Official Connacht GAA Website

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Connacht GAA Coaching and Games Quarterly Newsletter Oct – Dec

December 20th, 2019

Connacht GAA Coaching and Games Quarterly Newsletter Oct – Dec

The following is an update of some of the work that has taken place across Connacht in Coaching and Games for the 4th Quarter of 2019. It will also detail some of the events taking place in the coming months. To read our quarter 1, 2 & 3 report please click on the following links

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.


            The club Go Games programme has finished in all counties. The programme of events for each county is fully outlined in the previous newsletter and can be viewed on the following link

Each county will be reviewing their games programme and it will be starting again in April/May of 2020 .

The Connacht GAA U12 skills challenge competition took place on October 4th for football and October 11th for hurling at the Connacht GAA Centre. A list of the teams that took place can be seen below.

County Hurling Football
Sligo Molaise Gaels, Drumcliffe Ballymote/Bunninadden, Coolaney/Mullinabreena, Drumcliffe/Rosses Point & Geevagh
Roscommon Athleague/Tremane, Four Roads St Dominic’s, Tulsk, Kilmore & Western Gaels
Leitrim Carrig Hurling, Manorhamilton,


Annaduff, Fenagh, St Marys/Kiltoghert & St Josephs.
Mayo Tooreen, Claremorris, Eastern Gaels


Ballinrobe GAA

Ardnaree Sarsfields

Galway Ballinasloe, Moycullen, Ballindereen, Killimor Cortoon Shamrock’s, Caherlistrane, Headford and Annaghadown

Congratulations to Four Roads who won the hurling skills challenge and Eastern Gaels who won the football skills challenge



There are detailed videos outlining the format of the skills star challenge in the Coaching section of the Connacht GAA website. Along with a multitude of other excellent coaching resources they can be viewed in this link:


Super Games activity has been busy over the month of November with centres taking place throughout the province.

County Location
Galway Lough George
Sligo Scarden
Leitrim Annaduff COE
Roscommon Ballyforan
Mayo MacHale Park
  Connacht GAA Centre

The events are for 13-15 year old Gaelic Footballers and Hurlers that were mixed up into random teams and played 4 x 12minute games where all players played for the whole duration of the games in a variety of positions. Due to the demand when the event was run in 2018 and earlier in 2019, Connacht GAA in association with the 5 counties expanded the initiative to 24 football and 6 hurling events across 11 locations with over 700 players taking part. This is an initiative that continues to be very popular  with the players and we plan to have more of them at different age grades in the future.

Following on from Sligo`s successful Youth forum in 2019 ,Galway and Mayo in the past few months have run youth forums with Leitrim and Roscommon’s taking place in January. This is an extremely important initiative as these kids are the future of the association so their opinions on the key issues must be taken into consideration as we look to shape the future of the GAA. Areas that were covered on the day included:

  1. Coaching & Games (6 Key areas)
  2. Referees (Rules/punishments/recruitment etc.)
  3. Promotion of GAA (Newspapers, social media, advertising etc.)
  4. Academy/Development Squads (U14-17)
  5. Fixtures (length of season/no. of games etc.)

The dates for the 2020 Táin Óg Hurling League have just been announced and are as follows:

Under 13: April 6th, April 20th, May 4th, May 18th, June 1st, June 22nd (Semi Finals), July 4th (Final)

Under 15: April 13th,  April 27th, May 11th, May 25th, June 8th, June 29th (Semi Finals), July 25th (Final)

Schools Initiative

Below is the new framework for developing Gaelic Games in our national and second level schools. Two of the programmes – namely the 5 Star centres and Future Leaders – were piloted over the past two years and are now being delivered fully in schools. The next two years will see the piloting of the Junior Cycle Wellbeing and Leaving Cert PE programmes which will then hopefully be rolled out in full once the pilot phase has been fully completed.

September 2018 saw the launch of the GAA`s 5-star centres in our primary schools around the country.  Across Connacht there were:

  • 70 national schools that started this initiative with 44 schools meeting the criteria to receive their 5 Star Centre flag
  • In these schools there were 5,595 pupils involved
  • These pupils throughout the year accumulated a total of 141,746 hours of physical activity through the Have a Ball Programme, Fun and Run, Hurl It/Catch and Kick, Go Games & Go Games Skill Challenges programmes


Those who completed the programme were awarded 5 Star Centre Flags and these flags were raised at the end of the 2018/2019 school year. Interested schools had until September 30th to sign up for this year’s programme. In total we have 134 schools signed up for the 2019/2020 academic year, almost double last year’s total which represents a huge increase. The number of schools signed up for the coming year for each county is as follows:

  • Mayo – 38
  • Roscommon 31
  • Galway 38
  • Leitrim 12
  • Sligo 15

More details about the project can be found on


Junior Cycle Wellbeing – National NCCA Guidelines for Wellbeing published in 2017 has stated; “the Junior Cycle Wellbeing programme will begin with 300 hours of timetabled engagement in 2017 and build up to 400 hours by 2020 as the new Junior Cycle is implemented fully in schools”. The GAA are currently piloting a new initiative for second level schools for teachers to deliver in the coming academic year called ”Going-Well”. This programme is designed for the modern, fast-paced world full of technological innovations that teenagers today are growing up in. It is a basic learning resource that nurtures personal growth and infuses a sense of “Belonging” – belonging to one’s class, one’s school, one’s team, one’s local club and community, the broader Association and ultimately to the Irish nation. It is not just about being physically fit but also focussing on good mind function and how team based-activities can create enjoyment. It also explores how analysis and evaluation of information can give expression to a meaningful set of values. A small number of schools across the province are currently taking part in the programme pilot and we look forward to seeing how this new area develops.

The introduction of the Future Leaders Programme has been a very positive development in the secondary school sector for the association. This initiative was well documented in the previous newsletter. In the 2018/2019 school year 47 secondary schools across the province took part in the initiative with 58 schools taking part in 2019/2020 school year. The modules covered by students on the programme includes Coaching of Hurling/Football, Refereeing, Administration, Sports Journalism, Analysis, Nutrition, Wellbeing and Event Management. In the 2018/2019 academic year, 47 schools in Connacht took part and there were approximately 2,300 transition year students involved. These students ran Super Games Events that had 3,100 youth participants taking part, Go Games Blitzes with 1,880 children involved & Fun and Run events with 60 participants. We would expect to see a marked increase in these already impressive numbers this year with the increase in schools taking part in the programme. We would encourage clubs who have students already taking part in this initiative to link in with the students and ensure they are included in the local club at some capacity given the skills they are after developing.

Cúl Camps

Currently counties are undertaking reviews of 2019 Cúl Camps and formulating plans for the camps in 2020. All camp details are due to go live in January 2020 so keep an eye on

Below is our infographic for numbers that attended our camps in each county in 2019.

We are delighted that the Future Leaders award and Kellogg’s GAA Cúl Camps have formed a partnership for the 2020 Cúl Camp season to give Future Leaders students the opportunity to become assistant coaches at our camps. For more information on this encouraging development please click on the following link

           Academies/Development Squads

            Our County Academy/Development Squads have all finished for the season and counties are currently undertaking reviews and planning for the 2020 season.

In 2020 there will be 5 national academy days for both hurling and football.

The 5 hurling days are: May 16th, June 20th, July 18th, August 8th and August 29th.

The football days are May 9th, may 23rd, July 4th, July 25th and August 15th.

All teams will play a game/games at U14,15 and 16 levels. The exact detail of these blitzes and tournaments will be published in our 2020 1st quarter report.

“The Talent Academy and Player Development Review” document which was published earlier in the year and has been passed by Coiste Bainistí.   The aim of this review is to provide all GAA members with a clear vision for player development within Gaelic Games and its individual units; clubs, schools, 3rd level and counties. There are four key recommended pillars within the review: governance, stakeholder education, games programme and a player pathway framework. For more details the full document can be downloaded on the following link

Below is a breakdown of the scope of the survey and the people that were involved.

Learning and Development

            The majority of Learning and Development courses take place in the first quarter of the year with the number of courses delivered explained in great detail in the 2019 Quarter 1 report which can be viewed on the following link

In this quarter, 9 Foundation courses have taken place across the province with 216 participants. There have also been 9 Award 1 courses delivered with 120 participants taking part.  Our 2020 Award 2 course started on December 14th with the additional 4 days to take place in 2020. There will be approx. 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. For more information on what is covered in each of these courses please click on the following link

To find information on upcoming courses please select the following link:

The Provincial Club Support Programme is in the planning process and counties are currently seeking clubs to take part in the programme.  Below is a description of what is involved in the programme.

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 who are taking part in the programme. The recent phenomena of appointing outside personnel to fill management/coaching roles has in many instances had negative repercussions within our clubs. This programme gives all coaches an opportunity to become participant stakeholders in designing /redesigning club coaching policies for the future. This basic engagement will also create a greater awareness of the comprehensive nature of all coaching and games activities. It affords coaches/managers a greater degree of responsibility to decide future direction of player/coach development within the club.

There are 4 Phases to the Programme:

  1. Assessment of the current status of Coaching and Games within the club. (Club Coaching Forum)
  2. Identification of prioritised coaching projects for year. (Club Coaching Committee) (The Club must identify at least 3 Coaching and Games objectives that will contribute towards the primary purpose)
  3. Provision of Practical Coaching Assistance.
  4. Assessment and review of the programme.

Phase one should be facilitated by at least one tutor. It is also mandatory that the club executive should be actively engaged in the process. Part of this section will require the coaches to conduct a S.W.O.T. analysis.

In the follow-on Phase 2 section the collective opinions should indicate the coaching priorities that the club are going to implement for the year. A time framed action plan with specific objectives and responsibilities should be produced.

In Phase 3 the club can avail of our Coach Education Tutors to facilitate or deliver a practical field-based session or any other appropriate coaching related activity.

Phase 4 is the practical review and assessment of the programme. This is conducted by the County Games Manager and the original appointed Tutor.  Both will meet with the Cub Coaching Officer and the Club executive to decide the outcomes.

Each Club that is accepted on the programme may avail of a grant to the value of €1000.

  Contact Information and Social Media Accounts

Each county has their own unique coaching and games Twitter accounts, and following these accounts is an excellent way of keeping abreast of all the latest news and information about what’s going on in your county. These are the handles to follow:

Galway – @CoachingGalway

Leitrim – @LeitrimG

Sligo – @SligoGAACandG

Mayo – @MayoGAACoaching

Roscommon – @RosCoachingGAA

Connacht – @ConnachtGAA


Provincial Coaching & Games Manager: Cathal Cregg


Connacht GAA Hurling Director Damien Coleman


Galway Coaching & Games Manager: Tom McManus


Leitrim Coaching & Games Manager: Thomas Keenan


Mayo Coaching & Games Manager: Billy McNicholas


Roscommon Coaching & Games Manager: Willie Hegarty


Sligo Coaching & Games Manager: Liam Og Gormley