Former Leitrim manager John Morrison pictured with, from left, Enda Lyons, James Glancy, Thomas Keenan, Brendan Guckian, John O'Mahony and Terence Boyle. Photo by Willie Donnellan
A complete revamp of the underage development squads in the county and a new approach to player's skills development are the main aims of the newly launched Leitrim GAA Talent Academies and Games Centres.
Two former Leitrim managers in John O'Mahony and John Morrison were joined by current boss Brendan Guckian at the launch in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada of the ambitious plans to develop top quality footballers for both club and county.
Speaking to the coaches and mentors who will lead the new programme of Talent Academies and Games Centres, Leitrim Games Manager Thomas Keenan said the aim of the new programme was to ensure that “Every boy in their last year as an U13 will have access to advanced coaching and we aim to see all available children through this initiative.”
The new plan will see Leitrim pour resources into new Talent Academies at U13 and U14 level while a new drive will take place to develop the county's best players on the Leitrim U15, 16 & 17 Development Squads.
“We are not concerned if we win at U13, U14, U15, U16 and U17 level, it would be nice and a bonus but we are concerned with the proper development of young players,” Thomas told the gathering of coaches who will form the new initiative.
All the coaches will operate from a pre-approved template for training, strength and conditioning and skills development with the input of GAA Master Tutors such as John Morrison, Mickey Whelan, Philip Kerr, Mohill's own Matt Gaffey and John Tobin.
John Morrison gave a typically interesting and thought provoking address where he challenged the coaches preconceptions and theories and urged them all to consider new ways of thinking and to put skills and personal development of young footballers at the heart of all coaching programme.
The new Talent Academies programme will see a database of players compiled with medical and training records compiled while there will be talks on nutrition, study aids and career opportunities as well as nutrition, training and strength and conditions programmes.