Kids kicking a ball before knuckling down to the school books is the new health goal.
The “Peil4All” football drive is the way forward for the game, top coaches insist.
A Wexford Town school is spear-heading it.
Students at the Mercy School, St John’s Road, can hit the pitch before the classroom and play football for 40 minutes.
Wexford GAA coaches, teachers and parents are all on board to help out.
At the official launch, Game Promotion Officer with Wexford GAA, Loyd Colfer said: “It’s basically about getting any kid who is interested in playing Gaelic Football in to the school in the morning for about 40 minutes before school starts.
“They do little skills sessions and play little games, stuff like that,
“The idea is to get them practising and then get them across to the club, hopefully, if they are interested.”
The school is forging a link with the local club, St John’s Volunteers.
“This is for the Vols, but we are hoping to roll it out to all of the primary school in Wexford over the next six months hopefully.
“Starts at 8.15 and runs until school starts.
“It’s a combination, the local Games Promotion Officer, teachers, members of the club, Sean Meyler and Jim McCarthy, will be there
“John Hegarty also comes in as well, he’s a former Wexford footballer.
“We’ve lots of help and lots of good football people there.”
The school has already rolled out a similar programme for hurling, whereby kids are encouraged to lift their hurl at least once everyday.
Loyd added: “Hurling 365 is a big thing in Wexford and it’s getting a lot of publicity, so now we are trying to do our own Gaelic Football equivalent.
“It was started here by the Hurling Advisory Committee.”
Ex-Wexford footballer and now Football Development Officer, Anthony Masterson, said the school is on to a winner.
Anthony said: “It’s about giving the kids out early and getting them active. The biggest issue that is in every school is really about activity. There’s not enough kids being active.
“Unfortunately when kids go training might be the only time they are active and that could be just two or three hours a week.
“And we obviously need to increase that.
“For the Volunteers, as a football club within the town, it’s massive to have a club – school link.
“It’s very important for a club to have a link with the local primary school to help increase numbers and participation.
“When the kids are in school you’re obviously trying to get them to join the local GAA club.
Principal Eamon Codd insists it’s an exciting new venture for the whole school.
“We’re delighted because we’re starting on a new route with the kids.
“The Hurling 365 has been set up and established in the school and we just want to give the same emphasis to Gaelic Football as well,
“It gives more opportunities to more kids.”
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