The Ladies Gaelic Football Association today hosted the final part of the inaugural Gaelic4Teens programme. 9 clubs from 9 different counties attended Croke Park today where players aged from 15-17 years were able to learn from some of the very best players in the game including Cora Staunton (Mayo), Orlagh Farmer (Cork), Sharon Courtney (Monaghan) and Cliodhna O’Connor (Dublin).
The pilot programme lasted 8 weeks culminating in today’s activities at Croke Park. Throughout the programme clubs were educated on how best to deal with the much documented drop off age between 15-17 years. Gaelic4Teens was aimed at clubs as much as the players to help educate clubs and coaches on the need and interests of teenage girls in sport.
During the 8 week programme coaches and co-ordinators from each of the participating clubs attended two training days that were specifically designed to help them engage with teenage female players. The training helped to change coaches behaviour and their approaches to dealing with players aged 15-17 years with the aim of retaining the players within the club. Clubs received 6 training sessions that were specifically tailored to this age group and differed from the sessions generally employed in other age grades that the clubs then rolled out themselves.
The final day of the programme aimed to knit together all of the aspects of the previous 8 weeks as players came to Croke Park to receive informative talks and advice from top intercounty players to help them deal with life on and off the field. Multiple All Ireland winner, Orlagh Farmer (Cork) discussed Lifestyle Planning, Monaghan All Star Sharon Courtney gave a masterclass in nutrition and hydration, All Ireland winner Cliodhna O’Connor discussed physical fitness whilst Mayo legend, Cora Staunton gave a skills development masterclass. All players also participated in a non-competitive blitz on the hallowed turf of Croke Park.
After completing the programmes the participating clubs will be armed with all the knowledge and skills necessary to retain players in their late teens and their progress will be consistently monitored throughout the next year.
LGFA National Development Manager, Paula Prunty, said ‘We were very pleased to introduce this pilot programme aimed at players in their mid to late teens. There has been much discussion about the ‘drop-out’ age but we decided it was best to have a proactive approach to attracting and retaining players. We also realised that the emphasis of this programme needed to be on the clubs as much as the players. We have endeavoured to provide clubs with as much knowledge and practical advice as possible to enable them to retain these players that they have nurtured through their underage teams. We look forward to continuing our work with these clubs in the coming year and monitoring their progress as we look to roll out this programme on an annual basis.’
Gaelic4Teens Pilot Programme Participants
St. Brigid’s (Roscommon), Eire Óg (Clare), Valley Rovers (Cork), Mungreat St. Paul’s (Limerick), Doire Colmcilles (Derry), St. Patrick’s (Wicklow), Clonguish (Longford), Lucan Sarsfileds (Dublin), Crosserlough (Cavan) Naomh Muire, Ioctar na Rossan (Donegal)