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Cairde Chorcaí will spend on grassroots to remedy Cork's low coaching ratio

The next step for Cairde Chorcaí is the building of a global network of supporters to boost investment in Cork GAA at elite and grassroots level.

Speaking at an event to honour long-serving Cork GAA medic Dr Con Murphy, group chairman Ted Owens emphasised Cairde Chorcaí’s ambition to provide “Cork teams with the extra spurt needed to get these teams winning All-Irelands”.

Ted Owens

Saturday night’s event was the first major project organised by the group, whose board includes a host of former Cork players and coaches, including Conor Counihan, Conor McCarthy, Kieran Kingston, Tom Kenny, Tomás Mulcahy, Rena Buckley and Tony Nation.

“We always knew it was going to be a good night,” said Owens, of the Dr Con tribute. “A great turnout, tables completely sold out. Our biggest difficulty was turning people away.

“We’ve been established now for about a year and we have every intention of being a great support to Cork teams and give that extraspurt needed to get these teams winning All-Irelands.”

“It’s about Cork people coming together to support Cork and the GAA teams.

“The next thing is to broaden our base. We need to get members involved, to build up a membership of Cork GAA supporters, be they in Cork, Ireland and abroad. We want to involve the masses, so to speak.”

Cairde Chorcaí is a limited company founded independently of the Cork County Board, and will donate funds to the board as it “sees fit for the betterment of Cork GAA”.

There has already been spending on video analysis equipment for the Cork senior hurlers, training gear, and training days for the senior football and camogie teams.

But there will also be a focus on grassroots level and funding coaches for schools and juvenile clubs.

Cork GAA has one of the lowest ratios of Games Development Officers to clubs in the country, the group says.

"The GDO to club ratio in Cork is 1:37, compared with 1:18 in Tipperary, 1:11 in Limerick and 1:10 in Kerry," a statement released by Cairde Chorcaí said.

Owens added: “Initially we started looking at the senior teams, but from little acorns.

“We hope to help with the coaching in schools and youth generally in the county. A centre of excellence is something we’re looking at. But we realise that money has got to be invested at grassroots level at a young level.”