2024 ZuCar Gaelic4Teens ambassadors image

2024 ZuCar Gaelic4Teens ambassadors

2024 ZuCar Gaelic4Teens ambassadors

The Ladies Gaelic Football Association is pleased to confirm the list of ambassadors who will assist in the delivery of the 2024 ZuCar Gaelic4Teens programme.

Inter-county stars from the past and present make up the list of 13 ambassadors; today, Bernie Finlay (Dublin) was named as the newest ambassador.

In addition to winning three county senior medals alongside Croghan, Bernie competed at the juvenile and senior levels for her native Offaly.

Bernie, a very experienced coach, arrived to the capital at the age of 21, where she represented the Dublin Senior squad and played club football with Na Fianna.

Bernie played for Dublin for six years, collecting four Leinster Senior medals and competing in three All-Ireland Finals with the Sky Blues. She was also a member of the Na Fianna team that won county and Leinster Senior titles in 2011 before going to an All-Ireland Final.

In 2004, Bernie won the title of TG4 All Star, and the following year, in 2010, she made her debut off the bench as Dublin won the TG4 All-Ireland Senior championship for the first time.

Bernie will be one of the twelve returning ambassadors for the program. The first coaching webinar will take place on Monday, January 29, to kick off the program.

Five more educational webinars featuring the ambassadors will come after this, and the program will run until April 27, the National ZuCar Gaelic4Teens Festival Day.

The returning ambassadors are Fiona McHale (Mayo), Jackie Kinch (Wicklow), Laura Fleming (Roscommon), Bronagh McGrane (Louth), Cassandra Buckley (Kerry), Orlagh Farmer (Cork), Emily Martin (Down), Máire O Shaughnessy (Meath), Sharon Courtney (Monaghan), Sinead Delahunty (Tipperary), Samantha Lambert (Tipperary) and Cathy Carey (Antrim).

ZuCar Gaelic4Teens ambassadors will conduct sessions for representatives from the twenty participating clubs, and on the different days, the representatives will participate in self-led modules.

The clubs will also receive a visit from a ZuCar Gaelic4Teens ambassador or a county player to conduct a coaching session, and witness theory in action.

Gaelic4Teens has more than doubled in size after a tremendously successful trial program in 2017. This program will assist clubs in keeping their current playing bases while also recruiting players in the 13–17 age range, which has been identified as a demographic with a high drop-out rate.

The 20 clubs taking part this year are as follows:

Connacht (4): St Mary’s (Leitrim), Mayo Gaels and Carnacon (both Mayo), St Molaise (Sligo).

Leinster (5): Ballyboden St Enda’s and St Sylvester’s (both Dublin), Moynalvey (Meath), Goldsmiths and Shandonagh (both Westmeath).

Munster (5): Dohenys, Mallow, Rathpeacon, Kilshanning (all Cork), Ardfinnan (Tipperary).

Ulster (6): Naomh Seamus (Antrim), Pearse Ógs and Whitecross (both Armagh), Mullahoran (Cavan), St Patrick’s Saul and Teconnaught (both Down).

The program will collaborate closely with coaches to determine the most effective means of communication and player engagement for them, as well as to shape the content of their coaching sessions. The initiative will also look at the coaching environment needed to make sure players' long-term development is supported in the organization.

The initiative will be closely watched and assessed to make sure it fulfills its goal of directly influencing players' retention.

In addition to customizing training sessions, there will be an emphasis on education, with ZuCar Gaelic4Teens ambassadors offering knowledge and guidance to participants throughout the program.

The Gaelic4Teens program was developed in response to data showing that players play for fun, to grow better, to stay active and healthy, to decompress, and because their friends play too.

The reasons given for quitting the sport include not getting enough playing time, finding training boring, the sport being too competitive, and receiving unequal treatment.

Looking ahead to the commencement of the programme, LGFA President Mícheál Naughton commented: “We’re eagerly anticipating the start of the 2024 ZuCar Gaelic4Teens programme, which is a hugely important LGFA development initiative. The programme continues to thrive and evolve and I would like to take this opportunity to wish the participating clubs all the very best as they commence their respective ZuCar Gaelic4Teens journeys. I also wish to acknowledge our ZuCar Gaelic4Teens ambassadors, who play such a key role in the roll-out of this programme. These past and present players are wonderful role models and incredible ambassadors for our Association and this programme. They are pillars of their local communities and each and every one of them can impart so much knowledge and expertise to the participating clubs and their coaches. A huge word of thanks, also, to ZuCar for their ongoing support of the programme. ZuCar are also sponsors of our All-Ireland U18 championships and they are the LGFA’s Official Performance Partner.”

Gavin Hydes, Group CEO, ZuCar, added: “The list of ambassadors for the ZuCar #Gaelic4Teens programme is a wonderful mix of both past and present Ladies Football stars. Each of the ambassadors has a unique story to tell and these experiences will help to develop the skill-sets of coaches and, in turn, increase the retention rate of teenage girls in the sport. The participating clubs can look forward to wonderful engagement with the ambassadors, who can impart vast levels of expertise. At ZuCar, we look forward to following the journeys of the clubs and ambassadors involved in the programme." 


For further information, please contact LGFA Head of Coach Development William Harmon: william.harmon@lgfa.ie