“We weren’t kind of sure” – Faithful put faith in Liam Kearns

By Patrick Sharkey,

Episode 54: David Dempsey The GAA Zone podcast

On episode 54 of the GAA Zone podcast, the GAA Zone editor Patrick Sharkey spoke to the Offaly and Bally Common senior footballer David Dempsey. — Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/gaazone/message
  1. Episode 54: David Dempsey
  2. Episode 53: Managerial Merry Go Round
  3. Episode 52: Antrim hurling 2022
  4. Episode 51: Andy McEntee
  5. Episode 50: The future of GAA Media!

The Kerry football championship can be a complicated model to get a handle on from the outside.

Jack Cooney has stepped down as Westmeath football manager to take up a role as the GAA’s National Player Development Lead. Westmeath will be unable to get him replaced by the highly rated Liam Kearns as he has taken the helm at the Offaly senior footballers with David Dempsey, the Offaly and Bally Common footballer being excited about it on the GAA Zone Podcast saying: “Yeah originally, we weren’t kind of sure as players after John Maughan had resigned as such. At first was probably going to be Tomás Ó Sé and then Tomás himself had to opt out due to work”.

Cooney who served four years as manager of his native county after being appointed in the autumn of 2018, said the area of player development was one in which he held an academic interest and that he was eager to work in the area on a full-time basis. It is a similar story to Mr. Ó Sé who is the new Kerry U20 coach and Mr. Dempsey was asked whether the Kerry side should be excited saying: “Yeah absolutely. Look he’s won a host of personal accolades like players of the year and all-stars”.

There have been further moves in the post-GAA intercounty season managerial merry-go-round.

Pairc Ui Chaoimh will host a rugby fixture in November when Munster host world champions South Africa. Offaly will hope to return to that venue in division two in 2024 with Dempsey saying: “I suppose so, there is no point saying otherwise, we’re after last season getting up to division two”.

The GAA’s Central Council has given the go-ahead for Munster to take on a South Africa select XV.  

Rather than Thomond Park in Limerick, Munster will take on the world champions on November 10.  

Mount Sion recorded another big win in the Waterford championship, destroying Lismore to qualify.  

In the modern era, technology is a part and parcel of sport at the highest level. David would want to play in a Croke Park with Hawkeye working saying: “Look we’ve been knocking on the door the last few years kind of against counties that are at our level, and we seem to just be falling short, you know in 2019, Meath up there, we let the game slip, we were up two points, or three points kind of”.

 Who are the main influencers inside and outside the largest cultural and sporting organisation in Ireland? David Dempsey believes: “Look I’m not going to lie. I’d be a complete fan of it. Originally when the Tailteann cup was promoted at first, I was, and I thought it was kind of going to turn into something like the Tommy Murphy cup from years gone by. But after seeing what they did promotion-wise and the crowds that were still attending games I found it fantastic. I think every single player wants to be playing as many games as they can with their county. This year for the likes of Offaly we played Wexford obviously we didn’t get the result in the Leinster championship.”

Derry’s Owenbeg will be the host venue for the bulk of next year’s GAA World Games which sees Gaelic players from overseas traveling to Ireland to take part in the competition. For New York, it is their O’Byrne cup, but Offaly is focused on winning the real O’Byrne cup according to the Bally common man who said: “I suppose it depends like some management teams take it seriously and really go for it with their first 15 and some then like to be a little bit more experimental and try out new tactics, try new players, give the guys a chance. It entirely depends on what Liam Kearn’s plans are, you know, he could withhold some of the key players, give other guys a chance, and then we hit the ground running for the league, or straight away from the get-go, he might want to, get a bounce, and start winning games immediately and go very strong. I think it was 2019 as well. We actually got to an O’Byrne cup final against Longford and we actually lost by a point that day look it set Longford up for a good league campaign so look it is something players would have interest in”.


“Limerick football is really on the up” – a Gaelic games weekend to remember

By Patrick Sharkey,

Episode 38: Weekend reaction and review The GAA Zone podcast

In episode 38 of the GAA Zone Podcast, the GAA Zone editor spoke to Matthew Hurley aka the GAA Statsman about the games that happened last weekend. — Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/gaazone/message

In one spectacular weekend, there were a lot of talking points from the GAA, LGFA, and camogie worlds.

Ruairi Canavan hits 1-7 as Tyrone claims a six-point victory over the Lilywhites in Carrick-on-Shannon.

So well done again to Paul Devlin and the Tyrone team. In episode 38 of the GAA Zone podcast Matthew Hurley (GAA Statsman) was full of praise for Tyrone saying: “I thought it was a superb game. From the off really two goals from Ruairi Canavan and Dan Lyman who did very well in the Sigurdsson cup as well. Honestly, going into the game I thought Kildare would win it. You look at their performances like against Dublin they were superb and against Sligo they put them away with ease. Compare that to Tyrone. It Donegal who went to extra time and then again against Cavan they kind of struggle”.

Limerick has booked a date against Kerry in the Munster Football Championship final as their dream season continues. Mr. Hurley was impressed by Limerick saying: “Look most people thought Tipperary would win this game getting out of the Tailteann cup. It was a way to get out. No Limerick proved once again they are a team to be reckoned with. They were kind of lucky against Clare in a way to get through on penalties, but they got through that anyway. Yeah, Limerick football is really on the up with players all through the field like Josh Ryan. I said this on GAA Fan TV, another podcast”.

Kildare is into the Leinster senior football final after surviving a late rally from Westmeath at Croke Park. Hurley didn’t mince his words about the game saying: “Look Kildare, it is a brilliant victory for them in a way like. I think Kevin Mc Stay was very critical of them on the Sunday Game last night. A bit uncalled for in my opinion. They did very well in division one and hammered Louth in the quarter-finals. Maybe they need to give a bit of credit to Westmeath? Most people in Croke Park would have counted Westmeath as real underdogs in trying to overcome Kildare but in fairness, they put up a real show. Ronan O’Toole played well, Jamie Gornoud very good from wing-back, and John Heslin.”

After going a decade in which, they won just one Ulster Championship game, Derry has now gone back-to-back.

Derry got another signature win as they took out Monaghan at The Gaelic Grounds on Sunday.

Derry hadn’t won a single match in Ulster in six years prior to the Tyrone win.  It wasn’t a big shock.

The Derry resurgence continues.  It was no surprise to Matthew who said: “I did stats on the game.”

Dublin showed up and delivered. The GAA stats man said: “It was really one-way traffic, wasn’t it?”

Players from 15 of the 17 counties that are set to compete in the inaugural Tailteann Cup were present at Croke Park on Monday afternoon as further details of the competition’s promotional push were revealed. The journalism student sees it as an interesting set of ties saying: “The main one really is Offaly v Wexford.  That is a big tie there, considering Wexford beat them in the Leinster championship.  You must expect Offaly you know to write the wrongs of that game and try to win”.

“You are talking about the fundamental movement skills”- the new passport to widen horizons for players

By Patrick Sharey,

With many people renewing their passports with eased travel restrictions at what many hope is the end of the Covid 19 pandemic, many ambitious Gaelic Footballers and hurlers will also be looking for a different kind of passport. There is a new GAA-themed ‘player passport’.

Dubliner Shane Casey has this new invention which is used via a mobile app that is used to capture data at key milestones in a young players athletic development which directly aligns with the GAA’s “Gaelic Games Player Pathway”. Mr.Casey explained it saying: “Yeah, I suppose the idea of a GAA player passport is in order to track the development of the players journey throughout their playing career, within the GAA. So right from grassroots, up from juvinile into the adult game. The concept of where it came from is probably through my own experience with the GAA. So I’ve played GAA all my life in my local club in Finglas, Dublin here as well and I went through that process through juvenile”.

Casey added: “So I played from under six, under seven all the way up until the senior football and hurling. Unfortunately I am on the way back down now where I play intermediate and I now play junior hurling at the moment with the club but I suppose the idea with that over the last 18 months with members of the club we were developing a development plan for the club within the games itself with football, hurling, camogie and ladies football and long term athletic development”.

“When you talk about long term athletic development, people talk about strength and conditioning and all that sort of stuff but it actually brings you back to when you look at the fundamentals of children’s development. You are talking about the fundamental movement skills that kids have and that’s all part of the long-term atheltic development plan of players.”

“So with that idea, the issue that we were finding was that the GAA at the moment has great initiaves out there like the ‘player pathway’ and a few other great initaves. The problem we were having, is that it was very difficult to capture that information so we were planning to implement certain initatives. How do we know they were actually working? How do we know that when we did this training with the kids, what we were teaching them was actually developing them, where they were skill-based or athletic-based? That’s really where the idea of the player passport came from and then we got confirmation then we won the GAA hackathon there last year in 2021 with the idea of the player passport. So that gave it the vlaidation that we were looking for that actually hold on, there is potential here for it. We are not the only one thaat are having these issuesn about how do we understand or how do we capture all those KPIs (Key Performance indicatiors) of players as they go through that process in the GAA.”

every buisness person has to find a gap in the market before launching a product for the market. Shane says: Yeah well if you look there is over 2,600 clubs in the GAA and the majority of them would have juvinile teams. All the coaches themselves are finding it quite difficult to capture information. So this is a tool that will aid coaches, the teams and the clubs to track the development of the players themseleves. So yeah I can see the gap in thre market. I don’t see technolgy specific for this space at the momment. There is a lot of stuff at the high level at the momment. When we talk about the elitie players or the senior teams within clubs, there is a lot of informations being gathered here at the momment but when you bring it back to the grass roots level, there is very little information being captured there at the momment.

The Dublinner added: “You know yourself when you are building a house it is built, brick by brick. if you don’t have the foundations done correctly it is not going to stay up and that’s the approach we are taking as well. We are going to focus on the fundamentals”.

“You know it is to help them to move correctly for sports specific stuff, football or hurling or camogie or ladies football.” At this momment in time you can request to try out the Beta version of the GAA ‘player passport’ on their website. Many clubs are back training.

The real test for any company will be the rection the general public. The North Dubliner said: ” yeah, it has been huge. So we have completed the MVP, so we have completed the product and we are going to go to our local club for a trial and then there is another club in Dublin that we are going to be trialing it with. So with initial reactions from coaches and even at a county board level it has been massive. The feeedback has been great so far”.

The Finglas man added: “A lot of people in key positions like the games promotion officers or the games development officers are giving great feedback that they can see the benefit in this technolgy”.

However this is only the begining and there is a bright future for the GAA ‘player passport’.

What will the sucess of the GAA ‘Player passport amount to in five years time? Mr. Casey says: “Yeah I thin k it is always going to be evolving anyways. So, like initally I am focusing on the GAA, that’s where my passion is. What we are trying to do here is benefit it to fit thr GAA as a whole, whether it is an individual, team or a club. That is the ultamite goal to bring forward the games to make it easier for coaches in the game. We know that they are all volunteers and it makes life easier for them. That’s number one but if you look across sports, the fundamental movements, no matter if it’s GAA, soccer, basketball, cricket, or whatever other sport again it is the basis. that’s what you need to look at there.”

Casey added: “Thats the foundation in which athleted develop. If a young child has difficulty in running or hopping or jumping or skipping and they don’t learn those skills at a young age, it is very diffcult for them to excel in a sport or even in long term activity wheher it’s indoor sport or outdoor sport”.

“So that’s what we are aiming at. So over the next five years, what we want to do is expand it to other sectors. So we have our foundations. We understand fundamental movement and then you are looking at the sport specific skills. So that can be modified for soccer, basketball or cricket like i mentioned. It can qualifiy for any sport”. Consumers will certaintly have their eyes pealed over the next five yesrs to see what Shane Casey can achieve for the next generation of gaelic footballers and hurlers with the GAA ‘player passport’.

There is many diffrent programs and in itaves out there in the modern day world of strength and conditioning but what sets the player passport apart. Shane believes: “Yeah I suppose what sets it apart is, we are working with the GAA on this. We are working with the Dublin games development team here. We are trying to focus on the greeat work that has been done in the GAA to date. it is a great inititave that is currently there. The recent moving welll, being well initave which has just been rolled out there and then you also have the U-Can awards or the skill star challange. So there is lots of material out there for coahes at the momment for the GAA. Again, what sets us a part is we are trying to gather all the best pieces of that and actually allow coaches to provide that profile of a player.”

The Dubliner added: “Again if they capture that information regarding that assesment, building that profile and then tracking that individual throughout it’s playing carrer. So at the momment there is nothing reeally out there to date that allows coaches to do that, so that’s what the player passport is about.”

A Beta request for the GAA ‘player passport’ can be requested through this here link -https://www.playerpassport.ie/?fbclid=IwAR35apFZkjoBZkwMIL37LeeiRTXSX6nCS2brkpS0rWrEJsP3wImZktE2hqc