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Sean Mc Goldrick. Sowing the Seeds for the Future. Overview. My Story – Key Lessons Eoghan Roe My Eoghan Roe Story Problems/Issues Summary Questions - Discussion. My upbringing and Gaelic Games. Early influences – childhood. Gaelic and hurling in my primary and secondary schools.

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sean mc goldrick

Sean Mc Goldrick

Sowing the Seeds for the Future


My Story – Key Lessons

Eoghan Roe

My Eoghan Roe Story



Questions - Discussion

my upbringing and gaelic games
My upbringing and Gaelic Games

Early influences – childhood.

Gaelic and hurling in my primary and secondary schools.

Success of CBS schools led to the foundation of St Teresa’s GAC in 1963.

Success with St Teresa’s through underage up to senior level into the early 80s.

Classic combination of Gaelic games in schools and access to games including county games in Casement Park.

Weakness in St Teresa’s setup – underage neglected and lesson learned in hindsight.

Having moved to work in NUU in 1973 I continued playing with St Teres’a until transferring to Eoghan Roe circa 1985.

lesson 1
Lesson 1

‘Need for continuous underage coaching’

eoghan roe coleraine location location location
Eoghan Roe, ColeraineLocation, Location, Location

Transferred to Eoghan Roe in 1985.

At that time the club was struggling to field a senior football team.

Committee was very small and interest in club and games was almost non-existent.

No culture for GAA existed in the area at the time.

Remoteness from main GAA areas.

Little exposure to Gaelic games in times past.

Location is less of a problem today.

my eoghan roe story
My Eoghan Roe Story

Transferred in 1985

An eye-opener – very different environment

No club facilities – Played and coached senior team until I was in my mid forties.

With few underage players coming through no pressure to retire.

my eoghan roe story early days underage coaching
My Eoghan Roe StoryEarly Days Underage Coaching

Little or no underage coaching.

Attempts to field an U14 football team with youngsters who had a very limited knowledge of Gaelic football.

Subsequently, lesson two followed.

lesson two
Lesson Two

‘Impossible to impart the skills of a game to children who are in their teens.’

lesson 3
Lesson 3

‘In order to have children playing and choosing Gaelic Games they needed to be introduced to them and coached from a very young age.’

building blocks
Building Blocks

‘Young people key’

eoghan roe and their primary schools
Eoghan Roe and their Primary Schools

Very different culture to my primary school.

Little or no Gaelic games in the primary schools.

Building blocks for a GAA club were non-existent. A vibrant club where children can see the games being played and primary schools coaching the skills.

Soccer was very dominant….My personal horror story – Barry

lesson 4
Lesson 4

‘Cannot rely on schools, therefore club has to start coaching the children themselves from a young age.’

planting the seeds
Planting the seeds

Foundations of Eoghan Roe Gaelic Football Structures – circa 1990.

A small group of 4 in the club involved.

Meeting with Terence Mc Williams, advice received and decision to proceed was taken…

planting the seeds action
Planting the seeds - action

Established our own coaching programme for primary school children…primary objective was:

‘To produce a steady stream of players, to ensure the survival of Eoghan Roe club over the long term.’

planting the seeds plan
Planting the seeds - Plan

We would go ahead and organise three sessions for primary school children in the Triangle area on a Saturday morning in the Dominican College in Portstewart, concentrating on the P3 to P7 children.

We all accepted that running this programme for a couple of years wouldn’t be enough. The programme would have to run for 15 to 20 years in order to see a positive result.

planting the seeds progression
Planting the Seeds - Progression

GAA was launching Foundation Courses – new ideas and confidence.

After this it was a matter of getting on with the practical aspects, booking the hall, buying the equipment, getting the word out to the parents.

We hoped that a spin off of our coaching programme would be a growth in interest in GAA amongst parents and other adults.

When the children passed from primary to secondary school it was obvious that we would have to look about organising sessions for secondary school children….more coaches required.

planting the seeds today
Planting the Seeds - Today

We run sessions all year round now. We feel the need to do this in order to:

Continually bond the children with the club

Continually develop the children’s skills…even in winter time.

By providing activities for the children we hoped also to bond the parents to the club. This had a two-fold effect. We did manage to recruit more parents into coaching and we also increased the number of club members and therefore the number of people who were prepared to volunteer to sit on the club committee.

eoghan roe s key ideas
Eoghan Roe’s Key Ideas

1) Bring underage players through to Senior teams.

2) Coaching goes on all year round.

3) Coaches kept informed of all up-coming coaching courses and workshops.

4) All coaches have to complete the Foundation Course and Child Safeguarding course.

eoghan roe s key ideas1
Eoghan Roe’s Key Ideas

5) Coaches PEC checked.

6) Coaches stay at one age group.

7) Attempt to ensure players always play in their own age group.

8) Players playing up an age group, are only expected to train with their own age group.

9) No prescribed way of playing.

where are we now
Where are we now?

Aim still the same as it was with our first meeting with Terrence...’to develop underage players and bring them through to senior’.

Change in environment. The club now commands much more respect in the local community and this is reflected in that primary schools are much more proactive in supporting Gaelic games.

Vast majority of our teams play in the “B” leagues – simply because that’s the level at which our underage teams can compete.

where are we now1
Where are we now?

Over the years we have added Hurling, Camogie and recently Gaelic for girls.

Although these extra games put a strain on the need to find new coaches, we decided in the 90s that we would strive to provide games for the whole family, male and female, young and old.

Hurling has enjoyed success, however it is a challenge to run a successful dual club.

where are we now2
Where are we now?

The higher profile of Gaelic football in Derry and in our club puts pressure on the hurling. Camogie in the club is thriving.

Continual struggle to keep numbers up – under 16 hurlers this year.

cultural development and acceptance
Cultural Development and Acceptance

Irish language and dancing lessons in the club house every week.

Ceasefires in 90’s…living in changed times.

More acceptance of Gaelic Games in our area.

The Gaelic club in the Coleraine council area has a higher profile generally and commands a lot of respect from other sports clubs and from the council itself.

problems issues1

Attracting Children to Eoghan Rua. Need to continue the work of building a GAA culture in our area.

Competition from other sports – on-going. Do they come back?

Changing lifestyle of children.

Attracting new coaches.

Retaining coaches.

Parents as coaches – advantages and disadvantages.



Have a long term goal and be prepared for a long term commitment.

Shared Vision -  gather together the people who you know share your hopes and start from there, no matter how small your group is.

Put coaching structures in place from Fundamentals to adult (LTPD). This may be a gradual process which takes years as you increase the number of coaches working in your club.

Outsiders won’t do it, must be built by you!

Develop School Links/Don’t rely on Schools or county coaches (DIY)

Think about providing activities for the whole family - developing the bond is essential and always look for ways to increase the GAA community!


Be open to new adult members and utilise the abilities and talents of everyone willing to make a contribution.

Encourage club members to attend courses.

Club Maith accreditation.

Learn from others.

Encourage next generation and be prepared to let go.