Last Saturday, Ulster GAA hosted the O’Neills Ulster GAA Coaching and Games Conference at the Derry Centre of Excellence, Owenbeg.
This year the conference theme was ‘Developing Hurling and Camogie Performance’ and saw the event sell-out in advance. Delegates from every county across Ulster and indeed further afield were in attendance to improve their knowledge.
John Connolly, Chairperson of the Ulster GAA Coaching and Games Committee opened the conference, while Raymond Tumelty welcomed delegates on behalf of sponsors O’Neills.
The conference took on a new format this year with practical sessions added for the first time. Former Waterford manager Derek McGrath was a big draw at the conference and took coaches through a session with the help of some young volunteers.
Also in attendance were the Cork Camogie management team of Paudie and Kevin Murray, who led an excellent pitch-based session. Following the session on the pitch there was an opportunity to discuss each of the sessions with the coaches.
The conference then broke into a number of focused workshops. The Ulster GAA Sports Science Officer Eoin McNicholl led a workshop that looked at the conditioning required for a senior player, while Tipperary Performance Analyst, Damien Young led a session on statistics and the benefits that can be drawn or extracted from them.
The final session then saw two keynote presentations. Martin Fogarty, National Director of Hurling, gave a very informative talk on the importance of a structured games programme. Derek McGrath then spoke on the importance of surrounding yourself with good people – a presentation that was very well received by the packed hall.
Concluding the days events Ulster GAA Vice President Ciaran McLaughlin thanked all delegates for their attendance and urged them to read the Talent Academy and Player Development Review report which is to be published shortly.