Ballinhassig GAA Launch Gaelic4Girls
Writes Ciaran Dineen
On Monday night Ballinhassig GAA launched the 12-week Gaelic4Girls programme, for the second year in a row. The aim of the programme is to attract girls between the ages of 8-12 to a GAA club, where they can learn the basic skills associated with football, in a fun and non-competitive way.
Having never previously had any ladies football teams before last year, Ballinhassig have benefited greatly from the initiative. Adrian McDonagh of Ballinhassig explains, “Year one was quite successful. We now have an under 12, an under 14 and under 16 teams established, as well as under 8 and under 10 team. Not only have we attracted girls who had never played before but also girls from the area, who were playing at other clubs where there were ladies football teams.”
While the end goal of the programme is essentially for Ballinhassig to increase its ladies football members in the club, the 12 week, one hour sessions should not be viewed as committing to the club. “The whole idea is to encourage girls who have never played football, to take it on for the first time,” Adrian explains. “It gives them the opportunity to get involved in team sports, help them with fundamental skills and ultimately bring children forward so that they enjoy sports, they understand their importance, especially for their mental and physical health.”
Gaelic4Girls was set up over 10 years ago with the aim of making Gaelic football more readily available for young girls. The fundamental skills of the game are taught, with the hope that after the 12 weeks, the youngsters will continue to play with their local club. Over the past few weeks coaches in Ballinhassig GAA took part in training set-up by the LGFA, which explained the type of methods that should be used during the programme, to maximise the level of fun and participation elements. The club have also had some help from Cork Ladies star Orla Farmer, who has demonstrated the drills and techniques that will be used. Farmer has also gone to schools with Ballinhassig coaches, to try and encourage girls and their parents to come along and take part.
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