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New Games Promotion Officer helping club grow


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

New Games Promotion Officer helping club grow New Games Promotion Officer helping club grow


It should be no surprise that Salthill Knocknacarra is one of the fastest growing GAA clubs in the West of Ireland.

The population of young people is steadily increasing in the club’s catchment area, most noticeably in Knocknacarra, where there are over 3,000 primary school pupils. With such an influx of new residents, the club is now tasked with supplying the families of Knocknacarra and Salthill with easy access to sports such as Gaelic football, hurling and camogie, for both children and their parents.

The club’s response to this was to make history by hiring its first full-time Football Games Promotion Officer. After an extensive interview process,s the man picked for the job was Mark Rohan from Claregalway. It all happened quickly for Mark once he applied for the position.

“The role was advertised through their Facebook and through their own club forum page and I also talked to one or two guys about the role and what it would be like. I applied for it back in July and it just kind of snowballed from there.”

It’s been two months since the former Galway U-15 football coach officially began his role and he has been off to a flying start. He has already rolled out new coaching systems for the underage teams, creating a strength and conditioning programme for the youth players at the club, setting up a Halloween GAA Camp for kids under 8, and, most notably, has rolled out the club’s new Primary Schools Programme across the nine schools in the Salthill and Knocknacarra areas.

“I’m very much active during the week, with my main role at the moment being in the primary schools. We are currently in nine primary schools in the Knocknacarra area. We have managed to get a school’s program up and running whereby we are coming in doing Gaelic football with them and we’ve added hurling and camogie last week.”

The appointment of a games promotion officer comes alongside plans for the Salthill-based club to erect new astro turf and grass pitches in a controversial location in Mincloon, where local clubs St Michae’ls GAA and Rahoon/Newcastle GAA have objected to its construction. Mark believes that expansion of the current club facilities would help the club deal with its growing membership.

“Having a facility is the most important thing, I suppose trying to get a facility would be great because obviously we have pitches here and we do get help from outside places, but you need facilities if you have the large catchment population that this club has.”

Mark knows that he must get as many parents as possible involved in helping the club as he believes volunteerism is what keeps large non-profits like a GAA club running smoothly.

“The funding is massive, but having the parents of kids that are in the club coming on board as coaches is vital and obviously my role is to help parents and coaches to improve their coaching ability and to feel more confident in coaching. That’s where my challenge is for the next couple of years – developing coaching structures and having the right systems in place to help coaches with whatever they need. Because at the end of the day, it’s a volunteering role and you need to have the tools to do that job.”

Despite playing football for Claregalway GAA, Mark says he has been welcomed on board in Salthill and he feels that his vast experience with the sport will help him achieve the goals set by the club.

“I started playing with Claregalway when I was maybe four or five and I’ve had a ball in my hands no matter what. It’s great to have been involved With Claregalway, it’s a big club like Salthill and there’s so many similarities between the two. Everybody at Salthill has welcomed me into the system and I’ve settled in great.”

For more information on the weekly football nurseries or underage training times, you can contact Mark on 087  4875211 or by email at

Pictured: Mark Rohan at the Prairie grounds in Salthill

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