Underage plan paying rich dividends for Wexford GAA
Wexford's Strategic Vision and Action Plan for coaching is paying rich dividends at under-age levels as was once again evident over the weekend.
Both St. Peter's College and Good Counsel College qualified for the Leinster SFC 'A' semi-finals, while New Ross CBS tasted success at Junior hurling level. Come the New Year, for the third occasion Wexford will be represented by three sides in Leinster College's 'A' Senior hurling, with St. Peter's, Good Counsel, joined once against by Wexford Combined Schools.
Four years back Wexford G.A.A., under the Chairmanship of Diarmuid Devereux, reformatted its coaching system, with a view of providing coaching of the highest quality.
Coaching was identified to cater for the diverse needs of players of 'Play to Learn' (children), those that learn to compete (youths), and those who compete to win (adults).
Quality coaching, as part of an Overall Games Development Plan, promotes fair play, builds social cohesion, self-esteem, and enhances health and well-being, as well as supporting social and economic objectives.
So it was interesting to read the detailed report of Wexford Games Development Manager, Eoin Morrissey, which came before last weeks county adult convention.
The report details under several headings such as Coach Education: 'Educating the next generation of club coaches'. It outlined a new program based on providing coach education to clubs on an ongoing basis, with over 500 coaches across the county engaged with this over the course of the year.
Regarding primary schools it outlines details of providing Gaelic games for 94 schools, over 5,000 children, delivered by 35 coaches, while for secondary schools it supported 'Developing Future Leaders & Maintaining key links with post primary personnel.'
With regard to academy squads, the Model Academy worked towards 'Nurturing Progression, Striving for Excellence,' with U-13 School of Hurling and Football, Hurling Academy Squads - Under-14-17, Football Academy Squads, Under-14-17.
An interesting point in the report related to the tremendous progress of players through the squad system, which is only made possible by the dedication of the coaches and mentors that work tirelessly every year.
The focus of academies is not to interfere or hinder club preparations. The goal is to provide a pathway for elite players to be given the supports necessary to reach their full potential.
The success of the summer camps was also referenced in the report with a 24 per cent increase in 2016 attendance figures rising from 4,200 to 5,200.
The importance of coaching cannot be highlighted enough but great credit is owing to Eoin Morrissey for the wonderful work both himself and fellow staff and coaches carried out through 2016.
Given the comprehensive and detailed report presented to county convention, it's a pity that it did not merit some discussion from the floor.
Given the time of year I would like to send Christmas greetings to all my readers.
Hopefully I will be back in the new year to keep readers informed of the internal workings of Wexford G.A.A.
This is of course unless the new broom at the helm of Wexford G.A.A. affairs sweeps clean for 2017.