Up to ten clubs in Laois could cease to exist in the next ten years. That was the assessment of the Laois GAA Strategy and Action Plan, which has urged clubs facing that situation to seriously consider how they plan for the future.
The number of combined teams is cited as one reason for concern, as it shows that clubs are no longer able to field juvenile teams on their own.
The report goes on to state. “The clubs that are clearly under pressure to survive need help now to plan their future. The starting point is a willingness on the part of those clubs, and especially their senior Officers, to accept the seriousness of the situation and to seek guidance.
“The Strategy Review Committee recommends that the Laois GAA County Board seeks the assistance of Comhairle Laighean in this regard. The role of Comhairle Laighean would be to appoint a number of individuals to meet (separately) with the clubs concerned and review the best options for the future of the club.
“A merger with a neighbouring club is a possible outcome, but other options might be feasible prior to such a decision having to be made. The Comhairle Laighean representatives at the end of their review will send their recommendations to both the clubs concerned and to the Laois County Board. It is accepted that any decision relating to a club merger is ultimately a matter for an EGM of the clubs concerned.”
In this section of the report, clubs also voiced their desire to see “fresh blood” in both officer and executive committee positions on the County Board, while clubs also expressed concern at the level of feedback County Board Delegates give to their own clubs.
In the area Communcations, the committee noted a strong approval for Laois GAA's use of social media to keep patrons updated on scores from intercounty games. However, the Laois GAA website should be re-designed, claimed the committee, to make it more appealing, while also updating the 'News' section of the website more regularly.
The issue of clubs recruiting people to fill Officer positions was also noted. While the majority of clubs have had people attend the Officer Training Nights organised by Laois GAA, clubs are still finding it difficult to attract people to positions at committee level.
Changing lifestyles and increased commuting and work commitments are cited as reasons for the difficult, but Laois GAA are urged to undertake a promotional drive to support volunteering in GAA clubs.