The GAA will launch its new strategic plan today in the less familiar surroundings of St Feckin’s GAA Club in Termonfeckin, County Louth.
The timing of a trip to ‘the wee county’ could hardly be better with Mickey Harte leading the County team to the Allianz League Division Three title at Croke Park on Saturday, a place secured to compete for the Sam Maguire and a League campaign for 2023 that will include games against Dublin and Cork.
The most recent iteration of the GAA’s planning cycle was published in 2018 and covered the period to 2021. That two of the years it covered were to have been decimated by the fight against Covid could never have been foreseen but it is likely that the lessons learned over that period will have framed what we get to hear today and news of which we will bring you in today’s Sport for Business PM Bulletin.
In order to look forward, it often helps to look back and the last plan had five goals. These were to improve participation, to transform the development of volunteers, to advance governance, revamp communication, and grow the Association.
If there was a single headline element that has proven to be a winner it is probably the expansion of the Healthy Club initiative and the increase in inclusivity seen in areas of diversity, relating to persons with disability, older members, the LGBTQ+ community and more.
The Club Together initiative was not listed as an ambition of the last plan but when it came into play through the darkest early days of the pandemic, it was rooted in the thinking that had placed club activity in the spotlight.
Much of the way in which the Association is seen by the outside world lies in the biggest games at the biggest venues but for those most involved it is at the local level that the real value lies.
It is in the Academies and the B team shield semi-finals that won’t make it onto the RTÉ News but that provide the memories and the friendships that should be the heart of the sport.
Today’s plan for the next four years will be drawn on a wider consultation with members than ever before. The mass survey of members through the Foireann membership system should have given a snapshot of where the members feel the Association should be heading.
It will be interesting to find out how that translates.