BY DENIS HURLEY
A CONCERTED effort to continue good work in the area of schools coaching underpins a wider approach on the part of the Carbery Board for 2018.
With an increase in funding, Carbery will offer two free hurling coaching sessions per primary school, provided by Paudie Crowley, in the western part of the division, while James McCarthy and Shane O’Donovan will continue to direct coaching in secondary schools.
Carbery coaching officer Mark O’Donovan believes that focusing on schools will reap dividends.
‘It’s a way of ensuring that you maximise the reach,’ he says.
‘The clubs in the area tend to be spread out, so going into schools is a more certain way of getting at kids, and you have a chance of bringing in children who mightn’t otherwise be involved but they get a taste for it and they enjoy it.
‘For instance, I’ve seen a number of kids with no Irish heritage snow getting involved in the GAA, which is fantastic to see.
‘I would like to mention that the majority of the coaching in the schools is done by teachers and club coaches, the work they are doing is tremendous. All we can do help them out when needed.’
Carbery took the first steps towards a coaching review last January when O’Donovan and fellow officers Tom Lyons and Donal McCarthy met with games development administrator (GDA) James McCarthy.
A coaching plan was drawn up at that meeting, incorporating schools coaching and the continued running of a special academy for U13s. Funding was provided by the Carbery board, Rebel Óg and two main sponsors, Drimoleague construction firm Laide and O’Brien as well as the Westlodge Hotel.
The Carbery Academy at U13 level was actually set up originally three years ago in football and hurling for young boys from all Carbery clubs and has proven a tremendous success, with hundreds of young players taking part. Already in 2017, 14 coaching sessions have been held at central venues with qualified coaches and games were also played. It is planned to have three more sessions before the end of the year.
At the end of each year, a special presentation night is held for all players who took part in the academy. Academy tops are presented to all players and their parents are invited to attend.
This year the function will be held in the West Lodge Hotel in Bantry on Sunday, December 17th with Laide and O’Brien Ltd sponsoring the tops.
The secondary schools are also being looked after by James McCarthy, again with clubs supporting the scheme, and a special football competition for first years, for the Herlihy Cup, run by the Carbery Junior Board, has proved a great success.
Fruits of the successful coaching schemes being undertaken were shown this season when Ronan McCarthy of St Oliver Plunkett’s and Ciarán Nyhan of Ballinascarthy won All-Ireland U17 hurling medals with Cork.
The hope is that more players from Carbery, in both football and hurling, will follow McCarthy’s and Nyhan’s example and shine at the highest levels.