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An independent committee preparing a strategic plan for Clare GAA have given clubs the first glimpse of their five phase approach to delivering “a new vision” for the Association.

Founder of Repucon Consulting which specialising in tourism, sport and recreation, Mark O’Connell gave a progress report to clubs on the work of the independent grouping to date which has met on weekly basis. Different sub-groups have been formed of the nine-person committee.

Clarecastle native O’Connell outlined that they would be taking a five phase approach to their work. The first phase is initial consultation and follows “a grassroots up” model. Clubs have been contacted for their viewpoints on Clare GAA, their membership will then be approached before supporters who may not be members of different clubs. Managements of Clare development squads, referees and past players are also to be approached. He said the review and plan will be “very much guided” by the clubs of Clare.

Phase two will see the group take a step back and analyse the initial submissions while also providing an initial recommendation to Clare GAA. From here, individual hurling and football groups will also assess the feedback.

Consultations will be the focus of the third phase, O’Connell advised. This will include conversations with the County Board, Games Development officers, past players, volunteers, managers of development squads and also external experts to gauge increased viewpoints.

A five year focus will be taken in the fourth phase of their work and will include core recommendations for the planned development of Clare GAA and an agreed strategic focus for planned development.

The final and fifth phase will be the five year plan, Mark stated. Planned objectives, targets and milestones to hit, recommendations, actions to deliver a new vision and the structures required to deliver the plan will be included in this body of their work.

Vice Chairman of Clare GAA, Kieran Keating who also sits on the group detailed that raising finance is already identified as a key area. “We don’t know where money will be spent in years ahead but we do need money”.

“There has been a lot of talk about money, it’s a bit like the Arms Race that went on between the US and Russia,” Irish and Cultural Officer Flan O’Reilly quipped. He praised O’Connell for the presentation and urged the committee to put a focus on player retention. “There is a serious concern on the fall-off numbers, it might not be in the priority list but it will be a major factor in future of Clare. The money will be sorted out, it will take time and a lot of work”.

Player retention is addressed in the series of questionnaires of phase one, O’Connell replied. “Player development is central to what we’re doing”.

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