THE FAI this week announced the appointment of a new Limerick County Football Development Officer in Barry McGann.
Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan, FAI CEO John Delaney, Limerick City and County Council CEO Conn Murray, and Mayor of Limerick Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon were present at the announcement in Rathkeale on Friday morning.
McGann replaces Conor Nestor, who was a very successful Development Officer in Limerick for the past eight years, and moves into the position which has been co-funded between the FAI and Limerick City and County Council since 2008.
The role strives to increase participation of football in the area through coordination and implementation of various FAI programmes that are in line with Limerick City and County Council objectives.
Football has proven to be an excellent tool to engage with a broad number of communities, and this facilitates positive social inclusion.
The role of the Football Development Officer is to assist the FAI and Limerick City and County Council achieve specific targets through the delivery of football development programmes across the community while developing partnerships and coordination between the relevant stakeholders and maximising their involvement in the development of football in Limerick – from grassroots to elite levels.
Welcoming the announcement Minister Patrick O’Donovan said: “I would like to wish Barry well in his new role as FAI Football Development Officer for Limerick. Barry has a wealth of experience and I am sure he will build on the great work done by his predecessor Conor Nestor. The work of the FAI Football Development Officers is hugely important in the coaching and promotion of football in Limerick and throughout the country. And hopefully Barry’s appointment will lead to increased participation and more success for our clubs in Limerick in the future.”
FAI CEO John Delaney said: “We are delighted with this announcement to continue the strong partnership with Limerick County and City Council. Barry will join three other FAI Football Development Officers in Limerick City – Barbara Bermingham, Jason O’Connor and Declan Considine – who assist, through coaching and promotion of football, with the development of local communities, in this great sporting part of the world.”
The Mayor of the City and County Limerick Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon said: “Barry McGann will be an excellent addition to the FAI team here in Limerick. He joins a very strong team in helping to develop football across the city and county. The future stars of the game need to have their talent nurtured and the programmes undertaken by the FAI Football Development Officers in Limerick follow a holistic approach, which also focuses on personal development, which is crucial.”
Limerick City and Council Chief Executive Conn Murray said: “The work carried out by Limerick City and County Council and the FAI is a perfect example of how cooperation between different bodies can lead to real change. The Football Development Officers carry out important work both on and off the pitch. The work that they do has very important social outcomes, which impacts positively on entire communities. The unveiling of Barry reaffirms the commitment shown by the local authority and the FAI to the Football Development Officer programme across Limerick.”
Barry McGann is from Galway and has been coaching 2009, where he has worked with the FAI Emerging Talent Programme in both Galway and Kerry. Previously a coach and analyst for Galway United, he also coached the Galway & District League and Girls Academy. A stint with the Chelsea FC Foundation saw McGann work across all programmes in their Community Foundation and with their scouts and managers.
A holder of the UEFA B Coaching Licence, McGann is a graduate of the Institute of Technology, Tralee with a BSc in Health and Leisure Studies. He headed the FAI Summer Soccer Schools programme in his region and has also worked on projects with Primary Schools, FAI/Croi Walking Football, and RAPID.
McGann said: “I’ve been very lucky to work across many great communities in my time as a coach and to take up this exciting role is a real honour for me. Limerick is renowned for its love of sport and I’m really looking forward to working with the great people in the county to help promote football within Limerick’s fabulous sporting communities.”
Limerick enjoys a strong and rich relationship with football, through its Desmond and County Leagues where around 5,000 players are registered, and is currently experiencing great success on the national stage with Limerick FC winning the SSE Airtricity League First Division this season.
The home ground, Markets Field, for Limerick FC was recently named as the SSE Airtricity League Pitch of the Year and it successfully hosted the EA SPORTS Cup Final in September.
Football remains a strong pull in Limerick, evidenced by the staging of the International Champions Cup game between Celtic FC and Inter Milan, and also the annual hosting of the Kennedy Cup and Gaynor Cup competitions in the University of Limerick.