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The Ellistown Under 14 team enjoyed a productive campaign in 2019.
The Ellistown Under 14 team enjoyed a productive campaign in 2019.

GAA Programmes helping Ellistown to develop


By Cian O’Connell

Ellistown GAA continues to prepare for the future.

That is why the Club Leadership Development Programme and Club Planning Programme are supplying valuable assistance according to Ellistown secretary Ger Arnold.

Currently in the initial stages of forming a plan for Ellistown in Kildare, Arnold acknowledges the significance and guidance provided.

“We are currently starting a five year development plan, it should be between three and five years, we haven't finished the finer details, but the level of support is good,” Arnold says.

“A lot of clubs have already done what we want to do so what we are finding is we are able to reference different projects from different clubs, who went down the development route with facilitators.”

It is something which has struck Arnold in recent years, the willingness of people to share information and help.

“Without doubt, the knowledge is there and the support is there,” Arnold adds. “Our biggest problem was to get people to buy into it. Having clubs local to us we were able to say to our members we could reference clubs to look at what they have achieved.

“There is a lot of talk of money in Dublin and the bigger clubs having the money, this and that, but we were able to reference clubs the same size as ourselves, small rural clubs to see what they have achieved.”

That is why Arnold stresses the benefits of the CLDP which strives to benefit new and existing officers. “I'm lucky in the sense that I sit on the CCC in Kildare, the secretary is Petria Dobbyns, who is the Development Officer for Kildare,” Arnold states.

“I have first hand knowledge from her, the information is there and it is a matter of pulling the teams together and utilising the facilitators for the different counties.”

A gym and fitness centre is currently being developed by Ellistown GAA.
A gym and fitness centre is currently being developed by Ellistown GAA.

The role of officers on executive committees has altered dramatically and that means the CLDP’s offerings carry importance.

“Without a doubt, typically your secretary's role was correspondence,” Arnold replies. “That was it. Times have changed, even the GAA has changed, it isn't necessarily just about a football match now. It is about greater community spirit.

“We have people there who mightn't have kicked a ball in 50 years, but they are still there at every meeting. If you ring they are the first ones to answer. Again probably an example of that, I got a call maybe six months ago from Carbury GAA.

“They were offered by Kildare County Council to put a playground in on their facilities. We had got one maybe a year and a half beforehand, they asked me about it, how it was working for us, and asked would I talk to a few of their older committee members.

“Their opinion was why should we be putting this in, it was nothing to do with the GAA, that they wouldn't benefit from it. So I went, met a couple of them and said it isn't necessarily about a match at 6 o'clock on a Saturday. It is about the community as whole. They have a clubhouse and I asked them what is on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The answer I got was Bingo on a Monday, this on a Tuesday, that on a Wednesday....

“Out of the five nights they had something in their hall that had nothing to do with GAA, but it has to do with the community. The community aspect has come into it more.”

Ultimately Arnold is satisfied that the Planning Programme has aided club officers in Ellistown. “Yes, it definitely is effective,” Arnold remarks.

“We are at the early stages so we haven't drawn up the final plan of what we want to achieve. Our next stage is going to be an open meeting. If we have 100 people there we will get them into groups of 10 tables and hit them with questions that we need answers for there and then.

“We don't want them thinking about stuff for two or three weeks beforehand, we want to catch them on the fly to get as honest an answer as you can get.

“That is something I have taken from a couple of meetings we have had in Kildare GAA in terms of fixtures analysis, stuff has been developed through the GAA and we can take it back to club level.”

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