San Diego Schools Meet All Stars

17 March 2016; TG4 LGFA All Stars Caroline O'Hanlon, Armagh, Sinead Kernan, Armagh, Annie Walsh, Cork, and Rena Buckley, Cork, after a demonstration of Ladies Football to students from Mar Vista High School. TG4 Ladies Football All-Star Tour, Mar Vista High School, Imperial Beach. California, USA. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***

HIGH-SCHOOL students across San Diego have gained an appreciation of the attractiveness of Ladies Gaelic Football as a sport as a result of an extensive information and coaching process undertaken across eleven schools in the city yesterday. Now an integral feature of the TG4/Ladies Football Allstar tour and highly successful on the 2014 trip to Hong Kong, it involved the entire group of players from twelve counties, supported by LGFA staff, team managers Eamonn Ryan and James Daly and the local Na Fianna club.

Cork dual star Rena Buckley was one of a group of four whose particular school visitation was singled out for filming – the others being team-mate Annie Walsh and the Armagh pair Caroline O’Hanlon and Sinéad Kernan. “First of all we were introduced to the pupils and Tracey (Rivera, the Na Fianna club chairman) informed them about the match on Saturday and about the club,” she explained. “Then we went through the skills of the game and the rules, after which we did a demonstration with four students. And we had a bit of a match between us. We did that again for the second period when they had a video of clips of a few matches. It worked out great.
“They didn’t know anything at all about the game, but they were really interested and got involved very quickly. Please God it will lead to new members in the local club. One of the teachers said she was going to incorporate it into some of the PE classes, which would be lovely. I was involved in Hong Kong, but it was more a case of of getting ‘stuck into training.’ This was more about explaining and demonstrating and it gave people a better understanding.”
Annie Walsh pointed out that they worked with about 400 pupils (out of a school population of 1600) in the 14-17 age group. “I had done a good bit of coaching before but this was different because they only literally had just been introduced to the game. To be fair, Rena did a very good informative introduction, while Caroline, Sinéad and myself demonstrated the skills and then went one-on-one. It was really interesting and they were so positive.
“They really wanted to learn more about it and they were really competitive, too, which was great.
One of the teachers said some of the girls wanted to start a team in the school. That was very positive outcome. We were only there about an hour with each group and hearing that was great
“We got to go out there to showcase ladies football to an audience that probably would never have even heard of it before, so it was very encouraging to hear the positive reaction from them.”
And she recounted a story which resonated with the group as a special highlight of the session. “One of the teachers told us of this girl who, she said, never gets involved in anything, usually sits on her own, wouldn’t put herself forward for anything. She came down and was working with us and was excellent. The teacher was absolutely amazed. That was a great story and great to hear we had such a positive influence on the girls.”
The TG4 Ladies All Star tour continues today with a training session at the match venue with the Exhibition match taking place at the Torero Stadium in San Diego University at 3pm.

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