GAA 4 All pro­gramme proves to be a win­ner

The Argus - - SPORT -

NEW­TOWN Blues weren’t the only win­ners on county fi­nal day at the Gaelic Grounds.

Since Oc­to­ber 2015, Louth Coach­ing & Games in con­junc­tion with the HSE’s Pae­di­atric Phys­io­ther­apy Team have pro­vided a spe­cific ‘ GAA 4 All’ In­clu­sive camp for children with in the Pae­di­atric ser­vice from the County.

These camps were to ad­dress FUN­da­men­tal move­ment skills via Gaelic Games coach­ing. With the use of the fan­tas­tic fa­cil­i­ties in DkIT Sport and the GAA’s Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence in Darver the pro­grammes aimed to pro­vide ex­pert coach­ing in­ter­ven­tion in the same are­nas that the children’s sib­lings would reg­u­larly get use of day in day out.

The Le­in­ster GAA road show was also added to the pro­gramme and went down a treat with all the children and par­ents.

Over 70 children reg­u­larly par­tic­i­pate in each of the mid-term and sum­mer camps with many of these children ex­pe­ri­enc­ing Gaelic Games for the first time.

The Children who par­tic­i­pated were aged be­tween 5 and 18, all with vary­ing abil­i­ties and lim­i­ta­tions who cur­rently ac­cess the Pae­di­atric Phys­io­ther­apy ser­vices from both the Dis­abil­ity and Pri­mary Care ser­vices within the county.

The camps have pro­vided many sig­nif­i­cant psy­cho­log­i­cal ben­e­fits gained from the pos­i­tive peer and parental in­ter­ac­tion. Many of the par­ents who at­tended with their children in­di­cated the pos­i­tive im­pact it had on their child and con­se­quently on the whole fam­ily.

One par­ent high­lighted: ‘It was re­ally lovely see­ing my child be able to play sports with the other children within the com­mu­nity set­ting.’ An­other said: ‘I didn’t re­alise that the games could so be eas­ily adapted to meet my child’s phys­i­cal needs.’

One of the big highlights of the pro­gramme was the ‘Louth Legends’ Ex­hi­bi­tion Game which took place at half-time dur­ing the recent county fi­nal be­tween New­town Blues and Naomh Mairtin.

In a break with lo­cal tra­di­tion, the group that took the field didn’t come from ei­ther of the par­tic­i­pat­ing fi­nal­ists. The group had been put to­gether with the view of tak­ing part in some­thing dif­fer­ent. Par­tic­i­pants had to com­mit to a six-week pro­gramme that would fin­ish with the ex­hi­bi­tion game.

The play­ers had honed their skills with GDA’s Michael Keane and Sean Hand along­side the Pae­di­atric Phys­io­ther­apy Team at DkIT Sports mag­nif­i­cent in­door arena in prepa­ra­tion for the game.

The game it­self didn’t dis­ap­point ei­ther, with plenty of goal­mouth ac­tion along with some fine kicked scores from dis­tance. Not to for­get the goal cel­e­bra­tions and penalty save at the death.

In the words of one on­looker: ‘To see the joy on the faces of those children was some­thing else. It epit­o­mised ev­ery­thing that is good in the GAA.’

With the vol­ume of pos­i­tive feed­back from par­ents and other on­look­ers, it makes for an easy de­ci­sion that Louth Coach­ing and Games con­tinue col­lab­o­rat­ing with the HSE Pae­di­atric Phys­io­ther­apy Staff to pro­vide more in­clu­sive op­por­tu­ni­ties for these children in the fu­ture.

Mem­bers of the GAA 4 All camp pic­tured at the Louth county fi­nal.

The stan­dard at the Louth Legends Ex­hi­bi­tion Games was su­perb.

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