2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets

Past and present inter-county stars to serve as 2024 ZuCar Gaelic4Teens ambassadors

THE Ladies Gaelic Football Association is pleased to confirm the list of ambassadors who will assist in the delivery of the 2024 ZuCar Gaelic4Teens programme.

The list of 13 ambassadors is made up of past and present inter-county stars, with new ambassador Bernie Finlay (Dublin) revealed today.

Bernie represented her native Offaly at underage and Senior levels and she also won three county senior titles with Croghan.

A highly-experienced coach, Bernie moved to the capital when she was 21 years old and played club football with Na Fianna, while also representing the Dublin Senior team.

Bernie was a member of the Na Fianna side that won county and Leinster Senior titles in 2011, before contesting an All-Ireland Final, and she also played for Dublin for six years, winning four Leinster Senior medals and playing in three All-Ireland Finals with the Sky Blues.

Bernie was crowned as a TG4 All Star in 2004 and in 2010, she came off the bench as Dublin landed the TG4 All-Ireland Senior title for the very first time.

Bernie will join twelve returning ambassadors for the programme which gets underway next Monday, January 29, with the first coaching webinar.

This will be followed by five further education webinars with the ambassadors and the programme continues through to the National ZuCar Gaelic4Teens Festival Day, which is scheduled for April 27.

The returning ambassadors are Fiona McHale (Mayo), Jackie Kinch (Wicklow), Laura Fleming (Roscommon), Bronagh McGrane (Louth), Cassandra Buckley (Kerry), Orlagh Farmer (Cork), Emily Martin (Down), Máire O Shaughnessy (Meath), Sharon Courtney (Monaghan), Sinead Delahunty (Tipperary), Samantha Lambert (Tipperary) and Cathy Carey (Antrim).

Representatives from the 20 participating clubs will attend the sessions delivered by the ZuCar Gaelic4Teens ambassadors and engage with self-led modules between the various dates.

The clubs will also receive a visit from a ZuCar Gaelic4Teens ambassador or a county player to conduct a coaching session, and witness theory in action.

Following a hugely-successful pilot in 2017, Gaelic4Teens has grown considerably to over double in size, and this programme will help clubs to retain their current playing bases while also recruiting players in the 13-17 age bracket, which has been identified as a group with a high drop-out rate.

The 20 clubs taking part this year are as follows:

Connacht (4): St Mary’s (Leitrim), Mayo Gaels and Carnacon (both Mayo), St Molaise (Sligo).

Leinster (5): Ballyboden St Enda’s and St Sylvester’s (both Dublin), Moynalvey (Meath), Goldsmiths and Shandonagh (both Westmeath).

Munster (5): Dohenys, Mallow, Rathpeacon, Kilshanning (all Cork), Ardfinnan (Tipperary).

Ulster (6): Naomh Seamus (Antrim), Pearse Ógs and Whitecross (both Armagh), Mullahoran (Cavan), St Patrick’s Saul and Teconnaught (both Down).

The programme will work closely with coaches, influencing the content of their coaching sessions as well as establishing the best ways for coaches to communicate and engage with their players. In addition, the programme will examine the coaching environment required to ensure long-term development of players is being facilitated in the club.

The programme will be monitored and evaluated to ensure that it achieves the aim of having a direct impact on the retention of players.

As well as tailoring training sessions, there will be a focus on education that will see ZuCar Gaelic4Teens ambassadors providing expertise and advice to participants for the duration of the programme.

The research that prompted the development of the Gaelic4Teens programme revealed that players play for enjoyment, to improve and get better, to keep fit and healthy, to relieve stress and because their friends also play.

The reasons highlighted for giving up the sport are that they don’t get enough playing time, there is no fun at training, that it is too competitive and that they are treated differently.

Looking ahead to the commencement of the programme, LGFA President Mícheál Naughton commented: “We’re eagerly anticipating the start of the 2024 ZuCar Gaelic4Teens programme, which is a hugely important LGFA development initiative. The programme continues to thrive and evolve and I would like to take this opportunity to wish the participating clubs all the very best as they commence their respective ZuCar Gaelic4Teens journeys. I also wish to acknowledge our ZuCar Gaelic4Teens ambassadors, who play such a key role in the roll-out of this programme. These past and present players are wonderful role models and incredible ambassadors for our Association and this programme. They are pillars of their local communities and each and every one of them can impart so much knowledge and expertise to the participating clubs and their coaches. A huge word of thanks, also, to ZuCar for their ongoing support of the programme. ZuCar are also sponsors of our All-Ireland U18 championships and they are the LGFA’s Official Performance Partner.”

Gavin Hydes, Group CEO, ZuCar, added: “The list of ambassadors for the ZuCar #Gaelic4Teens programme is a wonderful mix of both past and present Ladies Football stars. Each of the ambassadors has a unique story to tell and these experiences will help to develop the skill-sets of coaches and, in turn, increase the retention rate of teenage girls in the sport. The participating clubs can look forward to wonderful engagement with the ambassadors, who can impart vast levels of expertise. At ZuCar, we look forward to following the journeys of the clubs and ambassadors involved in the programme.” 

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