Last Thursday, March 5th Rebel Óg North Board, in association with Pat Spratt GDA, An Garda Síochána and Mallow GAA Complex, held a very informative and successful workshop on health and well being for young adults and teenagers. On the night all the development squad players and their parents were invited in to listen to the speakers who gave some essential information to both the boys and their parents. The evening was very kindly hosted by Mallow GAA complex and by Liz Foley who did a tremendous amount to make the night a success.
On the night there were a variety of different speakers who had some excellent information and resources prepared for the young adults and parents. First the evening was introduced by Pat Spratt GDA for Cork North, where he outlined the purpose of the night and why he felt it would be beneficial for the players and their parents. Pat stated that the main reason behind the workshop was to highlight the some of the ongoing in today’s modern society for young adults and sport. He also stated that alcohol and drugs are becoming more prominent in today’s society along with the major issue of mental health in young men and women. While the GAA plays a huge part in the physical well being of our children, Pat was fully of the opinion that now was the time to influence our young players mental wellbeing and be more aware of these on-going issues.
The first speaker to address the big audience in attendance was Garda Philip Hayes of Buttevant Garda station. Philip spoke in depth about alcohol and the major issues surround it. Philip was very informative and had a lot of facts and figures about the law surround alcohol for underage people and also the consquences that follow underage drinking. Philip also was speaking to parents on their actions and responsibility with alcohol and how to identify the signs of underage drinking with their children.
The second speaker was Sargent Micheál O’Regan, who is working within the drugs unit in Mallow Garda Station covering a lot of the North Cork area. Micheál spoke on drugs, the different types of drugs and what they look like. Micheál continued in his talk to inform the audience of how certain drug gangs can operate and how they can influence young adults into getting involved in such a pathway. Micheál didn’t beat around the bush and was very clear of the implications of the law surround drugs and what the consequences are of you were found in possession of drugs or if you were involved with such.
Next to the podium was Barry Corkery, who is a senior addiction counsellor and an experienced mental health therapist in the mental health industry. Barry was speaking of the issues surround mental health and how was can look our for signs of such issues in our children. Barry was also very informative in how he was highlighting how a good and positive mind frame for everyone is always a bonus for us in life. Barry has his own ties to the GAA circle, he’s a passionate Éire Óg member, he is currently involved with the Cork U20 footballers and was involved with the winner Cork All-Ireland minor team last year. Barry wrapped us his talk by talking to the young adults in particular about setting realistic targets for ourselves and how to measure success within ourselves.
The final speaker on the night was Keith Ricken, who is the current Cork U20 football manager, he’s also the CIT sports administer which a masters in education from the National University of Ireland in Maynooth in adult guidance and counselling. Keith spoke about a player centred approach to how we conduct ourselves in life. Keith had the audience gripped when he was speaking from personal terms, engaging with both the parents and the young audience. Keith was speaking on life in general
for all to hear giving some real-life examples of how we can better ourselves and help the children in our care.
All speakers finished up, with a small Q&A, with questions coming from the audience who were enthralled with what they were hearing and wanted to know more. Overall the night was a raging success. There were over 400 people in attendance with many left standing as the whole room was packed. The feedback from this workshop has shown that there is a huge appetite for information such as was given on the night, especially from parents who wanted to learn more on how they can benefit their own children. From the development squads and club point of view, the boys in attendance are now wiser when it comes such topics which now illustrates another appetitive for more workshops like this to take place in the future. The education of our children doesn’t stop at the school bell, the information on show in Mallow from these speakers was to educate the young people on life and also to educate our coaches who are now more that just facilitates of the game, they are becoming more and mote important and significant in the holistic development of the children in our clubs and county.
Once the dust has settled, in reflection, this night couldn’t have been a success without many more than just the speakers mentioned above. Liz Foley and the Mallow GAA Complex were the main sponsors of the evening while the Garda Síochána were also the driving force behind it. Within Rebel Óg, a special thanks to the board and also to Kieran Linehan, Vice Chairman, who wrapped up the evening and were also major influencers on the evening. Along with the board, Kevin O’Callaghan, County Games Manager and Ronan Dwane, Cork County Board Coaching Officer, put their time and their effort into making the night a success. A special mention must also go to Martin O’Brien and Martin Farrissey who along with the Development squad coaches, must be thanked for their continued support and work within the region. A thank you also to David O’Sullivan, of Glanworth GAA, who put in effort along with Pat in setting up and organising the event from a logistics point of view.
To conclude, the fact this night was such a raging and massive success, it leaves us all now of the opinion that we need to do more of these style workshops to help benefit the overall development of our children. A thought to finish; “The Greatest Wealth is Your Health”!!