€1.5m GAA funding boost for 'east Leinster project'
Published 03/08/2016 | 02:30
The GAA are to invest an extra €1.5m for an initial three years for coaching and games development projects in the main commuter counties outside Dublin.
The additional funding from central level has been agreed for Louth, Kildare, Meath and Wicklow which will put more coaches on the ground in an effort to cater for the rapid population growth in these areas.
But Leinster Council chairman John Horan also acknowledged that Dublin's success in the province - 11 senior football titles in 12 years - was also a factor.
Dublin GAA has in excess of 60 full-time coaches, part-funded by the €16.5m they have received from central level over the 11-year period since an initial €1m per year was made available to the GAA from the Irish Sports Council for a special project to boost participation across the capital.
But Dublin County Board and the clubs themselves have also made significant financial commitments to keep that coaching network in place and that model is expected to be replicated in some of the bigger urban areas in the commuter belt.
The 'east Leinster project' will be overseen by former GAA president Liam O'Neill and will be run by the provincial council.
Leinster Council are already advertising to set up a panel of games promotion officers in these counties.
"This is an attempt by Leinster Council and the GAA at central level to deal with the urban sprawl outside of Dublin and to try and close that gap that everyone obviously sees at the moment between Dublin and the rest," said Horan.
"We're not going around with our heads in the sand. We need a marketable product to keep sponsors going and we need a marketable product to get supporters to come, you can't have those big gaps that exist between Dublin and the rest. This is an attempt to address that."
The funding is expected to at least double and even treble the number of full-time coaching positions in some if not all four counties but Horan says effective games programmes will have an even greater influence on their plans.