A healthy result for Castletown GAA
TWO Co Wexford GAA clubs are among the first in the country to receive national recognition as GAA Healthy Clubs.
St John’s Volunteers in Wexford town and Castletown Liam Mellows were recently presented with flags and plaques at a special ceremony in Croke Park. The Healthy Clubs project was established to help turn clubs into hubs for health in their communities. Some 58 GAA clubs nationwide, including 20 in Leinster, have now been recognised as the first official Healthy Clubs.
St John’s Volunteers and Castletown Liam Mellows say that their health and well-being initiatives have had a tremendous impact on their clubs and the wider community.
The grounds of both clubs are now completely smoke free zones. In fact, St John’s Volunteers was the first club in Ireland to introduce this policy. Almost half of the Healthy Clubs have followed suit. No smoking signage was provided by Croke Park through a partnership with Irish Life, and posters designed by local national school children have also helped drive home the message.
Healthy Club volunteers Jim and Eoin McCarthy from St John’s Volunteers and Anita and Sean O’Leary from Castletown Liam Mellows recently travelled to Croke Park for the All Ireland hurling semi-finals when the stadium became smoke-free for the first time. They also helped carry out a survey of match-goers to see if they believed Croke Park should become smoke-free permanently. Some 83 per cent of respondents said yes.
The flags tell members that their club values health and well-being as much as leagues and championships. Areas focused on include: healthy eating; physical activity for non-playing members; emotional well-being, gambling, drug, and alcohol education, and more.
Castletown introduced a range of healthy eating initiatives, and now gives fruit at half-time to under-age teams - something they said took ‘minimal effort’ but ‘had a huge impact.’
St John’s Volunteers took part in a nutritional performance initiative, targeting minor players, and involving the Presentation School in exploring nutrition and exercise.
Caroline Kavanagh, Castletown Liam Mellows, accepts the award from Seán Cavanagh, Healthy Clubs ambassador and former Tyrone footballer, at a ceremony in Croke Park.