Offaly GAA Development officer Colm Cummins
ALL the major stakeholders will be consulted as the Offaly GAA County Board bid to change the culture of the organisation in the county.
A series of important meetings will be held over the coming months, concluding with the production of a county development plan that they hope will guide the way forward for Offaly GAA over the next few years.
The plan will outline a comprehensive vision for the GAA in Offaly, focussing on the provision of games and maximising the numbers playing football and hurling – which they envisage will lead to an improvement in standards across the board.
As a first step, each club in Offaly will be consulted and the process will then be widened out to include county players, coaches, sponsors and supporters at a county forum at Kilcormac’s Faithful Fields in April.
Initially four club forums will be held later this month with clubs invited on a regional basis – mid, south, east and west to meetings where they will be asked for their feedback, suggestions and ambitions.
David Denieffe of Carlow Institute of Technology will be the facilitator of each of these forums – the dates and clubs at each one are outlined below.
Development officer, Colm Cummins explained on Monday that 5-10 members of each club can attend and give their views and he hopes this will include senior club officers, along with representatives from the underage section, coaches, players, committee volunteers and supporters.
The forums will be two hours in duration and will focus on six key areas
Coaching and Games
Fixtures and Games Programme
Finance and Fundraising
Governance and Administration
Club Issues and Club Development
On the night, the attendees will be broken into groups and each person will get an opportunity to give their views on each topic if they wish.
At the end of the meeting the organisers will be seeking volunteers to commit to focus groups based on the above topics, to work over a four week period to develop the ideas gathered.
There will also be a targeted county wide Forum on the Faithful Fields in April where a wide range of stakeholders from around the county and beyond will be invited to discuss the same issues.
It is planned to hold a Youth Forum on the same day to capture the views of our younger members.
Mr Cummins was part of the Michael Duignan led package that challenged for positions at county Convention earlier this year, citing a desire to change the GAA in the county.
Duignan unseated Tommy Byrne as chairman with Dervill Dolan and Brian Gavin (both Clara) elected as treasurer and Leinster Council delegate respectively. Edenderry man Cummins was beaten by Rhode’s James Murphy for vice chairman but was subsequently installed as Development Officer.
He stated that they greatly enjoyed meeting clubs during their campaign and committed to having further discussions with them if successful. This process is part of that and he stated that they hoped to change the culture in Offaly GAA.
He stressed that other counties have launched plans but this won’t be a “cut and paste job” and they will be coming up with their own “Offaly Way”.
It will deal with a variety of issues, including volume of games, helping schools, county development squads, co-operation with the sister organisations of handball, ladies football and camogie, fundraising and finance, provision of facilities and much more – Mr Cummins noted that there is a dearth of floodlit facilities for night games in the south of the county and they will be identifying and assisting clubs who may want to develop these facilities.
He stressed that they will be putting structures in place to ensure the plan is implemented fully and doesn’t gather dust.
Mr Cummins appealed for support from clubs and all interested people.
Mid Region forum
Thursday, March 19: O’Connor Park, Tullamore 7.30pm– Ballinagar, Ballinamere, Ballycommon, Clara, Cappincur, Clodiagh Gaels, Daingean, Durrow, Kilclonfert, Raheen, Shamrocks, Tullamore.
South Region forum
Saturday. March 21: Banager College 10.00am – Ballyskenagh/Killavilla Birr, Carrig and Riverstown, Crinkle, Coolderry, Drumcullen, Kilcormac/Killoughey, Kinnitty, Lusmagh Seir Kieran, Shinrone St Rynagh’s Hurling Club.
East Region forum
Thursday March 26: Edenderry GAA Clubhouse 7.30pm – Ballyfore Bracknagh, Clonmore Harps, Edenderry, Gracefield, Rhode, St Brigid’s, Walsh Island.
West Region forum
Saturday, March 28: Gallen Community School, Ferbane 10.00am – Ballycumber, Belmont, Brosna Gaels, Doon, Erin Rovers, Ferbane, Shannonbridge, St Rynagh’s Football Club, Tubber.