Gort CS pupils make history by hosting 'GCS Super 9s' hurling tournament
By John Harrington
History will be made by Gort Community School next Tuesday, May 10, on a couple of different fronts.
Not only are they organising a first ever U-15 All-Ireland 9-a-side hurling tournament called the ‘GCS Super 9s’, the competition will be entirely organised and run by Gort Community School students in association with the TY Future Leaders Programme and Connacht GAA.
The TY GAA Future Leaders programme, which has quickly become the largest transition year programme in the 26 counties, was actually founded by Gort Community School teacher and National Coordinator, Eoghan Hanley.
Not surprisingly, the school has always been innovative in terms of how it rolls out the Future Leaders programme and the upcoming ‘GCS Super 9s’ is a perfect case in point.
It won’t be a daunting endeavour for the pupils, they already have plenty of experience in this field.
They run the GCS GAA club, hold an AGM every year and elect pupils to various roles in the club.
The club then organises and oversees all the Future Leaders events they run throughout the year, and have already been very busy this year putting together various on and off-field events.
They held an in-house hurling blitz for 1st and 2nd year students that featured 96 players and organised club-school link meetings to strengthen the links between the schools and clubs in their catchment area and to link Future Leaders students with clubs so they can help in areas like coaching and PR/Social media.
Just last week they organised a hugely successful hurling and camogie blitz for primary schools in their area that featured 450 players, which is why Eoghan Hanley is confident the pupils will also do a great job with the GCS Super 9’s.
"We are really looking forward to it,” he told GAA.ie “It's a unique event for many reasons. It's the only tournament of its kind in the country, pitting school teams against each other who would very rarely meet, and in a format that they would not usually, if ever, have played.
“It's also a unique event because it's being organised by TY Future Leaders pupils. I have really enjoyed working with our Future Leaders pupils this year on the modules in the programme and helping them plan their various events.
“It's really great to see them take on their roles with confidence and take ownership of whatever it is they have organised this year. This U15 tournament is no different and I know it's going to be a great success.
“I'm really looking forward to their fantastic work being showcased on a wider scale. I'd like to thank Damien Coleman and Connacht GAA for their support all year and with this tournament and McKeever Sports for their generous sponsorship of the prizes."
The logistical challenge of organising such a tournament will be challenging, but the Gort CS TY pupils are very well prepared.
Every single one of them has some involvement across a wide range of roles that includes event controllers, PR/Social media, team liaisons, documentary team, catering/refreshments, umpires, ground staff, score-keepers, and equipment managers.
Taking on such responsibility has been an energising experience according to Caoimhe Clancy, GAA Future Leaders TY pupil and Gort CS GAA Club Chairperson
"We are really looking forward to welcoming the schools to Gort on Tuesday 10th May,” she says.
“We have 16 teams playing on the day and it's very exciting because it's something totally different for all involved. As TY Future Leaders pupils we are looking forward to it because a lot of work and planning has gone into this much like the other events we have organised this year.
“We all know our roles for the tournament and what we need to do. It's busy but it's enjoyable and it's great having the responsibility and freedom to plan events like this and to see them being a success.
“We’re hoping people will keep an eye on @gcsgaa on social media to see how the day is going on the 10th of May.”
The tournament itself should provide a feast of hurling for anyone who can attend because it’s drawn together some of the most famed hurling nurseries in the country including St. Flannan’s Ennis, Ardscoil Rís Limerick, St Colman’s Fermoy, St. Brigid’s Loughrea, St Brendan’s CS Birr, and Our Lady’s Templemore.
Gort CS themselves, of course, have a very proud record of high achievement in hurling and camogie, and school principal, Brian Crossan, is looking forward to what should be a real celebration of the sport.
"We are delighted to be organising and hosting the first ever All-Ireland U15 9-a-side hurling tournament, the only one of its kind in the country,” he said.
“Here in Gort Community School we strive to promote hurling and camogie and to provide as many opportunities for involvement as possible for all our students.
“Our Transition Year Future Leaders pupils have done fantastic work all year in organising their various events and the lead up to this tournament has been no different.
“They have shown tremendous leadership skills and we are all looking forward to the 10th May to see some fantastic hurling and our Future Leaders pupils hard work come to fruition."
GCS Super 9s’ groups
Gort CS King Guaires
Our Lady's Templemore
Colaiste Eoin Stillorgin
St Brigids Loughrea
Seamount College Kinvara
St. Mary's College Belfast
Gort CS Round Towers
Ardscoil Ris Limerick
St Joseph's Tulla
St Colmans Fermoy
St Flannans Ennis
John the Baptist CS Hospital
St Brendans CS Birr