County Limerick has a new Football Association of Ireland (FA) Development Officer after Barry McGann was unveiled at Rathkeale AFC today.
The FAI Development Officer position has been co-funded between the FAI and Limerick City and County Council for the last eight years.
The Galway native has been coaching since 2009, where he has worked with the FAI Emerging Talent Programme in both Galway and Kerry and he also had stint with the Chelsea FC Foundation
He joins Limerick three other FAI Development Officers: Jason O’Connor, Barbara Bermingham and Declan Considine who all work in the city.
“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,” McGann said.
“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.”
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.
John Delaney, Chief Executive of the FAI, was at the announcement and highlighted the importance of McGann’s position saying: “The role of the Development Officer is paramount.
“A good number of years ago we approached most of the local authorities in terms of a co-funding arrangement whereby we would pay a certain amount of the costs and the local authority would cover the other part.
“What we would do then was common objectives for the Development Officer to get kids away effectively away from Playstation’s and onto playing fields, to get kids active in sport, tackle obesity, alcohol abuse, drug usage and getting girls active.
“Having a Development Officer on the ground, doing his or her work, is absolutely fundamental to the running of football in this area but what it also does, in my opinion, is create a partnership between Limerick City and County Council and the FAI.
“It allows us to achieve common objectives together and I’m delighted that the Council are supporting us with four Development Officers in this area.
“It’s a great programme and everyone that has spoken today sees that it’s a no-brainer that works really well and its money well spent from everyone’s point of view.”
Mayor O’Hanlon jokingly likened Mr Delaney to Santa Claus in his speech but also paid tribute to the work that the Development Officer’s do in Limerick: “Barry McGann will be an excellent addition to the FAI team here in Limerick,” said the Mayor.
“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.”
Also attending the event along with Mr Delaney and Mayor O’Hanlon were: Minster of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan and Limerick City and County Council CEO Conn Murray.