PAUDIE Crowley knows he has a big job ahead of him – but he is relishing the challenge.
The Skibbereen man, a senior footballer with O’Donovan Rossa, is the first Games Promotion Officer for the Carbery division. It’s a new job he started three weeks ago.
His brief is straightforward: to improve the standard of coaching in clubs, national schools and secondary schools within the division.
Raising the standards in Carbery is one of his objectives.
‘Last week we spent Thursday and Friday with districts within the division and the amount of boys that weren’t able to solo and kick on their non-dominant foot was frightening,’ Crowley admitted.
‘But it’s early stages and we hope that we will be able to expose the clubs to doing it more and to bring a feel-good factor to it, that if you can do this then it’s not only a benefit for the player but also for their club.’
Encouraging kids to learn the GAA basics is important.
‘Things have changed. When you were small before you were outside kicking a ball off a wall. It’s changed now. You don’t see many going over to a pitch kicking a ball. It’s more Playstations, phones and iPads that kids are on now. The basic skill of bending over to pick up a ball is dwindling with so many of the kids. Getting them to do the basics will be a huge benefit going forward,’ says Crowley, who adds the experience he has acquired in recent years will be a big asset in his new role.
‘Coaching-wise I spent three years in IT Carlow where I completed my sports and exercise GAA degree. I studied a fourth year at Cork IT where I did a dissertation with Cian O’Neill working with the Kerry senior footballers on their pre-season. I go a fair bit of experience out of that,’ the 26-year-old explains.
‘I spent a year in Leinster GAA working with Louth on the hurling side of things, trying to promote the game there.
‘I was fortunate enough then that I fell into a position with the Carbery board where I picked up little projects and promotions around the local area, in hurling and football.
‘Things have progressed on to this full-time job.’
Crowley’s appointment, which has the financial backing of Cairde Chorcaí and the 26 clubs in the division, is a step in the right direction to raising standards. Between him and Games Development Administrator James McCarthy, they are confident that they will make a difference.
‘The Carbery board are the first ones to appoint a GPO in Cork and they deserve huge credit. They looked hard at this and they said it was the best thing to do. James McCarthy is doing fantastic work around the place but it’s very hard for one person to be looking over the 26 clubs in the Carbery division. When I was in Louth I had seven hurling clubs so that shows the difference,’ Crowley explained.
‘Clubs in the division will see more of myself and James on the ground. We want to see what clubs need, what help they are looking for, and we’ll work with them too.’
Crowley will spend time coaching in primary schools, secondary schools and clubs. Busy time ahead but Carbery GAA will reap the benefits.