The latest GAA Super Games Centre was opened in Castlecomer yesterday, as part of a deep partnership between the Association and Sky Sports.
Recently crowned Allianz National League Champion with Kilkenny TJ Reid was there to launch the initiative with students from Castlecomer Community School.
The Super Games Centres are based all over the country and were set up to reduce youth drop out and encourage a “play to stay” approach amongst youth, specifically between the ages of 12 and 17 where the fall away from sport and physical activity is most prevalent.
“We know that youth drop out is the biggest worldwide problem in this sector, said GAA Director of Games Development and Research Pat Daly.
“The GAA Super Games Centres encourage a “play to stay” approach, providing informal playing opportunities of a developmental nature, where a strong emphasis is placed on a player-centred and learner-led approach to development.”
“We’re delighted this year to have Sky Sports involved and to have a wonderful ambassador in TJ Reid here today.”
“Our ultimate goal is to increase the number of centres countrywide and reach over 10,000 children annually.”
Sky Sports is supporting the GAA Super Games Centres by arranging visits with Sky Sports mentors and providing kits and equipment to the estimated 9,000 members countrywide.
The initiative is part of a wider plan which will see Sky Sports invest €3 million in grassroots GAA over the next five years.
“This investment further demonstrates our commitment to GAA, not just in broadcasting the All Ireland Senior Championships, but also in supporting the talent of the future at grassroots level, where it matters most,” said Sky Ireland Managing Director JD Buckley.
“We look forward to working with the GAA on the Championship and these wonderful initiatives for many years to come.”
TJ Reid is one of the ambassadors appearing around the country, alongside Joe Canning from Galway, Con O’Callaghan and Carla Rowe from Dublin, and Darran O’Sullivan from Kerry.
“When Sky Sports asked me to get involved with my local Super Games Centre in Castlecomer I jumped at the opportunity,” added Reid.
“Fitness and sport is such an important part of my life between playing hurling for Kilkenny and my career in the fitness industry as Director of TJ Reid Health and Fitness in Cillin Hill, Kilkenny.”
“It was really great to see lots of local kids participating together and just enjoying the game today and if I can encourage more young people to stay playing the sport they love I’ll be very happy.”
Image Credit: Sam Barnes, Sportsfile