Like the entire world, the Covid19 crisis has had a massive impact on Coaching and Games and the wider GAA on a scale that nobody could have foreseen. For a large chunk of the quarter we were unable to play and coach the games we love and this has been incredibly difficult for everybody. To try and replace this void we have put a huge emphasis on producing relatable content on our Connacht GAA Coaching and Games Social Media pages with good drills and home exercise plans posted on each page daily. The handles for these accounts can be seen here:
Galway – @CoachingGalway
Leitrim – @LeitrimG
Sligo – @SligoGAACandG
Mayo – @MayoGAACoaching
Roscommon – @RosCoachingGAA
Connacht – @ConnachtGAA
Here is an update on the work carried out in Coaching and Games in Connacht for the first quarter of 2020 below. Everyone stay safe and adhere to public health guidelines and we will be back on the pitch before we know it!
Coaching and Games is broken up into 6 key areas (Outlined below) which feed into the National & Provincial Coaching and Games plan. Each county then has a county coaching plan which is tailored to suit the individual county’s needs. This is implemented by the County Games Manager, County Coaching Officer, and Games Development staff in each of the counties on a day to day basis. Governance for the plan is over seen by the County Steering Committee which consists of the County Chairperson, Secretary, Coaching Officer, Games Manager, Treasurer & PRO who meet 6-8 times per year to review how the plan is going.
6 Key Areas
Area 1 – Child Games Opportunities (0-12 year)
Area 2 – Youth Games Opportunities (12-18years)
Area 3 – School Initiatives
Area 4 – Camps
Area 5 – Talent Academies
Area 6 – Learning & Development
National Go Games Week was planned for Saturday April 4th to Sunday April 19th. Each county was due to hold a blitz day in the county to launch the Go Games in the county for 2020. The club Go Games programmes were due to commence after these dates but are postponed until further notice.
The 2020 Connacht GAA Go Games Days in Croke Park wer due to take place on April 8th and 9th. The football clubs taking part were:
- Melvin Gaels
- The Neale
- Roscommon Gaels
- Ballinamore Sean O’Heslins
- Eastern Harps
The hurling clubs taking part on the day were:
- Carrick on Shannon
- Cluanian Manorhamilton
- Castlebar Mitchels
- Four Roads
- Padraig Pearses
- Easky / St Farnans
- Molaise Gaels
- Western Gaels
For these Go Games Days the players involved would get to play a number of games in Croke Park and get a tour of the Croke Park Museum. This initiative, which was spearheaded by former Connacht GAA Games Manager, John Tobin, first took place twelve years ago and has been an outstanding success. So far, over the twelve years every club in the province have had the opportunity of experiencing Croke Park. These days will be rescheduled for later in the year and the above clubs will get to participate.
Unfortunately, as notified by the Ard Stiúrthóir Tom Ryan on March 18th due to the Coronavirus outbreak, both Provincial and National Feiles for 2020 have been cancelled.
Weather conditions in January and February were particularly bad, so it was great to be able to stage so many Super Games Events. Super Games Centres are where small-sided games are provided for youth participants aged 12-17 years on an age-related and developmental needs basis. Super Games Centre’s in essence can be defined as informal developmental games opportunities where participants oversee the organisation of the game, are youth centred and where the prevailing values of the event are set by the youths. The initiative was originally developed to try and counteract the 49% drop off rate seen across the GAA in the age groups between 12 – 17 year of age. In total there were 12 separate Super Game Centres across the province with 450 kids getting games in a fun environment with the emphasis on participation and enjoyment of the games. Several other events were scheduled but fell foul of the bad weather.
Here is a table of venues where Super Game Events took place in Connacht in these months:
|Roscommon Community School||28|
The Tain Og Hurling league at U13 and U15 has been rescheduled until later on in 2020. There are 13 teams from Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon and Mayo in the U13 competition and 13 in the U15 competition with all participating clubs named below.
U13 Clubs Taking Part:
|Sligo||Easky / St Farnans|
|Sligo||St. Molaise Gaels|
U15 Clubs Taking Part:
|Sligo||Easky /St Farnans|
September 2018 saw the launch of the GAA`s new 5-star centres in our primary schools around the country. The programme consists of the 5 existing programmes listed below
- Have a Ball Programme
- Fun and Run
- Come on and play/catch and kick
- Go Games
- Go Games Skills Challenges
Across the province there are 117 national schools taking part in the initiative in 2020, which is above a significant increase on the 70 that took part in 2019. For the most part the schools have really embraced the initiative and it is working well. I see this as being a huge project for the Association going forward and I would encourage clubs to give their full support to this project with their local national schools and help them where necessary. Schools that participate in each of the 5 initiatives for a minimum of 1 hour per week and over a period of 26 weeks will be recognised as a 5-star centre and presented with a 5-star centre flag.
For more information on the 5 Star centre please visit www.learning.gaa.ie/5star
Our full-time staff were in the process of delivering their yearly schools coaching rotas before the Coronavirus came so it majorly disturbed the planned schedule in each county. This will commence when schools get back in operation.
During this period when Primary Schools are closed and children are at home, the GAA will publish a series of daily learning activities and skill challenges to support parents and children in achieving their academic and physical activity needs. Updates can be taken daily from the following website https://learning.gaa.ie/primary-school
The introduction of the Future Leaders Programme has been a very positive development in the secondary school sector for the association. It is a further development of the existing TY Programme that has been running for a number of years. The Future Leaders Transition Year Programme is a joint initiative from the GAA and the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST). It is a cross-curricular programme comprising of a series of modules designed to encourage maturity, initiative, responsibility and leadership abilities in pupils. The Programme gives pupils the knowledge and skills to support all roles required for the effective staging of Gaelic Games. As part of the programme pupils are challenged to organise and run a GAA Super Games Blitz or set up a Super Games Centre for younger students and/or support the coaching of younger players in their school or community. The programme consists of 8 modules, varying in length but generally lasting between 6 and 10 hours in duration with each module being stand alone and individually certifiable. The modules cover areas such as the Coaching of Hurling/Football, Refereeing, Administration, Sports Journalism, Analysis, Nutrition, Wellbeing and Event Management. There are at present 58 secondary schools across the province taking part in the initiative. This is a significant improvement on the 2019 number of 47 with that number set to increase in the coming years. Given the skills that these students are developing at such a young age, if they are linked in with local clubs it can only be a positive for the association in the future. The level of games activity from this programme will be highlighted in the next edition of the newsletter. The GAA/PDST Future Leaders group have designed the Solo Challenge to promote positivity, physical activity and wellbeing among young people, while encouraging them to stay at home and follow HSE guidelines at the same time. This is a student and teacher challenge which will run for a number of weeks. There are individual and schools’ prizes to be won. For more information visit https://learning.gaa.ie/gaasolo
The GAA is committed to doing everything possible to stage the Cúl Camps in 2020. To get the latest updates on the news on the Cúl Camps visit https://www.kelloggsculcamps.gaa.ie/covid-19 and keep an eye on County Social Media Channels.
As notified by the Ard Stiúrthóir Tom Ryan on March 18th due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Celtic Challenge and all activity involving Academy Squads has been cancelled for 2020.
Learning and Development
In order to facilitate learning while people are abiding by the governments enforced restrictions, every Tuesday and Thursday at 7.30pm there is a webinar hosted by the GAA Coaching and Games Department. The list of speakers can be viewed below and all the information can be seen in this link. Please note that you have to register for each webinar individually as places are limited.
The programme of events has been completed up until the end of April. Beginning next week we have:
- Tuesday, April 7th – Q and A – Owen Mooney,
- Thursday, April 9th – Webinar – Gerard O’Connor, Games Development Manager, Dublin GAA
- Tuesday, April 14th – Q and A – Stuart Lancaster, Senior Coach, Leinster Rugby
- Thursday, April 16th – Webinar – Dr. Damien Young, Performance Analyst Tipperary Senior Hurlers / Cliodhna O’Connor, Coach, Dublin Senior Hurlers and Orlaith Curran, Athletic Development Coach, IRFU*
- Tuesday, April 21st – Q and A – Liam Moggan, Coach Educator
- Thursday, April 23rd – Webinar – Shane Keegan, former Manager Wexford Youths, Galway United
- Tuesday, April 28th – Q and A – Prof Wade Gilbert, Fresno State University, California. Coach, Canadian Olympic Softball Team
- Thursday, April 30th – Webinar – Johnny Bradley, Programme Director MSc Sports Performance Analysis, Carlow IT
* Note that the April 16th Webinar event will be two separate webinars. One involving Dr Damien Young, and the second involving Cliodhna O’Connor and Orlaith Curran.
Since the start of the year 23 Foundation courses have taken place across the province. 466 participants have taken part in these courses. There have also been 10 Award 1 courses delivered with 170 participants taking part. There have also been various up-skilling coaching workshops taking place across the province, such as National Hurling Co-Ordinator Martin Fogarty conducting Hurling Wall Ball Workshops in each county. Our 2020 Award 2 course which started on December 14th and had two additional days completed in 2020 but unfortunately this has been postponed until we are able to resume safely. There are 50 participants taking part in the course. All modules are delivered by our Connacht GAA tutors. These courses are having a hugely positive effect for a large number of players and clubs around the province. Since the start of the Coronavirus crisis a number of online foundation courses have commenced. To get more information on these please look at the county coaching social media channels or email your county Games Mangers.
The Provincial Club Support Programme was in full swing before the restrictions were imposed, with 25 selected clubs having started engaging in the programme and all clubs at various stages. The primary purpose of the Club Coaching Support Programme is to build self-sufficiency and self-sustainability within each club in all aspects of coaching/management and player development. There has been a great response from the clubs having benefited from the program over recent years. The structure of the three nights involved for the club on the programme have been outlined in previous newsletters https://connachtgaa.ie/news/connacht-gaa-coaching-and-games-quarterly-report-january-march/
Each Club that is accepted on the programme may avail of a grant to the value of €1000.
Below are the clubs availing of the program in 2020
|Ahascragh Fohenagh||Coolaney Mullinabreena||Caiseal Gaels||Melvin Gaels||St Aidan`s|
|Tynagh Abbey Duniry||Coolera/
|The Neale||Gortletteragh||St Michaels|
|St Michaels||St Johns||Belmullet|