GAA announce taskforce to develop hurling in weaker counties

National Hurling Action Plan Workgroup has its first meeting at the weekend

The GAA has announced details of the National Hurling Action Plan Workgroup, which had its first meeting at the weekend. On Monday in Croke Park, association president Larry McCarthy outlined the brief for the new body.

“Their remit is to essentially look at and come up with strategies for developing hurling, particularly in the weaker counties. They are all drawn from second tier hurling counties really with Paddy (Scales, Offaly) and Éibhear’s (O’Dea, Limerick selector) exception.

“Éibhear is there because of his work with the academy in Limerick. Paddy is representing to a certain extent the education sector. Their remit is to come up with strategies for growing hurling in the second and third tier counties.”

Members include former Mayo footballer Keith Higgins, who also hurled with the county and in 2021 captained Mayo’s Rackard Cup winning team and was named that championship’s Hurler of the Year and Joey Carton of Waterford, who is the hurling development manager for Munster GAA.


The controversial plan to exclude Cavan, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Longford and Louth from the 2025 national league and redirect intercounty resources to the development of the game in those counties, which was dropped at Saturday’s Central Council meeting, was referred to the new workgroup.

McCarthy said that the proposal could be resurrected pending the recommendations of the workgroup but that it would not be on the table for 2025.

He also said that there were no immediate plans to replace Martin Fogarty as National Hurling manager.

“Not at the moment. We’ll wait and see what this committee comes up with. I don’t think there’s a role for that function yet. There may be based on their recommendations.”

Workgroup members: Colm Nolan (Kildare; chair), Éibhear O’Dea (Limerick), Kieran Farmer (Fermanagh), Keith Higgins (Mayo), Darragh Cox (Sligo), Joey Carton (Waterford), Kevin Kelly (Derry), Paddy Scales (Offaly), Ryan Gaffney (Armagh, camogie representative).

Terms of reference:

1. conduct a review of the findings and recommendations of previous plans, reports, action statements on the game over the past 15 years.

2. conduct a review and analysis of current hurling activity at club, primary, post primary, higher education and intercounty levels across all tiers of the game – but with a special focus on the game in Joe MacDonagh, Christy Ring, Nickey Rackard and Lory Meagher counties.

3. review the current Hurley and Helmet Scheme.

4. consult key stakeholders as required.

5. work with the Camogie Association to identify areas/projects of common interest and co-operation for inclusion in the plan.

6. explore and identify ways in which the Camogie Association, the GAA can maximise the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage status for the games of camogie and hurling in supporting the implementation of the plan.

7. produce a plan for presentation to Central Council on its findings, recommendations, and a roadmap for implementation.

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times