The Blarney and Bishopstown GAA clubs have joined together to fund a games promotion officer who will promote Gaelic games in eight local schools — a unique initiative funded completely by the two clubs, the first of its kind in Cork.
The clubs have jointly appointed Fachtna O’Connor as Games Promotion Officer. An active member and PRO of his club, Cullen, he has played U16 football for Cork and has coached county U14 and U15 development teams.
“The partnership between Bishopstown and Blarney GAA is testament to our mission to provide the children of our communities with the opportunity to become lifelong participants in the GAA. More importantly, this position extends this opportunity beyond our clubs’ facilities and deeper into our localities through the vehicle of our schools,” said Brian Cuthbert, Chairman of Bishopstown GAA club.
O’Connor, 25, holds a BA in Business Studies with Sports Management from Limerick Institute of Technology.
He has worked with the Cork GAA Games Coaching Administrators to organise Cúl and Rebel Óg camps and provided skills coaching and fitness training to various development and regional squads in Cork.
“We want the next generation to associate the GAA with having fun, making friends, and learning new skills. It’s important to us to promote physical activity in the community and create a safe and fun environment where it can thrive,” said Jim McCarthy, Chairman of Blarney GAA club.
Noting the multiple positive benefits for children arising from participation in organised, well-structured sporting activities, this partnership maximises resources to increase the exposure of team sports to school-aged children and encourage physical activity.
The clubs’ underage coaches, who frequently interact, will be able to share ideas and glean best practices from each other.
O’Connor’s coaching will focus on fundamental movements such as agility, balance and coordination, key skills that are integral to the physical development of children.
“The level of co-operation between these two clubs is to be commended and represents a template for other clubs in the future.
"We are thrilled at their innovative and collaborative approach and encourage their communities to embrace Fachtna O’Connor’s training and the vision of the clubs,” said Ronan Dwane, Cork County Coaching Officer.