Countdown begins to the return to underage training as schools reopen fully

All players up to those turning 18 this year can return to sport on April 26
Countdown begins to the return to underage training as schools reopen fully

The Ballincollig team at Cork City Garda Camogie Blitz in 2019. Hopefully all underage players will be back training in two weeks time.

TODAY, we take another major step forward to a return to play for underage players.

All secondary school students are back in the classroom, as normality starts to return for teenagers across the country.

It has been a tough time for people of all ages, since March of last year, and young people are no exception, with some arguing they have suffered more than many.

Difficult to argue against that, but there are plenty of players of a slightly older age who have also been denied sport and that’s not just confined to GAA.

Hopefully, in two weeks, we will see pod training return and, all going well, a return to full training and games shortly afterwards.

Of course, lots of things can happen to see this advance in a quick and safe manner, or go in the opposite direction. It’s really a case of waiting and seeing what the Government says, first, followed by the relevant organising bodies for the various sports.

Behind the scenes, the organisers of games and leagues have been meeting since Christmas, and before, as they have their plans in place and ready to go once the green light is given.

But the problem all have is they simply don’t know when that will be and all recognise that a certain amount of time must be given to allow sides to train properly — ie, with full contact — before they can be asked to play games.

At the heart of all this activity are the clubs, and all the volunteers must be recognised for their efforts throughout the pandemic, with many either working on the frontline or else helping out in their local communities.

INITIATIVE

With this in mind — ie, the crucial role that clubs play — Munster GAA have launched a development programme for them.

The Munster GAA Club Development Programme is a new initiative that recognises the pivotal role the club plays in all aspects of the GAA.

It is designed to assist and support clubs in developing a structure that empowers volunteers, delivers appropriate coaching inputs, and enhances the club structure to cater adequately for all members.

This initiative is aligned with the existing club and county planning resources available within the association.

It recognises the pivotal role the club plays in all aspects of the GAA and is designed to assist and support clubs in developing a structure that empowers volunteers, delivers appropriate coaching inputs, and enhances the club structure to cater adequately for all members. It will engage with both the adult and juvenile sections.

Launching the project, Munster GAA chairman, Liam Ó Loineacháin, encouraged all county boards and clubs to engage in the programme, stating that: “It is our plan to deliver this vitally important programme to each and every club in the province.”

Every club participating in this initiative will receive a minimum of three visits. It is vital that all sections of the club engage in the process (adult committee, juvenile committee, coaches, officers, administrators, parents and so on).

Games Development Administrators (GDAs) will work closely with other support groups in the county and province to ensure all areas of expertise are made available to the clubs throughout the programme.

An initial audit of all clubs will provide the necessary information to deliver a programme that is suited to the specific needs of every club.

“While we would prefer to deliver the programme ‘face-to-face’, there is a specially adapted online version, which ensures that it can be delivered during the Covid-19 restrictions,” Mr Ó Loineacháin said.

The programme will examine and develop the seven pillars of a successful club: Coaching and games development; volunteers and recruitment; communications and PR; health and wellbeing; finance and fundraising; social and community and organisational structures; and governance.

Chairman of Munster GAA coaching and games development committee, Gearóid Ó Riain, stated that: “While the targets are ambitious, we are confident that we have the programme and the personnel to achieve our aims.

“Our vision is that everybody has the opportunity to be welcomed to take part in our games and culture, to participate fully, to grow and develop, and to be inspired to keep a lifelong engagement with our association.”

The Munster GAA Club Development Programme, which commences in February 2021, has also a specially adapted online version, which ensures that it can be delivered during the Covid-19 restrictions.

For further information, contact your local county games manager. In Cork, that’s Kevin O’Callaghan at kevin.ocallaghan.gm.cork@gaa.ie, or email: info.munster@gaa.ie.

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