Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Uladh

Conference focuses on Education

December 19th, 2011

The 8th Annual O’Neills Ulster GAA Coaching & Games Development Conference will take place on Saturday 28th January 2012 in the Glenavon House Hotel in Cookstown.

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Education and Club Links in GAA’.  It targets teachers and coaches who are working in education. It embraces coaching across all age group. In many of the workshops research has been undertaken over the last 12 months to support the presentations. Ulster GAA recognises and values the huge contribution that education plays in the support and development of our games and it is aware of the changing environment within education. We hope that through the workshops we can share ideas and help us to come up with some solutions to the challenges that lie ahead.

Special Guests at the Conference include:

  • John O’Dowd MLA – Minister for Education
  • Sean McElhatton – Former Tyrone & Ulster Player and Advisor to Belfast Education & Library Board
  • Dr. Phil Glasgow – Senior Physiotherapist, Sports Institute Northern Ireland
  • Jimmy Smyth – Former Armagh & Ulster Footballer, Commentator, Ulster Vocational Schools
  • Sean Dempsey – Former Laois County Minor Manager and Master Tutor with Leinster GAA

Below is the selection of interactive workshops that will be run during the Conference:

  • GAA Integration with the Curriculum – School Based Applications (Case Study) (Ryan Mellon – Ulster GAA, Pupils & Teachers from Schools)
    “This session deals with how Ulster GAA has engaged with Secondary Schools to provide opportunities for young people to develop the expertise and the skills to deliver sports science, fitness assessment, video analysis applications and nutrition to enhance team performance in school and in the clubs”
  • Managers’ Heart Rate in Competition – Your Mental Approach to Games (Kevin McGuigan – Sports Scientist Ulster GAA and Des Jennings – Sports Institute NI)
    “The team manager is under tremendous pressure to win even in our schools. With this comes the associated behaviour on the sidelines and the potential impact on our health. This research has tracked the heart rate of managers during competition in 2010 and the session explores ways in which the managers and coaches can help keep their focus and make good decisions when in charge of their teams – stay calm and focused – even as a schools coach?
  • Making the Link between the classroom and Sportshall (Joe McMahon, Catriona Rogers, Ben McGuckin, Owen Mooney – Ulster GAA Coaches, Mary Cullen – PS Teacher)
    “This session looks at innovative thinking and best practice in the Primary School and how teachers and coaches have integrated the curriculum into sport and physical activity in the sports hall.”
  • Conditioning for Secondary School Players – off, pre and in season (Kevin Kelly – Ulster GAA)
    “This will address the key function of core stability and functional movement and the need to establish this as a building block for future development. This session will be full of practical examples of why, what and HOW to do it. It will also explore what “conditioning” we are trying to achieve with the 12 to 18 year old boys and girls”.
  • County Programmes within the Education Sector (Chris Collins- Games Development Manager, Derry and Ryan Mellon – Ulster GAA)
    “This session explores the engagement that the Province and County have with the education sector and reflects on the challenges that we face in this delivery. The education environment is changing as is the GAA. As we move forward this session asks how we can best work together to provide opportunities to play Gaelic Games”.
  • Sports Technologies – Integrating Theory with Practice (Dan Turley – Performa Sport, Jonny Bradley – Sports Institute NI, Diarmaid Marsden- Ulster GAA)
    “In reality we observe, analyse and feedback in our coaching practice. Technologies can assist with this and the use of the visual is a powerful tool. Integrating the latest technologies into team preparation has been a successfully piloted project for GAA in Ulster. The latest technologies take this analysis to a new level live on the pitch side and from this technologies to design sessions for the coach”
  • Activity levels in the Playground in structured and unstructured play. (Stephen Quinn, Karol McQuade, Eamon Crilly and Eoghan Gribbin – Ulster GAA Coaches)
    “This session explores the impact on activity levels of smart planning and structured activity in the playground. Utilising the advanced GPS technologies the research shows the difference between structured and unstructured play and the impact this can have on the behaviour and health of young children”
  • Lifestyle and Player Management (Gary Mallon – Ulster GAA)
    “This session will look at the lifestyle issues of players and how we as coaches manage this. Their priorities at different times of the years are addressed and the challenges presented for the player and for the coaches in club and school. We will explore how we can keep this player centred and what the issues are when this approach is adopted”
  • One Wall Handball – Olympics 2016 (Ryan Daly and Austin McKenna – Ulster Handball)
    “One wall handball is now in a number of schools across the Province. This session outlines the concept, the game, the future for one wall and the potential to have one of your pupils in the future participating in the Olympic Games”
  • The Relative Age Theory and Player Selection  (Roger Keenan – Ulster GAA)
    There has been much debate around GAA age groups and the school age groups and the implications for player selection and participation. Research would show that in other sports players at the start of the year are picked into squads. What do we do in the GAA in terms of accommodating particular birthdays and what are the discrepancies and challenges between the six counties and the three? In addition does the route that students follow (academic or vocational) have a bearing on their opportunity to become a successful inter-county player? What are the implications for the future”


The 2012 Conference will focus on Gaelic Games in Education Teachers, coaches and educationalists are encouraged to participate.

The cost for attending the conference is £15/€18 per delegate.

For more details contact Bernie Fox on 02837521900 or email

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