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Kieran Donaghy And Jamesie O'Connor On The Problem Of Teen Dropout In The GAA

Kieran Donaghy And Jamesie O'Connor On The Problem Of Teen Dropout In The GAA
By Balls Team Updated

Teenage dropout is a challenge for all sports, but it is one that the GAA feels acutely. How do you keep young people interested and involved in sport so that they remain active players into their adulthood? This issue matters not just because GAA clubs are looking to field senior teams - it matters because keeping young people playing sport through their teenage years has a massively positive effect on public health and society.

Kieran Donaghy joined the Sky Sports GAA team for the 2019 Championship and he has embarked on a fascinating journey. Over the coming weeks, Sky Sports will be broadcasting Donaghy's visits to GAA Super Games Centres around the country. These are initiatives aimed at keeping GAA players aged between 12-17 involved in gaelic games. The series will examine the factors that turn young players away from playing, and what the SGC's are doing to keep them invested. (The SGC are one of three initiatives that Sky Sports is supporting as part of its 5 year, €3 million partnership with the GAA)

In so many ways, Donaghy is the perfect person to front a series like this because he almost walked away from the GAA entirely when he was 15.

“A lot of teenagers today aren’t having fun and probably aren’t getting a game. I was one of these kids. I fell out of love with GAA and almost didn’t find my way back, but I’m living proof that you can re-focus your mindset. For me, I had to start enjoying it before I could really develop my skillset as a player.”

During last night's episode, Kieran Donaghy sat down with Clare legend and Sky Sports pundit Jamesie O'Connor. Jamesie's has taught and coached at Clare hurling breeding ground St Flannans for two and a half decades. During last night's interview, he revealed how his attitudes towards coaching have changed in recent years, and how he endeavours to keep more people involved, perhaps at the sake of results.

Ultimately, young people play sport because they want to be involved in playing games. Training will only get teenagers so far.

It's a fascinating discussion point, and one that will likely be revisited as Donaghy continues his journey through the GAA Super Games Centres over the next four weeks of the programme. Watch the whole segment - taken from last night's GAA Championship Review Show on Sky Sports - below.



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