THE O’Donovan Rossa GAA Club has been chosen to represent Cork in the Lidl One Good Club programme, which is a mental health initiative in association with the LGFA and Jigsaw which is the National Centre for Youth Mental Health.
The programme is developed around five themes and aims to raise awareness and improve understanding of mental health on a national basis.
O’Donovan Rossa club PRO Grace O’Mahony said the club are delighted to be chosen to represent Cork in this national initiative.
“It is great to represent Cork, a county with a very proud and strong GAA history. O’Donovan Rossa has many girls representing the club at inter-county level and all age groups compete at a high level.
"This programme will hopefully help us to continue to support our ever-growing number of players,” she said.
The Carbery divisional club had to meet several specific requirements to ensure they were chosen as the Cork participant in the One Good Club initiative said Grace.
“There was an application form that had to be submitted, in which I had to explain why O’Donovan Rossa should be chosen.
"I felt that Mental Health Awareness is more important than ever in our society at the moment, and I wanted to help others with their awareness and attitude toward mental health. It is important for people to have a safe place and for some, football is that place.”
Although the national programme is run in conjunction with the LFGA and Jigsaw, O’Donovan Rossa aims to implement the initiative through the three clubs involved within their club which comprises the ladies’ section, the adult men’s team and their underage section said the club PRO.
“Although the application form is for ladies’ clubs only, O’Donovan Rossa has all three clubs on board which includes the underage boys, adult men and ladies. We felt that everyone in the club would benefit from the implementation of the programme, and it would bring us closer together.
"I believe a unifying approach is needed when it comes to the promotion of mental health awareness and helping people to talk about it more.
"O’Donovan Rossa will benefit from this if we all work together. Many families have both a son and daughter playing so it makes sense to involve everyone.”
The One Good Club programme is scheduled to run over a ten-week period. It aims to focus on five themes Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Give and Connect Each theme will be run over a two-week timeframe. Each theme is designed to promote fun and a healthy mind. The club held their first themed evening last Friday evening which proved a huge success.
Grace said the club has lots of exciting initiatives planned over the coming weeks for the programme. “For our first themed event Be Active, we held a club event over in the Riverside Complex which involved players from most teams such as the senior teams, junior ladies’ players and underage players. Derek Tobin created an obstacle course which was completed by teams made up of the various age groups. Hegarty’s Costcutters supplied some treats and drone footage was taken of the event. It was great to see the younger players interact with the older ones and just have fun.
“Everyone is aware that being active is one step towards a healthy mind. We have lots of exciting fitness-themed initiatives lined up for the club members and players. Deirdre Connolly is kindly going to host a nutrition talk for some of the teams and Jennie Brickley is going to do Pilates. I have full support from all the committees which I am very thankful for. Body Active West Cork has also offered to come on board, and we are hoping to hold a session with them in the coming weeks. This initiative is all about community and we are trying our best to support this aspect,” she added.
Raising awareness around mental health and offering support to people who are struggling are key concepts of this national initiative run by the LGFA and Jigsaw. Grace said Covid has had an impact on people’s lives as well. “I think sometimes you spend so much time trying to get things done, that you forget to enjoy life. Covid-19 has also had its effects on society. It is even hard to imagine that less than two years ago we could not go outside our house only for exercise or food. It was a hard time for everyone, and we should give each other credit for that.” Grace previously served as the PRO of the ladies’ club, but since the start of this year she has taken over as PRO of all the teams involved within the O’Donovan Rossa GAA Club. Grace said she is ‘loving’ her role as club PRO. “I am the PRO of the whole club since the start of this season. I have been with the ladies’ club since 2017 and each year I’ve tried to improve some aspect. This year, we have put together a public relations group to try and further develop the PRO strategy of the club. I am loving it. I love to see all the underage players posing for the pictures I post and being proud to represent the club and town. Although there are three clubs under the O’Donovan Rossa umbrella, unity is something that must exist for success to occur, in anything.”