Thursday, February 18, 2021

Waterford GAA today launched a 10 year strategic plan called ‘Waterford Rising’. Sean Michael O’Regan, Chair of Waterford GAA said “I am actually delighted that we are launching the plan at this time even in the midst of a pandemic. In some respects, the past year has given us time to consider the future and reappraise our priorities and this plan is all about taking stock and focussing on the things that can make most difference to our future. I am proud of the efforts of all our clubs and volunteers in supporting our communities and today is about giving people a vision for the future to motivate them and assure them that Waterford GAA is alive and well and getting ready to move forward”. I am really grateful to the Strategic Review Group and the many others who have committed so much time and effort to this process.

The plan focuses on Six Pillars:
• Coaching and Games Development Former Waterford legend Fergal Hartley said “the strategy features two key initiatives – The Well!Kids programme and The Schools of Excellence. The Well!Kids programme will be unique to Waterford and an inception programme of difference and quality for 4 to 8 year olds geared to reenergising our underage clubs. The Schools of Excellence will place a focus on broadening our base of excellence through the creation of 5 secondary school clusters aligned to our academy squads and clubs.”

The artist’s impression of new red-developed Walsh Park from the sky.

• Facilities Development
Michael Walsh of the Strategic Review Group said “Waterford GAA is determined to develop Walsh Park to be best of its kind over the coming years on a phased basis and to make it a showcase for Waterford GAA, notwithstanding the difficulties created by the pandemic.

• Club Development
Population growth in the East of the county and pressures from rural depopulation are going to challenge clubs greatly. Waterford GAA must support its clubs to maximise their potential and enhance their adaptability. The intention is to focus support on underperforming clubs relative to population and those most in need of help according to Tony Corcoran of the Strategic Review Group.

• Competition Structures
According to Timmy O’Keeffe, former Secretary Waterford GAA, The Review Group is clearly of the view that an additional championship is warranted in hurling (at Premier Intermediate Grade or equivalent). A task force is being set up immediately to realise the unique opportunity in scheduling that should be available from 2022 with the split inter-county and club seasons.

• Marketing and Communications
Promoting the brand of Waterford GAA in a dramatically changing environment is essential to success. This strategy recognises the fundamental reorganisation needed and the future imperative towards digital communications that will align all the strands of activity.

• Commercial Income Generation
John Moloney, former Chief Executive of Glanbia said “those counties that are succeeding commercially professionalise their activities and make sure that they align the county brand with the needs of investors and consumers. The Commercial Sub-Committee, with members predominantly drawn from the Commercial sector, is Waterford’s response and I am satisfied that it will, when aligned with other measures in this strategy, facilitate significant additional contribution to the development of our assets and to day to day operations.”

Strategic Review Group Members:
Sean Michael O’Regan, Chairman, Waterford GAA,
Pat Flynn, Secretary, Waterford GAA,
Fergal Hartley,
John Moloney,
Tony Corcoran,
Pat Whyte,
Timmy O’Keeffe,
Michael Walsh.

Full coverage of the plan and pictures in Tuesday’s Waterford News & Star.

Artist view of Walsh Park from the City End.

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