In May 2016, the Cayman Islands Kids Gaelic Football Club Committee was established to introduce and develop Gaelic football within the child and youth community (6 to 18 year olds) across the Cayman Islands.
Over the summer months, a number of coaching sessions took place, followed by challenge matches and involvement in local summer camps. This started with two training practices for children of Club members in May and June, with 35 children in attendance. The skills learned were put to the test with the challenge fixtures for U9s and U14s on the Club Finals Day in June.
Gaelic football has also been introduced as part of this year’s after school programme at St. Ignatius. A “Gaelic Football Club” takes place on Fridays at St Ignatius Primary School with on average 20 children participating each week. Similar Gaelic Football after school clubs are due to start at Cayman Prep), Cayman International School and Montessori by the Sea during the first half of 2017. For more information please see the section on ‘Schools Programme’.
To build the knowledge to develop Gaelic football skills amongst kids across Cayman, the Club was extremely fortunate to secure the services of Mr. Colm Egan, full-time games development officer from the North American GAA, to deliver the GAA Certified Foundation Level Coaching course in October.
The course provided parents, players, teachers, volunteers and sports coaches with the competences required to introduce gaelic football skills to all ages, and included two days of theoretical (class room based) and practical (on-pitch) modules. Colm has delivered this course in clubs across North America to great success, and we are now proud to say that we have 25 GAA certified coaches within our Club.
Looking forward, a busy schedule has already been finalized for 2017. The schedule builds on the learning’s from 2016 and expands on the amount of Gaelic Football events that will be made available to the children of Cayman. It also introduces, for the first time, a Kids Gaelic Camp, which will take place over the 2017 Easter holiday period. The coming year will also bring a third school into the Schools Programme which will help promote Gaelic football amongst the grass roots. Finally, the Committee has been liaising with the Cayman Red Cross to assist the Club with the introduction of Child Protection Policies to ensure a safe environment for all our children and coaches. The Club’s intends to obtain the Cayman Red Cross “Seal of Protection” during 2017.
Total attendance for the 2016 events has reached over 300 participants, and we aim to move forward over the coming year with this same presence, enthusiasm and energy and to continue to bring Gaelic Football to the wider kids community within Cayman.
KIDS GAELIC CLUB COMMITTEE
Chair: Eamon Wilson
Development Officer and Vice-Chair: Seán Lyne
Main Committee Representative: Liz Chisholm
Child Protection Officer: James Kennedy
Technology Officer: Dan McKenna
Communications Officer: Lainey Broderick
Sponsorship Officer: Adrian Lynch
Gaelic Football Camp Development Officer: Tom Sheehan
Community Outreach Officer: Bobeth O’Gara
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT, NOEL REILLY
The first Gaelic football match in the Cayman Islands took place in 1987. Thereafter, a game of Gaelic football was played annually on each St. Patrick’s Day. As interest and playing numbers increased during the 1990s, this led to the formation of a men’s league in 1998 and the formation of the Cayman Islands Gaelic Football Club (“CIGFC”) in 1999.
From humble origins and a small number of male players, the CIGFC has grown annually from strength to strength. The men’s league currently has 6 teams comprising 120 players, and the ladies’ league has 4 teams and 80 players. Each year the CIGFC sends men’s and ladies’ teams to the USA representing the Cayman Islands to take part in the North American GAA Championships.
In recent years, the game of Gaelic Football has been introduced in Cayman on a trial basis to some children and teenagers. As interest in Gaelic football has increased among the young, in May 2016 the Cayman Islands Kids Gaelic Football Club Committee was established to formally introduce and develop Gaelic football within the child and youth community (6 to 18 years).
Ac CIGFC President, I endorse the establishment of this committee and their plans. Gaelic football is a game that will benefit the youth of Cayman as it encourages fitness, athleticism and teamwork. While its origins are in Ireland, Gaelic football is now being played and becoming popular all over the world.