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Tuairisc Mumhan 2014   30/01/2015

Cumann na mBunscol Coiste na Mumhan

By any standards, 2014 proved to be an extremely busy year for Cumann na mBunscol in Munster. There are over 1,000 primary schools in the province of Munster and the vast majority of those schools participate in activities co-ordinated by Cumann na mBunscol and its constituent bodies in each county. From a position thirty years ago where boys’ football was played in September and October and hurling in May and June, Cumann na mBunscol now organises boys’ and girls’ football, hurling, camogie and handball. Indoor hurling and camogie are also played as well as the INTO Mini Sevens which ultimately see children from all counties play in Croke Park on Big Match days in August and September each year.

Counties also organize quiz nights, rounders and other activities. Competitions are played at under 13 level while Go Games blitzes are organised at under 10 level or often at class level, e.g. third and fourth class, first and second class 

With a mission statement that aspires ‘to make Gaelic Games the games of choice’ in our primary schools", Cumann na mBunscol sets its sights high. The past year was possibly the busiest ever for the teachers who promote Gaelic Games in our schools.

The AGM was held in Ennis on January 10th. The officers elected were:

Cathaoirleach: Seosamh O Laighin (Luimneach)

Leas -Cathaoirleach: Tomás O hAiniféin (Ciarraí)

Rúnaí: Cilian Ó Rathallaigh (Port Láirge)

 Cisteoir: Mairead Ní Cheallacháin (Corcaigh)

Oifigeach Caidrimh Poiblí: Aodán O Broin (Tiobrad Árann)

Oifigeach Forbortha: An Bráthair Séamus O Duídhiorma (Luimneach)

Cumann na mBunscol Coiste na Mumhan was represented in Killenard, Co. Laois in February at the AGM of Cumann na mBunscol.

 In 2013, the Primary Go Games went ahead without a sponsor and this gesture by Comhairle na Mumhan was much appreciated. In 2014, Shannon Airport agreed to lend support to the Primary Go Games. Playing gear for 2014 consisted of replica county colours with the Munster crest and the Shannon Airport logo on the front. The jerseys met with widespread approval. Azzurri supplied the Waterford gear while O Neill’s supplied gear for the other five counties.

The launch of the 2014 Primary Go Games took place at Shannon Airport on Friday May 16th. The event received widespread coverage in newspapers throughout the province. It was also covered on the Comhairle Na Mumhan website. Intercounty players Seadhna Morey, Paudge Collins and Conor Ryan of Clare and Stephen Walsh of Limerick attended the launch and this added greatly to the occasion.

 440 children played in their county colours on Championship weekends throughout the summer. The first game in the 2014 Munster Hurling Championship between Waterford and Cork finished in a draw. The decision to stage Primary Go games for the replay was greeted with delight in the two counties involved as it gave another 44 boys and girls an opportunity to live the dream. The Primary Go Games jersey is the most cherished of all. No other team game offers such an opportunity to young players, both boys and girls. The feedback from parents and children was extremely positive. Parents were delighted that their children were given what is a unique opportunity. The children who played in the Primary Go Games enjoyed every aspect of the day, making new friends, playing alongside their heroes, sharing in the white heat of Munster Championship action and receiving the coveted PrimaryGame jersey as a unique souvenir. In 2014, the Primary Game players were seated close to the action on the halfway line. This added further to their enjoyment of a wonderful experience. 

For my own part, I want to acknowledge the great efforts of teachersin all six counties who gave up their Sundays/ Saturdays to look after teams. Also the teachers who selected teams, organised photos for programmes and sent reports to newspapers. The work behind the scenes of the officers of Coiste na Mumhan must be acknowledged. The backing that the Primary Go Games concept has received is testimony to the vision of Comhairle na Mumhan.

The work of GDA’s on Big Match Day is also vital. As Primary Go Games co-ordinator, I dealt frequently with Kieran Leddy and Simon Moroney of Comhairle na Mumhan. I wish to acknowledge their commitment to the Primary Go Games. The next challenge facing the Primary Go Games concept is for Comhairle na Mumhan to identify a long –term sponsor. This is a daunting challenge in the prevailing financial climate.

 Further meetings of Cumann na mBunscol in the province were held during the year. In the age we live in today, matters such as insurance, Child Protection issues that arise for anybody in charge of children and attracting new blood into our organisation are always on our agenda. The initiatives in areas like Literacy and Numeracy introduced by the Department of Education and Science, and the planning and paperwork involved in these activities, eat into time outside of school hours that was formerly given to promotion of our games.

 Cumann na mBunscol is unique in that we are active in virtually every school, large or small, mixed or single- sex, urban, rural, suburban in the province of Munster. The work of Cumann na mBunscol is hard to quantify but I know it is easy to underestimate. It survives on the goodwill, commitment and dedication of teachers, young and not so young. And let’s not forget our retired colleagues who give invaluable assistance when we are at our busiest.

 There are very few schools that do not play in Cumann na mBunscol activities. I believe that clubs benefit enormously from the promotion of Gaelic Games that is going on in primary schools throughout the province. Some clubs are aware of the work of Cumann na mBunscol. Some clubs believe in, and see the value of, forging strong links with their local schools. Not all clubs appreciate the contribution their local schools make to the promotion of Gaelic Games. I believe every club needs to appoint a person to liaise with the primary schools in their area. Any time or resource invested in the local primary school will pay dividendsin the future.

 Mar focal scor, ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas a ghabháil do Chomhairle Na Mumhan as ucht an tacaíocht a thugann an Chomhairle dúinn.

Seosamh Ó Laighin


Cumann na mBunscol, Coiste na Mumhan