The WGPA marked its’ fifth anniversary with the biggest AGM and Player Reps Workshop to date on Saturday (January 11th) in the Johnstown Estate in County Meath. 94 player delegates attended representing 50 squads across Ladies Football and Camogie. The AGM saw continuity in officer positions with Maria Kinsella retained as Chair, Carol O’Leary continuing as Secretary and Kate Kelly fulfilling Treasurer role.
There were a number of changes to the wider executive, with Aine Tighe (Leitrim), Julia White (Cork) and Joanne Doonan (Fermanagh) moving on. They’ve played an important role over the last number of years as player reps and leaders within their peer group and we thank them for their time and energy in contributing to the work of the WGPA on behalf of all players.
In their place comes a wealth of experience and leadership. 8 time All-Star goalkeeper Aoife Murray, of Kilnadur and Cork Camogie makes the step up, along with Galway Football’s Sinead Burke, former captain and current All Star. Joining them from Sixmilebridge and Clare Camogie is Chloe Morey, as well as current Down Football captain Kate McKay, two players who’ve been keen advocates of the work of the WGPA since it began and both graduates of the Jim Madden GPA Leadership Programme. The new members have expressed their desire to be part of the conversation in helping to improve the experiences of women in Gaelic Games and contribute in a meaningful way to raising standards for players, both on and off the field. The leadership team aims to give a balanced spread of views across regions, grades and both codes.
From the Annual Report, attendees heard details of the work of the WGPA in 2019. Key highlights of the year included a rise in Intercounty Government Grant funding from €500,000 to €700,000, delivering team grants of €9,000 to 55 squads, as well as a new National Player Health Check programme for all members, administered in conjunction with LGFA & Camogie. Additionally, engagement with Player Development Programmes more than doubled from 2018; 46 Third Level Scholarships were awarded, 44 players worked with a Personal Development Coach, 21 players accessed face-to-face Counselling and 10 players completed the Jim Madden GPA Leadership Programme. A number of other supports and services were delivered, including education opportunities and team programmes.
The annual Player Reps Workshop followed the AGM and brought the attendees through a number of interactive sessions and feedback exercises around the theme of the day ‘Setting The Standard.’ Kevin McManamon worked with the delegates on developing Leadership skills and recognising their personal attributes. Aoife Lane facilitated a session with the players to feedback on recent survey findings and establish player views around standards in our games. The day concluded with a Player Panel Q&A – Aine O’Gorman (former Irish soccer international), Peter Canavan (former Tyrone GAA player) and Louise Galvin (current Irish rugby 7’s international) held a discussion on their shared experiences of raising standards and the journey through their personal careers.
Our Player Rep of the Year winners were also announced on the day to recognise outstanding effort in the role, with the awards going to Limerick Camogie’s Caoimhe Costelloe and Kildare Football’s Grace Clifford. The WGPA acknowledges all of the companies who supported the Player Reps Workshop; Pat the Baker, Kinetica Sports, Lifeforce and Opro Mouthguards.
Chair Mara Kinsella wrapped up the day, reflecting on the progress of the WGPA since its launch and looking forward to the year ahead. “Today’s large attendance is a good reflection of the wider growth of the organisation and a fitting tribute to the work done over the last five years. I want to thank all of the Player Reps for giving their time to attend and all of our members for your commitment, entertainment and engagement in 2019. The players’ voice can be an influential driver of progress in our games and our original aim of ‘Making Things Better’ hasn’t changed; we will use our collective effort to further raise standards in the years ahead. We continue to work to represent your voice and help you achieve your potential, both on and off the field.”
WGPA Executive 2020
Chair – Maria Kinsella
Secretary – Carol O’Leary
Treasurer – Kate Kelly
Executive Members – Sinead Burke, Chloe Morey, Valerie Mulcahy, Aoife Murray, Lorraine Ryan, Niamh Collins, Kate McKay, Fionnuala Carr, Gemma Begley.
You can download a copy of our full ANNUAL REPORT