58 Department of Education Primary School Coaches had their first in service training day together at the Meadowbank Sports Complex in Magherafelt on Thursday 30th October.
This was the first occasion for the coaches from the GAA and the IFA to come together since the Minister’s Sport in School’s Project started in November 2007. The coaches were introduced by Eugene Young, Director of Coaching for the Ulster GAA. He welcomed everyone to this historic day where the two biggest sporting bodies had come together to share their experience and knowledge. He then introduced Mr Roy Miller, Director of the IFA, who stated how important this innovative project was to the youth with regards to obesity and getting children involved in sport at an early age.
Tom Daly, Ulster GAA President then spoke about the importance of the project and hoped it could be extended to the other three Ulster Counties because of its value.
The Minister for Education, Catriona Ruane commented how delighted she was to meet all the coaches for the first time and said how the feedback from schools and teachers had been fantastic. She went on to give an inspiration talk about the importance of sport for young people. She said this was one of the projects that excited her most because of its importance to all our children’s self esteem and helping to give them a great start in life.
Later in the day, Terence McWilliams the Primary School’s Project Coordinator for the GAA along with Tony Scullion, GAA Football Development Officer and the IFA coordinator Lee Carroll, took the coaches through a series of tasks involving Physical Literacy skills in the morning session and ‘The Family of Games’ (a series of progressively challenging games for P.1 to P.4 children in the afternoon. The feedback from all the coaches was excellent with the result that the IFA hope to run a similar day in the near future.