Michael Geaney, Nenagh Éire Óg, Séamus Delaney and Kevin Fitzgerald, JK Brackens, and Liam Fleming, Fr Sheehy's with Tyrone footballer Sean Kavanagh.
A special ceremony with governmental representation in Croke Park on Saturday, 4th November saw 58 GAA clubs recognised as the first official ‘Healthy Clubs’ on the island of Ireland.
Three Tipperary GAA clubs, Nenagh Éire Óg, Fr Sheehys and JK Brackens can now proudly fly a flag above their grounds (endorsed by both Healthy Ireland and the Public Health Agency in NI), letting their members and communities know that they value health and wellbeing as much as leagues and championships.
In January 2016, almost 100 clubs applied to participate in Phase 2 of the project (just 16 participated in Phase 1 between 2013-2015). Many cited the dearth of services in their communities that are tackling issues such as obesity, sedentary lifestyles, mental health and suicide. They wanted to be part of the solution.
Clubs engage with their members and community before identifying health themes upon which to focus on. Most common include healthy eating; physical activity for non-playing members; emotional wellbeing; engaging older members of the community; youth development; smoke free clubs; gambling, drug, and alcohol education; and inclusion and integration.
These three progressive GAA clubs are the first in Tipperary to receive national recognition. Their various health and wellbeing initiatives have had a tremendous impact on their clubs and wider communities.
Clogheen club Fr Sheehys honoured for their health initiative.
Fr. Sheehy’s GAA made history last year when they launched their complete smoke free policy, the first of its kind in Tipperary. They also provide a social outlet for individuals in the surrounding area through the Siul Eile Walking Group.
The aim of the initiative is to reconnect communities and reduce isolation through walking programs. In 2016 they coordinated over 80 walks around Clogheen and the surrounding areas, attended by over 350 individuals who between them walked almost 16,000km, all in their own locality.
JK Brackens GAA Club in partnership with Our Lady’s Secondary School Templemore coordinated ‘Recipes for Success’, a practical and educational nutritional workshop aimed at minor players. Nineteen teenagers from the club (three were on the County Minor Hurling team 2016) attended and learned how to make easy performance enhancing meals and snacks.
The initiative was well received by participants and subsequent workshops were arranged as well as healthy eating talks for both parents and players.
Nine young club members from Nenagh Éire Óg GAA club were given the opportunity to develop their leadership skills through The Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Initiative, an accredited programme by the National University of Ireland, Galway, aimed at 15- 18 year olds.
The programme enables young people to develop the skills, inspiration, vision, confidence, and action plans needed to be effective leaders, both on and off the pitch. The participants recently graduated with a Foundation Certificate in Youth Leadership and Community Action.