The next in our series of interviews with leading members of Louth LGFA, Brian Lynch, Louth LGFA development Officer spoke to PRO Dermot Woods.
My involvement in GAA began back in 1980. I played all of my football career with St Mary’s in Donore, Co Meath. After togging out in the green and red for over 30 years I decided to call it a day. With no major success to retire with I hung up the boots with something much better. I left with some great memories and some fantastic friends.
I took up coaching thanks to the one and only Colm Nally. Colm spent a short time with St Marys before I finished up, and he brought a whole new meaning to Coaching. Gone were the laps the old school system was retired as well, everything revolved around the football.
I was lucky I would say with my first coaching job, Glen Emmetts. Some super footballers, and a club been driven forward by the Carolan Family, a formula for success. Winning the Junior Final being the highlight. Finishing with Glen Emmetts was tough, because I believed at the time they had the talent and the people outside of the team to make it a reality, and still do, but I left with some great memories and friends, Derek Wogan, Ann Carolan and Ollie McShane to name a few.
After leaving Glen Emmetts, I went to St Nicholas. Des Mc Donald approached me and offered me a challenge, something quite different to Glen Emmetts. It wasn’t about today or tomorrow if that makes sense. Des was thinking further ahead than that. I spent two years with the adult team before joining up with Hugh Downey with the u16 and now I’m Coaching Officer for the Club. One thing that showed me that the hard work and perseverance that Hugh put in pays of is that almost all of those u16 are now involved with the adult team.
Not been content with that, last year through John Savage I got involved with St.Fechins Ladies. Changing from men football to Ladies football did offer its own challenges but in this game, you have to learn to adapt very quickly. Fechins Ladies are a different bunch of players, committed, determined and ambitious and a team packed with serious characters throughout the squad.
My vision for development of Louth LGFA would be to see Plans, Structures and Development put in to place that would be on a par with the top counties. The likes of Dublin, Mayo and Cork to name but a few.
Short and Medium term plans Dermot, with the climate the way it is at present I couldn’t look any further than tomorrow unfortunately ,that is my opinion, and for now all I can do is be there for the clubs and coaches and to assist them with anything they might need to provide a safe and secure environment for their members.
Any help Dermot that a club might need is at the end of an email or a phone call. The Offical LGFA guide is available to everyone on their website. Everything is there and like it says it is a guide, if anyone has any questions to ask or are not certain on certain topics within the Booklet, as I said an email or phone call is all it takes.
Is there a plan to Develop players within the county? There should always be a plan to develop players within a county. Is it the right one? Is it working? Is it being implemented? All these questions need answering and unfortunately, I can’t do that across a phone or computer. We need as a County to sit down constructively and discuss this. There has to be buy in from everyone across the board. A saying I picked up of an old friend of mine Dermot “Do what you always done, get what you always got”, so maybe now is the time for change, and only the clubs can decide that. They are the ones that know what will work and won’t work and it is my job to put the structure to their plans. Hopefully we can do this sooner rather than later.
Most definitely Dermot, there should always be a link to the club and the local school be this a primary or secondary school. Every child should have the opportunity to play sport and it is up to us to provide that opportunity. Again, all information can be obtained on the LGFA website. Unfortunately LGFA don’t have the man power or funding to put coaches into the schools and we rely solely on volunteers to do this.
Volunteer recruitment is a tough ask. At County level you are asking people to commit to something, that in order for it to succeed you have to commit . These volunteers are already committed to their club and now we are looking to give up more of their time to Louth LGFA. If we have a structure / player pathway in place at club level and it is being followed, we start to create a more skilful player, this in hand then will help a county team manager who now has a chance to show their skills as a top level coach with instead of having to coach a player the basic skills they can focus more on the tactical element of the game along with other topics like S/C, nutrition and also the mental health side of things. Also, we need to provide football for those players who are not getting enough game time,these players are out there and can easily be forgotten. Volunteer recruitment in this sector has to be looked at. Player Development Programmes are there at u13,15,17 but we need help. As soon as we wrap things up on the field we will be pushing hard on Volunteer Recruitment so watch this space as they say.
You ask me what I would I like to see as my Legacy? To be the person who helped Clubs and County put a structure in place that produces top quality coaches and players which in turn would help Louth LGFA reach the top. Which at the end of the day must be everyone’s goal.