Bandon GAA investing in youth to build a better club

Seán Óg Ó hAilpín was on hand recently to talk to the 16 club members who completed the Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Initiative
Bandon GAA investing in youth to build a better club

Shane Aherne and Jack Scannell, Fermoy, battle Darren Crowley, Bandon, last season. The club is looking after young players off the field as well as in hurling and football action. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

BANDON GAA club became the first Cork GAA club to run and complete the Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Initiative.

A total of 16 young club members recently completed modules 1 and 2 which were presented to them at a function by Cork hurling legend Seán Óg Ó hAilpín.

The Healthy Club officer in the Bandon club is Paddy Duggan who enjoys his role.

“It includes all the club, ladies’ football, camogie, and the men’s adult and underage teams. It is a role that is being widely encouraged by Croke Park. It is a very rewarding role,” he said.

Duggan said there are several priorities the Healthy Club officers seek to achieve throughout their various initiatives both for the club and the local community.

“It is helping to improve the welfare of all the members of the club, both on and off the field. It is about the club reaching out to the community and interacting with their community in a positive way. This will hopefully lead to a positive outcome for both the club and the community.

“It gets into areas of health in terms of the growth and blossoming of young people in terms of their general physicality and their mental health. That covers the different life experiences one can have as they go through the life cycle that can be either positive or negative. Nowadays young people can be misdirected or diverted to areas that are negative,” he added.

He paid tribute to the various officers within the club for helping to facilitate their initiatives.

“We have a strong committee and very strong facilitators in the club. The chair of the healthy club is Irene Murphy. She is a great administrator. The chairman of the club Ian Doyle helps provide great support which is important.

“The chair of the underage club John Ahern and the camogie chair Caroline McSweeney are also great. They are all for the whole philosophy of minding players and appreciating the community.”

The young players were presented with their certificates by Seán Óg Ó hAilpín at the official Healthy GAA Club launch, along with their facilitators and Cllr Gillian Coughlan.
The young players were presented with their certificates by Seán Óg Ó hAilpín at the official Healthy GAA Club launch, along with their facilitators and Cllr Gillian Coughlan.

The Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Initiative involves three modules and is run for club members who are aged between 15 and 17 years of age. Duggan said Bandon were the only Cork club to participate in the initiative this year.

“The Dermot Earley Programme is run under the auspices of Croke Park but this time the GAA nationally are working with Foroige. They jointly drew up a programme which is about teaching leadership skills to young people between the ages of 15 and 17 years of age.

“This programme features three modules. NUI Galway accredits the course and all the students who complete the course will be recognised as graduates of the NUI Galway. 16 students this year started the programme.

“Four club members had to train up as facilitators and that training was provided by the GAA and Foroige. The other facilitators were Liz Gleeson, Irene Murphy, Aidan O’Mahony. They put in great work,” he added.

The Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Initiative seeks to impart ‘leadership skills and facilitate them to become leaders in both their club and community.

“These modules were about imparting to the young people leadership skills and facilitating them to be leaders in their club and community.

“It also empowers them to be leaders as they go through life whether that is completing their second-level education or going on to college or going into their workplace. They can use it in their daily lives.

Enthusiastic young members of Bandon GAA with Seán Óg Ó hAilpín and Cllr Gillian Coughlan at the official Healthy Clubs launch. Picture: Denis Boyle.
Enthusiastic young members of Bandon GAA with Seán Óg Ó hAilpín and Cllr Gillian Coughlan at the official Healthy Clubs launch. Picture: Denis Boyle.

“From February to May, we did two hours per night over one night a week. For module two they had to present a research project, such as mental health, homelessness, or gender equality in the GAA.

“They had to write up a resume on their research and present an oral presentation on it. Module three will be undertaken by the students over the summer,” he added.

Bandon GAA Club recently officially launched their Healthy Club and presented the 16 students with their certificates. Cork hurling great Seán Óg Ó hAilpín who was the special guest made a great speech said the Bandon GAA club official.

“Seán Óg Ó hAilpín came along as our guest. We launched the Healthy Club initiative for Bandon GAA and we presented the certificates for modules one and two to our young graduates. Seán Óg made a speech that was about leadership, believing in yourself, and being a doer in life.

“He drew from his experiences both from a hurling perspective and coming to Ireland at a young age. 

He spoke about how eternally grateful he was to various mentors who helped him along the way with his club Na Piarsaigh, North Mon, and with Cork.

“They minded him, mentored him, and ensured that he went along the trajectory that he went. He generally spoke about how vital it is for young people to believe in themselves,” he added.

At the recent Healthy Club were Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, Cllr Gillian Coughlan, chair of Bandon GAA Ian Doyle, and the chair of Bandon underage GAA club John Ahern.
At the recent Healthy Club were Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, Cllr Gillian Coughlan, chair of Bandon GAA Ian Doyle, and the chair of Bandon underage GAA club John Ahern.

Bandon GAA club will be enrolling new students in August as they strive to run the programme again.

Duggan said club officers and coaches have noticed a ‘huge difference’ in the 16 students who successfully completed the Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Initiative.

“We noticed a huge difference in the students after they completed the first two modules.

“The other coaches and mentors in the club have noticed how they have improved in confidence, in their ability to help and volunteer. Many of them are involved in coaching in the club.”

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