Thursday 22 March 2018

The five key points

The mentors

The Hurling Development Committee (HDC) have secured an impressive array of mentors that will "provide coaching and support expertise" to 23 counties across the four provinces.

All-Ireland-winning Tipp manager of 2010, Liam Sheedy, will assist Tyrone while his selector on that team, Eamon O'Shea, will team up with Donegal.

Joe Dooley (Antrim), Micheal Duignan (Longford) and Humphrey Kelleher (Armagh) are also involved. They will meet with their assigned counties several times over the course of the year.

Challenge games

A commitment not to schedule football challenge games at the same time as the Tain Leagues represents a significant coup for the committee.

"To get people in those counties to accept this time around that they couldn't put challenge football games up against the Tain was a step forward," explained the GAA's head of games Pat Daly.

Liam O'Neill's


The incoming president has been working on this plan for the past three years. By the time the Laois man steps down in 2015, it will be six years since they started to devise the plan and three years since it was put in place.

"My strategy was set out at the time in the hope that I might become president so I would have six years at it," he said. "Hurling matters a huge amount to me. I'm from a hurling club (Trumera). It's all we play."

Sports Science support

Six senior county sides -- Antrim, Laois, Carlow, Westmeath, Kerry and Down -- will be afforded assistance in strength and conditioning, diet and nutrition and performance analysis out of the National Hurling and Camogie Development Centre in Waterford IT.

The scheme will last for one year and, if successful, will continue for longer. It is aimed at closing the gap between those teams and the top counties.

Offaly's involvement

in the mentor scheme

Offaly are by far the most high-profile county in the mentoring scheme, with double All-Ireland-winning manager Dermot Healy coming on board.

"It's more about the underage system in Offaly -- it's not because Offaly are weak, but because they recognise that they want to get back up to where they were," O'Neill said.

Irish Independent

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