In 2010 I completed level one of the GAA Coaching Course in Galway Community College, Moneenageisha, Galway. This course was the first of its kind organised by the GAA and is now essential for training and coaching youth in Gaelic football. Upon completion of this course, I was asked by Denis Carr, tutor with Connacht Council, if I would be interested in coaching primary school children in the Connemara area from Renvyle to Tullykyne. I then met with Tom McManus, who is the Coaching Officer for the GAA Connacht Council. The initial post was for three days per week, but it is hoped that this will be extended to four days in the coming school year.
Each session lasts for a period of forty five minutes. Children are coached in the skills of Gaelic football and are encouraged to develop their interest in the sport and to engage in fair play. All coaches are fully Garda vetted and work with the support of Principals and staff in the various schools. At the end of the year, the pupils in the various schools participate in “Cumann na mBunscol”, a competition organised for the different levels, abilities and size of each school.
Having played for many years with my local club, Renvyle, and always having had a keen interest in the game, it is great to be able to work with the children in the schools and coach them in the skills of the game. It is wonderful to see them progressing as the year passes. I get a great sense of personal fulfilment and satisfaction from this job. I am supported by the staff of the Galway Coaching and Games Development at the GAA offices. They provide me with support and equipment, which helps me in my job. I intend to undergo further training and coaching courses as they arise, to further develop my skills.
Written by Johnny Coyne
Johnny Coyne is a native of the townland of Derrylough, on the Renvyle Peninsula, in the parish of Letterfrack-Ballinakill.