Sport has the power to change lives. With over 1.7 million people actively participating in sport each week, its role in Irish society cannot be undervalued. The physical and mental benefits of playing sport from a young age are extensive, with individuals developing personal skills and qualities that are then carried in to all facets of adulthood.
As a teenager, the transition in to adulthood is a time of growth, navigating through many of life’s major milestones such as sitting the Leaving Certificate, learning to drive and securing your first job. Research commissioned by Electric Ireland, proud sponsor of the GAA All-Ireland Minor Championships, found that playing sport featured amongst these major moments in a teenager’s life.
According to the study, a massive 94% of people in Ireland believe that sport positively impacts on a person’s life. In addition to this, 70% of Irish males played sport as a teenager, and have credited it to benefiting their lives now through the lessons learned and friendships made; with 73% indicating that they are still friends with the people they played sports with in their teens.
Qualities such as teamwork, commitment and self-discipline were named as the top skills and values that have transferred from the sports grounds to workplaces and beyond. Those who have participated in sport feel these attributes have given them an advantage that has positively shaped who they are today.
Electric Ireland are continuing to champion the Minor hurlers and footballers by proving that there’s ‘nothing minor about playing Minor’ and have teamed up with Niall Breslin (Bressie) to look back on the ‘major moments’ that shape a teenager’s life. The former Westmeath Minor footballer believes the years spent on the GAA pitch had a major influence on his development as a person;
“Sport was beyond important to me as a teenager. Playing sport helped me develop qualities like resilience, discipline and teamwork. I owe a lot to playing GAA at Minor level for the person I am now.”
Tipperary star, Brian McGrath, who will line out in Croke Park this Sunday 4th September for the All-Ireland Minor Hurling Final, is yet another member of the fabled McGrath clan and credits playing GAA to his personal growth on and off the field;
“I’ve watched my Dad and my older brothers, Noel and John, represent Tipperary and aspired to follow in their footsteps growing up. GAA has been a massive part of our lives as a family and as a result we share many of the same qualities that have helped us succeed on and off the pitch.”
McGrath joined Bressie and some familiar faces from the world of GAA and beyond, including legendary GAA broadcasters Marty Morrissey and Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, Olympic Boxer Darren O’Neill and current Dublin footballer Michael Darragh MacAuley to reminisce on their memories of being a teenager, playing at Minor level and the lessons that they learned from sport.
Throughout the championships, fans can follow the conversation, support the Minors and be a part of something major through the hashtag #GAAThisIsMajor.