Pictured at the launch were Tony Dalton, LOETB, Peter O'Neill, Chairman, Joe Cunningham, Chief Executive LOETB, Laurence Phelan and Niall Handy.
Laois GAA have announced a deal has been reached with Laois-Offaly Education and Training Board to become the main sponsors of the Laois GAA Centre of Excellence.
The deal is over three years, and will see LOETB provide a range of training and education supports to Laois players in both development squads and intercounty players at the Centre of Excellence.
The agreement, the first of its kind, will see LOETB provide a range of education and training supports for development squad players and inter-county players at the Centre of Excellence.
Laois GAA are currently in the final phase of development of a state-of-the-art facility to complement the three pitches currently in use. The new complex once completed will consist of four modern dressing rooms, with shower and ice bath facilities, physio and medical rooms, kitchen and catering facilities, meeting and storage rooms and fully equipped gym and hall area, which will be also disability friendly. The total cost of the entire project including the acquisition of the site will be approximately €4 million.
The Centre of Excellence will provide a practical and real assistance to the great work that is going on in Coaching and Games development at County and Club level and it is envisaged that these facilities will prove an important part of the vision that is being put in place to help achieve football and hurling success for our County.
Laois and Offaly Education and Training Boards (LOETB) is a statutory provider of education and training to over 16,ooo students in nine post-primary schools and twelve Further Education and Training Centres across Laois and Offaly. LOETB was established in July 2013 following the amalgamation of the VECs of Laois and Offaly and also has responsibility for all training services in Laois and Offaly following the dissolution of FÁS, also in 2013.
Chairman of Laois GAA Peter O’Neill spoke enthusiastically about this new partnership stating “LOETB and Laois GAA share many of the same values and objectives, such as community engagement, a dedication to education and training and a reputation for sporting excellence.
"The benefit of this new relationship is huge to all parties, including our Clubs, as a part from the financial arrangement, the opportunity to provide for the academic development of our students and graduates involved in Talent Academies, Underage and Senior Intercounty Panels is a tremendous asset to our association in the county. I would like to thank our Football Board Chairperson Laurence Phelan for his assistance in bringing about this partnership.
"I wish to thank Joe Cunningham and Tony Dalton LOETB for their valued support in this arrangement and look forward to a strong working and successful relationship, which can only be mutually beneficial to all parties.”
Speaking at the announcement, LOETB Chief Executive Joe Cunningham said; “There is significant mutual benefit for both organisations to develop a relationship through the Centre of Excellence. This relationship has the capacity to provide for the holistic support of players in terms of physical, personal and academic development. It will allow Laois GAA to deliver on its social contribution to the community and provide LOETB with an opportunity to raise the public awareness of our organisation and the programmes and services we provide.”
Mr Cunningham believes there is a natural fit between the two organisations. “Laois GAA has a club in every community in the county and LOETB, through its network of schools, centres, and community education services also serves the people of Laois from the cradle to the grave. There has been significant change in our sector in recent years and the agreement with Laois GAA allows us to bring a positive message of the benefits of education and training to the widest possible audience.”
Chairman of Laois GAA Football Board Laurence Phelan, and former Laois Minor Football Manager, understands more than most how beneficial this new partnership can be stating “This arrangement can provide support for our players by way of extra tuition for Junior and Leaving Certificate students, access to a qualified Education Guidance Counsellor for information on Further Education and Training and Higher Education options and guidance, and in dealing with issues such as time management, study skills, and maintaining a balanced approach to sport and their studies, and all can be delivered at our new complex in the Centre of Excellence. It will allow Laois GAA to deliver on its social contribution to the community and provide LOETB with an opportunity to raise the public awareness of their programmes and services.
LOETB Director Tony Dalton believes that delivering educational programmes and supports at the Centre of Excellence will make a positive contribution to the development of our young people as well-rounded individuals. “This innovative agreement will provide a formal platform allowing players and clubs to access and avail of LOETB’s wide range of services including Junior and Leaving Certificate supports, access to Apprenticeship and Traineeship services, Educational Guidance, Mentoring and Support and bespoke training for Club members and officials."
As a result of this agreement, Laois GAA’s new Centre of Excellence in Portlaoise will be named the ‘LOETB Centre of Excellence’