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Wanted: more Mayo GAA coaches


MAKING PLANS Mayo GAA Board vice chairman Con Moynihan is helping to co-ordinate the search for additional coaches in the county. Pic: Conor McKeown

Michael Gallagher

THE stark need for more Games Promotion Officers in Mayo GAA is throwing up some innovative thinking, according to county board vice-chairman Con Moynihan.
In an exclusive interview with The Mayo News the Ballaghaderreen clubman revealed plans are being put in place for six new full-time coaches, with one club, Castlebar Mitchels, already working with the board to see if a plan can be put in place for one of the new officers to work exclusively in their catchment area.
Mayo GAA currently employs five Games Promotion Officers or coaches; four for football and one for hurling.
“Ideally, we’re looking for six new GPOs,” explained Moynihan.
“Two of them would be in South Mayo, one for Ballinrobe and Claremorris and one for the other six clubs. In East Mayo we’d have one full-time GPO.
“In North Mayo, we’d have three, one in Ballina covering the Stephenites, Knockmore and Ardnaree; one for the four clubs in Erris, and one for the remainder of North Mayo. In hurling we’d have two – one for the east of the county and one for the west and south and stretching into Ballina and Erris.”
According to the former Mayo GAA Bord na nÓg chairman, this opens up a world of possibilities where clubs can work towards acquiring their own GPOs if they can provide the correct requirements and supports.
“We’re open to talking to any club or group of clubs who have the business case to look for a GPO in conjunction with the recent demographics report which has been undertaken on club population throughout the county.
“We’re hoping to develop these business cases with clubs which will be part funded by the county board and the club and then we’d look for matching funds from Croke Park.
“There is no prospect of Mayo GAA being able to afford six new GPOs, but if we had clubs willing to contribute, and the county board would hopefully be able to match that funding and look for Croke Park to match the other half,” he continued before surmising about the possible funding streams available.
“The extra hurling GPO would have to be funded by the county board and Croke Park, but I’d expect the football side of things to be different. I’d hope individual clubs or groups of clubs will look at this seriously in the coming months and work with us.
“We’re looking at getting two new GPOs over the line this year, the additional hurling one and Castlebar Mitchels have expressed an interest in working towards having a GPO of their own.
“Plans are being drawn up at the moment and then we will sit down with Mitchels in July and see what their plans are in association with the county board. The business case will then be presented to the county board and we’ll work from there. We have numbers of children in all the schools in the area and Billy McNicholas (Mayo GAA Games Manager) and the current coaches will update them if needed because every club has different needs and requirements for coaching and facilities.
“There are some clubs with a lot of facilities and few players and others with lots of players and hardly any facilities so we have to work smarter at everything we do,” he concluded.

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