Westmeath among the pilot counties for strategic plan
Demographic data, harvested with the assistance of clubs, will be the key component of a proposed strategic plan for Gaelic games in Westmeath for the years 2020 to 2023, it was revealed at last Wednesday’s meeting of Westmeath GAA county board.
Frank Mescall (Ballynacargy), vice-chairman of the board, has been tasked with putting together a committee to implement the plan, which has already started its work.
Westmeath is one of four pilot counties, along with Kerry, Tyrone and Roscommon, who will roll out a four-year strategic plan.
Mr Mescall said that he held a meeting with clubs about the matter last week, with just 16 out of 47 represented in all. “We had a good meeting, but we didn’t get a huge amount of information,” he said.
Survey forms have been sent out to clubs where relevant data can be filled in to help the committee in its work.
“It’s not a huge amount of work,” said Mr Mescall. “The best people to be doing it are the club registrar, or whoever fills in your registration online. Maybe it’s the club secretary or the underage secretary who has access to underage coaches. They are the best people to have involved.
“It will involve a little bit of work. You have to collect the data from a number of players, the different age groups and so on. It’s not a massive amount of work, but I would plead with clubs to fill in the form and send it back in.
“There is no advantage here for the committee. It’s work for us. But the advantage for your club, when this is rolled out, will be huge. We’ll be able to prepare for four or five years ahead – even further.
“There’s no hidden agenda in it. When you see facts and figures coming, don’t be thinking we have a hidden agenda, or Croke Park has. It is there to help clubs, not to interfere with you.”
Tom Farrell, the county board’s Central Council delegate, said that the forms are geared towards generating a “computerised five-year plan” where data will be available at the press of a button.
It will be of huge benefit in the future, he said, and if the scheme is a success, it will be rolled out nationwide.
“It’s important that we’re seen as an example of what can be done,” he added.