BY KIERAN McCARTHY
ONE of the main topics of conversation at the recent Beara GAA Strategic Review Meeting in Castletownbere centred around the need for high quality coaching throughout the division.
Over 50 people attended the meeting at Beara Community School, the first step in Beara GAA’s comprehensive review of football in the division, and chairman Jim Hanley was delighted with the turn-out.
‘That shows that people have an interest in this, are invested in it and that there is a love of football here in Beara,’ he says.
The format saw groups of six engage in round-table discussions where everyone got a chance to share their views and opinions, and then the tables reported back to the wider group.
‘There was a consensus among an awful lot of things and the big one that came out was coaching, that we need real quality coaching in our clubs and in our division,’ Hanley says.
‘It needs to be more joined up rather than everyone figuring it out themselves and going off and doing their own thing. That’s mandated for us to go away and sort that out.
‘It’s not going to happen that volunteers turn up and start coaching, you need to put a structure in place, you probably to employ a coach, and you need to fundraise and raise funds for that so we will probably have to tap into the wider Beara diaspora to help out on that side.’
Another topic that was raised is the ‘real difficulty’ with refereeing in Beara GAA.
‘We are really down to two referees and they are not getting any younger and we have the same referees refereeing game after game in our division so it’s an area that we need to look more closely at,’ the Beara chairman says.
Not surprisingly, the population drain in Beara was also discussed and Hanley acknowledges that this is going to cause big problems in the coming years.
‘There is a big population problem coming in a number of years’ time. It hasn’t hit us yet but it’s coming,’ the Bere Island clubman says.
‘We have figures for the number of boys in the primary school and secondary school in Castletownbere and in the last 20 years they are both down more than 20 per cent. If that continues that is a huge problem and it will manifest itself by the clubs not having numbers.
‘It wasn’t explicitly discussed at the meeting but there is an awareness that it is coming down the road.’
The Beara GAA Strategic Review Committee will now take on board all the issues and topics raised at the meeting before putting a plan in place that will be launched at a later date. Hanley says there is a long road ahead but Beara GAA have got the ball rolling with very positive first steps.