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Saturday 21 April 2018

'Fun, friendship, fairness, fitness' - GAA's new plan

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Fionnán Sheahan

The GAA is leading the charge to get schoolchildren fit and develop their motor skills.

The association is launching a new plan this autumn which will recognise schools that have pupils participating in specially adapted and non-competitive games. The games are an adaptation of the existing Gaelic games, with activities centring around hitting, kicking and catching balls.

The plan is to get 3,000 primary schools involved by 2022, using the GAA's 300 coaches around the country.

GAA director of games Pat Daly says the five-star schools programme will be about games focusing on fun, friendship, fairness and fitness.

"What we are trying to do is use variants of Gaelic games, and are grounded in fun, friendship and fairness, where fitness is a by-product. This is about getting kids out and active. It is grounded in fun, about developing friendship, ensure fairness and creating physical fitness. Kids should play to learn, that is our underlying philosophy," he said.

After three years of participation, a school will be awarded a special flag, along the lines of the green flag, which recognises awareness of the environment.

"It is a kind of cultural change in the GAA. Traditionally, people associate the GAA with competitive games. What we are focusing on here is activity and inclusion. It is about the effort you made," Mr Daly said.

Irish Independent

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