The Paudie Kissane column: Covering all the coaching angles

The Paudie Kissane column: Covering all the coaching angles
Paudie Kissane and Clare's Dean Ryan. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

I FIRST crossed paths with Alan O’Connor in 2007 as we both were members of the 2007 All-Ireland junior football winning team.

The raw talent he displayed then developed further over the next number of years, as he became a vital cog in many Cork senior teams. Alongside the memorable 2010 journey, it’s hard not to forget the dominant performances he gave in Killarney plus the image of the outrageous one-handed fielding of the ball versus Down in Croke Park in 2011.

Alan O’Connor is what you would consider the ideal teammate. A player who was always 100% honest, committed and would do anything to help Cork win. He set the intensity in training and come match day he relished the battle.

He led by his actions and was really valued by the people who were involved with Cork during his time. Unfortunately, a succession of injuries didn’t help his cause over the last number of years.

Alan O'Connor in action against Rory Kavanagh and Odhran MacNiallais. Picture: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Alan O'Connor in action against Rory Kavanagh and Odhran MacNiallais. Picture: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

The pace and intensity of the modern game requires players in peak fitness and health. Hopefully though for many years to come, St Colum’s will still benefit his presence in both football and hurling.

The Cúl Camps have been one of the GAA’s success stories for a number of years. It is the largest summer camp provided to kids between six and 13.

The Erin's Own Cúl Camp this summer. Picture: Larry Cummins
The Erin's Own Cúl Camp this summer. Picture: Larry Cummins

Clubs all over the country run these camps very successfully. While ensuring our young members are active, they also teach new skills and display how much fun it is to play both codes. I experienced this first hand this year as I delivered an Athlete Development module.

In conjunction with the Cúl Camp, many clubs have thriving nursery programmes and an increase in participation levels. The provision of a regular blitz programme by the local GDAs obviously assists too.

Following this progress you must question is there room to provide more for teenagers? During breaks in club activity and during mid-term breaks the better young players are catered for with regional or academy squad activity. Could club players, in general, be catered for with their own club camp?

These types of camps could be run over two or three days. Alongside sport-specific sessions, it could be an opportunity to educate our players on lifestyle and leadership skills. Some players are giving up on the GAA too early. A concern given the mental illness challenges which prevail in modern society.

I had the pleasure of delivering a practical workshop as part of Davis College GAA night last Monday evening in Mallow. This event was organised by teacher Pat Bradley to provide support to coaches in the local area while also displaying the commitment the college has to GAA.

Donal O’Grady started off proceedings with a video analysis sessions zoning in on key elements of modern inter-county hurling. These facets of play were relevant to club level also.

There was common ground with football in O’Grady’s discussion on angles, support play and good use of possession, short and long. Like any sport, the more successful teams make better decisions on and off the ball regularly. Having been to many workshops over the years it was a different approach using video and something I feel could work again.

Donal O'Grady analysing tactics. Picture: Dan Linehan
Donal O'Grady analysing tactics. Picture: Dan Linehan

Donal O’Grady’s presentation was followed up by Cork Coaching Officer Kevin O’Donovan presenting his views on GAA systems and structures, and the way forward. He identified the elements that needed to be improved and how they would integrate together.

Relating this to coaching, it has never been easier to get access to drills and conditioned games content to ensure we provide fun varied sessions. The challenge though can be firstly identifying why a player or team is not performing and then secondly setting up a session to improve that deficiency. Players can be having great training sessions but still plateau in development.

Kevin had a focus on participation and performance. His ethos was about creating links from U6 up to adult level and ensuring there is a regular program of games for players of all levels.

Considering this it will be interesting to see the Master Fixture plan the GAA will reveal soon. A consistent countywide club fixture template seems the only way forward to ensure any chance of meeting club players’ needs.

John Dwyer with the U13s at a Ballincollig hurling camp. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
John Dwyer with the U13s at a Ballincollig hurling camp. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Looking ahead to this weekend Nemo Rangers are undoubtedly the favourites but I still feel St Finbarr’s have a great opportunity.Barry O’Driscoll’s availability could have a major bearing on the result. An under-rated player in many ways, injuries have hampered his progress but once fully fit O’Driscoil always has proved a handful.

Another area of influence will be Alan McCarthy’s performance. McCarthy will more than likely pick up either Luke Connolly or Paul Kerrigan. His ability to shut down the opposition danger men in previous games was of major benefit to his team.

That the game is in the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh adds extra spice to it and you would be envious of both finalists next Sunday.

There will not be much in it but if St Finbarr’s can follow up their semi-final performance with another clean sheet, then they certainly could be county champions.

CONTACT: @paudiekissane or visit

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