Game on for Mark’s app

Irish Examiner - County - - Sport - John Bo­hane

BANTRY BLUES GAA coach­ing of­fi­cer Mark O’Dono­van has been de­lighted with the suc­cess his GAA app has made since it was of­fi­cially launched at the an­nual GAA Games De­vel­op­ment Con­fer­ence in Croke Park in Jan­uary 2017.

Mark made a re­turn visit to Croke Park re­cently for the an­nual con­fer­ence as he looked to fur­ther ce­ment his ground­break­ing app on a na­tional level.

Mark came up with the con­cept for Play Us GAA three years ago, largely borne out of a frus­tra­tion, fol­low­ing the tough task he en­coun­tered with his un­der­age Bantry Blues foot­ball team as they at­tempted in vain to ar­range chal­lenge games.

Mark de­signed Play Us GAA, which makes it eas­ier for GAA coaches to ar­range chal­lenge games against lo­cal teams and teams from neigh­bour­ing coun­ties.

The novel con­cept, which is very user friendly, can also be used to ar­range blitzes and tour­na­ments, and can cater for any age group.

Mark was de­lighted with the feed­back he en­coun­tered in Croke Park again re­cently.

“The na­tional coach­ing con­fer­ence is a bril­liant event for pro­mot­ing Play Us GAA,” he said.

“The coaches at­tend­ing the event are so pos­i­tive and en­thu­si­as­tic. The lads in Croke Park are very good to us and help us with or­gan­is­ing our pro­mo­tion stand and make us very wel­come. It was a very suc­cess­ful event.”

coach­ing guru got through a lot of vi­tal and nec­es­sary net­work­ing at the con­fer­ence as he met up with many GAA coaches and play­ers who of­fered him great feed­back on his suc­cess­ful app which greatly aides the abil­ity of clubs to play more games.

This in turn en­sures play­ers are re­ceiv­ing more valu­able game time and hon­ing their skills.

Mark has been de­lighted with the suc­cess of Play Us GAA — and re­vealed that he is cur­rently work­ing on a new ver­sion which he hopes will be a sim­i­lar suc­cess.

“We spent a good bit of time this year go­ing to some of the talks.

“The standard of speaker was out­stand­ing with some bril­liant mes­sages.

“The great­est ben­e­fit to us from the con­fer­ence is the peo­ple we meet, which helps us to make new con­tacts all over the coun­try.

“Play Us GAA spread well enough last year.

“We are work­ing on ver­sion 2 at the mo­ment with the GAA and once it is ready to launch, we will be in­creas­ing our mar­ket­ing big time.”

Mark has re­ceived great praise and sup­port since the ini­tial launch of Play Us GAA, and has been de­lighted with the sup­port from GAA per­son­nel and clubs on a na­tional ba­sis.

“It has been a huge learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence since the launch 12 months ago.

“Peo­ple have been very sup­port­ive. The changes that we make this year will en­hance the app no end.

“We will be go­ing straight to the clubs with ver­sion 2, which will make it much eas­ier to spread the app, hence mak­ing it more ben­e­fi­cial to all.”

Play Us GAA was launched and built specif­i­cally for the GAA, but the same code could be used for all sports.

The app helps to ad­dress the train­ing to game im­bal­ance in sport.

Mark has been helped im­mensely by brand am­bas­saThe dors and Cork foot­ball stars Gra­ham Canty and Ruairi Deane, two club col­leagues of his. “I would like to thank ev­ery­one that helped spread Play Us GAA so far.

“It is very en­cour­ag­ing to see pos­i­tiv­ity in peo­ples ac­tions.

“I get mes­sages of sup­port from peo­ple all the time about the app.

“Ruairi and Gra­ham are fan­tas­tic am­bas­sadors for Play Us GAA. I can­not thank them enough for the time and ef­fort that they have put into pro­mot­ing it.

“I’m very lucky to have the fam­ily, friends and club that I have, oth­er­wise this jour­ney would have ended last year.”

Mark also ful­fills a vi­tal role as Coach­ing Of­fi­cer with the Car­bery Di­vi­sional Board.

He is very op­ti­mistic with re­gard the coach­ing struc­tures they are im­ple­ment­ing in the divi­sion at present.

“My first year as Car­bery coach­ing of­fi­cer was en­cour­ag­ing to be hon­est; I found the board to be sup­port­ive and en­cour­ag­ing.

“We have been work­ing with James McCarthy and Cork GAA on a cou­ple of school projects, but to be hon­est we are only scratch­ing the sur­face.

“I would like to see the num­ber of coaches em­ployed by Cork GAA dra­mat­i­cally in­creased and a com­bined ap­proach be­tween club, di­vi­sions, schools and county on the fix­ture pro­gramme.

“I know this would not be easy, but I be­lieve that there are enough very good peo­ple in­volved all over the county to make a dif­fer­ence.”

The Pres­i­dent of the GAA Ao­gan O Fearghail with Cork se­nior foot­baller Ruairi Deane and Bantry Blues coach­ing of­fi­cer Mark O’Dono­van.

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