Tackling life’s challenges with the GAA

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Updated: August 26, 2011

All-Ireland winning Armagh footballer Oisín McConville will be amongst the guest speakers at a unique event in The Sligo Park Hotel on Monday, September 5, at 7pm. Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael, Criostóir Ó Cuana, will give the closing address on the night.

Entitled ‘A Sporting Chance: Tackling life’s challenges with the GAA’, the free event aims to offer inspiration and information to the GAA’s young players, and their coaches, mentors, and administrators, on some of the challenges they may face during their sporting careers on and off the field.

The event has been organised by Sligo GAA’s Games Promotion Officer, Charlie Harrison, who is also the Sligo Senior Football captain, and Colin Regan, National Coordinator of the Association’s Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) programme, who represented Leitrim on the playing fields for over 13 years. Other noted contributors on the evening include sports psychologist Caroline Currid, a native of Sligo, who has worked with some of the top teams and individuals in the country across an array of sports, Sligo GAA legend Eamonn O’Hara, and leading Irish sports nutritionist Richelle Flanaghan.

The event concludes the GAA’s National Urban Project in Sligo town, which aims to raise the profile of and participation levels in Gaelic Games in urban bases across the island. Harrison is the coordinator of the project in Sligo.

“The GAA is working hard to offer all members of our communities the opportunity to participate in Gaelic games, and as a result experience the benefits that involvement in sport brings,” explains Charlie. “However, our young people in particular face challenges and tests in all walks of their lives that can impact negatively on their sporting involvement and their health in general. That’s why we wanted to put on an event that addressed some of these issues and provide information and inspiration through the likes of Oisín, Eamonn and the rest of the speakers that helps people realise that making the right choices in your life can make all the difference.”

Oisín McConville has won an All-Ireland senior football championship medal, seven Ulster championships and a National League title with Armagh. He has also been awarded two All Stars. However, as he revealed in his recent autobiography, his addiction to gambling proved the biggest challenge he has faced in life. Now working as a counselor in the area, Oisín will offer a unique personal insight into the road too and from addiction and the challenges associated with both.

Other topics covered during the informal open panel discussion – which will be chaired by TG4’s sports presenter Micheál Ó Domhnaill – include the pressures facing young people both in terms of their personal development and their sporting lives, healthy eating and the impact of alcohol on sports performance, and the GAA’s on-going work in reducing the potential harm of alcohol and drugs misuse amongst its members.

“This event highlights the GAA’s commitment to assist our members in enjoying a full and healthy life both on and off the field,” explained Mr. Cooney.

The evening, which runs from 7pm-9pm, will feature a mix of fascinating personal experiences combined with expert advice from some of the top professionals in their fields. It will conclude with a Q&A session from the audience and promises to be of value to anyone interested in sport, juvenile development and life’s challenges in general.

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