Glanworth determined to use GAA downtime to plan for the future

Avondhu unit part of a new Munster Council initiative to help clubs develop
Glanworth determined to use GAA downtime to plan for the future

Jack Coughlan, Glanworth, looking to break past Jack Curtin of Rockchapel during their Intermediate A football championship semi-final last season. Picture: Dan Linehan

GLANWORTH are making good use of the down-time to plan for the club’s future well-being.

January is normally a month for preparing for the season ahead but given the current restrictions and general uncertainty, it means everything has stalled.

Yet, it’s a chance to take stock and carry on behind the scenes as Mikey Sheehan, chairman of the local Strategic Development Group, outlined.

“Usually what happens is that you have an eight to 10 month playing season and then you’ve two months to get your AGM sorted before going again,” he said.

“This gives us an opportunity to take a step back and look inwards. Given the fact it’s lockdown, we decided to set up a strategic review committee that would look at developing a five-year plan for the club.

“Instead of having three separate clubs in the community, the adult, juvenile and ladies sections all working in different directions, we looked at bringing them all in under the one umbrella.

The question we ask is ‘where do we see Glanworth GAA in five years’ time?’

“As well as the three clubs we looked at other key stakeholders in the community like the schools and the community council to make sure it’s a genuine community effort.

“The GAA club is the biggest in an area of around 2,000 people and we identified five key pillar areas, administration, structure, fund-raising, development and coaching.”

Conor Cavanagh, representing the Cavanagh family, who opened the fully floodlit, astroturf facility in Glanworth in 2019 with Thomas Fitzgibbon, secretary; James O'Keeffe, treasurer; Liam Cotter, Chairman and Mikie Sheehan, all of Glanworth community development group. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Conor Cavanagh, representing the Cavanagh family, who opened the fully floodlit, astroturf facility in Glanworth in 2019 with Thomas Fitzgibbon, secretary; James O'Keeffe, treasurer; Liam Cotter, Chairman and Mikie Sheehan, all of Glanworth community development group. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

And with perfect timing, the Munster Council were rolling out a support frame-work programme under the direction of local GDAs, Colm Crowley, Kevin O’Callaghan and Pat Spratt.

“As far as I know Blarney are the only other club in Cork to be involved and we were only too delighted to come on board.

“Pat became our local contact and he was in fact coach to our last county winning side in 2009, so we’re good friends with him.

“We held our first webinar recently and had over 30 people from the community with representatives from the three GAA sections and both principals from the local schools participated.

“There was a good buy-in and that was encouraging given that there’s very little going on during lockdown. The intention now is to draw up a plan, implement it and drive on.”

GOALS

Targets are aspirational for the moment until Glanworth get down to the specifics.

“We will be asking ourselves questions like ‘are our facilities fit for purpose?’

“Should we be getting to a place in five years’ time where we have two fully flood-lit pitches with a running track and improved dressing rooms?

“Do we want to be playing intermediate hurling instead of junior or premier intermediate football instead of intermediate? If so, what are the plans for getting there?

“It’s also about going to back to basics for coaching structures and making sure they’re right because that’s very important, especially in linking with the schools.

“Extending our membership base and fundraising to ensure all our teams have the proper equipment are other issues. These are all basics, but they’re important to get right first and build solid foundations for the future of Glanworth GAA.

“And one of the key things is to get the three clubs, who are doing fantastic work, talking and working with one another to make a cohesive club.

“I think you can make a lot out of that like developing players and keeping families involved in the GAA.

Our membership is small given that we have a base of around 2,000 and how do we widen the net to bring in extra funding which would allow you do all of this?

“Colm and Pat presented the webinar and as part of that set-up four groups covering areas like nursery, youth, adult and administration. Those four groups will meet over the coming weeks before meeting the Munster Council and the GDAs in about a month’s time.

“They will then conduct a review based on what we come up with and assist us in structuring that plan.

“From a personal point of view, I’m excited about it because there’s very little else to do during these strange times.”

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