Getting Started With GAA

New to the GAA?  Have a child who is interested? New to Balbriggan, Balrothery, Balscadden and surrounding areas?

This article is intended to give some initial information on what to expect and how to find the right team for you or your kid.

What is GAA?

The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is Ireland’s largest sporting organisation. It is celebrated as one of the great amateur sporting associations in the world. It is part of the Irish consciousness and plays an influential role in Irish society that extends far beyond the basic aim of promoting Gaelic games. The GAA has a number of core values that are stitched into the fabric of everything we do:

    • Community: The community is at the heart of the GAA, everything we do helps to enrich the communities we serve
    • Amateur Status: The GAA is a volunteer-led organisation, with all our members play and engage in our games as amateurs, games programme are provided at all levels to meet the needs of all our players
    • Inclusiveness: The GAA welcomes everybody to be part of our Association, we are anti-sectarian and anti-racist
    • Respect: We respect each other on and off the playing fields, we operate with integrity at all levels, we listen and respect the views of all
    • Player Welfare: We provide the best playing experience for all our players, we structure our games to allow players of all abilities to reach their potential
    • Teamwork: Effective teamwork on and off the field is the cornerstone of our Association

Is GAA for me or my kid(s)?

Many of you may have played GAA in school or College, have friends or Colleagues that play it or you may just want to have a go, so if you:

    • Would like to make new friends, have fun, learn and share new skills?
    • Would like to spend time with your children in a team environment?
    • Would like access to free training and resources?
    • Would like to increase your knowledge and improve skills?
    • Would like to make a valuable contribution to the community?
    • Would like to take on new challenges and expand your personal experiences?
    • Would like to like to set a good example for kids in the area?
    • Would like to like to become part of a community and/or be a part of a club?
    • Would like to maintain fitness through your involvement?
    • Would like to re-live childhood sporting memories?
    • Would you like to play for Dublin?

If the answers to any of the above questions is ‘Yes’, then why not ‘Give It A Go’

Where is and who are my local GAA club?

O’Dwyers GAA is a 100-year-old Gaelic Athletic Association Club based at Hamlet Lane, Balbriggan, County Dublin, Ireland, serving the communities of Balbriggan, Balrothery, Balscadden, and surrounding areas. Our club colours are green and white our principal grounds is at Bremore Park.

We have over 700 registered members and we field close on 50 teams to compete in football, hurling, and camogie at both juvenile and adult levels. The Club caters for juvenile and adults players and is always looking for new members. The Club offers sport in football, hurling, ladies football and Camogie along with vibrant nursery academy which caters for boys and girls from 4 to six.

Who is my or my kid(s) team?

Children up to the age of 7 go to the nursery which takes place every at 11am Saturday morning during term time in the O’Dwyers main pitch (during summer) and at the Flemington Community Centre (during winter).

The GAA calendar runs from January to December.  However, training and matches tend to coincide with the school calendar.  Children can join all year round and there is often a big influx in September/October as the school year starts.

Older children are divided by age group Under 8 (U8), Under 9 (U9), etc.  The age group is decided by the age of your child on January 1st.  A child age 10 on January 1st is under 11 (U11).  Therefore, all children born in 2005 play together, all born in 2008 play together, etc.   Each January all players in a squad proceed to the next age group i.e. from U11 to U12.  The squads vary in size but there are generally 20 – 40 in the group.

Each squad is managed by a team of 6 to 8 voluntary mentors from among the parents.   These are supported by a wider circle of parents who assist by washing jerseys, organising social events for the children and setting up pitches. The mentor for your child’s age group is your principal point of contact with the club and the details for the contact mentors for each group are available under ‘Team Contacts’.

It is not necessary to have played Gaelic football, hurling or camogie to become involved.  Many of our mentors come from other sports and additional help is always welcome. Training on coaching skills, child protection, and first aid are organised regularly by the club and at County level.

Most squads train in football once a week and hurling/camogie once a week for an hour each time.

In the winter training for older children takes place on the All Weather pitches in Balbriggan and various venues throughout the area.  The younger children practice indoors – generally in one of the halls linked to a school.  In the summer, training takes place in O’Dwyers main pitch (Bremore Park).

All matches for children up to U13 are at the weekend with breaks at Easter and the Summer.  Although many children play both football and hurling/camogie they generally have only one match at the weekend as the matches are scheduled to alternate between football and hurling/camogie.

O’Dwyers GAA takes the national Child Protection Guidelines seriously.  All mentors are Garda vetted.  An adult responsible for each child is expected to stay during the training and matches for all age groups up to U10.  For traffic safety reasons, all children need to be accompanied to and from O’Dwyers facilities.

How do I or my kid(s) start?

To get started simply get in touch by either:

    • Contacting any of our team’s coaches and they will advise you. All details are available under Team Contacts
    • Emailing us on info@odwyersgaa.com
    • Contacting our Games Promotion Officer, Ellen Muldoon who has been with O’Dwyers since November 2018. Ellen is always available to talk with players and parents whose children are interested in becoming involved with Gaelic games at the club. You can contact Ellen on 087 1274608

What to expect when I or my kid(s) start?

Over the years O’Dwyers have developed a successful 3 step on-boarding process to welcome you in as part f your new team and club

1. Help and coaching with the games

    • For the first few training sessions, you will be assigned a buddy and provided with additional coaching to help you get up to speed
    • The coach will advise you of training times and match schedule
    • The emphasis at a juvenile level is always on fun, participation, and enjoyment

2. Advice on membership, gear, team communication, and events

    • The coaches will advise you the array of membership and payment options
    • Policies & Procedures: code of conduct drawn up for Coaches Mentors & Trainers
    • You’ll be added to the Team communication group

 3. Follow-Up and Feedback

    • The team coaches will continually follow-up with you to ensure the process is proceeding as expected

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