a penalty shoot-out, but instead he went for glory by hammering the ball to the roof of the net. It was Hollywood studio stuff as Kiladangan were crowned Tipperary champions for the first time in their history.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Richie\r\n\r\n
Richie Hogan of Kilkenny shoots to score his side's first goal during the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Galway at Croke Park in Dublin. 
\r\n

2: Richie Hogan’s goal for Kilkenny against Galway in the Leinster SHC Final

\n\n

Galway looked set to win the Leinster SHC Final until a sublime Richie Hogan goal ignited a Kilkenny comeback.

\n\n

With his first touch he killed a high-ball down into his path, with his second he dinked it away from onrushing Galway goalkeeper Éanna Murphy, with his third he controlled it on his hurley, and with his fourth he doubled it to the back of the net.

\n\n

If there has ever been a wristier goal scored in a match of this magnitude, I’d love to see it.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Limerick\r\n\r\n
Limerick captain Declan Hannon during his acceptance speech after the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Limerick and Waterford at Croke Park in Dublin. 
\r\n

1: Declan Hannon thanks front line workers in All-Ireland winning speech

\n\n

Declan Hannon gave one of the great All-Ireland winning captain’s speeches after Limerick’s victory over Waterford. The highlight was when he paid tribute to the front-line workers who have done so much to keep us all safe and healthy during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a fitting way to draw the curtain down on a year like no other.

\n\n

\"I want to mention the frontline staff who've worked so tirelessly throughout this pandemic,” said Hannon.

\n\n

\"The respect that we have for you all, in going out there each day to keep us safe, is absolutely fantastic. It doesn't go unnoticed by us, so thank you very, very much.

\n\n

\"2020 has been an incredibly tough year. Businesses have been closed, people have lost their jobs, I know a lot of loved ones have passed away this year who really would have loved to be here.

\n\n

\"To those families, we think of you every day. You inspire us, we wish you were here, but no doubt they're all looking down from heaven on top of us today, smiling their way down.\"

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By John Harrington\nOn May 19, 2012, Dean Rock was watching the Champions League Final between Chelsea and Bayern Munich when Pat Gilroy’s number flashed up on his phone.\nRock presumed the then Dublin manager was ringing to tell him he’d be making his championship debut against Wexford in the

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Dublin\r\n\r\n
Dublin footballer, Dean Rock. 
\r\n

By John Harrington

\n\n

On May 19, 2012, Dean Rock was watching the Champions League Final between Chelsea and Bayern Munich when Pat Gilroy’s number flashed up on his phone.

\n\n

Rock presumed the then Dublin manager was ringing to tell him he’d be making his championship debut against Wexford in the Leinster SFC quarter-final two weeks later.

\n\n

Imagine his shock then when Gilroy told him straight out that he was ringing to tell him he was cutting him from his panel.

\n\n

The following day Rock hit the roads and ran and ran until his heart hurt and his legs burned as he tried to flush the disappointment from his system.

\n\n

Fast forward eight and a half years and he has six All-Ireland medals and is Dublin football’s all-time top-scorer.

\n\n

That pain of that rejection he suffered in 2012 lit a fire in him that still burns hot today.

\n\n

“It just transpired that for whatever reason, I wasn’t deemed good enough at the time,” recalls Rock of being cut from the panel back then.

\n\n

“I remember the next day going down to Garristown, where I live, running and running for hours until my Dad had to come down and pick me up.

\n\n

“So I think it was just that resilience piece that you need as a sportsperson. You’re going to have your setbacks.

\n\n

“I certainly had them and I could easily have packed it in and walked away.

\n\n

“But I made a promise to myself that I was going to do what I could. Luckily enough the club came to the rescue for me that year. We won the club championship and that set me up for when Jim (Gavin) came in in 2013.

\n\n

“So yeah, I suppose from there, I never looked back.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Dean\r\n\r\n
Dean Rock in action for Dublin in 2012 shortly before he was cut from the panel. 
\r\n

Rock now qualifies for veteran status given his long service, but he’s probably playing the best football of his life.

\n\n

His free-kicking is as accurate as ever, and no Dublin forward scored more from open play than him in their All-Ireland semi-final win over Cavan and Leinster Final win over Meath.

\n\n

His movement in both of those matches was a joy to watch as he continually made himself available on looping runs that allowed him to pick up possession in a pocket of space and get a shot off.

\n\n

“I feel great,” he says. “I’m 30 now but I’ve always looked after my body really well and thankfully, I’ve missed very few games with Dublin over the last number of years.

\n\n

“So I take great pride in my preparation on and off the field. I make sure I’m in a position to challenge for a starting position.

\n\n

“So I think when you’re looking after yourself on and off the pitch, that transpires to good performances on it.

\n\n

“Yeah, I’m really enjoying my football. The club championship has been brilliant this year. It has freshened things up for all of us really.”

\n\n

Rock believes that he and his Dublin team-mates actually benefited from the enforced break from football earlier this year caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

\n\n

It was always going to be a big ask for them to recovery mentally and physically from the exertion required to complete the historic five-in-a-row, and in the early rounds of the League there were signs of fatigue.

\n\n

After coming back from lockdown, though, Dublin look like a rejuvenated force.

\n\n

“After the All-Ireland last year, the League probably came on us a little quicker than usual, with everything that was going on,” says Rock.

\n\n

“Maybe it was a blessing in disguise in terms of the delay in the championship, who knows?

\n\n

“But I think it was a reprieve. Even from the mindset perspective. It meant lads could have a good quality club championship with their clubs and not the usual two or three weeks you get at the end of the year.

\n\n

“It was nice going up to Poppintree Park in Ballymun and train there, where we trained when we were kids. From that perspective, it was hugely refreshing.

\n\n

“For me personally, it’s been a great year. Turning 30, winning with the club was obviously very satisfying this year. It obviously hasn’t gone unnoticed the struggles we’ve had with Ballymun over the years in terms of getting our best players on the pitch.

\n\n

“So to be able to train with the club lads all summer and give that a full whack was one of the most enjoyable moments in my career.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Ballymun\r\n\r\n
Ballymun Kickhams players, from left, Fiach Andrews, Dean Rock, and Ciarán McManus celebrate after the Dublin County Senior 1 Football Championship Final match between Ballyboden St Enda's and Ballymun Kickhams at Parnell Park in Dublin. 
\r\n

Rock reached the landmark of 100 senior games for Dublin in their All-Ireland semi-final win over Cavan and in that time he has scored an incredible 18-478.

\n\n

In recent times he’s leapfrogged players like Kevin Heffernan, his own farther Barney, and Bernard Brogan on the list of Dublin all-time top scorers.

\n\n

And he finally made it to the top of the pile when passing out the long time incumbent, Jimmy Keaveney, after kicking 1-8 in Dublin’s League win over Meath last October.

\n\n

“I wouldn’t have been too aware of it until the end of last year,” says Rock of his record-breaking exploits.

\n\n

“Probably after the All-Ireland final, somebody said something that I overtook my Dad.

\n\n

“Then you now you were close to overtaking Bernard Brogan and Jimmy Keaveney and those great guys.

\n\n

“You were aware of it. But it’s one of those things. You just tick it off your list and move on. You wouldn’t be going out in a game saying ‘I need to get six or seven points here to overtake whoever.’

\n\n

“It was just go out and perform and the rest of that stuff looks after itself.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Dean\r\n\r\n
Dean Rock made his 100th appearance for the Dublin senior footballers against Cavan in the All-Ireland SFC semi-final. 
\r\n

Rock is as prolific as he is thanks to an ability to block out all external distractions when going through his free-kick routine.

\n\n

You might think that’s easier to do now that there are no supporters in the stadium trying to put him off, but opposition players have taken up the slack.

\n\n

“It probably is a little bit surreal,” says Rock.

\n\n

“The last number of years, obviously big games at Croke Park, you’d be used to having the crowd at your back, or giving you a few cheers here and there.

\n\n

“It is quite surreal, but it’s probably just more with the way you practice, unusually because there is no crowd there. It’s a bit more like the rugby side of things.

\n\n

“You probably have to stay a little bit more disciplined in terms of your own process and routine and try not to let yourself, drift, or listen to the guys who are trying to put you off, beside you.”

\n\n

“Obviously, it’s different, but we have embraced it, the challenge and the change that this year has brought from all angles of life.

\n\n

“Look I think we are in a very privileged position to be playing in an All-Ireland final on the 19th of December and I’m sure there are lots of people who would give up their right hand to be there.

\n\n

“We are hoping to put in a really good performance and give the people of Dublin something to shout about.”

\n","RawBody":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

On May 19, 2012, Dean Rock was watching the Champions League Final between Chelsea and Bayern Munich when Pat Gilroy’s number flashed up on his phone.

\n\n

Rock presumed the then Dublin manager was ringing to tell him he’d be making his championship debut against Wexford in the Leinster SFC quarter-final two weeks later.

\n\n

Imagine his shock then when Gilroy told him straight out that he was ringing to tell him he was cutting him from his panel.

\n\n

The following day Rock hit the roads and ran and ran until his heart hurt and his legs burned as he tried to flush the disappointment from his system.

\n\n

Fast forward eight and a half years and he has six All-Ireland medals and is Dublin football’s all-time top-scorer.

\n\n

That pain of that rejection he suffered in 2012 lit a fire in him that still burns hot today.

\n\n

“It just transpired that for whatever reason, I wasn’t deemed good enough at the time,” recalls Rock of being cut from the panel back then.

\n\n

“I remember the next day going down to Garristown, where I live, running and running for hours until my Dad had to come down and pick me up.

\n\n

“So I think it was just that resilience piece that you need as a sportsperson. You’re going to have your setbacks.

\n\n

“I certainly had them and I could easily have packed it in and walked away.

\n\n

“But I made a promise to myself that I was going to do what I could. Luckily enough the club came to the rescue for me that year. We won the club championship and that set me up for when Jim (Gavin) came in in 2013.

\n\n

“So yeah, I suppose from there, I never looked back.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Dean\r\n\r\n
Dean Rock in action for Dublin in 2012 shortly before he was cut from the panel. 
\r\n

Rock now qualifies for veteran status given his long service, but he’s probably playing the best football of his life.

\n\n

His free-kicking is as accurate as ever, and no Dublin forward scored more from open play than him in their All-Ireland semi-final win over Cavan and Leinster Final win over Meath.

\n\n

His movement in both of those matches was a joy to watch as he continually made himself available on looping runs that allowed him to pick up possession in a pocket of space and get a shot off.

\n\n

“I feel great,” he says. “I’m 30 now but I’ve always looked after my body really well and thankfully, I’ve missed very few games with Dublin over the last number of years.

\n\n

“So I take great pride in my preparation on and off the field. I make sure I’m in a position to challenge for a starting position.

\n\n

“So I think when you’re looking after yourself on and off the pitch, that transpires to good performances on it.

\n\n

“Yeah, I’m really enjoying my football. The club championship has been brilliant this year. It has freshened things up for all of us really.”

\n\n

Rock believes that he and his Dublin team-mates actually benefited from the enforced break from football earlier this year caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

\n\n

It was always going to be a big ask for them to recovery mentally and physically from the exertion required to complete the historic five-in-a-row, and in the early rounds of the League there were signs of fatigue.

\n\n

After coming back from lockdown, though, Dublin look like a rejuvenated force.

\n\n

“After the All-Ireland last year, the League probably came on us a little quicker than usual, with everything that was going on,” says Rock.

\n\n

“Maybe it was a blessing in disguise in terms of the delay in the championship, who knows?

\n\n

“But I think it was a reprieve. Even from the mindset perspective. It meant lads could have a good quality club championship with their clubs and not the usual two or three weeks you get at the end of the year.

\n\n

“It was nice going up to Poppintree Park in Ballymun and train there, where we trained when we were kids. From that perspective, it was hugely refreshing.

\n\n

“For me personally, it’s been a great year. Turning 30, winning with the club was obviously very satisfying this year. It obviously hasn’t gone unnoticed the struggles we’ve had with Ballymun over the years in terms of getting our best players on the pitch.

\n\n

“So to be able to train with the club lads all summer and give that a full whack was one of the most enjoyable moments in my career.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Ballymun\r\n\r\n
Ballymun Kickhams players, from left, Fiach Andrews, Dean Rock, and Ciarán McManus celebrate after the Dublin County Senior 1 Football Championship Final match between Ballyboden St Enda's and Ballymun Kickhams at Parnell Park in Dublin. 
\r\n

Rock reached the landmark of 100 senior games for Dublin in their All-Ireland semi-final win over Cavan and in that time he has scored an incredible 18-478.

\n\n

In recent times he’s leapfrogged players like Kevin Heffernan, his own farther Barney, and Bernard Brogan on the list of Dublin all-time top scorers.

\n\n

And he finally made it to the top of the pile when passing out the long time incumbent, Jimmy Keaveney, after kicking 1-8 in Dublin’s League win over Meath last October.

\n\n

“I wouldn’t have been too aware of it until the end of last year,” says Rock of his record-breaking exploits.

\n\n

“Probably after the All-Ireland final, somebody said something that I overtook my Dad.

\n\n

“Then you now you were close to overtaking Bernard Brogan and Jimmy Keaveney and those great guys.

\n\n

“You were aware of it. But it’s one of those things. You just tick it off your list and move on. You wouldn’t be going out in a game saying ‘I need to get six or seven points here to overtake whoever.’

\n\n

“It was just go out and perform and the rest of that stuff looks after itself.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Dean\r\n\r\n
Dean Rock made his 100th appearance for the Dublin senior footballers against Cavan in the All-Ireland SFC semi-final. 
\r\n

Rock is as prolific as he is thanks to an ability to block out all external distractions when going through his free-kick routine.

\n\n

You might think that’s easier to do now that there are no supporters in the stadium trying to put him off, but opposition players have taken up the slack.

\n\n

“It probably is a little bit surreal,” says Rock.

\n\n

“The last number of years, obviously big games at Croke Park, you’d be used to having the crowd at your back, or giving you a few cheers here and there.

\n\n

“It is quite surreal, but it’s probably just more with the way you practice, unusually because there is no crowd there. It’s a bit more like the rugby side of things.

\n\n

“You probably have to stay a little bit more disciplined in terms of your own process and routine and try not to let yourself, drift, or listen to the guys who are trying to put you off, beside you.”

\n\n

“Obviously, it’s different, but we have embraced it, the challenge and the change that this year has brought from all angles of life.

\n\n

“Look I think we are in a very privileged position to be playing in an All-Ireland final on the 19th of December and I’m sure there are lots of people who would give up their right hand to be there.

\n\n

“We are hoping to put in a really good performance and give the people of Dublin something to shout about.”

\n","AreaName":"","SectionName":"","Kind":0,"Date":"Friday 18 December 2020","DatePublished":"Friday 18 December 2020","DatePublishedAsDate":"2020-12-18T07:09:35.996Z","Thumbnail":{"Title":"Dublin footballer, Dean Rock. ","TemplateUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/{formatInstructions}/xxfilhuuk4gpdl8w4yfq","ThumbnailUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/w_250,h_250,c_thumb,g_auto,q_auto,f_jpg/xxfilhuuk4gpdl8w4yfq","Format":"jpg","OverriddenFormats":{}},"HeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/xxfilhuuk4gpdl8w4yfq.jpg","MobileHeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/xxfilhuuk4gpdl8w4yfq.jpg","ThumbnailImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/xxfilhuuk4gpdl8w4yfq.jpg","Images":{"ORIG":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/f_jpg/xxfilhuuk4gpdl8w4yfq.jpg","HERO":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/xxfilhuuk4gpdl8w4yfq.jpg","FEATURES":null,"MobileFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/xxfilhuuk4gpdl8w4yfq.jpg","MobileStandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_372,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/xxfilhuuk4gpdl8w4yfq.jpg","SmallFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_540,h_304,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/xxfilhuuk4gpdl8w4yfq.jpg","StandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_440,h_248,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/xxfilhuuk4gpdl8w4yfq.jpg","SmallThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/xxfilhuuk4gpdl8w4yfq.jpg","SquareFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_661,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/xxfilhuuk4gpdl8w4yfq.jpg"},"Match":null,"Competition":null,"CompetitionSeason":null,"CompetitionSeoName":null,"CompetitionName":null,"Url":"/football/news/dean-rock-has-found-redemption-through-resilience/","HotlineUrl":"","IsHotlineUrlOpenedInANewWindow":true,"YoutubeID":null,"VideoId":null,"RelatedNewsArticles":null,"RelatedVideos":null,"RelatedPhotos":null,"RelatedAudios":null,"RelatedDocuments":[],"RelatedPhotoGalleries":null,"RelatedLinks":null,"RelatedMatches":[],"RelatedTeams":[{"TeamId":"2166","OfficialName":"Dublin","ShortName":"Dublin","WebName":"Dublin","TeamTypeId":null}],"RelatedFreeTags":[],"RelatedCustomEntities":[],"EditorialLabel":"Feature","AdditionalNotes":null,"Author":"Cian O'Connell","DateUpdated":"2020-12-18T07:09:35.996Z","Tags":[{"Slug":"football","Type":"tag","_translationId":"9c4905b9-f311-4399-b335-6e4b973a7291","_entityId":"2c49c344-b1de-4854-8094-4f6616d2239d","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/football","Title":"Football","NeutralSlug":"football","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}},{"Slug":"feature","Type":"tag","_translationId":"67c8a382-ee0b-425b-b072-740857296e94","_entityId":"124196a1-89c7-4419-b5e3-7698d55dd788","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/feature","Title":"Feature","NeutralSlug":"feature","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}},{"Slug":"by-county","Type":"tag","_translationId":"59655895-93f8-47ad-b3f8-d83e0ffbd4d4","_entityId":"ba171959-322d-46b6-bda0-f64c909be362","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/by-county","Title":"By County","NeutralSlug":"by-county","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}},{"Slug":"dublin","Type":"tag","_translationId":"19623089-3d7d-4423-96f8-87fcbcef0cac","_entityId":"2f9ce95d-7b32-47c4-9545-71e83918b854","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/dublin","Title":"Dublin","NeutralSlug":"dublin","ExternalSourceName":"teams","ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":"2166","SourceName":"teams"},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}}]},"AdditionalStyle":"","Href":"/football/news/dean-rock-has-found-redemption-through-resilience/","Target":"","SportLabel":"Football","Skip":1,"ContentDate":"2020-12-18T00:00:00Z","SportTeller":115},{"Document":{"MediaType":"news","Sport":"","SeoTitle":"maria-bergin-showing-how-much-female-coaches-have-to-offer","Area":0,"Section":0,"Id":0,"Guid":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000","Title":"Maria Bergin showing how much female coaches have to offer","Headline":"Maria Bergin showing how much female coaches have to offer","Slug":"maria-bergin-showing-how-much-female-coaches-have-to-offer","Summary":"

By John Harrington\nHow someone responds to adversity tells you a lot about their character.\nTake Maria Bergin, for example, who is Castleknock GAA’s Games Promotion Officer.\nWhen she was 16 years of age, the Kildare native she was told she had to stop playing the game she loves, camogie.

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Castleknock\r\n\r\n
Castleknock GAA Games Promotion Officer, Maria Bergin. 
\r\n

By John Harrington

\n\n

How someone responds to adversity tells you a lot about their character.

\n\n

Take Maria Bergin, for example, who is Castleknock GAA’s Games Promotion Officer.

\n\n

When she was 16 years of age, the Kildare native she was told she had to stop playing the game she loves, camogie.

\n\n

'Born with a malformed valve in her heart it didn’t affect her in a sporting sense until her mid teens when she started passing out during matches when her heart rate would race.

\n\n

A total break from playing was prescribed, which was a crushing blow for someone who by then was representing her county at U-16 level in camogie and was a very prominent player for her club Naas.

\n\n

“When I was told I needed to stop playing for a while it was like losing a limb and I just wanted to find another way to stay involved so I did a referees course and am qualified to referee all the way up to senior,\" Bergin told GAA.ie

\n\n

“I also did my foundation coaching course, my Award 1, because I just really wanted to stay involved. After a year and a half I got back playing, so it wasn't too bad, but at the time it felt like the end of the World.”

\n\n

As tough as it was to stop playing camogie back then, ultimately it put her on a coaching pathway that has brought her a huge amount of happiness and job satisfaction.

\n\n

Doing that coaching course when she was sidelined and helping out at Cúl Camps gave her an insight into what it might like to be a full-time Games Promotion Officer, which has been her role with Castleknock GAA club for the last three years

\n\n

“I had done Irish and Music in College and my plan had been to go and do teaching, but then I looked into what a job like this would entail and it combined my love of teaching and my passion for sport,” she says.

\n\n

“And you're working with kids and you're seeing them progress day in, day out. There is definitely a sense of pride and I just love it. There's just no other way of saying it. It's great fun and it's become a second family for me up here (in Castleknock).

\n\n

“I would be up here a lot of the time taking sessions in the evening and being in schools during the day and then at weekends there are matches so it has definitely become like a second family for me, it's great.”

\n\n

It’s certainly a big second family, because Maria coaches 600 children in four local primary schools from Tuesday to Friday and then every Saturday morning organises the coaching of 400 children in the club’s nursery.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The number of young girls in the Castleknock GAA nursery has increased since Maria Bergin became the club's GPO.
\r\n

She’s made a hugely positive impact in Castleknock in a short period of time where it has been very notable that the participation levels of young girls has risen significantly since she arrived.

\n\n

“When it was my first year going into the schools the kids had heard a GAA coach was coming but they didn't know who it was going to be,” recalls Bergin.

\n\n

“The little girls rocked in and one of the girls saw me and said, 'Oh my God, it's a girl!'

\n\n

“When they heard GAA they automatically assumed it would be a boy, and I'm quite a girly girl in that I'd have my nails done and I wear make-up and stuff like that. So I think it was great for them to see you can be girly but still be tough and play GAA.

\n\n

“We were even just looking at our numbers recently. Going back a few years it would have been definitely that the ratio of lads to girls would have been 60-40 whereas now it my nursery it's basically 50-50. And in one age-group we actually have more girls which is amazing to see.

\n\n

“I do think the way the GAA, the LGFA, and Camogie Association are promoting the games is a factor as well because the little girls are actually seeing the older girls on the telly or on posters. I think that has definitely been a factor as well.”

\n\n

Anyone who is involved with looking after a girls’ underage team will know the value of having as many women as possible helping with the coaching and mentoring.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Maria\r\n\r\n
Maria Bergin coaches 400 children every Saturday morning in Castleknock GAA Club's nursery. 
\r\n

Every coach is different and has their own particular style, but as a generalisation it’s probably true that empathy comes more easily to female coaches which is especially effective when coaching young girls and boys.

\n\n

“I would agree that seeing a girl coach coming in is a big thing for young girls because it's easier for them to relate to a female coach,” says Bergin.

\n\n

“A lot of the coaches that I've worked with would be older and predominantly male.

\n\n

“I think that girls can find it harder to relate to them whereas they find it much easier with a girl coming in. And I suppose it tends to be that girls find it easier to interact with smaller children as well.

\n\n

“I know from talking to some of the guys they find it easier to coach the fourth, fifth, and sixth classes, but they find it more challenging to coach the kids in junior infants to first class because the kids are so small and the little girls may want to be doing ballerina stuff and things like that.

\n\n

“In Dublin there are six female GPOs and the rest are lads. And I think all the time we're trying to prove ourselves just to show that we can bring something different to the table.

\n\n

“I think we can understand where young girls are coming from and also young boys. I think we find it easier to get things out of young children because we find it easier to be animated with them. I think we just bring something different and have a lot to offer.

\n\n

“I'm not saying that lads don't, I just think that female coaches can bring a different approaches.

\n\n

“Any maybe in a situation in training where a girl might prefer to do a twirl than solo the ball then I might bring it into the session that a twirl becomes part of the drill. You can show them that a twirl can actually help them get away from an opponent. So that makes it a bit fun while still relating it to Gaelic Games.

\n\n

“You have to realise that they're children at the end of the day and they want to have fun but also learn new things and improve week on week.

\n\n

“So being spontaneous in your approach and not being too rigid is the best way to approach coaching children.

\n\n

“And boys will react just as well to empathy as girls do. Boys can be a bit more competitive than girls and it's good to reassure them that it's okay not to be the winner every single game. Again, it's about remembering they're small children and be sympathetic to that.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Maria\r\n\r\n
Maria Bergin pictured coaching in Scoil Oilibhéir Gaelscoil. 
\r\n

Bergin isn’t just a fine role-model for the young girls in Castleknock GAA clubs, since she became the club’s GPO more mothers have gotten involved coaching and mentoring teams which surely can’t be a coincidence either.

\n\n

“Yeah, I think that has made an impact because they might think they don't know much about GAA but when they see a female coach there it could convince them to try,” says Bergin.

\n\n

“I think it might be easier for them to approach me too because I'm a female but also I'm young, I'm 26, so I think that makes me a bit more approachable too.

\n\n

“I think also when they see their children giving feedback about what 'Coach Maria' would have said that they're seeing the influence a female coach is having and it encourages them to get involved.

\n\n

“Because we have definitely had more mammies get involved and not just with our girls teams, but with our boys teams as well.

\n\n

“I'm not going to take credit for that, but maybe it has given mums a different perspective and made them think they can get involved whether they have a son or a daughter.

\n\n

“It's great for parents to get involved coaching their son's or daughter's team because it's so rewarding for everyone involved. Coaches can have a really positive influence on children.”

\n\n

When you ask Bergin about her level of job satisfaction she describes being a Games Promotion Officer as “an absolute blessing”.

\n\n

You get the feeling that Castleknock GAA club are counting their own blessings she’s now one of their own.

\n","RawBody":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

How someone responds to adversity tells you a lot about their character.

\n\n

Take Maria Bergin, for example, who is Castleknock GAA’s Games Promotion Officer.

\n\n

When she was 16 years of age, the Kildare native she was told she had to stop playing the game she loves, camogie.

\n\n

'Born with a malformed valve in her heart it didn’t affect her in a sporting sense until her mid teens when she started passing out during matches when her heart rate would race.

\n\n

A total break from playing was prescribed, which was a crushing blow for someone who by then was representing her county at U-16 level in camogie and was a very prominent player for her club Naas.

\n\n

“When I was told I needed to stop playing for a while it was like losing a limb and I just wanted to find another way to stay involved so I did a referees course and am qualified to referee all the way up to senior,\" Bergin told GAA.ie

\n\n

“I also did my foundation coaching course, my Award 1, because I just really wanted to stay involved. After a year and a half I got back playing, so it wasn't too bad, but at the time it felt like the end of the World.”

\n\n

As tough as it was to stop playing camogie back then, ultimately it put her on a coaching pathway that has brought her a huge amount of happiness and job satisfaction.

\n\n

Doing that coaching course when she was sidelined and helping out at Cúl Camps gave her an insight into what it might like to be a full-time Games Promotion Officer, which has been her role with Castleknock GAA club for the last three years

\n\n

“I had done Irish and Music in College and my plan had been to go and do teaching, but then I looked into what a job like this would entail and it combined my love of teaching and my passion for sport,” she says.

\n\n

“And you're working with kids and you're seeing them progress day in, day out. There is definitely a sense of pride and I just love it. There's just no other way of saying it. It's great fun and it's become a second family for me up here (in Castleknock).

\n\n

“I would be up here a lot of the time taking sessions in the evening and being in schools during the day and then at weekends there are matches so it has definitely become like a second family for me, it's great.”

\n\n

It’s certainly a big second family, because Maria coaches 600 children in four local primary schools from Tuesday to Friday and then every Saturday morning organises the coaching of 400 children in the club’s nursery.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The\r\n\r\n
The number of young girls in the Castleknock GAA nursery has increased since Maria Bergin became the club's GPO.
\r\n

She’s made a hugely positive impact in Castleknock in a short period of time where it has been very notable that the participation levels of young girls has risen significantly since she arrived.

\n\n

“When it was my first year going into the schools the kids had heard a GAA coach was coming but they didn't know who it was going to be,” recalls Bergin.

\n\n

“The little girls rocked in and one of the girls saw me and said, 'Oh my God, it's a girl!'

\n\n

“When they heard GAA they automatically assumed it would be a boy, and I'm quite a girly girl in that I'd have my nails done and I wear make-up and stuff like that. So I think it was great for them to see you can be girly but still be tough and play GAA.

\n\n

“We were even just looking at our numbers recently. Going back a few years it would have been definitely that the ratio of lads to girls would have been 60-40 whereas now it my nursery it's basically 50-50. And in one age-group we actually have more girls which is amazing to see.

\n\n

“I do think the way the GAA, the LGFA, and Camogie Association are promoting the games is a factor as well because the little girls are actually seeing the older girls on the telly or on posters. I think that has definitely been a factor as well.”

\n\n

Anyone who is involved with looking after a girls’ underage team will know the value of having as many women as possible helping with the coaching and mentoring.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Maria\r\n\r\n
Maria Bergin coaches 400 children every Saturday morning in Castleknock GAA Club's nursery. 
\r\n

Every coach is different and has their own particular style, but as a generalisation it’s probably true that empathy comes more easily to female coaches which is especially effective when coaching young girls and boys.

\n\n

“I would agree that seeing a girl coach coming in is a big thing for young girls because it's easier for them to relate to a female coach,” says Bergin.

\n\n

“A lot of the coaches that I've worked with would be older and predominantly male.

\n\n

“I think that girls can find it harder to relate to them whereas they find it much easier with a girl coming in. And I suppose it tends to be that girls find it easier to interact with smaller children as well.

\n\n

“I know from talking to some of the guys they find it easier to coach the fourth, fifth, and sixth classes, but they find it more challenging to coach the kids in junior infants to first class because the kids are so small and the little girls may want to be doing ballerina stuff and things like that.

\n\n

“In Dublin there are six female GPOs and the rest are lads. And I think all the time we're trying to prove ourselves just to show that we can bring something different to the table.

\n\n

“I think we can understand where young girls are coming from and also young boys. I think we find it easier to get things out of young children because we find it easier to be animated with them. I think we just bring something different and have a lot to offer.

\n\n

“I'm not saying that lads don't, I just think that female coaches can bring a different approaches.

\n\n

“Any maybe in a situation in training where a girl might prefer to do a twirl than solo the ball then I might bring it into the session that a twirl becomes part of the drill. You can show them that a twirl can actually help them get away from an opponent. So that makes it a bit fun while still relating it to Gaelic Games.

\n\n

“You have to realise that they're children at the end of the day and they want to have fun but also learn new things and improve week on week.

\n\n

“So being spontaneous in your approach and not being too rigid is the best way to approach coaching children.

\n\n

“And boys will react just as well to empathy as girls do. Boys can be a bit more competitive than girls and it's good to reassure them that it's okay not to be the winner every single game. Again, it's about remembering they're small children and be sympathetic to that.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Maria\r\n\r\n
Maria Bergin pictured coaching in Scoil Oilibhéir Gaelscoil. 
\r\n

Bergin isn’t just a fine role-model for the young girls in Castleknock GAA clubs, since she became the club’s GPO more mothers have gotten involved coaching and mentoring teams which surely can’t be a coincidence either.

\n\n

“Yeah, I think that has made an impact because they might think they don't know much about GAA but when they see a female coach there it could convince them to try,” says Bergin.

\n\n

“I think it might be easier for them to approach me too because I'm a female but also I'm young, I'm 26, so I think that makes me a bit more approachable too.

\n\n

“I think also when they see their children giving feedback about what 'Coach Maria' would have said that they're seeing the influence a female coach is having and it encourages them to get involved.

\n\n

“Because we have definitely had more mammies get involved and not just with our girls teams, but with our boys teams as well.

\n\n

“I'm not going to take credit for that, but maybe it has given mums a different perspective and made them think they can get involved whether they have a son or a daughter.

\n\n

“It's great for parents to get involved coaching their son's or daughter's team because it's so rewarding for everyone involved. Coaches can have a really positive influence on children.”

\n\n

When you ask Bergin about her level of job satisfaction she describes being a Games Promotion Officer as “an absolute blessing”.

\n\n

You get the feeling that Castleknock GAA club are counting their own blessings she’s now one of their own.

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By John Harrington\nA Zoom call isn’t usually the best medium through which to read someone’s body language, but Cillian O’Connor is definitely giving off the vibe of someone very happy in their own skin right now.\nHe’s cracking jokes, giving thoughtful answers instead of batting away questions, and generally

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Cillian\r\n\r\n
Cillian O'Connor celebrates after scoring Mayo's second goal against Tipperary in the 2020 All-Ireland SFC semi-final. 
\r\n

By John Harrington

\n\n

A Zoom call isn’t usually the best medium through which to read someone’s body language, but Cillian O’Connor is definitely giving off the vibe of someone very happy in their own skin right now.

\n\n

He’s cracking jokes, giving thoughtful answers instead of batting away questions, and generally just radiating positivity as he looks ahead to Saturday’s All-Ireland SFC Final against Dublin.

\n\n

Easy to be positive you might think when he’s just scored 4-9 against Tipperary in the All-Ireland semi-final and arguably playing the best football of his life, but there’s more to it than that.

\n\n

He’s 28 years old now and in his 10th year of championship football. The journey he has travelled to get here has given him a lot of perspective.

\n\n

Like most inter-county players his relationship with his sport has changed over the years and right now O’Connor is in a very sweet spot.

\n\n

“The first few years were a buzz for me because for all your youth you’re dying to get playing with Mayo,” he reflects. “So then when you get there’s unbelievable.

\n\n

“You can’t believe how lucky you are to be representing your county on the biggest stages.

\n\n

“After a few years naturally you become accustomed to it and you become a bit more used to dealing with it. Which is good in one sense because you can learn from your experiences, but then maybe somewhere along the way part of you starts to take it granted a little bit, or stops appreciating it as much as you should.

\n\n

“Maybe, without going into it too much, the break over the summer there and the fear of losing this season made me, and I would suspect a few more of my teammates, realise how precious it is and how fleeting and short a career is.

\n\n

“You mention enjoyment - life is short, you have to do what you enjoy.

\n\n

“We need to remind ourselves that we kick a ball around, play the sport we love, there happens to be 100,000s of people who love following it and take inspiration and joy from it.

\n\n

“So I do feel that we’re a lucky bunch and I think that’s part of why we’re enjoying it.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Cillian\r\n\r\n
Cillian O'Connor with his PwC GAA/GPA Football Player of the Month Semi-Finals Award at Ballintubber GAA Club in Ballintubber, Co Mayo. 
\r\n

If O’Connor ever did get a little bit stale, you could hardly blame him.

\n\n

As well as all the collective training he’s done with club and county over the years, he’s also spent countless hours on his own practicing his free-kick routine.

\n\n

He wouldn’t be as good as he is if he didn’t have an obsessive focus on gaelic football, but that sort of relationship with your sport can be a mentally draining one.

\n\n

It’s important occasionally to press the reset button by reminding yourself why you fell in love with kicking a ball in the first place, and to get those neurons firing again.

\n\n

“Yeah, exactly, that’s it in a nutshell,” says O’Connor. “It’s that balance between honing your skills as much as you can, and looking for tiny marginal gains all the time, and trying to get better, and little percentages here and there.

\n\n

“There’s balancing that with it’s just a sport. I love playing it. If there was no one coming to our matches and we were playing in a swamp down the road I’d still be doing it.

\n\n

“It’s important not to lose sight of that. So it’s balancing that hunger and drive for improvement with the enjoyment of knocking a ball around.

\n\n

“Our sessions are really enjoyable at the moment. Obviously there’s hard-work and there’s runs and there’s plenty of conditioning work that Conor Finn puts us through that isn’t as enjoyable as football but has to be done.

\n\n

“But there’s plenty of games pre-training that we play. Little five-a-sides, plenty of stuff to remind us that it’s a sport that we love playing.”

\n\n

It helps massively too of course when you feel physically capable of playing to your full potential, which O’Connor currently does for the first time in quite a while.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Cillian\r\n\r\n
Cillian O'Connor was hampered by a knee injury in 2018 and 2019. 
\r\n

A niggling knee injury that eventually required surgery at the end of 2018 and then the intensive rehab that followed had previously hindered him, but now he’s very much operating at full throttle again.

\n\n

“I'm delighted to be back playing because I carried niggles and injuries for a while and you do feel guilty that you're not contributing to your team-mates and you're not carrying your weight and you're not helping,” he admits.

\n\n

“It's a horrible feeling when you're looking out at the pitch and you're not able to do anything from the sideline or you're just back from an injury and you're not able to do your job properly.

\n\n

“I do feel that is the toughest part. But, I think the Covid lay-off gave me a chance to get things right, and it gave other players a chance to get injuries settled.

\n\n

“The best part about being back is just being able to do your bit for the team and know that you're not letting anyone on your team down.”

\n\n

It’s helping too that he’s part of such a dynamic Mayo full-forward along with Aidan O’Shea and Tommy Conroy.

\n\n

The trio have developed a great understanding and it’s something they’ve worked hard on together.

\n\n

“We had loads of time this year to have those conversations,” says O’Connor. “There’s a bit of both.

\n\n

“You can talk about runs, what I like to do, what Aidan likes to do, what Tommy likes to do all you want but you can only get so far until you get out on the field in training and start trying them.

\n\n

“So, we would have had conversations a few months ago. Then we had had 12-15 sessions, and those conversations have evolved and changed.

\n\n

“We have examples that we can refer to now when we’re explaining something. ‘Do you remember that run you made in that game against Galway or Roscommon?’

\n\n

“It’s both - it’s conversations but then it’s also putting it into practice. And then you’ve got players with different styles in the mix.

\n\n

“James Carr in training that we’d be playing alongside is brilliant at certain things. We’d be asking him about his turn or his run.

\n\n

“The James Durcans - real pace that we’ve been mixing with - Paul Towey as well, who is a brilliant kick passer and has great vision.

\n\n

“So you try and pick the best of all the lads and pick their brains on it and increase your understanding of everyone’s habits.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Mayo's\r\n\r\n
Mayo's full-forward line of Cillian O'Connor, Aidan O'Shea, and Tommy Conroy has been on fire this year. 
\r\n

The arrival of Conroy onto the scene has been a real boon for O’Connor because it means opposition defences can’t focus as much on simply stopping him as the most likely source of Mayo’s scores.

\n\n

Conroy might be young and inexperienced, but he already looks like the real deal.

\n\n

He’s explosively quick, strong enough to win his own ball, has an eye for a goal, and shoots points for fun. It’s rare you see an inside forward look so complete in his first championship season.

\n\n

“I'd say he's the type who'd pull the guitar out at a house party and he'd be magically able to sing as well,” laughs O’Connor. “He has it all.

\n\n

“He's been brilliant, a breath of fresh air. He's a great lad with a great attitude. To go up there in his first senior semi-final and kick four from play, create two or three goals. He just took it in his stride.

\n\n

“He's just fantastic to play alongside. I just love, no more than the other players I've mentioned, I love learning from them - taking bits that he does brilliantly, asking them about them and picking his brains.”

\n\n

The impact that Ciarán McDonald has made since joining the Mayo management team as a forwards coach is another reason why O’Connor is playing with a smile on his face.

\n\n

McDonald was his boyhood hero, and getting the opportunity to work with him has disproven the theory that you should never meet your heroes.

\n\n

“He's been brilliant around the place,” says O’Connor. “His enthusiasm for the game is infectious. He just loves kicking a ball around.

\n\n

“Getting that joy back into the season where you're just loving going out - probably after that period where you didn't know if we'd have a season - he's really added to that [feeling of] 'Let's just enjoy it'.

\n\n

“Let's just try these passes, these shots. If they don't work out, so what? Get the next one do it again'. He's really encouraging players to express themselves and go after chances, 'Forget about the consequences. If it doesn't work, so what? Go again'.

\n\n

“From a tactical point of view, he's another forward voice around the place. He wants us to be progressive in kicking the ball. He's just reminded us about aspects of the game that we love doing.

\n\n

“You get these little conversations before training or after training with him. He's got such a bank of experience. It's invaluable.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Cillian\r\n\r\n
Cillian O'Connor says Ciaran McDonald has made a very positive impression since joining James Horan's management team. 
\r\n

O’Connor has played in five All-Ireland Finals, losing four and drawing one.

\n\n

When asked what his routine is for them, he jokes that whatever it is maybe he should consider changing it at this stage.

\n\n

The fact that he can make light-hearted quips like that about what must have been very painful experiences gives further insight into the perspective that O’Connor has gained over the course of his career.

\n\n

When it’s put to him that Mayo haven’t gotten enough credit for coming so close during an era when Dublin have been so good, it’s not something that seems to concern him.

\n\n

“To the victor, the spoils,” he says with a shrug. “When people review seasons, the winner is the one that's going garner the credit. That's sport and that's the way it should be.

\n\n

“As a group, we don't go out trying to seek credit, approval or praise from people because that's so up and down. Some fellas will say you're brilliant and others will say you're rubbish.

\n\n

“You could win a final and there will still be people picking holes. The external credit isn't something we really chase.

\n\n

“We know when we've done something really well and played well. Equally, we know when we've messed up and not done things well.

\n\n

“The validation of your teammates and management is what you're really chasing.”

\n","RawBody":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

A Zoom call isn’t usually the best medium through which to read someone’s body language, but Cillian O’Connor is definitely giving off the vibe of someone very happy in their own skin right now.

\n\n

He’s cracking jokes, giving thoughtful answers instead of batting away questions, and generally just radiating positivity as he looks ahead to Saturday’s All-Ireland SFC Final against Dublin.

\n\n

Easy to be positive you might think when he’s just scored 4-9 against Tipperary in the All-Ireland semi-final and arguably playing the best football of his life, but there’s more to it than that.

\n\n

He’s 28 years old now and in his 10th year of championship football. The journey he has travelled to get here has given him a lot of perspective.

\n\n

Like most inter-county players his relationship with his sport has changed over the years and right now O’Connor is in a very sweet spot.

\n\n

“The first few years were a buzz for me because for all your youth you’re dying to get playing with Mayo,” he reflects. “So then when you get there’s unbelievable.

\n\n

“You can’t believe how lucky you are to be representing your county on the biggest stages.

\n\n

“After a few years naturally you become accustomed to it and you become a bit more used to dealing with it. Which is good in one sense because you can learn from your experiences, but then maybe somewhere along the way part of you starts to take it granted a little bit, or stops appreciating it as much as you should.

\n\n

“Maybe, without going into it too much, the break over the summer there and the fear of losing this season made me, and I would suspect a few more of my teammates, realise how precious it is and how fleeting and short a career is.

\n\n

“You mention enjoyment - life is short, you have to do what you enjoy.

\n\n

“We need to remind ourselves that we kick a ball around, play the sport we love, there happens to be 100,000s of people who love following it and take inspiration and joy from it.

\n\n

“So I do feel that we’re a lucky bunch and I think that’s part of why we’re enjoying it.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Cillian\r\n\r\n
Cillian O'Connor with his PwC GAA/GPA Football Player of the Month Semi-Finals Award at Ballintubber GAA Club in Ballintubber, Co Mayo. 
\r\n

If O’Connor ever did get a little bit stale, you could hardly blame him.

\n\n

As well as all the collective training he’s done with club and county over the years, he’s also spent countless hours on his own practicing his free-kick routine.

\n\n

He wouldn’t be as good as he is if he didn’t have an obsessive focus on gaelic football, but that sort of relationship with your sport can be a mentally draining one.

\n\n

It’s important occasionally to press the reset button by reminding yourself why you fell in love with kicking a ball in the first place, and to get those neurons firing again.

\n\n

“Yeah, exactly, that’s it in a nutshell,” says O’Connor. “It’s that balance between honing your skills as much as you can, and looking for tiny marginal gains all the time, and trying to get better, and little percentages here and there.

\n\n

“There’s balancing that with it’s just a sport. I love playing it. If there was no one coming to our matches and we were playing in a swamp down the road I’d still be doing it.

\n\n

“It’s important not to lose sight of that. So it’s balancing that hunger and drive for improvement with the enjoyment of knocking a ball around.

\n\n

“Our sessions are really enjoyable at the moment. Obviously there’s hard-work and there’s runs and there’s plenty of conditioning work that Conor Finn puts us through that isn’t as enjoyable as football but has to be done.

\n\n

“But there’s plenty of games pre-training that we play. Little five-a-sides, plenty of stuff to remind us that it’s a sport that we love playing.”

\n\n

It helps massively too of course when you feel physically capable of playing to your full potential, which O’Connor currently does for the first time in quite a while.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Cillian\r\n\r\n
Cillian O'Connor was hampered by a knee injury in 2018 and 2019. 
\r\n

A niggling knee injury that eventually required surgery at the end of 2018 and then the intensive rehab that followed had previously hindered him, but now he’s very much operating at full throttle again.

\n\n

“I'm delighted to be back playing because I carried niggles and injuries for a while and you do feel guilty that you're not contributing to your team-mates and you're not carrying your weight and you're not helping,” he admits.

\n\n

“It's a horrible feeling when you're looking out at the pitch and you're not able to do anything from the sideline or you're just back from an injury and you're not able to do your job properly.

\n\n

“I do feel that is the toughest part. But, I think the Covid lay-off gave me a chance to get things right, and it gave other players a chance to get injuries settled.

\n\n

“The best part about being back is just being able to do your bit for the team and know that you're not letting anyone on your team down.”

\n\n

It’s helping too that he’s part of such a dynamic Mayo full-forward along with Aidan O’Shea and Tommy Conroy.

\n\n

The trio have developed a great understanding and it’s something they’ve worked hard on together.

\n\n

“We had loads of time this year to have those conversations,” says O’Connor. “There’s a bit of both.

\n\n

“You can talk about runs, what I like to do, what Aidan likes to do, what Tommy likes to do all you want but you can only get so far until you get out on the field in training and start trying them.

\n\n

“So, we would have had conversations a few months ago. Then we had had 12-15 sessions, and those conversations have evolved and changed.

\n\n

“We have examples that we can refer to now when we’re explaining something. ‘Do you remember that run you made in that game against Galway or Roscommon?’

\n\n

“It’s both - it’s conversations but then it’s also putting it into practice. And then you’ve got players with different styles in the mix.

\n\n

“James Carr in training that we’d be playing alongside is brilliant at certain things. We’d be asking him about his turn or his run.

\n\n

“The James Durcans - real pace that we’ve been mixing with - Paul Towey as well, who is a brilliant kick passer and has great vision.

\n\n

“So you try and pick the best of all the lads and pick their brains on it and increase your understanding of everyone’s habits.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Mayo's\r\n\r\n
Mayo's full-forward line of Cillian O'Connor, Aidan O'Shea, and Tommy Conroy has been on fire this year. 
\r\n

The arrival of Conroy onto the scene has been a real boon for O’Connor because it means opposition defences can’t focus as much on simply stopping him as the most likely source of Mayo’s scores.

\n\n

Conroy might be young and inexperienced, but he already looks like the real deal.

\n\n

He’s explosively quick, strong enough to win his own ball, has an eye for a goal, and shoots points for fun. It’s rare you see an inside forward look so complete in his first championship season.

\n\n

“I'd say he's the type who'd pull the guitar out at a house party and he'd be magically able to sing as well,” laughs O’Connor. “He has it all.

\n\n

“He's been brilliant, a breath of fresh air. He's a great lad with a great attitude. To go up there in his first senior semi-final and kick four from play, create two or three goals. He just took it in his stride.

\n\n

“He's just fantastic to play alongside. I just love, no more than the other players I've mentioned, I love learning from them - taking bits that he does brilliantly, asking them about them and picking his brains.”

\n\n

The impact that Ciarán McDonald has made since joining the Mayo management team as a forwards coach is another reason why O’Connor is playing with a smile on his face.

\n\n

McDonald was his boyhood hero, and getting the opportunity to work with him has disproven the theory that you should never meet your heroes.

\n\n

“He's been brilliant around the place,” says O’Connor. “His enthusiasm for the game is infectious. He just loves kicking a ball around.

\n\n

“Getting that joy back into the season where you're just loving going out - probably after that period where you didn't know if we'd have a season - he's really added to that [feeling of] 'Let's just enjoy it'.

\n\n

“Let's just try these passes, these shots. If they don't work out, so what? Get the next one do it again'. He's really encouraging players to express themselves and go after chances, 'Forget about the consequences. If it doesn't work, so what? Go again'.

\n\n

“From a tactical point of view, he's another forward voice around the place. He wants us to be progressive in kicking the ball. He's just reminded us about aspects of the game that we love doing.

\n\n

“You get these little conversations before training or after training with him. He's got such a bank of experience. It's invaluable.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Cillian\r\n\r\n
Cillian O'Connor says Ciaran McDonald has made a very positive impression since joining James Horan's management team. 
\r\n

O’Connor has played in five All-Ireland Finals, losing four and drawing one.

\n\n

When asked what his routine is for them, he jokes that whatever it is maybe he should consider changing it at this stage.

\n\n

The fact that he can make light-hearted quips like that about what must have been very painful experiences gives further insight into the perspective that O’Connor has gained over the course of his career.

\n\n

When it’s put to him that Mayo haven’t gotten enough credit for coming so close during an era when Dublin have been so good, it’s not something that seems to concern him.

\n\n

“To the victor, the spoils,” he says with a shrug. “When people review seasons, the winner is the one that's going garner the credit. That's sport and that's the way it should be.

\n\n

“As a group, we don't go out trying to seek credit, approval or praise from people because that's so up and down. Some fellas will say you're brilliant and others will say you're rubbish.

\n\n

“You could win a final and there will still be people picking holes. The external credit isn't something we really chase.

\n\n

“We know when we've done something really well and played well. Equally, we know when we've messed up and not done things well.

\n\n

“The validation of your teammates and management is what you're really chasing.”

\n","AreaName":"","SectionName":"","Kind":0,"Date":"Thursday 17 December 2020","DatePublished":"Thursday 17 December 2020","DatePublishedAsDate":"2020-12-17T08:27:24.409Z","Thumbnail":{"Title":"Cillian O'Connor celebrates after scoring Mayo's second goal against Tipperary in the 2020 All-Ireland SFC 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By John Harrington\nCork captain Doireann O’Sullivan announces with a smile she’s really excited about the prospect of playing Dublin in Sunday’s Ladies All-Ireland Football Final, and you just know she means it with every fibre of her being.\nFor all involved, it probably feels like a great reward at

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Doireann\r\n\r\n
Doireann O'Sullivan of Cork poses for a portrait during a 2020 TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship Final Captains Day at Blarney Castle and Gardens in Blarney, Cork. 
\r\n

By John Harrington

\n\n

Cork captain Doireann O’Sullivan announces with a smile she’s really excited about the prospect of playing Dublin in Sunday’s Ladies All-Ireland Football Final, and you just know she means it with every fibre of her being.

\n\n

For all involved, it probably feels like a great reward at the end of a very tough year.

\n\n

Reaching an All-Ireland Final always requires sacrifice, but perhaps more so than ever in this year of all years.

\n\n

And as O’Sullivan doesn’t mind admitting herself, there were some dark days along the way.

\n\n

“I think everybody would lying if they said it wasn't a huge challenge this year to keep motivated,” she says.

\n\n

“I suppose our strength and conditioning coach was excellent throughout lockdown. She kept checking in with us just making sure that everyone was sticking to the plan which was tough to plan.

\n\n

“She gave us a weekly schedule and you had to tick those boxes during the week. I suppose I was fortunate enough to have (my sister) Ciara with me.

\n\n

“The two of us were at home doing our training together so that was a huge, huge benefit. We were out the back of our primary school pitch at home.

\n\n

“It was about 80 yards long and there were sheep and rabbits and the whole lot! If I didn't have Ciara I'd say I would have struggled an awful lot more.”

\n\n

Sharing adversity has a way of bringing a group of people closer together, and that has been the experience of the Cork ladies football team this year.

\n\n

“Definitely,” says O’Sullivan. “We had a vote during the year whether we’d play this year or not just as everyone’s circumstances are different, everyone’s going home to different people.

\n\n

“Some people live with elderly or high-risk people so we did have a vote to see if we were going to play. There is a risk factor but once everyone jumped on board and voted yes, we all realised we’re in it together.

\n\n

“That part of it was a huge bonding experience for us, knowing we’re all 100 per cent committed to playing football this year. We’re communicating a bit more through phone and zoom, thanks to technology we’re keeping in contact making sure everyone is okay.

\n\n

“We’ve had girls having to isolate during the year so just checking in with them. It’s a different form of communication but we’re definitely close this year.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Doireann\r\n\r\n
Doireann O'Sullivan, left, and Saoirse Noonan of Cork following the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship Semi-Final match between Cork and Galway at Croke Park in Dublin. 
\r\n

They’ve taken every challenge as it has come and given every opponent their due respect, but at the back of their minds these Cork footballers must have known a date with the Dubs was inevitable if they were to win the Brendan Martin Cup this year.

\n\n

O’Sullivan won five All-Irelands in her first five years on the Cork panel, but since their last title in 2016 the Rebels have shivered in Dublin’s shadow like every other team.

\n\n

Stopping them winning a fourth All-Ireland in a row won’t be an easy task, but it’s a challenge O’Sullivan is relishing.

\n\n

“I suppose we're really excited. When I first started with Cork we were the team to beat, I suppose. We were the ones going for the four in a rows.

\n\n

“And just so quickly now Dublin had turned it around and they're now the team to beat. And, look, it is a huge challenge. They're a hugely successful team and they're a formidable outfit. But we do believe that we can beat them.

\n\n

“I suppose there's no point training at the start of the year or meeting in January if you don't think that you can be the best. So we are positive about the challenge ahead.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Doireann\r\n\r\n
Doireann O’Sullivan of Cork in action against Lauren Magee of Dublin during the 2019 TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship Semi-Final match between Dublin and Cork at Croke Park in Dublin. 
\r\n

Dublin have raised the bar in the last three years, and Cork have had no option but to try to improve their own level to keep pace because the standards in Ladies Football are only going one way.

\n\n

If you don’t match Dublin’s strength and speed then they’ll kill you with overlapping runners, so that will be Cork’s first challenge on Sunday.

\n\n

O’Sullivan is hopeful that if they can survive the expected initial onslaught, then the confidence of their young team will grow and they’ll have Dublin where they want them.

\n\n

“I think Dublin are excellent footballers, but I think the thing that separates them from the rest of us is their athleticism,” she says.

\n\n

“They are extremely fast and fit all over the pitch, I think they have taken strength and conditioning to a new level.

\n\n

“If you run into one of the Dublin girls you know all about it. All counties, Mayo, Dublin, Donegal, Kerry, Waterford, Cork, we all have excellent footballers - but I think they have taken the pace and strength and speed of the game to a new level.

\n\n

“I think a lot of it is just about doing the simple things right. I think last year in the semi-final and the year previous in the final we actually panicked a small bit and then goal got a goal and we hit the panic button very early on.

\n\n

“So I think it will be important, especially in the first ten minutes, to just do the simple thing right.

\n\n

“We have a very young team, I think we've three or four girls in their late twenties and besides that we've a lot of students. I think especially in the opening 15 minutes before the first water break if we're level with Dublin or a point or two down, we'll be happy with that.”

\n","RawBody":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

Cork captain Doireann O’Sullivan announces with a smile she’s really excited about the prospect of playing Dublin in Sunday’s Ladies All-Ireland Football Final, and you just know she means it with every fibre of her being.

\n\n

For all involved, it probably feels like a great reward at the end of a very tough year.

\n\n

Reaching an All-Ireland Final always requires sacrifice, but perhaps more so than ever in this year of all years.

\n\n

And as O’Sullivan doesn’t mind admitting herself, there were some dark days along the way.

\n\n

“I think everybody would lying if they said it wasn't a huge challenge this year to keep motivated,” she says.

\n\n

“I suppose our strength and conditioning coach was excellent throughout lockdown. She kept checking in with us just making sure that everyone was sticking to the plan which was tough to plan.

\n\n

“She gave us a weekly schedule and you had to tick those boxes during the week. I suppose I was fortunate enough to have (my sister) Ciara with me.

\n\n

“The two of us were at home doing our training together so that was a huge, huge benefit. We were out the back of our primary school pitch at home.

\n\n

“It was about 80 yards long and there were sheep and rabbits and the whole lot! If I didn't have Ciara I'd say I would have struggled an awful lot more.”

\n\n

Sharing adversity has a way of bringing a group of people closer together, and that has been the experience of the Cork ladies football team this year.

\n\n

“Definitely,” says O’Sullivan. “We had a vote during the year whether we’d play this year or not just as everyone’s circumstances are different, everyone’s going home to different people.

\n\n

“Some people live with elderly or high-risk people so we did have a vote to see if we were going to play. There is a risk factor but once everyone jumped on board and voted yes, we all realised we’re in it together.

\n\n

“That part of it was a huge bonding experience for us, knowing we’re all 100 per cent committed to playing football this year. We’re communicating a bit more through phone and zoom, thanks to technology we’re keeping in contact making sure everyone is okay.

\n\n

“We’ve had girls having to isolate during the year so just checking in with them. It’s a different form of communication but we’re definitely close this year.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Doireann\r\n\r\n
Doireann O'Sullivan, left, and Saoirse Noonan of Cork following the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship Semi-Final match between Cork and Galway at Croke Park in Dublin. 
\r\n

They’ve taken every challenge as it has come and given every opponent their due respect, but at the back of their minds these Cork footballers must have known a date with the Dubs was inevitable if they were to win the Brendan Martin Cup this year.

\n\n

O’Sullivan won five All-Irelands in her first five years on the Cork panel, but since their last title in 2016 the Rebels have shivered in Dublin’s shadow like every other team.

\n\n

Stopping them winning a fourth All-Ireland in a row won’t be an easy task, but it’s a challenge O’Sullivan is relishing.

\n\n

“I suppose we're really excited. When I first started with Cork we were the team to beat, I suppose. We were the ones going for the four in a rows.

\n\n

“And just so quickly now Dublin had turned it around and they're now the team to beat. And, look, it is a huge challenge. They're a hugely successful team and they're a formidable outfit. But we do believe that we can beat them.

\n\n

“I suppose there's no point training at the start of the year or meeting in January if you don't think that you can be the best. So we are positive about the challenge ahead.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Doireann\r\n\r\n
Doireann O’Sullivan of Cork in action against Lauren Magee of Dublin during the 2019 TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship Semi-Final match between Dublin and Cork at Croke Park in Dublin. 
\r\n

Dublin have raised the bar in the last three years, and Cork have had no option but to try to improve their own level to keep pace because the standards in Ladies Football are only going one way.

\n\n

If you don’t match Dublin’s strength and speed then they’ll kill you with overlapping runners, so that will be Cork’s first challenge on Sunday.

\n\n

O’Sullivan is hopeful that if they can survive the expected initial onslaught, then the confidence of their young team will grow and they’ll have Dublin where they want them.

\n\n

“I think Dublin are excellent footballers, but I think the thing that separates them from the rest of us is their athleticism,” she says.

\n\n

“They are extremely fast and fit all over the pitch, I think they have taken strength and conditioning to a new level.

\n\n

“If you run into one of the Dublin girls you know all about it. All counties, Mayo, Dublin, Donegal, Kerry, Waterford, Cork, we all have excellent footballers - but I think they have taken the pace and strength and speed of the game to a new level.

\n\n

“I think a lot of it is just about doing the simple things right. I think last year in the semi-final and the year previous in the final we actually panicked a small bit and then goal got a goal and we hit the panic button very early on.

\n\n

“So I think it will be important, especially in the first ten minutes, to just do the simple thing right.

\n\n

“We have a very young team, I think we've three or four girls in their late twenties and besides that we've a lot of students. I think especially in the opening 15 minutes before the first water break if we're level with Dublin or a point or two down, we'll be happy with that.”

\n","AreaName":"","SectionName":"","Kind":0,"Date":"Wednesday 16 December 2020","DatePublished":"Wednesday 16 December 2020","DatePublishedAsDate":"2020-12-16T08:18:25.143Z","Thumbnail":{"Title":"Doireann O'Sullivan of Cork poses for a portrait during a 2020 TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship Final Captains Day at Blarney Castle and Gardens in Blarney, Cork. ","TemplateUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/{formatInstructions}/v1608039468/ohdstq152a1jxwqvhbuw","ThumbnailUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/w_250,h_250,c_thumb,g_auto,q_auto,f_jpg/v1608039468/ohdstq152a1jxwqvhbuw","Format":"jpg","OverriddenFormats":{}},"HeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1608039468/ohdstq152a1jxwqvhbuw.jpg","MobileHeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1608039468/ohdstq152a1jxwqvhbuw.jpg","ThumbnailImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1608039468/ohdstq152a1jxwqvhbuw.jpg","Images":{"ORIG":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/f_jpg/v1608039468/ohdstq152a1jxwqvhbuw.jpg","HERO":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1608039468/ohdstq152a1jxwqvhbuw.jpg","FEATURES":null,"MobileFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1608039468/ohdstq152a1jxwqvhbuw.jpg","MobileStandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_372,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1608039468/ohdstq152a1jxwqvhbuw.jpg","SmallFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_540,h_304,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1608039468/ohdstq152a1jxwqvhbuw.jpg","StandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_440,h_248,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1608039468/ohdstq152a1jxwqvhbuw.jpg","SmallThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1608039468/ohdstq152a1jxwqvhbuw.jpg","SquareFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_661,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/v1608039468/ohdstq152a1jxwqvhbuw.jpg"},"Match":null,"Competition":null,"CompetitionSeason":null,"CompetitionSeoName":null,"CompetitionName":null,"Url":"/football/news/o-sullivan-excited-by-challenge-of-downing-the-dubs/","HotlineUrl":"","IsHotlineUrlOpenedInANewWindow":true,"YoutubeID":null,"VideoId":null,"RelatedNewsArticles":null,"RelatedVideos":null,"RelatedPhotos":null,"RelatedAudios":null,"RelatedDocuments":[],"RelatedPhotoGalleries":null,"RelatedLinks":null,"RelatedMatches":[],"RelatedTeams":[],"RelatedFreeTags":[],"RelatedCustomEntities":[],"EditorialLabel":"Feature","AdditionalNotes":null,"Author":"John Harrington","DateUpdated":"2020-12-16T08:18:25.143Z","Tags":[{"Slug":"football","Type":"tag","_translationId":"9c4905b9-f311-4399-b335-6e4b973a7291","_entityId":"2c49c344-b1de-4854-8094-4f6616d2239d","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/football","Title":"Football","NeutralSlug":"football","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}},{"Slug":"feature","Type":"tag","_translationId":"67c8a382-ee0b-425b-b072-740857296e94","_entityId":"124196a1-89c7-4419-b5e3-7698d55dd788","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/feature","Title":"Feature","NeutralSlug":"feature","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}}]},"AdditionalStyle":"","Href":"/football/news/o-sullivan-excited-by-challenge-of-downing-the-dubs/","Target":"","SportLabel":"Football","Skip":1,"ContentDate":"2020-12-16T00:00:00Z","SportTeller":115},{"Document":{"MediaType":"news","Sport":"1","SeoTitle":"stephen-coen-relishing-regular-starting-role","Area":0,"Section":0,"Id":0,"Guid":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000","Title":"Stephen Coen relishing regular starting role","Headline":null,"Slug":"stephen-coen-relishing-regular-starting-role","Summary":"

By Cian O'Connell\n“It’s nice to be at home,\" Stephen Coen says about the radically different build up to the 2020 All Ireland SFC Final.\nCoen has featured in national deciders at every level for the green and red, but studying and researching from his house reduces the football talk

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Mayo's\r\n\r\n
Mayo's Stephen Coen in action during the All Ireland SFC semi-final win over Tipperary at Croke Park.
\r\n

By Cian O'Connell

\n\n

“It’s nice to be at home,\" Stephen Coen says about the radically different build up to the 2020 All Ireland SFC Final.

\n\n

Coen has featured in national deciders at every level for the green and red, but studying and researching from his house reduces the football talk considerably.

\n\n

\"I remember in previous finals I was working in the bank in Castlebar during the summer,\" Coen recalls.

\n\n

\"People came into the bank not to do business, but to talk about the games so at home here with the animals, they don’t talk back.

\n\n

\"That way you can control your own thoughts and save a lot of energy that way.

\n\n

That has a massive bearing on prep for every game and is one big difference this year.”

\n\n

It has been an encouraging spell for James Horan's team, who have outfoxed Leitrim, Roscommon, Galway, and Tipperary thus far.

\n\n

An emerging crop of footballers have injected optimism alongside the established campaigners. Coen is part of the middle crop, the minor and Under 21 crew of 2013 and 2016.

\n\n

“That sums it up well,\" Coen responds. \"Every one of those three groups has different learnings and experiences and when you blend it together it’s actually brilliant for the group.

\n\n

\"Between defeat and success and not much experience there’s a lot of good lessons there on how to deal with different situations and being positive, resilient and even naïve, in a good way because it’s a great blend.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Stephen\r\n\r\n
Stephen Coen has been hugely effective for Mayo throughout the 2020 Championship.
\r\n

“The younger lads just go in and go for it – throw off the shackles and older guys who have great experience of really big games, which will really stand to us.

\n\n

\"We’ve learned a lot from the younger and older guys and hopefully it will go well for us.”

\n\n

Mixing all those players together is a challenge, especially during an unprecedented time with social restrictions.

\n\n

\"I suppose we had pre-the pandemic, and once we came back,\" Coen says.

\n\n

\"We would have been in contact through Zoom and Microsoft Teams like we are here now. So lads would be on the phone to each other, ringing back and forth, especially we made a conscious decision throughout the year, guys you wouldn't normally chat to, to get to know them.

\n\n

\"That's happened a lot. What I've been impressed with, is young guys picking up the phone and ringing up older fellas.

\n\n

\"Sometimes, I know when I was younger, it might have been an intimidating thing to do, not because anyone was ignorant or anything like that.

\n\n

\"Just because they were older and more established. And you were like 'Jesus, this fella mightn't even want to talk to me'. But it was great. Lads go out of their way to get to know each other.

\n\n

\"You know you have so much time, but you've got to make the most of it, whether you're aware or together.

\n\n

\"So get to know each other, having that togetherness is extremely important in order for a team to be successful.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Stephen\r\n\r\n
Stephen Coen was the captain when Mayo claimed the All Ireland Under 21 title in 2016.
\r\n

\"We're aware of that. So anything we can to be in contact, whether it's over the phone or face-to-face, we've been doing it.\"

\n\n

That has also helped Mayo on the field of play and Coen is optimistic about the future.

\n\n

“I think the big thing is that we’re focusing on ourselves, we’re trying to improve all the time,\" Coen remarks.

\n\n

\"We’ve got a lot of new players who are extremely exciting and don’t even think about results or the next game or two weeks’ time, they’re just thinking of the now.

\n\n

\"Very much in the present and I think we’re all in that mindset at the minute so we’re going to focus on every 30 seconds and every minute of the game, break it down in those those small little minute details.

\n\n

\"I suppose get the most out of ourselves for the 70 minutes and I think we did a lot of good things right the last day and if we can do that more often for the 70 minutes I think it’ll bode well for us.\"

\n\n

During his time in UCD, Coen enjoyed operating with a talented team including Dublin forward Con O'Callaghan.

\n\n

\"Yeah, he's a super player,\" Coen comments. \"Great attitude. Very good fella. He just wants to do well in football, and to constantly improve. He's very honest, and obviously filled with skill and talent and speed and power. An excellent player, but a guy I would have been friendly with.

\n\n

\"There'd be very strong mutual respect amongst each other. We would have had good fun throughout the Sigerson time. We played together for three, four years. I know he was playing with Cuala for a few years as well.

\n\n

\"So that kind of got in the way. But we finished on a very positive note, we would stay in contact the odd time. Just a great fella, and I'm just looking forward to playing against him the next day.\"

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Stephen\r\n\r\n
Stephen Coen captained Mayo to All Ireland minor glory in 2013.
\r\n

Coen has earned his place in the Mayo team and becoming a regular starter counts deeply.

\n\n

“I’m definitely enjoying the sustained run,\" Coen admits. \"Everyone wants to play so I’m really enjoying that and I appreciate the trust that’s been given to me. 

\n\n

\"I’ve really enjoyed it, I think everyone enjoys playing for Mayo no matter if it’s for two minutes or for 70 minutes. Yeah, I’m building in confidence, working really hard. 

\n\n

\"Thanks to coaches, teammates I’ve learned a lot this year. I suppose I have a good bit of experience now, good and bad, so just hope that I can help the team out and work hard for the team.\"

\n\n

Having captained Mayo to All Ireland glory at minor and Under 21, Coen reflects back on the early part of his senior career. Was significant pressure felt back then?

\n\n

\"Not from that point of view, but more from I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to make the team when I came in straight away at 18 years of age,\" Coen replies. 

\n\n

\"I probably got frustrated that I wasn’t playing which is only natural for something like that to happen. 

\n\n

\"But it probably bothered me for a good while and I had to come to terms with that. 

\n\n

\"In terms of previous successes and roles I played in them, no I didn’t feel that pressure, no one expected that of me, no one expected me to be this massive leader or anything like that because they already had great leaders in the team anyway. 

\n\n

\"As you go on you learn from others, guys are very forthcoming and there’s little nuggets here and there.  So yeah I’ve learned a lot since I started playing and I have a lot more to learn, I’m enjoying it.\"

\n","RawBody":"

By Cian O'Connell

\n\n

“It’s nice to be at home,\" Stephen Coen says about the radically different build up to the 2020 All Ireland SFC Final.

\n\n

Coen has featured in national deciders at every level for the green and red, but studying and researching from his house reduces the football talk considerably.

\n\n

\"I remember in previous finals I was working in the bank in Castlebar during the summer,\" Coen recalls.

\n\n

\"People came into the bank not to do business, but to talk about the games so at home here with the animals, they don’t talk back.

\n\n

\"That way you can control your own thoughts and save a lot of energy that way.

\n\n

That has a massive bearing on prep for every game and is one big difference this year.”

\n\n

It has been an encouraging spell for James Horan's team, who have outfoxed Leitrim, Roscommon, Galway, and Tipperary thus far.

\n\n

An emerging crop of footballers have injected optimism alongside the established campaigners. Coen is part of the middle crop, the minor and Under 21 crew of 2013 and 2016.

\n\n

“That sums it up well,\" Coen responds. \"Every one of those three groups has different learnings and experiences and when you blend it together it’s actually brilliant for the group.

\n\n

\"Between defeat and success and not much experience there’s a lot of good lessons there on how to deal with different situations and being positive, resilient and even naïve, in a good way because it’s a great blend.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Stephen\r\n\r\n
Stephen Coen has been hugely effective for Mayo throughout the 2020 Championship.
\r\n

“The younger lads just go in and go for it – throw off the shackles and older guys who have great experience of really big games, which will really stand to us.

\n\n

\"We’ve learned a lot from the younger and older guys and hopefully it will go well for us.”

\n\n

Mixing all those players together is a challenge, especially during an unprecedented time with social restrictions.

\n\n

\"I suppose we had pre-the pandemic, and once we came back,\" Coen says.

\n\n

\"We would have been in contact through Zoom and Microsoft Teams like we are here now. So lads would be on the phone to each other, ringing back and forth, especially we made a conscious decision throughout the year, guys you wouldn't normally chat to, to get to know them.

\n\n

\"That's happened a lot. What I've been impressed with, is young guys picking up the phone and ringing up older fellas.

\n\n

\"Sometimes, I know when I was younger, it might have been an intimidating thing to do, not because anyone was ignorant or anything like that.

\n\n

\"Just because they were older and more established. And you were like 'Jesus, this fella mightn't even want to talk to me'. But it was great. Lads go out of their way to get to know each other.

\n\n

\"You know you have so much time, but you've got to make the most of it, whether you're aware or together.

\n\n

\"So get to know each other, having that togetherness is extremely important in order for a team to be successful.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Stephen\r\n\r\n
Stephen Coen was the captain when Mayo claimed the All Ireland Under 21 title in 2016.
\r\n

\"We're aware of that. So anything we can to be in contact, whether it's over the phone or face-to-face, we've been doing it.\"

\n\n

That has also helped Mayo on the field of play and Coen is optimistic about the future.

\n\n

“I think the big thing is that we’re focusing on ourselves, we’re trying to improve all the time,\" Coen remarks.

\n\n

\"We’ve got a lot of new players who are extremely exciting and don’t even think about results or the next game or two weeks’ time, they’re just thinking of the now.

\n\n

\"Very much in the present and I think we’re all in that mindset at the minute so we’re going to focus on every 30 seconds and every minute of the game, break it down in those those small little minute details.

\n\n

\"I suppose get the most out of ourselves for the 70 minutes and I think we did a lot of good things right the last day and if we can do that more often for the 70 minutes I think it’ll bode well for us.\"

\n\n

During his time in UCD, Coen enjoyed operating with a talented team including Dublin forward Con O'Callaghan.

\n\n

\"Yeah, he's a super player,\" Coen comments. \"Great attitude. Very good fella. He just wants to do well in football, and to constantly improve. He's very honest, and obviously filled with skill and talent and speed and power. An excellent player, but a guy I would have been friendly with.

\n\n

\"There'd be very strong mutual respect amongst each other. We would have had good fun throughout the Sigerson time. We played together for three, four years. I know he was playing with Cuala for a few years as well.

\n\n

\"So that kind of got in the way. But we finished on a very positive note, we would stay in contact the odd time. Just a great fella, and I'm just looking forward to playing against him the next day.\"

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Stephen\r\n\r\n
Stephen Coen captained Mayo to All Ireland minor glory in 2013.
\r\n

Coen has earned his place in the Mayo team and becoming a regular starter counts deeply.

\n\n

“I’m definitely enjoying the sustained run,\" Coen admits. \"Everyone wants to play so I’m really enjoying that and I appreciate the trust that’s been given to me. 

\n\n

\"I’ve really enjoyed it, I think everyone enjoys playing for Mayo no matter if it’s for two minutes or for 70 minutes. Yeah, I’m building in confidence, working really hard. 

\n\n

\"Thanks to coaches, teammates I’ve learned a lot this year. I suppose I have a good bit of experience now, good and bad, so just hope that I can help the team out and work hard for the team.\"

\n\n

Having captained Mayo to All Ireland glory at minor and Under 21, Coen reflects back on the early part of his senior career. Was significant pressure felt back then?

\n\n

\"Not from that point of view, but more from I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to make the team when I came in straight away at 18 years of age,\" Coen replies. 

\n\n

\"I probably got frustrated that I wasn’t playing which is only natural for something like that to happen. 

\n\n

\"But it probably bothered me for a good while and I had to come to terms with that. 

\n\n

\"In terms of previous successes and roles I played in them, no I didn’t feel that pressure, no one expected that of me, no one expected me to be this massive leader or anything like that because they already had great leaders in the team anyway. 

\n\n

\"As you go on you learn from others, guys are very forthcoming and there’s little nuggets here and there.  So yeah I’ve learned a lot since I started playing and I have a lot more to learn, I’m enjoying it.\"

\n","AreaName":"","SectionName":"","Kind":0,"Date":"Wednesday 16 December 2020","DatePublished":"Wednesday 16 December 2020","DatePublishedAsDate":"2020-12-16T06:08:39.036Z","Thumbnail":{"Title":"Mayo's Stephen Coen in action during the All Ireland SFC semi-final win over Tipperary at Croke Park.","TemplateUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/{formatInstructions}/aptrewjtomc2wugpwesy","ThumbnailUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/w_250,h_250,c_thumb,g_auto,q_auto,f_jpg/aptrewjtomc2wugpwesy","Format":"jpg","OverriddenFormats":{}},"HeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/aptrewjtomc2wugpwesy.jpg","MobileHeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/aptrewjtomc2wugpwesy.jpg","ThumbnailImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/aptrewjtomc2wugpwesy.jpg","Images":{"ORIG":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/f_jpg/aptrewjtomc2wugpwesy.jpg","HERO":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/aptrewjtomc2wugpwesy.jpg","FEATURES":null,"MobileFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/aptrewjtomc2wugpwesy.jpg","MobileStandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_372,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/aptrewjtomc2wugpwesy.jpg","SmallFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_540,h_304,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/aptrewjtomc2wugpwesy.jpg","StandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_440,h_248,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/aptrewjtomc2wugpwesy.jpg","SmallThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/aptrewjtomc2wugpwesy.jpg","SquareFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_661,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/aptrewjtomc2wugpwesy.jpg"},"Match":null,"Competition":null,"CompetitionSeason":null,"CompetitionSeoName":null,"CompetitionName":null,"Url":"/football/news/stephen-coen-relishing-regular-starting-role/","HotlineUrl":"","IsHotlineUrlOpenedInANewWindow":true,"YoutubeID":null,"VideoId":null,"RelatedNewsArticles":null,"RelatedVideos":null,"RelatedPhotos":null,"RelatedAudios":null,"RelatedDocuments":[],"RelatedPhotoGalleries":null,"RelatedLinks":null,"RelatedMatches":[],"RelatedTeams":[{"TeamId":"2155","OfficialName":"Mayo","ShortName":"Mayo","WebName":"Mayo","TeamTypeId":null}],"RelatedFreeTags":[],"RelatedCustomEntities":[],"EditorialLabel":"Feature","AdditionalNotes":null,"Author":"Cian O'Connell","DateUpdated":"2020-12-16T06:08:39.036Z","Tags":[{"Slug":"football","Type":"tag","_translationId":"9c4905b9-f311-4399-b335-6e4b973a7291","_entityId":"2c49c344-b1de-4854-8094-4f6616d2239d","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/football","Title":"Football","NeutralSlug":"football","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}},{"Slug":"mayo","Type":"tag","_translationId":"6b023efc-b5c5-4a90-b536-4ecee9f939f5","_entityId":"cf046e50-4830-453e-b7a8-b10519f9cc9d","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/mayo","Title":"Mayo","NeutralSlug":"mayo","ExternalSourceName":"teams","ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":"2155","SourceName":"teams"},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}},{"Slug":"stephen-coen","Type":"tag","_translationId":"ff5181d8-968c-4f19-98a6-462665948714","_entityId":"1f0a3e4e-6d15-40ab-b491-9ea451688afe","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/stephen-coen","Title":"Stephen Coen","NeutralSlug":"stephen-coen","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}},{"Slug":"feature","Type":"tag","_translationId":"67c8a382-ee0b-425b-b072-740857296e94","_entityId":"124196a1-89c7-4419-b5e3-7698d55dd788","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/feature","Title":"Feature","NeutralSlug":"feature","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}}]},"AdditionalStyle":"","Href":"/football/news/stephen-coen-relishing-regular-starting-role/","Target":"","SportLabel":"Football","Skip":1,"ContentDate":"2020-12-16T00:00:00Z","SportTeller":115},{"Document":{"MediaType":"news","Sport":"2","SeoTitle":"darren-gleeson-enjoying-antrim-adventure","Area":0,"Section":0,"Id":0,"Guid":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000","Title":"Darren Gleeson enjoying Antrim adventure","Headline":"Darren Gleeson enjoying Antrim adventure","Slug":"darren-gleeson-enjoying-antrim-adventure","Summary":"

By Cian O’Connell\n“I do laugh with him,” Darren Gleeson chuckles when recalling the first time he went up to give Portroe colleague Liam Sheedy a dig out training the Antrim hurlers a couple of years ago.\n“We had an early morning the first morning he brought me up. We

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Antrim\r\n\r\n
Antrim senior hurling manager Darren Gleeson.
\r\n

By Cian O’Connell

\n\n

“I do laugh with him,” Darren Gleeson chuckles when recalling the first time he went up to give Portroe colleague Liam Sheedy a dig out training the Antrim hurlers a couple of years ago.

\n\n

“We had an early morning the first morning he brought me up. We were starting in Dunsilly one Saturday morning at 10 o'clock, I think it was just to keep him awake going up the road.

\n\n

“He just wanted me to do a bit of work. There was a really young goalkeeper coming in at the time, Ryan Elliott, who is our goalkeeper now.

\n\n

“Liam just felt he needed a bit of work. So I went up and from there it just took off. I got familiar with the lads, went to their matches. The following year I was coaching them and now I'm at the helm.”

\n\n

That is how the coaching and management game can quickly get into your head. Gleeson senses the possibilities that exist, the belief and conviction about Antrim’s ability to rise further.

\n\n

“Everyone uses the word potential, but my view on that is potential is useless unless you turn it into energy,” manager Darren Gleeson says ahead of what promises to be an interesting Joe McDonagh Cup final against Kerry at Croke Park on Sunday.

\n\n

“I think what we have done this year is we have started to produce a bit of energy out of the potential. That is the most important part. You can have all of the potential in the world, but unless you put it to use it is no good.”

\n\n

A strong connection has been forged between the former Tipperary goalkeeper Gleeson and Antrim, who have enjoyed a most productive stint.

\n\n

Ultimately, it has been a chaotic year in so many different ways, but the facts that truly matter to the Saffrons is an Allianz League Division 2A title and a Joe McDonagh Cup decider appearance have been attained. Progress is being made.

\n\n

For a first a first year in inter-county management it has been some introduction with the Covid uncertainty. “It has felt like learning how to swim in the deep end, there is no other way to really look at it,” Gleeson admits.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Darren\r\n\r\n
Darren Gleeson has made a significant impact as Antrim manager.
\r\n

“Overall it has been massively challenging, but the players and the Antrim team are getting the rewards so that is hugely satisfying for me. I suppose we have an opportunity and we are a small bit ahead of ourselves in where we saw the progression coming with this opportunity to win the Joe McDonagh on Sunday.

\n\n

“So we just have to take it when it is there in front of us. It is never too early if you are hurling well enough. We just have to take that chance now at the weekend when it is in front of us.”

\n\n

Having operated in the Antrim backroom for a couple of campaigns Gleeson just felt that he could do something positive with this group of players.

\n\n

“Definitely, when you are weighing up the options of going into management for the first time, when you get the opportunity to cut your teeth at inter-county management before you've even done club management, you really have to weigh it up to see where you are going to go with it because it is important for your first venture,” Gleeson responds.

\n\n

“So when I looked at Antrim obviously there is what everyone sees in Antrim, a healthy club scene, passion, and all of that, but the inter-county potential was untapped.

\n\n

“I just said to myself if I can get the right people around me and the right players in there it would be a cracking place to start off your inter-county management career.”

\n\n

On and off the field Gleeson sees encouraging signs. “I think it is really important to note the people on the County Board in Antrim, people like Neal (Peden) as Director of Hurling, people in the Business Forum and Club Aontroma, and Gaelfast, who are dealing with the younger people in the county, the Cumann na mBunscoil, they are really driving at the moment,” Gleeson remarks.

\n\n

“They are getting into a high gear which is important. With that Antrim are starting to realise their potential.”

\n\n

Such a willingness to develop, evolve, and improve counts for something according to Gleeson. “It does, it is massive,” Gleeson replies.

\n\n

“Talking about the development of a county, Antrim put in a Centre of Excellence in Dunsilly recently, they are developing their second County Ground, Corrigan Park, which you could use as an equivalent to what Dublin have in Parnell Park.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Darren\r\n\r\n
Darren Gleeson was a highly regarded goalkeeper with Tipperary during his playing career.
\r\n

“They are doing that at the moment and hopefully available for National League games next year. Then Casement is coming online. Antrim as a whole is in a development stage both structurally and on the field which is really good.

\n\n

“It is an exciting time for the county, the Ladies Footballers getting to a semi-final in their Championship, the Camogie getting to the Intermediate final. I think as a whole the county is starting to get up and running, realising the potential.”

\n\n

Gleeson hurled with Tipperary under the greatest of sporting minds. Good days cherished, crushing losses endured too. Experience was acquired, but going to Antrim there was a sense of ambition about what could be achieved.

\n\n

The travelling is considerable, but Gleeson doesn’t make an issue about it. On the trips the wonder of sport and missions that can be accomplished dominate his thoughts.

\n\n

“Exactly, a lot of people from the outside make a big deal about the journey,” Gleeson states. “The journey is part of what you sign up for. It is like the players saying they are coming straight from work.

\n\n

“They are gone from home at whatever half six or seven o'clock in the morning and they aren't getting in until maybe 10 or half 10 at night. It is just part of what you sign up for in inter-county hurling.

\n\n

“If I was involved more locally I would be spending the same amount of time pre and post training as I would with Antrim.

\n\n

“You never switch off really, you are always trying to see how the session is going to go and you are trying to analyse what went on in the session on your way home.

\n\n

“Whether that is in the car or sitting at home at your kitchen table, trying to see how the night went and how you can improve, who is showing up and what we need to work on the next day? I don't look on the journey in a bad way. The journey is an opportunity to get things done.”

\n\n

The early evidence suggests that significant work is being carried out. Gleeson’s adventure with Antrim is worth monitoring.

\n","RawBody":"

By Cian O’Connell

\n\n

“I do laugh with him,” Darren Gleeson chuckles when recalling the first time he went up to give Portroe colleague Liam Sheedy a dig out training the Antrim hurlers a couple of years ago.

\n\n

“We had an early morning the first morning he brought me up. We were starting in Dunsilly one Saturday morning at 10 o'clock, I think it was just to keep him awake going up the road.

\n\n

“He just wanted me to do a bit of work. There was a really young goalkeeper coming in at the time, Ryan Elliott, who is our goalkeeper now.

\n\n

“Liam just felt he needed a bit of work. So I went up and from there it just took off. I got familiar with the lads, went to their matches. The following year I was coaching them and now I'm at the helm.”

\n\n

That is how the coaching and management game can quickly get into your head. Gleeson senses the possibilities that exist, the belief and conviction about Antrim’s ability to rise further.

\n\n

“Everyone uses the word potential, but my view on that is potential is useless unless you turn it into energy,” manager Darren Gleeson says ahead of what promises to be an interesting Joe McDonagh Cup final against Kerry at Croke Park on Sunday.

\n\n

“I think what we have done this year is we have started to produce a bit of energy out of the potential. That is the most important part. You can have all of the potential in the world, but unless you put it to use it is no good.”

\n\n

A strong connection has been forged between the former Tipperary goalkeeper Gleeson and Antrim, who have enjoyed a most productive stint.

\n\n

Ultimately, it has been a chaotic year in so many different ways, but the facts that truly matter to the Saffrons is an Allianz League Division 2A title and a Joe McDonagh Cup decider appearance have been attained. Progress is being made.

\n\n

For a first a first year in inter-county management it has been some introduction with the Covid uncertainty. “It has felt like learning how to swim in the deep end, there is no other way to really look at it,” Gleeson admits.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Darren\r\n\r\n
Darren Gleeson has made a significant impact as Antrim manager.
\r\n

“Overall it has been massively challenging, but the players and the Antrim team are getting the rewards so that is hugely satisfying for me. I suppose we have an opportunity and we are a small bit ahead of ourselves in where we saw the progression coming with this opportunity to win the Joe McDonagh on Sunday.

\n\n

“So we just have to take it when it is there in front of us. It is never too early if you are hurling well enough. We just have to take that chance now at the weekend when it is in front of us.”

\n\n

Having operated in the Antrim backroom for a couple of campaigns Gleeson just felt that he could do something positive with this group of players.

\n\n

“Definitely, when you are weighing up the options of going into management for the first time, when you get the opportunity to cut your teeth at inter-county management before you've even done club management, you really have to weigh it up to see where you are going to go with it because it is important for your first venture,” Gleeson responds.

\n\n

“So when I looked at Antrim obviously there is what everyone sees in Antrim, a healthy club scene, passion, and all of that, but the inter-county potential was untapped.

\n\n

“I just said to myself if I can get the right people around me and the right players in there it would be a cracking place to start off your inter-county management career.”

\n\n

On and off the field Gleeson sees encouraging signs. “I think it is really important to note the people on the County Board in Antrim, people like Neal (Peden) as Director of Hurling, people in the Business Forum and Club Aontroma, and Gaelfast, who are dealing with the younger people in the county, the Cumann na mBunscoil, they are really driving at the moment,” Gleeson remarks.

\n\n

“They are getting into a high gear which is important. With that Antrim are starting to realise their potential.”

\n\n

Such a willingness to develop, evolve, and improve counts for something according to Gleeson. “It does, it is massive,” Gleeson replies.

\n\n

“Talking about the development of a county, Antrim put in a Centre of Excellence in Dunsilly recently, they are developing their second County Ground, Corrigan Park, which you could use as an equivalent to what Dublin have in Parnell Park.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Darren\r\n\r\n
Darren Gleeson was a highly regarded goalkeeper with Tipperary during his playing career.
\r\n

“They are doing that at the moment and hopefully available for National League games next year. Then Casement is coming online. Antrim as a whole is in a development stage both structurally and on the field which is really good.

\n\n

“It is an exciting time for the county, the Ladies Footballers getting to a semi-final in their Championship, the Camogie getting to the Intermediate final. I think as a whole the county is starting to get up and running, realising the potential.”

\n\n

Gleeson hurled with Tipperary under the greatest of sporting minds. Good days cherished, crushing losses endured too. Experience was acquired, but going to Antrim there was a sense of ambition about what could be achieved.

\n\n

The travelling is considerable, but Gleeson doesn’t make an issue about it. On the trips the wonder of sport and missions that can be accomplished dominate his thoughts.

\n\n

“Exactly, a lot of people from the outside make a big deal about the journey,” Gleeson states. “The journey is part of what you sign up for. It is like the players saying they are coming straight from work.

\n\n

“They are gone from home at whatever half six or seven o'clock in the morning and they aren't getting in until maybe 10 or half 10 at night. It is just part of what you sign up for in inter-county hurling.

\n\n

“If I was involved more locally I would be spending the same amount of time pre and post training as I would with Antrim.

\n\n

“You never switch off really, you are always trying to see how the session is going to go and you are trying to analyse what went on in the session on your way home.

\n\n

“Whether that is in the car or sitting at home at your kitchen table, trying to see how the night went and how you can improve, who is showing up and what we need to work on the next day? I don't look on the journey in a bad way. The journey is an opportunity to get things done.”

\n\n

The early evidence suggests that significant work is being carried out. Gleeson’s adventure with Antrim is worth monitoring.

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By Cian Murphy\nThere won’t be the traditional walk out and parade upon the battlefield they graced in triumph 25 years ago, but there will still be a chance for hurling fans to salute the All-Ireland winning Clare team of 1995 this weekend.\nOn an All-Ireland final Sunday like no

\n","Body":"

By Cian Murphy

\n\n

There won’t be the traditional walk out and parade upon the battlefield they graced in triumph 25 years ago, but there will still be a chance for hurling fans to salute the All-Ireland winning Clare team of 1995 this weekend.

\n\n

On an All-Ireland final Sunday like no other, one of the casualties of the Covid decider at Christmas will be the great tradition that is the celebration of the jubilee winners.

\n\n

But inspirational Banner captain Anthony Daly, part of the RTÉ Sport commentary team this weekend, will be present and will be part of the official match day build up, and will place the Liam MacCarthy Cup in front of the Hogan Stand before the modern-day warriors of Limerick and Waterford emerge for the battle to claim the famous chalice for 2020.

\n\n

It is 25 years since the Clarecastle wing back led his county to the pinnacle of an unforgettable journey that saw them defeat Cork and then Limerick to win a first Munster senior hurling title in 63 years, before ousting neighbours Galway and then coming from behind to defeat holders Offaly 1-13 to 2-8 to win the All-Ireland senior hurling title for the first time in 81 years.

\n\n

Daly jokes that the loss of the traditional jubilee format due to restrictions will have one benefit.

\n\n

“At least people won’t be able to say ‘haven’t they gone terrible old looking’,” he said.

\n\n

But evoking the memory of that victory and the joy and celebration that it unleashed brings back the enormity of the breakthrough that day.

\n\n

Far from being an overnight success, it was the result of some meticulous and punishing preparation led by Ger Loughnane, Mike McNamara and Tony Considine.

\n\n

For Daly, who had been involved in harrowing Munster final defeats to Tipperary in 1993 and Limerick in 1994, that ’95 campaign had a do or die feel to it.

\n\n

“I was there in ’93 and ’94 and if we had suffered another bad Munster final defeat in ’95 it would have been awful hard. We were being called chokers. I was 26 in that October of ’95 and while it is amazing to think you might have thought like that, the reality is if we’d lost a third one it would have been difficult to stay going at it.”

\n\n

But win it they did. Defying the odds to overcome Cork, the Banner played with a confidence and class in the Munster final that made it look like their progress was pre-ordained.

\n\n

The benefit of being Munster champions after a 63 year gap meant they could embrace whatever unfolded on the All-Ireland stage.

\n\n

“The build-up flew in,” recalls Daly.

\n\n

“And I remember Ger Loughnane encouraging us to take it all in, to go and look at the colour and then go out and cut loose.

\n\n

“If you look back at our huddle, you’ll see lads smiling and smirking – that’s how relaxed we were. What actually happened was Fergie Tuohy came into the huddle and cracked a joke and asked what way were we playing and I just told him ‘well that’s Brian Whelahan over there, that’s Hubert Rigney there and you are marking Kevin Martin over there.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Anthony\r\n\r\n
Anthony Daly lifts the Liam MacCarthy Cup for Clare in 1995 after victory over Offaly. 
\r\n

“Now as it turned out, in the final, we hurled very tight and so too did Offaly and t was a very cagey affair and then there was a whirlwind of a finish.”

\n\n

Tuohy would find his bearings just fine and land 0-4 in a crucial contribution on a day when scores were hard won.

\n\n

Chasing the game with the clock running down it was a long-range dropping free, delivered by Daly from inside his own half, that was batted out from under the cross bar - only to be whipped into the Offaly net by Eamonn Taaffe.

\n\n

Daly then showed nerves of steel to stand over a 65 and drill it over to put Clare ahead and on course for their first ever Liam Mac Carthy Cup and their first All-Ireland senior title since 1917.

\n\n

 “We were in a great place and I was feeling very relaxed coming up to the final. Ger, Mike and Tony exuded a great confidence and there is the famous line from Ger on the tv after half time in the final saying ‘we’re going to do it’ – that was typical of the confidence that was there.

\n\n

“The Clare footballers had beaten Kerry to win Munster in ’92 - we were running out of excuses. Winning the Munster title took the pressure off us. The lads had us ready for Croke Park and we beat Galway and then in the final it was Offaly who were the favourites but we had no hang ups about playing them. They had been an inspiration to us, but we felt we could beat them.”

\n\n

Early morning and late at night, Clare’s training in Crusheen and on a hill in Shannon and then Cusack Park quickly became the stuff of legend as team trainer Mike McNamara put them through their paces in a grueling regime that was as much about hardening the players psychologically as it was conditioning them physically.

\n\n

“Every year a bunch of men win Munster,” was the charge McNamara levelled at the players as he drove them and Loughnane then worked on their mindset and the refusal to accept that they couldn’t take their place at the top.

\n\n

“We missed out on the first few weeks of training because we were playing in the Munster club championship and when I was meeting the other lads they were telling me how tough the training was.

\n\n

“We had done hard training and some gym work before. But when you went in then the training was savage. Some of the stuff would nearly remind you of Rocky. There was body work and long runs and it was tough. But after a while you’d be saying to yourself that you’d never felt as strong.”

\n\n

At the final whistle it seemed as if the whole of Clare descended upon the Croke Park pitch. Daly was swallowed up by the ecstatic swarm of saffron and blue supporters – but not before he managed to get one important piece of work done.

\n\n

“My brother-in-law Martin, who sadly passed away last year, was one of the first to get to me at the final whistle and I gave him my hurley and asked him to mind it. I loved it and I’d get to use it again there two years later. After that it was just madness and you were nearly pleading with the Clare crowd to let you get through to get the cup from Jack Boothman.”

\n\n

Daly, eventually, made it across to the Hogan Stand and went up the steps to produce one of the most iconic victory speeches of modern times, saluting their proud traditional music heritage but declaring Clare as proud hurling country too.

\n\n

Flying from Dublin back down to Shannon the next day, the Aer Lingus captain took them on a special detour arcing the plane over the Burren and above the towering Cliffs of Moher – the Clare monument that seemed to stand taller than ever that bright September day.

\n\n

His mother May had only been to Croke Park for the first time ever for the All-Ireland semi-final. Now her son was on top of a bus leading the victorious champions to Clarecastle and Madden’s Terrace and on across to Ennis – as bonfires lit and one of the most memorable All-Ireland final victories was celebrated.

\n","RawBody":"

By Cian Murphy

\n\n

There won’t be the traditional walk out and parade upon the battlefield they graced in triumph 25 years ago, but there will still be a chance for hurling fans to salute the All-Ireland winning Clare team of 1995 this weekend.

\n\n

On an All-Ireland final Sunday like no other, one of the casualties of the Covid decider at Christmas will be the great tradition that is the celebration of the jubilee winners.

\n\n

But inspirational Banner captain Anthony Daly, part of the RTÉ Sport commentary team this weekend, will be present and will be part of the official match day build up, and will place the Liam MacCarthy Cup in front of the Hogan Stand before the modern-day warriors of Limerick and Waterford emerge for the battle to claim the famous chalice for 2020.

\n\n

It is 25 years since the Clarecastle wing back led his county to the pinnacle of an unforgettable journey that saw them defeat Cork and then Limerick to win a first Munster senior hurling title in 63 years, before ousting neighbours Galway and then coming from behind to defeat holders Offaly 1-13 to 2-8 to win the All-Ireland senior hurling title for the first time in 81 years.

\n\n

Daly jokes that the loss of the traditional jubilee format due to restrictions will have one benefit.

\n\n

“At least people won’t be able to say ‘haven’t they gone terrible old looking’,” he said.

\n\n

But evoking the memory of that victory and the joy and celebration that it unleashed brings back the enormity of the breakthrough that day.

\n\n

Far from being an overnight success, it was the result of some meticulous and punishing preparation led by Ger Loughnane, Mike McNamara and Tony Considine.

\n\n

For Daly, who had been involved in harrowing Munster final defeats to Tipperary in 1993 and Limerick in 1994, that ’95 campaign had a do or die feel to it.

\n\n

“I was there in ’93 and ’94 and if we had suffered another bad Munster final defeat in ’95 it would have been awful hard. We were being called chokers. I was 26 in that October of ’95 and while it is amazing to think you might have thought like that, the reality is if we’d lost a third one it would have been difficult to stay going at it.”

\n\n

But win it they did. Defying the odds to overcome Cork, the Banner played with a confidence and class in the Munster final that made it look like their progress was pre-ordained.

\n\n

The benefit of being Munster champions after a 63 year gap meant they could embrace whatever unfolded on the All-Ireland stage.

\n\n

“The build-up flew in,” recalls Daly.

\n\n

“And I remember Ger Loughnane encouraging us to take it all in, to go and look at the colour and then go out and cut loose.

\n\n

“If you look back at our huddle, you’ll see lads smiling and smirking – that’s how relaxed we were. What actually happened was Fergie Tuohy came into the huddle and cracked a joke and asked what way were we playing and I just told him ‘well that’s Brian Whelahan over there, that’s Hubert Rigney there and you are marking Kevin Martin over there.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Anthony\r\n\r\n
Anthony Daly lifts the Liam MacCarthy Cup for Clare in 1995 after victory over Offaly. 
\r\n

“Now as it turned out, in the final, we hurled very tight and so too did Offaly and t was a very cagey affair and then there was a whirlwind of a finish.”

\n\n

Tuohy would find his bearings just fine and land 0-4 in a crucial contribution on a day when scores were hard won.

\n\n

Chasing the game with the clock running down it was a long-range dropping free, delivered by Daly from inside his own half, that was batted out from under the cross bar - only to be whipped into the Offaly net by Eamonn Taaffe.

\n\n

Daly then showed nerves of steel to stand over a 65 and drill it over to put Clare ahead and on course for their first ever Liam Mac Carthy Cup and their first All-Ireland senior title since 1917.

\n\n

 “We were in a great place and I was feeling very relaxed coming up to the final. Ger, Mike and Tony exuded a great confidence and there is the famous line from Ger on the tv after half time in the final saying ‘we’re going to do it’ – that was typical of the confidence that was there.

\n\n

“The Clare footballers had beaten Kerry to win Munster in ’92 - we were running out of excuses. Winning the Munster title took the pressure off us. The lads had us ready for Croke Park and we beat Galway and then in the final it was Offaly who were the favourites but we had no hang ups about playing them. They had been an inspiration to us, but we felt we could beat them.”

\n\n

Early morning and late at night, Clare’s training in Crusheen and on a hill in Shannon and then Cusack Park quickly became the stuff of legend as team trainer Mike McNamara put them through their paces in a grueling regime that was as much about hardening the players psychologically as it was conditioning them physically.

\n\n

“Every year a bunch of men win Munster,” was the charge McNamara levelled at the players as he drove them and Loughnane then worked on their mindset and the refusal to accept that they couldn’t take their place at the top.

\n\n

“We missed out on the first few weeks of training because we were playing in the Munster club championship and when I was meeting the other lads they were telling me how tough the training was.

\n\n

“We had done hard training and some gym work before. But when you went in then the training was savage. Some of the stuff would nearly remind you of Rocky. There was body work and long runs and it was tough. But after a while you’d be saying to yourself that you’d never felt as strong.”

\n\n

At the final whistle it seemed as if the whole of Clare descended upon the Croke Park pitch. Daly was swallowed up by the ecstatic swarm of saffron and blue supporters – but not before he managed to get one important piece of work done.

\n\n

“My brother-in-law Martin, who sadly passed away last year, was one of the first to get to me at the final whistle and I gave him my hurley and asked him to mind it. I loved it and I’d get to use it again there two years later. After that it was just madness and you were nearly pleading with the Clare crowd to let you get through to get the cup from Jack Boothman.”

\n\n

Daly, eventually, made it across to the Hogan Stand and went up the steps to produce one of the most iconic victory speeches of modern times, saluting their proud traditional music heritage but declaring Clare as proud hurling country too.

\n\n

Flying from Dublin back down to Shannon the next day, the Aer Lingus captain took them on a special detour arcing the plane over the Burren and above the towering Cliffs of Moher – the Clare monument that seemed to stand taller than ever that bright September day.

\n\n

His mother May had only been to Croke Park for the first time ever for the All-Ireland semi-final. Now her son was on top of a bus leading the victorious champions to Clarecastle and Madden’s Terrace and on across to Ennis – as bonfires lit and one of the most memorable All-Ireland final victories was celebrated.

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By Daragh Ó Conchúir\nHaving three young children at home under the age of two ensures that Anne Dalton has had plenty to occupy her in the build-up to Saturday’s Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship Final.\nNow 32, the Freshford star has her place in the annals of her

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Kilkenny\r\n\r\n
Kilkenny camogie star, Anne Dalton.
\r\n

By Daragh Ó Conchúir

\n\n

Having three young children at home under the age of two ensures that Anne Dalton has had plenty to occupy her in the build-up to Saturday’s Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship Final.

\n\n

Now 32, the Freshford star has her place in the annals of her sport long sealed, enjoying the ultimate success with both county over half a lifetime, while also suffering desperate disappointment.

\n\n

Her partner, the former Waterford All-Ireland winner Karen Kelly gave birth to their eldest, Tadhg, at the beginning of August 2018, a fortnight before Dalton provided a trademark tour de force as Kilkenny defeated Galway in the All-Ireland Semi-Final.

\n\n

That season ended in a one-point defeat to Cork but the St. Lachtain’s ace was named Camogie Association/WGPA Players’ Player of the Year as she collected her sixth All-Star.

\n\n

The heartbreak of a third consecutive decider defeat in 2019, this time at the hands of Galway, quickly evaporated with the birth of twins Ada and Seán at the beginning of November.

\n\n

The demands might seem considerable but Dalton has never been one for moaning about what’s required to operate at elite level. And never more so than now.

\n\n

“I’m fortunate enough, I’m off work for a couple of months,” she says. “I’m not back ‘til January so I have a couple of months off to be with the kids, and to play Camogie – the kids come first!

\n\n

“With Kilkenny, there are 30-35 of us lucky enough that we get to play Camogie on a weekly basis. Some aren’t that lucky – underage, the Intermediates had to be pulled out of their competition.

\n\n

“We just have to take every training session, not take anything for granted.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Anne\r\n\r\n
Anne Dalton of Kilkenny in action against Emma Helebert of Galway during the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League Division 1 Final match between Kilkenny and Galway at Croke Park in Dublin. 
\r\n

She acknowledges that Galway deserve to be favourites on Saturday as champions, though Kilkenny have a lot of happy memories against the westerners and are buoyed by their Semi-Final defeat of old rivals Cork.

\n\n

But Dalton is not one for calling a spade a digging implement and even afterwards, with the result in the pocket, had no issue with the Cats’ pre-match billing as outsiders on that occasion either.

\n\n

“We were absolutely underdogs going in and if anybody says otherwise, they either don’t know Camogie or they were playing into Cork’s hands psychologically. We knew Cork are a good team with some great players. We knew we were up against it. It just comes down to workrate and thankfully we were able to push it over the line.

\n\n

“Our defence in the last 15 minutes, they were just coming out ball after ball when balls were raining on them.”

\n\n

Dalton scored a vital goal in the first half as Kilkenny reeled in an early six-point deficit.

\n\n

“I remember I caught the ball and I remember thinking, ‘I’m gonna be made fun of now.’ I don’t catch too many balls. Whatever about my goal, that was earlier on, Miriam’s (Walsh) goal was more important. That was the difference between winning and losing at the end.

\n\n

“We’re forwards. We’re there to do a job. As Roy Keane says, you don’t pat the postman on the back for delivering the post!”

\n\n

Dalton is much more than a forward, of course, and will drop back towards the middle at least for portions of Saturday night’s duel.

\n\n

She is hopeful that the two-point win over Cork will have brought about considerable improvement, given that it would been a level of competition four or five of Kilkenny’s more inexperienced performers would never had been exposed to.

\n\n

“We’ve been having great in-house games but nothing compares to Championship and 60 minutes knockout. It’s do-or-die, if you don’t perform, if you don’t put in a shift and win, you’re out. That’s it.

\n\n

“With COVID, we can’t get the challenge matches. They went 1-3 up and I reckon that we were maybe a bit cold coming into it but we got to grips with the game.”

\n\n

That they have lost the last three Finals since getting their hands on the O’Duffy Cup in 2016 is of no relevance to the impending battle, Dalton insists.

\n\n

“I think the media play into this, we’ve lost so many. But when we’re there, we only think about 2020. If we thought about any other year, you’re thinking about the past and that’s no use to you when you go out on the pitch.

\n\n

“It’s not about last year, it’s not about next year, it’s about 2020 to us. If you play any other game bar the game in front of you, you absolutely don’t have a chance.”

\n","RawBody":"

By Daragh Ó Conchúir

\n\n

Having three young children at home under the age of two ensures that Anne Dalton has had plenty to occupy her in the build-up to Saturday’s Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship Final.

\n\n

Now 32, the Freshford star has her place in the annals of her sport long sealed, enjoying the ultimate success with both county over half a lifetime, while also suffering desperate disappointment.

\n\n

Her partner, the former Waterford All-Ireland winner Karen Kelly gave birth to their eldest, Tadhg, at the beginning of August 2018, a fortnight before Dalton provided a trademark tour de force as Kilkenny defeated Galway in the All-Ireland Semi-Final.

\n\n

That season ended in a one-point defeat to Cork but the St. Lachtain’s ace was named Camogie Association/WGPA Players’ Player of the Year as she collected her sixth All-Star.

\n\n

The heartbreak of a third consecutive decider defeat in 2019, this time at the hands of Galway, quickly evaporated with the birth of twins Ada and Seán at the beginning of November.

\n\n

The demands might seem considerable but Dalton has never been one for moaning about what’s required to operate at elite level. And never more so than now.

\n\n

“I’m fortunate enough, I’m off work for a couple of months,” she says. “I’m not back ‘til January so I have a couple of months off to be with the kids, and to play Camogie – the kids come first!

\n\n

“With Kilkenny, there are 30-35 of us lucky enough that we get to play Camogie on a weekly basis. Some aren’t that lucky – underage, the Intermediates had to be pulled out of their competition.

\n\n

“We just have to take every training session, not take anything for granted.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Anne\r\n\r\n
Anne Dalton of Kilkenny in action against Emma Helebert of Galway during the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League Division 1 Final match between Kilkenny and Galway at Croke Park in Dublin. 
\r\n

She acknowledges that Galway deserve to be favourites on Saturday as champions, though Kilkenny have a lot of happy memories against the westerners and are buoyed by their Semi-Final defeat of old rivals Cork.

\n\n

But Dalton is not one for calling a spade a digging implement and even afterwards, with the result in the pocket, had no issue with the Cats’ pre-match billing as outsiders on that occasion either.

\n\n

“We were absolutely underdogs going in and if anybody says otherwise, they either don’t know Camogie or they were playing into Cork’s hands psychologically. We knew Cork are a good team with some great players. We knew we were up against it. It just comes down to workrate and thankfully we were able to push it over the line.

\n\n

“Our defence in the last 15 minutes, they were just coming out ball after ball when balls were raining on them.”

\n\n

Dalton scored a vital goal in the first half as Kilkenny reeled in an early six-point deficit.

\n\n

“I remember I caught the ball and I remember thinking, ‘I’m gonna be made fun of now.’ I don’t catch too many balls. Whatever about my goal, that was earlier on, Miriam’s (Walsh) goal was more important. That was the difference between winning and losing at the end.

\n\n

“We’re forwards. We’re there to do a job. As Roy Keane says, you don’t pat the postman on the back for delivering the post!”

\n\n

Dalton is much more than a forward, of course, and will drop back towards the middle at least for portions of Saturday night’s duel.

\n\n

She is hopeful that the two-point win over Cork will have brought about considerable improvement, given that it would been a level of competition four or five of Kilkenny’s more inexperienced performers would never had been exposed to.

\n\n

“We’ve been having great in-house games but nothing compares to Championship and 60 minutes knockout. It’s do-or-die, if you don’t perform, if you don’t put in a shift and win, you’re out. That’s it.

\n\n

“With COVID, we can’t get the challenge matches. They went 1-3 up and I reckon that we were maybe a bit cold coming into it but we got to grips with the game.”

\n\n

That they have lost the last three Finals since getting their hands on the O’Duffy Cup in 2016 is of no relevance to the impending battle, Dalton insists.

\n\n

“I think the media play into this, we’ve lost so many. But when we’re there, we only think about 2020. If we thought about any other year, you’re thinking about the past and that’s no use to you when you go out on the pitch.

\n\n

“It’s not about last year, it’s not about next year, it’s about 2020 to us. If you play any other game bar the game in front of you, you absolutely don’t have a chance.”

\n","AreaName":"","SectionName":"","Kind":0,"Date":"Wednesday 9 December 2020","DatePublished":"Wednesday 9 December 2020","DatePublishedAsDate":"2020-12-09T15:44:09.002Z","Thumbnail":{"Title":"Kilkenny camogie star, Anne Dalton.","TemplateUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/{formatInstructions}/gmhr82q1z3k0cuc4xw5p","ThumbnailUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/w_250,h_250,c_thumb,g_auto,q_auto,f_jpg/gmhr82q1z3k0cuc4xw5p","Format":"jpg","OverriddenFormats":{}},"HeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/gmhr82q1z3k0cuc4xw5p.jpg","MobileHeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/gmhr82q1z3k0cuc4xw5p.jpg","ThumbnailImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/gmhr82q1z3k0cuc4xw5p.jpg","Images":{"ORIG":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/f_jpg/gmhr82q1z3k0cuc4xw5p.jpg","HERO":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/gmhr82q1z3k0cuc4xw5p.jpg","FEATURES":null,"MobileFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/gmhr82q1z3k0cuc4xw5p.jpg","MobileStandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_372,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/gmhr82q1z3k0cuc4xw5p.jpg","SmallFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_540,h_304,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/gmhr82q1z3k0cuc4xw5p.jpg","StandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_440,h_248,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/gmhr82q1z3k0cuc4xw5p.jpg","SmallThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/gmhr82q1z3k0cuc4xw5p.jpg","SquareFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_661,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/gmhr82q1z3k0cuc4xw5p.jpg"},"Match":null,"Competition":null,"CompetitionSeason":null,"CompetitionSeoName":null,"CompetitionName":null,"Url":"/news/perspective-comes-easily-for-practical-dalton/","HotlineUrl":"","IsHotlineUrlOpenedInANewWindow":true,"YoutubeID":null,"VideoId":null,"RelatedNewsArticles":null,"RelatedVideos":null,"RelatedPhotos":null,"RelatedAudios":null,"RelatedDocuments":[],"RelatedPhotoGalleries":null,"RelatedLinks":null,"RelatedMatches":[],"RelatedTeams":[],"RelatedFreeTags":[],"RelatedCustomEntities":[],"EditorialLabel":"Feature","AdditionalNotes":null,"Author":"John Harrington","DateUpdated":"2020-12-09T15:44:09.002Z","Tags":[{"Slug":"feature","Type":"tag","_translationId":"67c8a382-ee0b-425b-b072-740857296e94","_entityId":"124196a1-89c7-4419-b5e3-7698d55dd788","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/feature","Title":"Feature","NeutralSlug":"feature","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}}]},"AdditionalStyle":"","Href":"/news/perspective-comes-easily-for-practical-dalton/","Target":"","SportLabel":"","Skip":1,"ContentDate":"2020-12-09T00:00:00Z","SportTeller":115},{"Document":{"MediaType":"news","Sport":"","SeoTitle":"henry-s-positive-approach-helping-sligo-youth-prosper","Area":0,"Section":0,"Id":0,"Guid":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000","Title":"Henry's positive approach helping Sligo youth prosper","Headline":"Henry's positive approach helping Sligo youth prosper","Slug":"henry-s-positive-approach-helping-sligo-youth-prosper","Summary":"

By John Harrington\nThe misconception that sports psychology is only applicable to elite sport can be a fairly common one.\nSligo GAA Games Promotion Officer, Stephen Henry, knows better though.\nA recent graduate of the Masters in Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology in Waterford Institute of Technology, he believes many

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Stephen\r\n\r\n
Stephen Henry, left, pictured with Sligo GAA Coaching officer, John McPartland Snr, in 2019.
\r\n

By John Harrington

\n\n

The misconception that sports psychology is only applicable to elite sport can be a fairly common one.

\n\n

Sligo GAA Games Promotion Officer, Stephen Henry, knows better though.

\n\n

A recent graduate of the Masters in Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology in Waterford Institute of Technology, he believes many of the core principles of sports psychology are just as effective when it comes to coaching children as inter-county players.

\n\n

“I found since I did the course that it has given me a completely different perspective on coaching kids and people in general,” says Henry, who this year helped his club Tourlestrane to a fifth county senior title in a row.

\n\n

“As you said, sometimes people think that sports psychology is focused on the elite, but it's for anyone really. It's about getting them to think about their own little goals and performance level they want to achieve.

\n\n

“That could be something as simple as catching the ball or soloing the ball. So you work that through with them and ask them a couple of questions and go to their level almost.

\n\n

“I'm really fascinated by it and it has changed my perspective of coaching. It's definitely not just for elite players because every player has doubts and everyone needs a bit of encouragement. It has definitely helped me so hopefully it helps the kids as well.”

\n\n

Must of us have little recall of the precise drills or games we experienced as juvenile players, but we’ll remember how a particular coach made us feel, be it positive or negative.

\n\n

Henry believes that creating a positive environment is the most important thing a coach working with young players needs to get right.

\n\n

“I think the biggest thing we can do as coaches is create an environment where players feel valued and that they're listened to,” he says.

\n\n

“I think when anyone joins a team or a group they want to feel valued and that they're important and welcome. I think that's a very important job we have a coaches, that we create an environment that allows them to be themselves and allows them to trust us and where they don't feel judged by anyone.

\n\n

“They're all going to be at different levels of ability but the coach has to be accepting of that and work to make everyone feel valued, safe, and welcome.

\n\n

“Kids need to be listened to and encouraged as much as possible. One good adult can make a big difference for them, and the more good people they have around them the better.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Stephen\r\n\r\n
Stephen Henry coaches children in 16 primary schools in West Sligo. 
\r\n

For Henry, Gaelic Games are all encompassing. As he says himself, if he’s not coaching he’s playing, and if he’s not playing he’s watching it. Not that he minds, the more the better is his attitude.

\n\n

Coaching is a passion as much as a profession for Henry, and he gets a great buzz from applying what he learned studying for his Masters in a real world situation and seeing the positive benefits.

\n\n

“Absolutely, that's the big kick you get out of it,” he said. “Trying different words or cues with different players and have them respond to it and then seeing them blossom.

\n\n

“If you can see them learning then it shows that you've learned a bit too which is satisfying.”

\n\n

He’s received no shortage of positive feedback on his coaching beat in West Sligo in recent weeks where coaches in 16 primary schools across the semester.

\n\n

At a time when so much else has been taken away from them by the Covid-19 pandemic, the chance to play Gaelic Games in a safe, non-contact environment is a really popular sporting outlet for the children.

\n\n

“It's huge for them,” said Henry. “Massive. That's why we were so happy the Cúl Camps went ahead, to give them that outlet. But even more so to go back into the schools because that's all they had once the football in the club finished up.

\n\n

“So it's giving them that outlet and showing them that the GAA is there for them because there might be a lot of kids too in school who won't have access to the GAA so this is a good way of showing it to them and giving them that access.

\n\n

“I think it's been a big help for them and for the teachers too, because they're now working in a very different setting and it's good to give them a break too.”

\n\n

Henry’s enthusiasm when he talks about coaching is very apparent, so it’s no surprise to hear he has a lot of ideas about how he can best apply himself to his profession in the coming years.

\n\n

“I've a big interest in talent pathways and talent development, particularly at academy level. I'm doing a good bit of work in Sligo with the rest of the staff looking at our pathways and academy structures to see can we improve on them. That's an area I enjoy.

\n\n

“The other one I'd be interested in would be to bring sports psychology and mental skills into the academies and the underage. It's something that might be overlooked but it's there in everything you do, trying to get those behaviours.

\n\n

“The mental side is very important but it can be undervalued, so I'll continue trying to incorporate that into my coaching and maybe bring more awareness into coaching. That and the talent pathway would be my two biggest interests going forward.”

\n
\r\n
Download GAA Return to Schools 2020
","RawBody":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

The misconception that sports psychology is only applicable to elite sport can be a fairly common one.

\n\n

Sligo GAA Games Promotion Officer, Stephen Henry, knows better though.

\n\n

A recent graduate of the Masters in Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology in Waterford Institute of Technology, he believes many of the core principles of sports psychology are just as effective when it comes to coaching children as inter-county players.

\n\n

“I found since I did the course that it has given me a completely different perspective on coaching kids and people in general,” says Henry, who this year helped his club Tourlestrane to a fifth county senior title in a row.

\n\n

“As you said, sometimes people think that sports psychology is focused on the elite, but it's for anyone really. It's about getting them to think about their own little goals and performance level they want to achieve.

\n\n

“That could be something as simple as catching the ball or soloing the ball. So you work that through with them and ask them a couple of questions and go to their level almost.

\n\n

“I'm really fascinated by it and it has changed my perspective of coaching. It's definitely not just for elite players because every player has doubts and everyone needs a bit of encouragement. It has definitely helped me so hopefully it helps the kids as well.”

\n\n

Must of us have little recall of the precise drills or games we experienced as juvenile players, but we’ll remember how a particular coach made us feel, be it positive or negative.

\n\n

Henry believes that creating a positive environment is the most important thing a coach working with young players needs to get right.

\n\n

“I think the biggest thing we can do as coaches is create an environment where players feel valued and that they're listened to,” he says.

\n\n

“I think when anyone joins a team or a group they want to feel valued and that they're important and welcome. I think that's a very important job we have a coaches, that we create an environment that allows them to be themselves and allows them to trust us and where they don't feel judged by anyone.

\n\n

“They're all going to be at different levels of ability but the coach has to be accepting of that and work to make everyone feel valued, safe, and welcome.

\n\n

“Kids need to be listened to and encouraged as much as possible. One good adult can make a big difference for them, and the more good people they have around them the better.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Stephen\r\n\r\n
Stephen Henry coaches children in 16 primary schools in West Sligo. 
\r\n

For Henry, Gaelic Games are all encompassing. As he says himself, if he’s not coaching he’s playing, and if he’s not playing he’s watching it. Not that he minds, the more the better is his attitude.

\n\n

Coaching is a passion as much as a profession for Henry, and he gets a great buzz from applying what he learned studying for his Masters in a real world situation and seeing the positive benefits.

\n\n

“Absolutely, that's the big kick you get out of it,” he said. “Trying different words or cues with different players and have them respond to it and then seeing them blossom.

\n\n

“If you can see them learning then it shows that you've learned a bit too which is satisfying.”

\n\n

He’s received no shortage of positive feedback on his coaching beat in West Sligo in recent weeks where coaches in 16 primary schools across the semester.

\n\n

At a time when so much else has been taken away from them by the Covid-19 pandemic, the chance to play Gaelic Games in a safe, non-contact environment is a really popular sporting outlet for the children.

\n\n

“It's huge for them,” said Henry. “Massive. That's why we were so happy the Cúl Camps went ahead, to give them that outlet. But even more so to go back into the schools because that's all they had once the football in the club finished up.

\n\n

“So it's giving them that outlet and showing them that the GAA is there for them because there might be a lot of kids too in school who won't have access to the GAA so this is a good way of showing it to them and giving them that access.

\n\n

“I think it's been a big help for them and for the teachers too, because they're now working in a very different setting and it's good to give them a break too.”

\n\n

Henry’s enthusiasm when he talks about coaching is very apparent, so it’s no surprise to hear he has a lot of ideas about how he can best apply himself to his profession in the coming years.

\n\n

“I've a big interest in talent pathways and talent development, particularly at academy level. I'm doing a good bit of work in Sligo with the rest of the staff looking at our pathways and academy structures to see can we improve on them. That's an area I enjoy.

\n\n

“The other one I'd be interested in would be to bring sports psychology and mental skills into the academies and the underage. It's something that might be overlooked but it's there in everything you do, trying to get those behaviours.

\n\n

“The mental side is very important but it can be undervalued, so I'll continue trying to incorporate that into my coaching and maybe bring more awareness into coaching. That and the talent pathway would be my two biggest interests going forward.”

\n
\r\n
Download GAA Return to Schools 2020
","AreaName":"","SectionName":"","Kind":0,"Date":"Friday 4 December 2020","DatePublished":"Friday 4 December 2020","DatePublishedAsDate":"2020-12-04T09:33:19.636Z","Thumbnail":{"Title":"Stephen Henry, left, pictured with Sligo GAA Coaching officer, John McPartland Snr, in 2019.","TemplateUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/{formatInstructions}/mt5yxocvm8a31ouvdqem","ThumbnailUrl":"https://res.cloudinary.com/dvrbaruzq/image/private/w_250,h_250,c_thumb,g_auto,q_auto,f_jpg/mt5yxocvm8a31ouvdqem","Format":"png","OverriddenFormats":{}},"HeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/mt5yxocvm8a31ouvdqem.jpg","MobileHeroImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/mt5yxocvm8a31ouvdqem.jpg","ThumbnailImage":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/mt5yxocvm8a31ouvdqem.jpg","Images":{"ORIG":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/f_jpg/mt5yxocvm8a31ouvdqem.jpg","HERO":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_1322,h_774,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/mt5yxocvm8a31ouvdqem.jpg","FEATURES":null,"MobileFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_750,h_422,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/mt5yxocvm8a31ouvdqem.jpg","MobileStandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_372,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/mt5yxocvm8a31ouvdqem.jpg","SmallFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_540,h_304,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/mt5yxocvm8a31ouvdqem.jpg","StandardThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_440,h_248,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/mt5yxocvm8a31ouvdqem.jpg","SmallThumbnail":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_320,h_180,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/mt5yxocvm8a31ouvdqem.jpg","SquareFeature":"https://www.gaa.ie/api/images/image/private/w_661,h_661,c_fill,g_auto,q_auto/mt5yxocvm8a31ouvdqem.jpg"},"Match":null,"Competition":null,"CompetitionSeason":null,"CompetitionSeoName":null,"CompetitionName":null,"Url":"/news/henry-s-positive-approach-helping-sligo-youth-prosper/","HotlineUrl":"","IsHotlineUrlOpenedInANewWindow":true,"YoutubeID":null,"VideoId":null,"RelatedNewsArticles":null,"RelatedVideos":null,"RelatedPhotos":null,"RelatedAudios":null,"RelatedDocuments":[],"RelatedPhotoGalleries":null,"RelatedLinks":null,"RelatedMatches":[],"RelatedTeams":[],"RelatedFreeTags":[],"RelatedCustomEntities":[],"EditorialLabel":"Feature","AdditionalNotes":null,"Author":"Cian O'Connell","DateUpdated":"2020-12-04T09:33:19.636Z","Tags":[{"Slug":"feature","Type":"tag","_translationId":"67c8a382-ee0b-425b-b072-740857296e94","_entityId":"124196a1-89c7-4419-b5e3-7698d55dd788","SelfUrl":"https://gaa-prd-forge-dapi.azurewebsites.net/v1/content/en-ie/tags/feature","Title":"Feature","NeutralSlug":"feature","ExternalSourceName":null,"ExternalSourceReference":{"SourceId":null,"SourceName":null},"ExtraData":null,"Fields":{}}]},"AdditionalStyle":"","Href":"/news/henry-s-positive-approach-helping-sligo-youth-prosper/","Target":"","SportLabel":"","Skip":1,"ContentDate":"2020-12-04T00:00:00Z","SportTeller":115},{"Document":{"MediaType":"news","Sport":"1","SeoTitle":"philip-austin-is-the-pride-of-borrisokane","Area":0,"Section":0,"Id":0,"Guid":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000","Title":"Philip Austin is the pride of Borrisokane","Headline":"Philip Austin is the pride of Borrisokane","Slug":"philip-austin-is-the-pride-of-borrisokane","Summary":"

By John Harrington\nTipperary footballer, Philip Austin, has long had a symbiotic relationship with his club Borrisokane.\nHe’s a proper club-man. Someone who always gives his maximum on the pitch as a footballer and hurler and off it too in whatever capacity he can.\nIn return, the club has backed

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Tipperary\r\n\r\n
Tipperary footballer and Borrisokane club-man, Philip Austin. 
\r\n

By John Harrington

\n\n

Tipperary footballer, Philip Austin, has long had a symbiotic relationship with his club Borrisokane.

\n\n

He’s a proper club-man. Someone who always gives his maximum on the pitch as a footballer and hurler and off it too in whatever capacity he can.

\n\n

In return, the club has backed him to the hilt since he made his debut for the Tipperary footballers back in 2006.

\n\n

In north Tipperary a county footballer is a fairly exotic animal, and everyone in Borrisokane has always taken a lot of pride in Austin’s achievements.

\n\n

When he was Tipperary captain in 2012, a couple of busloads from the parish made the journey to Roscommon for the Premier County’s Allianz League opener against, and until Covid came along this year there’s always been a vocal Borrisokane contingent at Tipp football matches for as long as Austin has been a member of the panel.

\n\n

There was another nice example last week of the mutual regard that Austin and his community have for one another.

\n\n

A teacher in Killina Presentation secondary school in Offaly, every Friday on the way home Austin stops by Scoil Mhuire primary school in Borrisokane to coach gaelic games to the children there.

\n\n

Last Friday, in the wake of Tipperary’s historic Munster SFC Final victory over Cork, the schoolchildren surprised Austin by presenting him with a small Cup to mark their pride in his achievement.

\n\n

He still hasn’t quite processed what it means to him to have won a Munster senior medal after 15 years of trying, but little moments like that make it all the more special.

\n\n

“It's kind of indescribable really, I kind of can't put it into words yet,” Austin told GAA.ie of Tipperary’s Munster SFC success.

\n\n

“In a way, it's a relief. I've made an awful lot of friends and have enjoyed playing football over the years, but, at the same time, I've always longed to actually win something.

\n\n

\"The most we ever won were two Division 3 Leagues and two Division 4 Leagues, but, after that, in the 15 years of senior football with Tipperary and two as a minor I have nothing to show for it only this.

\n\n

“So, finally, I got what I was waiting for which was a Munster, that was the minimum I was waiting to get out of it. It's indescribable because there were an awful lot of bad days, an awful lot of defeats. But the sweeter days seem to make up for that.

\n\n

“Our run in 2016 was memorable too but we came up empty-handed. We lost to Kerry convincingly enough in the Munster Final and then lost to Mayo in the semi-final.

\n\n

“Yeah, it's just amazing, really. It kind of hasn't fully sunk in yet. I actually get a bit emotional when I start thinking about it, to be honest.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Tipperary\r\n\r\n
Tipperary footballers Philip Austin (right) and Colin O'Riordan react to the final whistle in the Munster SFC Final against Cork. 
\r\n

Austin has always been an easy player to root for because of his attitude on the pitch.

\n\n

He’s one of those workaholic wing-forwards who never stops running and battling for his team, even on those many dark days when Tipperary have been beaten long before the final whistle has blown.

\n\n

That’s why it was so satisfying that he was able to contribute in a meaningful way to Tipperary’s Munster Final win over Cork.

\n\n

He didn’t appear on the pitch until the 71st minute, but with his very first touch he kicked a vital point that helped Tipperary see the game out.

\n\n

Tipperary’s longest serving player had made his mark in a very real way on the county’s biggest day for 85 years, and that added another layer of gratification to the achievement for the Borrisokane man.

\n\n

“Ah it does,” he says. “Listen, you're always trying to contribute. Even I suppose when you look back at the 10, 12 guys that couldn't be there on the day, they contributed hugely too.

\n\n

“I mean, they were huge contributors to the team. They may not feel it at times, but they were, like.

\n\n

\"Then, when you're a sub, you're trying to get on and contribute some way to push the starting 15. And, then, when you get on, you're trying to contribute again. Every little detail adds into the other. A lot of it goes without being seen at times.

\n\n

“It was great to get a point and raise the white flag. I was delighted to be involved because there were dark enough days there of rehabbing and trying to get back for the Clare and Limerick games that I failed to get back for.

\n\n

“I haven't looked back over the game and I'll wait a long time when I'm watching the game to actually see myself! I'll be looking forward to it alright but I don't know when I'll look back over it because we're back to concentrating on our next game against Mayo.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Philip\r\n\r\n
Philip Austin in action for Tipperary against Offaly in the 2008 Allianz Football League Division 4 Final. 
\r\n

It says a lot about Austin’s strength of will that he gave himself a chance to feature in Tipperary’s Munster Final victory.

\n\n

He tore his groin muscle in the first League match post lockdown against Offaly and then aggravated the injury again when he pushed hard to make it back in time for the Munster Quarter-Final against Clare.

\n\n

At that stage it looked like his year was over, but Austin wasn’t prepared to quit. Against the odds, he made a return to training before the Cork match and impressed sufficiently in four sessions to force his way back into Tipperary manager David Power’s plans.

\n\n

He’ll turn 34 later this month, but clearly is as driven as ever to compete at the highest level.

\n\n

“I have to laugh when I hear people wonder how some of the older Dublin footballers or Kilkenny hurlers keep coming back for more every year,” says Austin.

\n\n

“It's very easy to come back when you're winning and you've lots of cups, medals, and team holidays to show for your efforts.

\n\n

“When you're coming back to a November slog and you've been beaten again the previous year and come away with no silverware, it's probably a lot tougher.

\n\n

“It was certainly very easy to come back training on Tuesday night after winning the Munster Final on the Sunday.

\n\n

\"I don't know what keeps driving me back, there's a great football family there. I've met an awful lot of good people down through the years. Good management, coaches, players.

\n\n

“I've played with an awful lot of players from around Tipperary and I've a link to most clubs in Tipperary at this stage.

\n\n

“If we play any club in hurling or football there's nearly always a player you've played with down through the years and you can reminisce with which is nice. I like that side to it too.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Tipperary\r\n\r\n
Tipperary players, left to right, Liam Boland, Kevin Fahey, Conor Sweeney, Evan Comerford, Alan Campbell, Padraic Looram, Conal Kennedy and Philip Austin celebrate after the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Final match between Cork and Tipperary at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork.
\r\n

Austin’s durability at senior inter-county level is a product of natural athleticism as well as his desire to compete.

\n\n

A talented athlete in his youth with Borrisokane Athletic Club, he was part of a team that won a silver medal in the U-15 mixed relay team at the National Community Games Finals in 2000 and also competed in the 80 metres hurdles final that year.

\n\n

“I do owe an awful lot to Borrisokane Athletic Club,” says Austin.

\n\n

“I was involved in athletics until I was about 16. I competed across in Birmingham for a UK-Ireland championships so I was very competitive at that.

\n\n

“I only picked up hurling and football when I was probably 12/13. And then as I started enjoying the team sports more I moved from athletics and into the team sports. And once you get into any sort of an inter-county panel you take it a little more seriously again.

\n\n

“The speed and fitness has been there since I started and if I'm coming back from a break or injury I pick the fitness back up quickly in a week or two of getting back into it.

\n\n

“At this stage in my 30s I'm probably down a yard since my 20s, but I haven't lost a massive amount either which has allowed me to keep going.

\n\n

“It is a young person's game and it is about speed and endurance and strength so I'm lucky enough to have that athletics background.”

\n\n

Being the competitive animal he is, Austin viewed the two-week break between the Munster Final win over Cork and the All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo on Sunday as an opportunity.

\n\n

Making a contribution off the bench against Cork was nice, but starting the All-Ireland semi-final would be nicer again, so you can be sure whoever was tasked with marking him in training matches has had their hands full.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Philip\r\n\r\n
Philip Austin cuts a disconsolate figure after Tipperary's defeat to Mayo in the 2016 All-Ireland SFC semi-final.
\r\n

He regards the All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Mayo in 2016 as possibly the biggest disappointment of his career, but now opportunity has come knocking again.

\n\n

“I remember walking off that field and I was very disappointed and very emotional as well,” says Austin.

\n\n

“I was just deeply disappointed that things had not gone our way and we had underperformed a little bit.

\n\n

“On the day Mayo were the better team in 2016 and we'll just have to have all our ducks in a row for this semi-final. A lot of lads are looking forward to it, but we have a lot of background work we need to do before the game so we can be confident we can be in a good position for it.

\n\n

“But we're hopeful and we're really looking forward to the day.

\n\n

“It would be huge to get the win this time. It would be huge for Tipp football. We just have to get ourselves physically and mentally right for that absolute fight that we're going into it.”

\n\n

Knowing what we know about Austin, you can be sure he’ll have himself primed for the challenge.

\n","RawBody":"

By John Harrington

\n\n

Tipperary footballer, Philip Austin, has long had a symbiotic relationship with his club Borrisokane.

\n\n

He’s a proper club-man. Someone who always gives his maximum on the pitch as a footballer and hurler and off it too in whatever capacity he can.

\n\n

In return, the club has backed him to the hilt since he made his debut for the Tipperary footballers back in 2006.

\n\n

In north Tipperary a county footballer is a fairly exotic animal, and everyone in Borrisokane has always taken a lot of pride in Austin’s achievements.

\n\n

When he was Tipperary captain in 2012, a couple of busloads from the parish made the journey to Roscommon for the Premier County’s Allianz League opener against, and until Covid came along this year there’s always been a vocal Borrisokane contingent at Tipp football matches for as long as Austin has been a member of the panel.

\n\n

There was another nice example last week of the mutual regard that Austin and his community have for one another.

\n\n

A teacher in Killina Presentation secondary school in Offaly, every Friday on the way home Austin stops by Scoil Mhuire primary school in Borrisokane to coach gaelic games to the children there.

\n\n

Last Friday, in the wake of Tipperary’s historic Munster SFC Final victory over Cork, the schoolchildren surprised Austin by presenting him with a small Cup to mark their pride in his achievement.

\n\n

He still hasn’t quite processed what it means to him to have won a Munster senior medal after 15 years of trying, but little moments like that make it all the more special.

\n\n

“It's kind of indescribable really, I kind of can't put it into words yet,” Austin told GAA.ie of Tipperary’s Munster SFC success.

\n\n

“In a way, it's a relief. I've made an awful lot of friends and have enjoyed playing football over the years, but, at the same time, I've always longed to actually win something.

\n\n

\"The most we ever won were two Division 3 Leagues and two Division 4 Leagues, but, after that, in the 15 years of senior football with Tipperary and two as a minor I have nothing to show for it only this.

\n\n

“So, finally, I got what I was waiting for which was a Munster, that was the minimum I was waiting to get out of it. It's indescribable because there were an awful lot of bad days, an awful lot of defeats. But the sweeter days seem to make up for that.

\n\n

“Our run in 2016 was memorable too but we came up empty-handed. We lost to Kerry convincingly enough in the Munster Final and then lost to Mayo in the semi-final.

\n\n

“Yeah, it's just amazing, really. It kind of hasn't fully sunk in yet. I actually get a bit emotional when I start thinking about it, to be honest.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Tipperary\r\n\r\n
Tipperary footballers Philip Austin (right) and Colin O'Riordan react to the final whistle in the Munster SFC Final against Cork. 
\r\n

Austin has always been an easy player to root for because of his attitude on the pitch.

\n\n

He’s one of those workaholic wing-forwards who never stops running and battling for his team, even on those many dark days when Tipperary have been beaten long before the final whistle has blown.

\n\n

That’s why it was so satisfying that he was able to contribute in a meaningful way to Tipperary’s Munster Final win over Cork.

\n\n

He didn’t appear on the pitch until the 71st minute, but with his very first touch he kicked a vital point that helped Tipperary see the game out.

\n\n

Tipperary’s longest serving player had made his mark in a very real way on the county’s biggest day for 85 years, and that added another layer of gratification to the achievement for the Borrisokane man.

\n\n

“Ah it does,” he says. “Listen, you're always trying to contribute. Even I suppose when you look back at the 10, 12 guys that couldn't be there on the day, they contributed hugely too.

\n\n

“I mean, they were huge contributors to the team. They may not feel it at times, but they were, like.

\n\n

\"Then, when you're a sub, you're trying to get on and contribute some way to push the starting 15. And, then, when you get on, you're trying to contribute again. Every little detail adds into the other. A lot of it goes without being seen at times.

\n\n

“It was great to get a point and raise the white flag. I was delighted to be involved because there were dark enough days there of rehabbing and trying to get back for the Clare and Limerick games that I failed to get back for.

\n\n

“I haven't looked back over the game and I'll wait a long time when I'm watching the game to actually see myself! I'll be looking forward to it alright but I don't know when I'll look back over it because we're back to concentrating on our next game against Mayo.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Philip\r\n\r\n
Philip Austin in action for Tipperary against Offaly in the 2008 Allianz Football League Division 4 Final. 
\r\n

It says a lot about Austin’s strength of will that he gave himself a chance to feature in Tipperary’s Munster Final victory.

\n\n

He tore his groin muscle in the first League match post lockdown against Offaly and then aggravated the injury again when he pushed hard to make it back in time for the Munster Quarter-Final against Clare.

\n\n

At that stage it looked like his year was over, but Austin wasn’t prepared to quit. Against the odds, he made a return to training before the Cork match and impressed sufficiently in four sessions to force his way back into Tipperary manager David Power’s plans.

\n\n

He’ll turn 34 later this month, but clearly is as driven as ever to compete at the highest level.

\n\n

“I have to laugh when I hear people wonder how some of the older Dublin footballers or Kilkenny hurlers keep coming back for more every year,” says Austin.

\n\n

“It's very easy to come back when you're winning and you've lots of cups, medals, and team holidays to show for your efforts.

\n\n

“When you're coming back to a November slog and you've been beaten again the previous year and come away with no silverware, it's probably a lot tougher.

\n\n

“It was certainly very easy to come back training on Tuesday night after winning the Munster Final on the Sunday.

\n\n

\"I don't know what keeps driving me back, there's a great football family there. I've met an awful lot of good people down through the years. Good management, coaches, players.

\n\n

“I've played with an awful lot of players from around Tipperary and I've a link to most clubs in Tipperary at this stage.

\n\n

“If we play any club in hurling or football there's nearly always a player you've played with down through the years and you can reminisce with which is nice. I like that side to it too.”

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Tipperary\r\n\r\n
Tipperary players, left to right, Liam Boland, Kevin Fahey, Conor Sweeney, Evan Comerford, Alan Campbell, Padraic Looram, Conal Kennedy and Philip Austin celebrate after the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Final match between Cork and Tipperary at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork.
\r\n

Austin’s durability at senior inter-county level is a product of natural athleticism as well as his desire to compete.

\n\n

A talented athlete in his youth with Borrisokane Athletic Club, he was part of a team that won a silver medal in the U-15 mixed relay team at the National Community Games Finals in 2000 and also competed in the 80 metres hurdles final that year.

\n\n

“I do owe an awful lot to Borrisokane Athletic Club,” says Austin.

\n\n

“I was involved in athletics until I was about 16. I competed across in Birmingham for a UK-Ireland championships so I was very competitive at that.

\n\n

“I only picked up hurling and football when I was probably 12/13. And then as I started enjoying the team sports more I moved from athletics and into the team sports. And once you get into any sort of an inter-county panel you take it a little more seriously again.

\n\n

“The speed and fitness has been there since I started and if I'm coming back from a break or injury I pick the fitness back up quickly in a week or two of getting back into it.

\n\n

“At this stage in my 30s I'm probably down a yard since my 20s, but I haven't lost a massive amount either which has allowed me to keep going.

\n\n

“It is a young person's game and it is about speed and endurance and strength so I'm lucky enough to have that athletics background.”

\n\n

Being the competitive animal he is, Austin viewed the two-week break between the Munster Final win over Cork and the All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo on Sunday as an opportunity.

\n\n

Making a contribution off the bench against Cork was nice, but starting the All-Ireland semi-final would be nicer again, so you can be sure whoever was tasked with marking him in training matches has had their hands full.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Philip\r\n\r\n
Philip Austin cuts a disconsolate figure after Tipperary's defeat to Mayo in the 2016 All-Ireland SFC semi-final.
\r\n

He regards the All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Mayo in 2016 as possibly the biggest disappointment of his career, but now opportunity has come knocking again.

\n\n

“I remember walking off that field and I was very disappointed and very emotional as well,” says Austin.

\n\n

“I was just deeply disappointed that things had not gone our way and we had underperformed a little bit.

\n\n

“On the day Mayo were the better team in 2016 and we'll just have to have all our ducks in a row for this semi-final. A lot of lads are looking forward to it, but we have a lot of background work we need to do before the game so we can be confident we can be in a good position for it.

\n\n

“But we're hopeful and we're really looking forward to the day.

\n\n

“It would be huge to get the win this time. It would be huge for Tipp football. We just have to get ourselves physically and mentally right for that absolute fight that we're going into it.”

\n\n

Knowing what we know about Austin, you can be sure he’ll have himself primed for the challenge.

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By John Harrington\nFrom the age of seven, David Power would travel to Croke Park with his father Michael for the All-Ireland Football Final ever year.\nHis own native Tipperary were never part of the big day, but the young David couldn’t help but notice that once upon a time

\n","Body":"

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Tipperary\r\n\r\n
Tipperary manager David Power celebrates after victory over Cork in the Munster SFC Final. 
\r\n

By John Harrington

\n\n

From the age of seven, David Power would travel to Croke Park with his father Michael for the All-Ireland Football Final ever year.

\n\n

His own native Tipperary were never part of the big day, but the young David couldn’t help but notice that once upon a time the Premier County very much was a football power.

\n\n

There they were in the honours list with four All-Ireland senior titles to their name which to this day still puts them ahead of footballing strongholds like Mayo, Tyrone, and Donegal.

\n\n

Seeing that Roll of Honour lit a spark in the young Power. If Tipperary football could be the best in the country at one time, then why not again?

\n\n

That belief in the possibilities of Tipperary football inspired him to get involved coaching development squads in the county while he was still in his early twenties.

\n\n

In 2011, when the Tipperary minor footballers became the first football team from the county to win an All-Ireland title since they achieved it in the same age grade in 1934, Power was the team manager.

\n\n

For the first time in a long time, the Premier County had a newly inked entry in an All-Ireland Final match programme roll of honour that had once fired a young Power’s imagination and ambition.

\n\n

He remains a true believer in the idea that Tipperary football teams should be able to mix it with the very best and he made the dream a reality once more by leading the county senior team to their first Munster title in 85 years two weekends ago.

\n\n

When he sat down to talk with the media to preview this Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo, the Tipperary team manager didn’t even try to disguise his confidence this his players are now ready to take another giant leap forward.

\n\n

As a boy David Power took a seat in Croke Park to watch teams from other counties contest the All-Ireland Senior Final.

\n\n

In 2020, he believes he’ll be standing on the sideline when Tipperary compete in one for the first time in 100 years.

\n\n

***

\n\n

Q: Has the good will generated by the Munster Final win given everyone in the camp a huge lift going into the All-Ireland semi-final?

\n\n

David Power: To be honest with you, some of the phone calls and texts that I got, from all corners of the country, from players that won several All-Irelands down in Kerry, and the big satisfaction that I'm really taking from it was that it was great to win, but that it was our style of play that has really appealed to the public. That we played football, and that's always been my thing, even going back to the minor team.

\n\n

Any team that I've been involved with, we play football the right way. And ultimately whether we're good enough or not good enough, that's a different question. But I think we have to stick to that philosophy that we play really really fast football. We kicked 17 points (against Cork), probably could have kicked maybe a bit more, but to kick 17 points, we're nearly going into Christmas time and I think it's fabulous.

\n\n

I'm very humbled with all the different messages we're after getting, there's a couple of 90-year-olds who rang me as well, and they were in tears. They never thought they'd see the day, to see a Tipperary winning a Munster senior football championship and for me it's a great honour to be leading the ship in many ways.

\n\n

I really am overwhelmed by all the people that have made contact with us.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"David\r\n\r\n
David Power celebrates with his father Michael after Tipperary's victory over Mayo in the Munster SFC Final. 
\r\n

Q: The Tipperary footballers wouldn’t traditionally have a big following, but there is a small but very loyal hardcore. The Munster success must mean an awful lot to them.

\n\n

DP: Absolutely. I suppose we're a kind of a small family in many ways, there's a core group that would be at every Tipp football match. And for the likes of them and people that kept the football flag flying during years when it was hard, when they were down in Division Four, or just keeping the whole thing going. For them, that's what that final was for, ultimately it was for those people that kept football going. For all the previous managers, for all the previous mentors, players, parents, the whole lot. For them it was fabulous.

\n\n

For the likes of the Friends of Tipperary football, and for the football board, and also the county board. They've all been fantastic, our main sponsors Teneo have been brilliant as well. We're very fortunate that we've got a core group of people that are really behind Tipp football at this moment in time.

\n\n

And there are other people that want to get involved. I see this for the future generations, that they'll want to play football for Tipperary and that's what I want to see out from this, that primary and secondary school children will all want to play football for Tipperary as well.

\n\n

I'm not saying we're going to overtake hurling. I'm actually a big believer that if football and hurling can work together in Tipperary that we can be a really powerful unit.

\n\n

Q: Is it any regret that after the biggest day in Tipperary football’s history in 85 years the team weren’t able to celebrate with those supporters?

\n\n

DP: For us, for families and friends not to be there, that was really hard going. Ultimately there will come a time and a place that hopefully we can celebrate this victory. But now we have to park this victory. It's about getting ready for the All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo and that's where the players' heads are at as well.

\n\n

That was the big thing from last night's session. Yes, we're all absolutely thrilled to bits to win a Munster championship, but if we keep going on about the Munster championship going into Friday's session and into Sunday's session, we're going to be there in body on Sunday week (in the All-Ireland semi-final), but mentally and physically we won't be ready.

\n\n

It's really important for us to park that Munster final win now.

\n\n

Q: A lot was made of the anniversary of Bloody Sunday coming up to the Munster Final. To what extent would you have been aware of Tipperary’s footballing history?

\n\n

DP: I would have always, since 1990, I would have been going to every All-Ireland football final and I always looked at the Roll of Honour every year and I'd be saying, my God, Tipperary have more All-Irelands than a lot a lot of counties. We'll say a lot of strong counties, even, now.

\n\n

I'd be always asking my father how come Tipp were very, very strong back there. For me, and I would have grown up with football in my house, the likes of Hugh Kennedy who was the former football chairman, the likes of Mick Frawley, I would have grown up with football, football.

\n\n

I would have heard about the history of football back then and that's probably what drove me on to get involved with different development squads. I always had that passion for Tipp football. For us to get back to where it was 100 years ago, last Sunday was the first step. But we've got many, many more steps to get back there and that's what I keep saying, that Tipperary is actually a big enough county that we can compete at both hurling and football at a really, really high level.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Colin\r\n\r\n
Colin O'Riordan and Steven O'Brien of Tipperary celebrate after the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Final match between Cork and Tipperary at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork.
\r\n

Q: How confident are you that Tipperary can raise their game again for the challenge of playing Mayo in the All-Ireland semi-final.

\n\n

DP: I think I said it before the Munster final we are kind of a team that gets better with better opposition. We have some very good players and it was actually incredible, I couldn't get over the odds going into the Munster Final, because we have a lot of players that have won Sigerson Cup medals, have played in an All-Ireland semi-final, that have played in U-21 All-Irelands, have played in All-Ireland minor finals. You name it, there's a huge amount of experience there.

\n\n

I'm not happy, I want to drive on now. I feel we have an opportunity, like the very same going into the Cork game, if we get a performance I really do think we have a great chance again.

\n\n

I think we have to use the Munster Final as a kind of a stepping stone. These lads are certainly not happy with just winning a Munster Final, we're looking towards the Mayo game and I think we're going to be going in with really great confidence.

\n\n

I would say we can go up another level. I wouldn’t call our performance in the Munster Final a perfect performance. Our players are not happy, they feel they can really improve.

\n\n

I’ll use an example, Steven O’Brien came through a Munster Final when he came into it with an injury and this is where the medical team have done an unbelievable job to get the likes of Steven and Liam Casey out on the field because they had hamstring injuries.

\n\n

That game will have brought them on over the next two weeks and we can get better.

\n\n

We have to get better in order to beat Mayo but I feel that performance is in us. I don’t want to be coming out and saying the Cork game was our perfect performance because it wasn’t because I know there is more gears in this Tipperary team.

\n\n

Q: Cork played quite laterally in the Munster Final and lacked punch in attack. With inside forwards like Cillian O’Connor and Aidan O’Shea, will Mayo present a more direct attacking threat?

\n\n

DP: I have heard that Cork were too lateral but that was down to us as well to be honest because we were putting so much pressure on them. When Cork had the ball we were getting our half forwards back in around the midfield and the halfback line but there is no point in getting numbers back there, you have to putting the pressure on and the tackles in and that is what we did against Cork and is why they were going lateral.

\n\n

Cork don’t want to go lateral, they want to be running at you and to be fair to us we got our match-ups right tactically.

\n\n

Ultimately we are going to have to do something similar again against Mayo because if they are given space with the quality of player they have we are going to be in serious trouble

\n\n

Q: Mayo have played Division 1 football for the past 23 years. The perception would be that playing at that level for so long would give them an edge in terms of strength and conditioning on a team like Tipperary. Or do you think the run that you are on now can balance that out?

\n\n

DP: It was probably like the Irish rugby team when they were trying to make the breakthrough, they were always able to give the best teams a game for sixty minutes and then they would die away towards the end. To be fair to us, our conditioning is improving the whole time, we are not there yet and even Robbie Cannon (S&C Coach) would say that. Ultimately when I got this management team together, this was a 3-4 year project for us but we are here now and they are in seriously good shape. For us to have few serious injuries considering we have had five tough games is great credit to our strength & conditioning team and to our medical team to be able to pick from a full panel every day.

\n\n

“We have the subs to come on as well to help. We have proven that we can go to 75-80 minutes. Obviously Mayo have been in Division 1 for a long time but they have a core group of fellas that have been together for 8-10 years so their conditioning would be ahead of us.

\n\n

“We have a lot of good players there and ultimately it will come down to the ability with the ball and what we are going to do with it.

\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Cillian\r\n\r\n
Cillian O’Connor of Mayo has his shot blocked by Tipperary's Bill Maher during the 2016 GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final game between Tipperary and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin.
\r\n

Q: If you’re looking at areas in which Tipperary match up well against Mayo then maybe the middle third stands out. Is that an area you will be targeting?

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DP: Midfield is always a key battle because if we get onto possession we have a great chance. The two big things I took from the Cork game was we did well in midfield, winning both our kickout and their's, we won a lot of breaking ball and it is going to come down to that kind of game on Sunday as well.

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Also the conversion rate is going to be crucial. If we can keep to the standard against Cork where we got a 73% conversion rate in the first half, if we can keep to that standard which is a Division 1 standard, we are going to have a great chance.

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Q: Kevin Fahey was outstanding at centre-back against Cork. Has he come of age as an inter-county footballer?

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DP: Going back to my time as a minor manager, he was U16 back in 2011. I remember there was a lot of soccer teams after him and I remember calling up to his house and said, 'Look would you come into the extended panel with the 2011 team'. He always had that ability. I don't know for some reason over the last couple of years, I'll be honest I could never understand why he wasn't on the football team on a more consistent basis but this year he's found his role at number six and he's been incredible.

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If he keeps performing, he's going to get more bigger honours for himself I feel because he's at that level. For him, I'll never forget what he did last Sunday. He came over to me after the second water break and he says, 'Davy, I think you'd better take me off, I'm on my last warning.' He was on that yellow card and he was at centre-back. For me it just showed me how much of a team player he was as well. If it was about himself he wouldn't have said that.

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It was tough taking off a fella that was playing so bloody well but we couldn't take that risk, we couldn't go down to 14 men because that ultimately would give Cork that kind of momentum to get back into the game. For him to do that just shows how selfless he is. I'm just delighted for him because I would always have been a big believer in Kevin Fahey and that he's really shown his true ability now as well.

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Q: Your captain Conor Sweeney spoke very well after the Munster Final and seem to be already focused on the All-Ireland semi-final. He’s an impressive leader, isn’t he?

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DP: I can't say enough about Conor Sweeney. Not only is he a good player, he's a great leader to the young fellas. Even last night he was the first player out on the field with the 20 footballs, back practicing. That's the type of player he is. He's a very humble individual, it's all about the team with him, everything is about the team, it's not about the individual and obviously he performed to a really, really high level. But he would always say that's because of the team, it's because of the quality of the ball that was going into him.

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So, look, he's been a fantastic leader. I suppose he was captain for the first time last year in 2019 and the season for one reason or another just didn't go right for him. Because he's given so much to Tipp football, it always in my head that I would love to have Conor Sweeney leading Tipperary again in 2020. I'm just delighted for him. Every bit of praise that he gets, he's after earning it.

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Conor Sweeney, right, and Bill Maher of Tipperary celebrate following the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Final match between Cork and Tipperary at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork. 
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Q: The Pairc Ui Chaoimh pitch seemed to suit Tipperary’s expansive style of play in the Munster Final. Are you looking forward to now playing on a similar pitch in Croke Park?

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DP: Croke Park won’t hold any fear for Tipperary. The last two occasions Tipp have played Mayo in 2018 in the qualifier in Thurles, Mayo got a very fortunate goal that day and Tipp were leading the whole way up to that goal so there’s have been a few small things that went in Mayo’s favour over the last two games so Croke Park won’t hold any fear, I think we can really grow into Croke Park and the players like playing there.

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We are fortunate that we played on a surface in Pairc Ui Chaoimh that is similar to Croke Park as well.

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Q: None of your players will lack for motivation, but Robbie Kiely will surely be especially keen to make his mark on this game having been black-carded in the 2016 All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo?

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DP: I remember reading an article after that Tipp-Mayo game and he said that his parents had come up to the game and his brother Damien was after flying back from Australia. For the likes of him, I am really, really, he has this opportunity now to turn things around. Obviously there probably won't be any crowd at our game on Sunday week and that his family won't be there but it gives him an opportunty that probably he mightn't have thought that he would get. I know he's already hungry for it because he was actually talking about it last night. He's got that drive and again he's another player that has given so much to Tipperary football over the last number of years, so it's great for him to be able to get that opportunity.

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Q: When you factor in the bounce the team will get from winning Munster, the high level of experience the panel now has, and the fact that they’ve already played in an All-Ireland semi-final, is it fair to say that Tipperary will never be better set for an All-Ireland semi-final as they are for this one?

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DP: Absolutely. We don't have to worry about the Croke Park factor, for example. All of them have basically played in Croke Park. I'd say the only fella who hasn't played in Croke Park and started last Sunday is probably Conal Kennedy. Everyone else has experienced Croke Park, whether it was with the minors or the seniors in 2016. So that's not going to hold back anyone.

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I suppose in many ways for Tipperary to be in their second All-Ireland semi-final in five seasons is, I think, huge. But, I suppose, with that gap, consistency is the thing. We're quite capable of beating a Division 2, maybe even a Division 1 team. But then the following weekend we could go out and lose to a Division 4 team. That's the consistency that Tipp must strive for now. We're after setting a marker for ourselves and we must keep going. We can't look back anymore, we must keep going up the League table. Because, ultimately, you have to be playing against better teams if you want to be more successful in championships. Now we're on this run I think we're going to have a great chance on Sunday.

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Q: It sounds like you don’t fear the challenge of playing Mayo?

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DP: We won’t fear Mayo. I believe in this Tipperary football team that if we get a performance, that we’ll be very close to Mayo come Sunday. There is no point going into a game if you think you are going to be beaten. I certainly don’t think that way and the players based on training last night don’t think that way. If we get a performance we have every chance on Sunday.

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By John Harrington

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From the age of seven, David Power would travel to Croke Park with his father Michael for the All-Ireland Football Final ever year.

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His own native Tipperary were never part of the big day, but the young David couldn’t help but notice that once upon a time the Premier County very much was a football power.

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There they were in the honours list with four All-Ireland senior titles to their name which to this day still puts them ahead of footballing strongholds like Mayo, Tyrone, and Donegal.

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Seeing that Roll of Honour lit a spark in the young Power. If Tipperary football could be the best in the country at one time, then why not again?

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That belief in the possibilities of Tipperary football inspired him to get involved coaching development squads in the county while he was still in his early twenties.

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In 2011, when the Tipperary minor footballers became the first football team from the county to win an All-Ireland title since they achieved it in the same age grade in 1934, Power was the team manager.

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For the first time in a long time, the Premier County had a newly inked entry in an All-Ireland Final match programme roll of honour that had once fired a young Power’s imagination and ambition.

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He remains a true believer in the idea that Tipperary football teams should be able to mix it with the very best and he made the dream a reality once more by leading the county senior team to their first Munster title in 85 years two weekends ago.

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When he sat down to talk with the media to preview this Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo, the Tipperary team manager didn’t even try to disguise his confidence this his players are now ready to take another giant leap forward.

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As a boy David Power took a seat in Croke Park to watch teams from other counties contest the All-Ireland Senior Final.

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In 2020, he believes he’ll be standing on the sideline when Tipperary compete in one for the first time in 100 years.

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***

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Q: Has the good will generated by the Munster Final win given everyone in the camp a huge lift going into the All-Ireland semi-final?

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David Power: To be honest with you, some of the phone calls and texts that I got, from all corners of the country, from players that won several All-Irelands down in Kerry, and the big satisfaction that I'm really taking from it was that it was great to win, but that it was our style of play that has really appealed to the public. That we played football, and that's always been my thing, even going back to the minor team.

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Any team that I've been involved with, we play football the right way. And ultimately whether we're good enough or not good enough, that's a different question. But I think we have to stick to that philosophy that we play really really fast football. We kicked 17 points (against Cork), probably could have kicked maybe a bit more, but to kick 17 points, we're nearly going into Christmas time and I think it's fabulous.

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I'm very humbled with all the different messages we're after getting, there's a couple of 90-year-olds who rang me as well, and they were in tears. They never thought they'd see the day, to see a Tipperary winning a Munster senior football championship and for me it's a great honour to be leading the ship in many ways.

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I really am overwhelmed by all the people that have made contact with us.

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David Power celebrates with his father Michael after Tipperary's victory over Mayo in the Munster SFC Final. 
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Q: The Tipperary footballers wouldn’t traditionally have a big following, but there is a small but very loyal hardcore. The Munster success must mean an awful lot to them.

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DP: Absolutely. I suppose we're a kind of a small family in many ways, there's a core group that would be at every Tipp football match. And for the likes of them and people that kept the football flag flying during years when it was hard, when they were down in Division Four, or just keeping the whole thing going. For them, that's what that final was for, ultimately it was for those people that kept football going. For all the previous managers, for all the previous mentors, players, parents, the whole lot. For them it was fabulous.

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For the likes of the Friends of Tipperary football, and for the football board, and also the county board. They've all been fantastic, our main sponsors Teneo have been brilliant as well. We're very fortunate that we've got a core group of people that are really behind Tipp football at this moment in time.

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And there are other people that want to get involved. I see this for the future generations, that they'll want to play football for Tipperary and that's what I want to see out from this, that primary and secondary school children will all want to play football for Tipperary as well.

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I'm not saying we're going to overtake hurling. I'm actually a big believer that if football and hurling can work together in Tipperary that we can be a really powerful unit.

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Q: Is it any regret that after the biggest day in Tipperary football’s history in 85 years the team weren’t able to celebrate with those supporters?

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DP: For us, for families and friends not to be there, that was really hard going. Ultimately there will come a time and a place that hopefully we can celebrate this victory. But now we have to park this victory. It's about getting ready for the All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo and that's where the players' heads are at as well.

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That was the big thing from last night's session. Yes, we're all absolutely thrilled to bits to win a Munster championship, but if we keep going on about the Munster championship going into Friday's session and into Sunday's session, we're going to be there in body on Sunday week (in the All-Ireland semi-final), but mentally and physically we won't be ready.

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It's really important for us to park that Munster final win now.

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Q: A lot was made of the anniversary of Bloody Sunday coming up to the Munster Final. To what extent would you have been aware of Tipperary’s footballing history?

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DP: I would have always, since 1990, I would have been going to every All-Ireland football final and I always looked at the Roll of Honour every year and I'd be saying, my God, Tipperary have more All-Irelands than a lot a lot of counties. We'll say a lot of strong counties, even, now.

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I'd be always asking my father how come Tipp were very, very strong back there. For me, and I would have grown up with football in my house, the likes of Hugh Kennedy who was the former football chairman, the likes of Mick Frawley, I would have grown up with football, football.

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I would have heard about the history of football back then and that's probably what drove me on to get involved with different development squads. I always had that passion for Tipp football. For us to get back to where it was 100 years ago, last Sunday was the first step. But we've got many, many more steps to get back there and that's what I keep saying, that Tipperary is actually a big enough county that we can compete at both hurling and football at a really, really high level.

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Colin O'Riordan and Steven O'Brien of Tipperary celebrate after the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Final match between Cork and Tipperary at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork.
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Q: How confident are you that Tipperary can raise their game again for the challenge of playing Mayo in the All-Ireland semi-final.

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DP: I think I said it before the Munster final we are kind of a team that gets better with better opposition. We have some very good players and it was actually incredible, I couldn't get over the odds going into the Munster Final, because we have a lot of players that have won Sigerson Cup medals, have played in an All-Ireland semi-final, that have played in U-21 All-Irelands, have played in All-Ireland minor finals. You name it, there's a huge amount of experience there.

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I'm not happy, I want to drive on now. I feel we have an opportunity, like the very same going into the Cork game, if we get a performance I really do think we have a great chance again.

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I think we have to use the Munster Final as a kind of a stepping stone. These lads are certainly not happy with just winning a Munster Final, we're looking towards the Mayo game and I think we're going to be going in with really great confidence.

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I would say we can go up another level. I wouldn’t call our performance in the Munster Final a perfect performance. Our players are not happy, they feel they can really improve.

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I’ll use an example, Steven O’Brien came through a Munster Final when he came into it with an injury and this is where the medical team have done an unbelievable job to get the likes of Steven and Liam Casey out on the field because they had hamstring injuries.

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That game will have brought them on over the next two weeks and we can get better.

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We have to get better in order to beat Mayo but I feel that performance is in us. I don’t want to be coming out and saying the Cork game was our perfect performance because it wasn’t because I know there is more gears in this Tipperary team.

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Q: Cork played quite laterally in the Munster Final and lacked punch in attack. With inside forwards like Cillian O’Connor and Aidan O’Shea, will Mayo present a more direct attacking threat?

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DP: I have heard that Cork were too lateral but that was down to us as well to be honest because we were putting so much pressure on them. When Cork had the ball we were getting our half forwards back in around the midfield and the halfback line but there is no point in getting numbers back there, you have to putting the pressure on and the tackles in and that is what we did against Cork and is why they were going lateral.

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Cork don’t want to go lateral, they want to be running at you and to be fair to us we got our match-ups right tactically.

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Ultimately we are going to have to do something similar again against Mayo because if they are given space with the quality of player they have we are going to be in serious trouble

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Q: Mayo have played Division 1 football for the past 23 years. The perception would be that playing at that level for so long would give them an edge in terms of strength and conditioning on a team like Tipperary. Or do you think the run that you are on now can balance that out?

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DP: It was probably like the Irish rugby team when they were trying to make the breakthrough, they were always able to give the best teams a game for sixty minutes and then they would die away towards the end. To be fair to us, our conditioning is improving the whole time, we are not there yet and even Robbie Cannon (S&C Coach) would say that. Ultimately when I got this management team together, this was a 3-4 year project for us but we are here now and they are in seriously good shape. For us to have few serious injuries considering we have had five tough games is great credit to our strength & conditioning team and to our medical team to be able to pick from a full panel every day.

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“We have the subs to come on as well to help. We have proven that we can go to 75-80 minutes. Obviously Mayo have been in Division 1 for a long time but they have a core group of fellas that have been together for 8-10 years so their conditioning would be ahead of us.

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“We have a lot of good players there and ultimately it will come down to the ability with the ball and what we are going to do with it.

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Cillian O’Connor of Mayo has his shot blocked by Tipperary's Bill Maher during the 2016 GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final game between Tipperary and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin.
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Q: If you’re looking at areas in which Tipperary match up well against Mayo then maybe the middle third stands out. Is that an area you will be targeting?

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DP: Midfield is always a key battle because if we get onto possession we have a great chance. The two big things I took from the Cork game was we did well in midfield, winning both our kickout and their's, we won a lot of breaking ball and it is going to come down to that kind of game on Sunday as well.

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Also the conversion rate is going to be crucial. If we can keep to the standard against Cork where we got a 73% conversion rate in the first half, if we can keep to that standard which is a Division 1 standard, we are going to have a great chance.

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Q: Kevin Fahey was outstanding at centre-back against Cork. Has he come of age as an inter-county footballer?

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DP: Going back to my time as a minor manager, he was U16 back in 2011. I remember there was a lot of soccer teams after him and I remember calling up to his house and said, 'Look would you come into the extended panel with the 2011 team'. He always had that ability. I don't know for some reason over the last couple of years, I'll be honest I could never understand why he wasn't on the football team on a more consistent basis but this year he's found his role at number six and he's been incredible.

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If he keeps performing, he's going to get more bigger honours for himself I feel because he's at that level. For him, I'll never forget what he did last Sunday. He came over to me after the second water break and he says, 'Davy, I think you'd better take me off, I'm on my last warning.' He was on that yellow card and he was at centre-back. For me it just showed me how much of a team player he was as well. If it was about himself he wouldn't have said that.

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It was tough taking off a fella that was playing so bloody well but we couldn't take that risk, we couldn't go down to 14 men because that ultimately would give Cork that kind of momentum to get back into the game. For him to do that just shows how selfless he is. I'm just delighted for him because I would always have been a big believer in Kevin Fahey and that he's really shown his true ability now as well.

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Q: Your captain Conor Sweeney spoke very well after the Munster Final and seem to be already focused on the All-Ireland semi-final. He’s an impressive leader, isn’t he?

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DP: I can't say enough about Conor Sweeney. Not only is he a good player, he's a great leader to the young fellas. Even last night he was the first player out on the field with the 20 footballs, back practicing. That's the type of player he is. He's a very humble individual, it's all about the team with him, everything is about the team, it's not about the individual and obviously he performed to a really, really high level. But he would always say that's because of the team, it's because of the quality of the ball that was going into him.

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So, look, he's been a fantastic leader. I suppose he was captain for the first time last year in 2019 and the season for one reason or another just didn't go right for him. Because he's given so much to Tipp football, it always in my head that I would love to have Conor Sweeney leading Tipperary again in 2020. I'm just delighted for him. Every bit of praise that he gets, he's after earning it.

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Conor Sweeney, right, and Bill Maher of Tipperary celebrate following the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Final match between Cork and Tipperary at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork. 
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Q: The Pairc Ui Chaoimh pitch seemed to suit Tipperary’s expansive style of play in the Munster Final. Are you looking forward to now playing on a similar pitch in Croke Park?

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DP: Croke Park won’t hold any fear for Tipperary. The last two occasions Tipp have played Mayo in 2018 in the qualifier in Thurles, Mayo got a very fortunate goal that day and Tipp were leading the whole way up to that goal so there’s have been a few small things that went in Mayo’s favour over the last two games so Croke Park won’t hold any fear, I think we can really grow into Croke Park and the players like playing there.

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We are fortunate that we played on a surface in Pairc Ui Chaoimh that is similar to Croke Park as well.

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Q: None of your players will lack for motivation, but Robbie Kiely will surely be especially keen to make his mark on this game having been black-carded in the 2016 All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo?

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DP: I remember reading an article after that Tipp-Mayo game and he said that his parents had come up to the game and his brother Damien was after flying back from Australia. For the likes of him, I am really, really, he has this opportunity now to turn things around. Obviously there probably won't be any crowd at our game on Sunday week and that his family won't be there but it gives him an opportunty that probably he mightn't have thought that he would get. I know he's already hungry for it because he was actually talking about it last night. He's got that drive and again he's another player that has given so much to Tipperary football over the last number of years, so it's great for him to be able to get that opportunity.

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Q: When you factor in the bounce the team will get from winning Munster, the high level of experience the panel now has, and the fact that they’ve already played in an All-Ireland semi-final, is it fair to say that Tipperary will never be better set for an All-Ireland semi-final as they are for this one?

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DP: Absolutely. We don't have to worry about the Croke Park factor, for example. All of them have basically played in Croke Park. I'd say the only fella who hasn't played in Croke Park and started last Sunday is probably Conal Kennedy. Everyone else has experienced Croke Park, whether it was with the minors or the seniors in 2016. So that's not going to hold back anyone.

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I suppose in many ways for Tipperary to be in their second All-Ireland semi-final in five seasons is, I think, huge. But, I suppose, with that gap, consistency is the thing. We're quite capable of beating a Division 2, maybe even a Division 1 team. But then the following weekend we could go out and lose to a Division 4 team. That's the consistency that Tipp must strive for now. We're after setting a marker for ourselves and we must keep going. We can't look back anymore, we must keep going up the League table. Because, ultimately, you have to be playing against better teams if you want to be more successful in championships. Now we're on this run I think we're going to have a great chance on Sunday.

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Q: It sounds like you don’t fear the challenge of playing Mayo?

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DP: We won’t fear Mayo. I believe in this Tipperary football team that if we get a performance, that we’ll be very close to Mayo come Sunday. There is no point going into a game if you think you are going to be beaten. I certainly don’t think that way and the players based on training last night don’t think that way. If we get a performance we have every chance on Sunday.

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