Neil McManus, left, and Darren McGovern at the GAA for Dads & Lads Launch at St. Patricks GFC in Donagh, Fermanagh. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
‘GAA for Dads & Lads’ is a social hurling and football programme for those keen to enjoy Gaelic Games outside the traditional competitive structures of the GAA.
The programme hopes to inspire other clubs or groups to join the social hurling and football teams that have started up across the Association in recent years.
A blitz event organised by the GAA’s Community & Health department in November 2019 in the National Games Development Centre in Abbotstown hosted 15 social hurling and 5 social football teams from across Ireland.
The 160 players had an average age of 44 years. In a survey they listed their top three reasons for participating in social Gaelic Games as:
1. Keeping fit and remaining active
2. The social aspect of meeting old and new friends
3. The fun and enjoyment of playing sport
The philosophy of GAA for Dads & Lads is all about participation and the camaraderie that only team sports can offer. The small-sided adapted games allow for incidental contact only (to minimise any risk of injury) so skills are to the fore over physicality. The games are self-governed – no referees.
GAA President Larry McCarthy said: “GAA clubs are focused on creating an opportunity for life-long participation in Gaelic games and cultivating a sense of belonging in the communities they represent. This GAA for Dads & Lads initiative will allow clubs to achieve this. It will help clubs to retain active members and also encourage new people to get involved and for everyone to enjoy playing. I look forward to seeing it go from strength to strength.”
Participants include recently retired or lapsed adult players, and, to a lesser degree, new entrants to Gaelic Games looking to try hurling or football for the first time. Clubs can host their own teams if numbers are sufficient while some social and hurling groups see participants come from a variety of clubs to play collectively on a weekly basis.
Based on interest and demand, the GAA Community & Health department hopes to schedule regional and national blitzes events in 2021.
To hear more about the initiative and to get further information you can register to attend our upcoming GAA for Dads & Lads information webinar, taking place on Wednesday the 23rd of June at 6pm. Registration is free and you can confirm your at https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=hrxFrNSvpUKfwz6H4bd_zvBHQz_4EFBMgOFgZRJmq_ZUM1pTQzFDVUFRVkVNQkpYTklDUk9QNzZHRi4u.
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