‘It’s a challenge, but it is well worth pursuing’
WHEN PJ Reidy began his role as Games Development Administrator (GDA) for South Kerry schools and clubs in 2016, he organised a meeting with Michael Keating, Chairman and the South Kerry Board Committee and coaching officers. They discovered one of the main challenges was immigration, lack of numbers, players not playing competitive football in their own age group, etc.
PJ proposed and introduced several ideas and chief among them was the establishment of a South Kerry underage academy structure for under 14s right up to minor age groups. PJ outlined strategies in some of the following areas: to have a good knowledge of all players in south Kerry at their specific age; focus on technical skill development, physical fitness, conditioned games, physical strength and conditioning, positive mental health, better decision making, and overall positive lifestyle habits. These are just some of positives introduced by PJ for the overall development of the game and the young individuals who play it.
Coláiste na Sceilge is the focal point for much of PJ’s work, as are many National Schools in the region which ensure he is able to interact daily with pupils. He said that while there are obvious challenges to the job, these are far outweighed by the many positive aspects that come with engaging proactively with the youth of south Kerry and to watch them prosper in various forms of physical activity.
“The general health and wellbeing of our youth is majorly important and we try to ensure that children keep as active as possible through the week and not just for the time we spend with them. Agility, balance and coordination are important to kids, especially at a time when many of the attractions encourage more sedentary lifestyles,” PJ said.
He also stressed that the structure of the GAA in the schools in south Kerry is very strong at present due to the collective effort of people like Damien Foley, Maurice Fitzgerald, John Dorgan, John O’Connor, Buddy O’Shea, James Mike O’Sullivan, Gillian Fitzgerald, Michael Curran, Pat Sheehy, Michael O’Sullivan, Kieran McCarthy, Junior Murphy and sponsors Quinan’s Fish Shop and Seafood Bars.
“We’re delighted with the results and how the children have responded so enthusiastically. Sport and physical fitness is very important in the development of youth and while it’s a challenge, it’s one worth pursuing.