Ger­ald in es start coach­ing in three lo­cal schools

The Argus - - COMMUNITY NEWS - By JOHN SAV­AGE

THE coaches at Geraldines GFC are go­ing back to school - but this time they’ll be the ones do­ing the teach­ing!

The pro­gres­sive Hag­gard­stown/Black­rock club have launched an ex­cit­ing coach­ing pro­gramme in each of the three schools in their catch­ment area and the ini­tia­tive is al­ready prov­ing a big hit with pupils.

There is a grow­ing con­cen­sus that schools coach­ing is the way for­ward for GAA clubs and even county boards, and a for­ward-think­ing Geraldines com­mit­tee are grasp­ing the net­tle by send­ing coaches into St Fursey’s NS, St Oliver Plun­kett NS and St Fran­cis NS,

With con­sid­er­able fi­nan­cial sup­port from pro­gramme spon­sors Frank Lynch & Co. Ac­coun­tants, up to 30 club coaches will run ses­sions for first and sec­ond class pupils one morn­ing a week for six weeks.

St Fran­cis NS in Black­rock and St Fursey’s NS in Hag­gard­stown are cur­rently avail­ing of the pro­gramme and Black­rock NS will start their six-week run af­ter the Hal­loween break.

And af­ter Christ­mas they’ll be back for an­other six-week run in each of the three schools, mean­ing pupils will avail of 12 weeks coach­ing in to­tal.

The fol­low­ing year the pro­gramme will be ex­panded, with two more classes in each school com­ing on board un­til ev­ery child in each of the three schools is be­ing catered for.

The club have en­gaged Ul­ster-based com­pany Healthy Kids to de­sign and im­ple­ment the ses­sions, but it will be de­liv­ered by club coaches, spear­headed by Tom Rogers.

It’s a big un­der­tak­ing, but one vice-chair­man Brian Caf­ferty feels will be worth­while.

‘We want to in­tro­duce kids to the GAA in a fun en­vi­ron­ment,’ he said dur­ing a ses­sion in the hugely im­pres­sive St Fran­cis NS gym. ‘ This area has a huge tran­sient pop­u­la­tion with no great tra­di­tion in the GAA. A lot of peo­ple have moved into the par­ish over the last few years and we’re hop­ing this will give kids a link to the club and en­cour­age them to get in­volved. But if noth­ing else they’ll get all the ex­er­cise fun­da­men­tals such as balance and move­ment.

‘We spoke to of­fi­cials from St Colm­cilles in East Meath who would be in a sim­i­lar po­si­tion to our­selves, so they helped us to de­sign and im­ple­ment the pro­gramme.

‘ This is the ap­proach that’s been adopted in Dublin and Mon­aghan and it’s cer­tainly work­ing there.’

‘And ob­vi­ously we couldn’t do it with­out Frank Lynch & Co and we’re very grate­ful to them and we’re lucky to have them on board. We’re very grate­ful to the schools too, Oreena Law­less here at St Fran­cis, and the other prin­ci­pals, for let­ting us come in and do the coach­ing.’

Cia­ran Lynch from Frank Lynch & Co. added: ‘For us it’s about the Geraldines be­ing part of the com­mu­nity and the com­mu­nity be­ing part of the Geraldines and we’re de­lighted to be in­volved in the ini­tia­tive. It’s about build­ing the GAA from the group up and get­ting more par­tic­i­pa­tion in sport.’

Kieran Lynch of Frank Lynch & Com­pany, with Brain Caf­fery, Fiona Cor­ri­gan, Colin Cor­ri­gan, Tom Rodgers, Co­nan Judge and Gavin Clarke, Geraldines GFC, Oreena Law­less, Prin­ci­pal, St. Fran­cis NS,

Coach, Co­nan Judge, Geraldines GFC with Grace at the GAA coach­ing pro­gramme in St. Fran­cis NS, Black­rock spon­sored by Frank Lynch & Com­pany.

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