Fingal County Council and FAI launch ground-breaking TY Football Development Course

Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Darragh Butler, is pictured with Republic of Ireland international player Robbie Brady, FAI Vice President Donal Conway and Fingal County Council Chief Executive Paul Reid along with staff and participants of the new Transition Year Football Development Programme being jointly run by Fingal County Council and the Football Association of Ireland.

Photo by Orla Murray, Ark Photography.

Fingal County Council and the Football Association of Ireland have launched a pilot programme for Transition Year students which will give participants an opportunity to meet their educational requirements as well as developing football skills.

Republic of Ireland senior international Robbie Brady, who hails from the Fingal town of Baldoyle, joined with Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Darragh Butler, Fingal County Council Chief Executive, Paul Reid, and the Vice-President of the Football Association of Ireland, Donal Conway, to officially launch the Transition Year Football Development Course at Corduff Community Centre.

Over the course of the 2016-17 school year, the 25 Transition Year students participating in the programme will mix academic subjects such as Maths and English with Kick Start 1 and 2 coaching courses and modules in Fitness Instruction, Media Skills and Personal Development as well football training and strength and conditioning work. In addition the participants will undertake an ITEC Fitness Instructors Course delivered by Litton Lane Fitness Training. They will also return to their local primary school one day a week to work with teachers in the delivery of physical education and gain valuable work experience.

“The purpose of the course is to help the personal development of the participants and to show them how to balance the demands of sport and education at a pivotal moment in their young lives,” explained course-co-ordinator Denis Hyland, who is a co-funded FAI Development Officer with Fingal County Council. “The course allows them to live in a proper football environment for a year while also meeting their educational needs. They are at an age when some young players head abroad to join professional clubs and this programme allows them to reap the same footballing benefits and a lot more while remaining at home within their families and putting something back into their local communities.”

The programme is being jointly delivered by Fingal County Council’s Sports Office and the Football Association of Ireland with assistance from Blanchardstown Area Partnership as well as the participants own schools who have released the students to the course for the 2016-17 academic year.

The Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Darragh Butler, said: “This is an innovative initiative which

helps to keep these young students in their communities while at the same time reaping the benefits of quality coaching, quality teaching and fitness instruction which will greatly assist their personal development. We have enjoyed a close and excellent working relationship with the FAI for over ten years and this is another example of the benefits that this type of co-operation can produce.”

Paul Reid, Chief Executive of Fingal County Council said: “Within Fingal County Council we have a ‘can do’ attitude and this is another excellent initiative by our Sports Office. We are aware that young people within our community have sporting ambitions and this pilot programme is an excellent opportunity to give them a chance to develop their sporting skills while staying within the education system and also giving something back to their local communities. It ticks a lot of boxes for us as an organisation which is focused on the development of communities within Fingal.”

The Vice-President of the Football Association of Ireland, Donal Conway, said: "This is a fantastic programme which empowers students to balance their studies with football while also introducing them to areas, such as coaching and fitness instruction, that allows them to contribute to their local communities in a positive fashion. The FAI has given its support to this programme and we look forward to helping in any way that we can to ensure the participants prosper on and off the pitch."

The pilot course will be continually evaluated and, where practical, improvements will be made. At the end of the academic year the evaluation process will include measurement and surveys covering all aspects of the programme.

Marion Brown, Principal Sports Officer with Fingal County Council said: “There is a lot of interest from other Local Authorities in this pilot programme as it is a ground-breaking project. We have done a lot of planning in conjunction with the FAI and our other partners and I believe we will be delivering a course that will deliver a lot of benefits to the participants in terms of their sporting and educational development.”

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