Rebel Óg coaches fill the hurling and football gap during GAA lockdown

Rebel Óg coaches fill the hurling and football gap during GAA lockdown
U11 action from a Ballincollig GAA club hurling Easter Camp, which is run annually by schools coach John Dwyer. This year kids have to work on their skills at home.

EASTER camps in the clubs across Cork are usually the sign that we’re heading towards the GAA season.

The pitches are firming up and the bounce of the ball is that bit better.

Of course, all sports run activities during the school holidays but an Easter hurling camp is a signal for the period when Gaelic games have priority in Ireland.

Obviously, with the country locked down, there were no fun and games over the past two weeks. In that vacuum, the games development officers in Cork decided to run an online Rebel Óg Easter Camp.

The ProCampsCork hurling & camogie camp was very popular last summer. Picture: Denis Minihane.
The ProCampsCork hurling & camogie camp was very popular last summer. Picture: Denis Minihane.

They put two live sessions daily on YouTube for four days running, one for four to eight-year-olds and the second for nine to 12-year-olds. They combined hurling and football skills tips with mobility work and were suitable for young players from beginner to advanced.

There were 11,000 views across the week and the sessions are still available to watch and learn from while we wait for a return to full GAA action.

Games Manager Kevin O’Callaghan noted Colm Crowley had floated the idea at a recent meeting and the other GDAs rowed in behind it. 

“There was some excellent content to bring the project to fruition. Numbers have been beyond our expectations with 11,000 views of the content through the week and we are exploring further similar projects in the near future reaching out to teenage players also.”

Ronan Dwane, Eoghan O'Connor, Tracey Kennedy, Jim Healy and Kevin O'Callaghan at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Ronan Dwane, Eoghan O'Connor, Tracey Kennedy, Jim Healy and Kevin O'Callaghan at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Colm Crowley and Pat Spratt, who was an All-Ireland winning U20 football selector last year, ran the sessions for younger players, with James McCarthy, who was involved with the All-Ireland winning Cork minor footballers in 2019, and Paudie O’Brien catering for the older kids.

“Feedback from parents has been really positive with this novel initiative allowing parents and children to get active together and engage in physical activity to boost fitness and mental health in a fun way,” said O’Callaghan.

They can be viewed via rebelogcoaching.com/easter-camp/

There are a number of initiatives being run by the GDAs, including ‘Wednesday Night Webinars’ with a different guest speaker catering to coaches of club players each week. Éire Óg Barry Corkery, who was on board with the minor footballers last year, and Pat Spratt featured recently.

There is also an online foundation course coming up across eight weeks, which will allow up to 300 new coaches to gain accreditation.

Further details are on rebelogcoaching.com

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