By Kieran Lynch
Armagh club, Shane O’Neill’s Camloch have introduced a kicking wall
which they hope will set them apart from the crowd, improve their
skills and encourage kids to get involved.
“It’s good for the youngsters to come up and practice ball and, for
the senior players as well to come up and practice their shooting,”
said club chairman Brendan Osborne. “It’s something that we, as a
club, are glad to have and we’re hoping to see the youngsters,
especially in the good weather, making good use of it.”
The idea to build a kicking wall came about at the end of last year
and Osborne said Shane O’Neill’s decided it would be worth building
one to make themselves unique compared to other clubs in the area.
“We thought late last year, that maybe the kicking wall would be
something different about the club, not many clubs in the area have it.”
The wall was built from start to finish by club members CONMAK
FORMWORK and Osborne hopes that if the wall is a success, it will
encourage other clubs in the area to adopt something similar. Even
though Shane O’Neill’s are exclusively a Gaelic Football club, the
wall can also be used to practice the skills of other GAA disciplines
such as handball and hurling.
“The boys put a lot of work into it from start to finish. The wall is
two-sided so it can be used for handball on the other side as well.
“Also, we’ve had hurlers coming down and pucking about on it,” Osborne
continued, “So it could be something that other clubs could see that
and think, ‘That might be something that we could use.’”
The introduction of the kicking wall coincides with Shane O’Neill’s
initiative to get more kids to get involved and play football, as they
can make use of it during their Shane’s Gaelic Youth Club scheme.
“At the moment we’re running the Shane’s Gaelic Youth Club, it’s for
boys and girls aged five to twelve. It’s for kids who maybe have never
played before or have drifted away.
“It’s done in a good, safe environment. It runs on Saturday mornings
and we’ve gotten good numbers at it so far and we’re hearing feedback
from the parents and coaches that the kids are really enjoying it.”
Osborne hopes to see the advantage of the youth club in the coming
years as it offers a pathway into the underage teams at the club.
“It’s just to get kids in and hopefully they get a taste for Gaelic
Football and continue to play in future years.”
Additionally, the club have upped their initiative to get more girls
involved in playing Gaelic Football with their Shane’s Girls Gaelic
scheme, which is for girls aged eight to thirteen who have never played before but are keen to start.
“We’re running Shane’s Girls Gaelic from this Saturday on. We’ve had
senior players around the local primary schools encouraging the girls
to try it and get more female participation within the club.”
But use of the wall isn’t just exclusive to training. The wall is free
for all to come down to and practice their skills.
“We have a lot of lads who come down to the club in the evenings, and
they can practice away on it or play handball. We’ve seen a lot of
benefits coming out of it,” Osborne concluded.