Nursery Coordinator Laura Kelly Carey, Mandy Griffin, Neil O’Dwyer

Equipment Managers Mandy Griffin and Neil O’Dwyer

New coaches Coordinator Laura Kelly Carey

Head Coach I Liadan O’Neill

Head Coach II Piaras Delaney

Click image below to view Mentors Handbook.

Click image below to view Nursery Training Sessions


Nursery Organisational Structure – Roles & Responsibilities

  •  Nursery usually starts back after the clocks change in late March

Coordination Role

  •  Role: Nursery Coordinator
  •  General point of contact for parents & mentors & club officials throughout the season (but not for registration, new players, mentor recruitment etc)
  •  Produces the Nursery Programme. Use what we already have from previous years.
  •  Pre Season – Jan/Feb – Join as admin of Nursery parents group.
  •  Pre Season – Jan/Feb – Join as admin on Nursery Mentors Group.
  •  Pre Season – Jan/Feb – Organise a mentors meeting to appoint New Nursery Committee for the year ahead and fill roles in the Nursery Organisation Structure for year ahead also (Divide out the roles fully so no one person is overburdened). Following meeting, arrange to update the club website with this new information for the Nursery Committee and the Nursery Organisation Structure, before advertising for new members.
  •  Pre Season – Early Feb – Organise a Nursery Committee meeting and plan for the season ahead. Review mentor numbers and plan for getting new mentors.
  • Pre Season – Early Feb and ongoing – New mentor recruitment:
  •  There should be at least one adult for every 5 children.
  •  Ideally we aim for 2 mentors per pod of kids (8-10 kids max per pod, smaller groups for younger kids preferable)
  •  Kids in their first year need a lot of help.
  •  For example, if we have 120 registered children, we should plan for approx. 12 pods spread over 2 pitches (Astro pitch and Grass Pitch). We should aim for 24 mentors to run the nursery with that number. As the season wears on, attendance numbers can drop off but we still need enough mentors for the max attendance. Keep in mind the more mentors we have, the better the coaching experience the kids will have so the remaining kids will benefit.
  •  Ask existing mentor group to try to recruit new 1 new mentor each from people they know with kids in age group attending nursery.
  •  Put out a request for new coaches on the Parents Whatsapp group.
  •  See can we get some Transition Year students from DCC to help out as part of their Gaisce award.
  •  Visit a G4MO training session in Feb to try to recruit new mentors from there.
  •  Ask Points of Contact mentors to recruit parents as helpers or mentors when contacted about registration. Each new parent should be asked to help as part of this process.
  •  Finally, if there is still a shortage, put out a request again once the nursery whatsapp group has most new parents included, asking for more help. Feel free to stress that we welcome all help offered. Ensure everyone understands that nursery can only take place with adequate mentor numbers for health & safety, plus coaching experience, reasons.
  •  Pre Season – Mid February – (Once the website has been updated with new committee details & new Organisation Structure for the year ahead) – Arrange Club PRO to circulate advert for new members on website, request signs for around town and adverts on social media (Use template of previous yr if needed).

Important: clearly state what year of birth kids will need to be to join up in the year ahead (Club policy: kids should be already 4 by 31st March 2023 of the new season year.). Tip- Always request parents help as coaches & non coaching helpers too in the adverts.

  •  Pre Season- March- Parents open day/night for registration, mentor recruitment & short presentation about Nursery. All mentors help with this.
  •  Pre Season- March- Depending on how mentor recruitment is going, push for more mentors. Liaise with New Coaches Coordinator to have mentors vetted and child safeguarding done ASAP before nursery starts back. Garda Vetting can take up to 5 weeks in busy months.
  •  Pre season – March – Nursery Mentors Training Evening. Use Mentors Handbook available above🔝.


  •  Pre-Season – March – As season draws near, liaise with all Nursery coordinators and check progress. Ensure everyone will be ready for start date: equipment ready, enough mentors recruited (fully vetted and available), head coaches ready with session plan, Pitch set up team have agreed set up plan with head coaches, Nursery list is up to date (on Foireann, our Foireann Team and on our own list), parents all on whatsapp group, mentors all on whatsapp group etc. Get things moving again if they have stalled.
  •  Pre season – About 2 weeks from start back notify parents of planned start date and all necessary info re parking, etc. Inform “helpers” we will run through what’s needed on the night so if they can come 15 mins early.


  •  Weekly – Set up event on Foireann each Friday morning
  •  Weekly – Communicate with parents on whatsapp group about Foireann event each Friday morning
  •  Weekly – Communicate with Head Coaches mid-week & check who is planning session, they have enough mentors etc
  •  First few weeks of season- Oversee that organisational structure is working smoothly, everyone knows that they are doing and are delivering, session runs to plan, session starts on time by 6pm etc. Iron out any quirks and update this Organisational Structure for improvements as needed. After this, everyone should know their role and they can take it from there. General oversight after that.


Head Coaches

  •  Ensure all mentors have completed the club foundation course as soon as possible into the new season and organise a foundation course with the club GPO if needed.
  •  Assist with the Mentors Training Night.
  •  Arrange the running of the weekly training sessions. You can rotate this or whatever works for you.
  •  You can use the resources available in the Mentors Section of the Nursery section of website, as well as GAA Planner. I recommend using the Leinster GAA Nursery programme for the first 7 weeks (adapted as needed, Year 2 kids may need something challenging added on), use some templates on the website from other clubs, and also the GAA planner. The GAA planners can be limited enough as kids get more experienced.
  •  Ensure Nursery list is split into colour coded pods (you may want to do this for the second week and lets kids be with their friends on the first night), with 8 – 10 kids per pod (a good mix of boys and girls together). Smaller pod numbers on the Astro is recommended.
  •  All the kids in their second year will be in pods together and located on the grass pitch.
  •  All kids in their first year should be in pods together and located on the Astro Pitch. If Astro is too small for the number of year 1 kids, some pods will be on the Grass pitch in their own area.
  •  Ideally, plan so that pods do 5 stations only in the hour (as 6 station can be very hectic). Think about creating defined “mini pitch” areas on the grass pitch, with the 5 stations set out within this area.
  •  Ultimately, we may end up with several of these mini pitch areas (perhaps 3) depending on numbers, Astro being one of them.
  •  Divide the entire nursery into pods and allocate 5 pods to each mini pitch area. One mini pitch may end up with both pods of year 1 and year 2 kids to balance numbers, in which case mentors on this mini pitch area will need to adapt more to reflect very different attention and ability levels coming through their stations.
  •  Always prioritise keeping pods as small as possible rather than overfilling pods. So split group down into 2 pods of 5 or 6, rather than making pods of 10-12 kids.
  •  A final plan for how to organise the pitches can happen closer to starting back, once we know final registered numbers. After 4-6 weeks, rearrange the pods again and try to do this 3 to 4 times in the season. It helps make new friendships, mix up the dynamic in groups, and prepare them for changing groups at training when they move from Nursery. You can consult the other mentors when regrouping kids. For year 2 kids, consider ability, personalities, maturity level etc when matching groups. (Remember to start off with small groups for matches – 2 V 2, 3 V 3 etc and work up towards 4 v 4 max. Many kids will struggle in 5 V 5 scenarios and get lost in the game which means they will not progress.) If available, you may want to put an extra mentor onto the match station for the grass pitch, to help kids learn the process of which direction to run in, moving forward together, passing together, defending their goals etc. You could take a training session to just watch kids and access how they are doing, before rearranging the pods.


  •  Check in with Equipment managers that you will have enough equipment, bibs, colours etc, to accommodate the number of pods planned. Rearrange pods every 4-6 weeks if you can, send new pod list to Nursery Coordinator and the Nursery Coordinator can notify parents. Organise mentors each week and who is available. Try to have 2 mentors per station, and join a junior mentor with a senior mentor where possible. Failing that, prioritise 2 mentors on each station for the Astro pitch where the youngest kids should be and most assistance will be needed. Also prioritise the match station on the grass pitch with enough mentors, as this will be difficult for one person. When short mentors, prioritise 2 mentors on ball skills stations and leave the games/running stations with 1 mentor.
  •  Provide instruction to group mentors each week.
  •  Each week, circulate

 1. A clear pitch plan (showing stations & mentors allocated) and,

 2. A clear Station Activity Plan before the training session. This should enable coaches to quickly understand what they need to do, equipment needed, how games/drills work, who they are coaching with etc . As the season progresses, try to bring other newer coaches in to plan sessions too (mentor the mentors approach). Ideally, if the plan can be circulated the day before, it is perfect. But failing that, getting it to mentors by lunch time on the Friday will give people a chance to prepare for the session themselves.

  •  Ideally, all coaches rotate between Astro and Grass Pitch. It can be much more challenging to train and engage the youngest kids, especially on a Skills station, so everyone should get a chance to assist with this. Also, it can happen that all the more experienced coaches end up on the grass pitch to be with their own older kids, and so a void of much needed experience is created on the Astro where the newer kids and newer mentors are. Ensure there is a Senior experienced coach on each station at all times, on both pitches. For this reason, all mentors should understand they will be asked to rotate between both pitches right from the start. Letting mentors know in advance can help them arrange someone to watch their child for the weeks they will be coaching on a different pitch. Once they understand that kids rotate between stations in any case during their hour session, they will realise they won’t be with their own child for an entire training session in any case.


  •  Make sure the mentors are adhering to the coaching programme, making it fun, showing up on time, are prepared for their station, and show up knowing what to do. Check in that mentors understand the TURAS player pathway and use the IDEA method for coaching skills.



  •  Visit all groups every day and give skills advice and coaching advice to mentors as needed. They may be showing them how to teach the skill, how to encourage the kids or even how to interact with kids in a fun way. As the season progresses, help them find ways to make stations more challenging or easier depending on pod of kids or ability level within a pod.


  •  Get feedback from each station about what’s working or needs adjustment, whether some groups should be reorganised for some reason, and feedback info to Nursery Coordinator.



  •  Understand the Nursery programme – ABC, RJT and CKS. Follow the principle that mentors should aim to coach the kids in front of them, therefore adapt what they are doing to add challenge/lessen difficulty depending on a child’s ability in each pod. Our primary goal however is that it must be FUN at all times, and interesting for the kids.


Group Coaches

Senior Coach (Year 2 coach)

  •  Show up on time, ready and prepared for their station
  •  Responsible for one station
  •  Coach the skills/games to the children at their station
  • ·Follow coaching programme
  •  Assist/mentor their junior coach

Junior Coach (Year 1 coach)

  •  Assist the senior coach
  •  Help set up drills
  •  Help if one on one coaching is required
  •  Help move kids between stations, toilet and water breaks by bringing child to their parent at the gate.


Equipment manager

  •  Prepare an equipment inventory and see what’s needed for season ahead– 1 ball per child registered.
  •  Before starting back, share equipment inventory with Head coaches so they can plan their sessions.
  •  Check equipment is in working order and pump balls as needed.
  •  Ensure equipment goes back to storage properly- it can go missing if not kept in the right place (Dressing room number 5) – especially cones and general equipment that other teams may use too.
  •  Make sure all balls have Nursery written on them in permanent marker.
  •  Report lost or damaged equipment to Nursery Coordinator.

Intake of New Players

  •  Role: Point of Contact for 2016 Born boys
  •  Role: Point of Contact for 2016 born girls
  •  Role: Point of Contact for 2017 born boys
  •  Role: Point of Contact for 2017 born girls

Note: Most new kids will likely be from the younger year of birth, so you can all help each other out if it gets too busy for one or two people. Don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance from your group.


Role & Points to remember:


  •  Your role is to take the burden of new player registration & new parent queries off the Nursery Coordinator.


Contact by a parent –


  •  When contact is made by a parent, welcome them to the club. You are their first experience of the club.
  •  Check Parish Rule with them again – info on website
  • Confirm year of Birth again and that child is old enough
  •  Confirm they have registered the child on the club website at this stage. If not, inform them there is a Nursery Section on the club website, and a Parents area within this. Direct them to this area and ask them to follow the steps set out. Inform them all the info they need will be in the FAQ’s in the club website but if they have any other queries, to come back to you. If you notice a frequent question not in the FAQ’s, inform the Nursery Coordinator so it can be added in.
  •  Always ask parent/guardian if they would like to help out as mentors or helpers (gate, organising kids into pods & bibs etc). Let them know we need a lot of help.
  •  Ask parents if they will help as part of a roster for parking management on nursery nights
  •  Keep a list of the people who are willing to help, in what way, and inform Coordinator.


After the call/messages-


  •  Add child, DOB, and parent contact details to our own Nursery List – Think about having a live Google Sheet which 4 points of contact can edit, with access for Nursery coordinator and Team List Coordinator too. Over time the need for this list should fade away as parents do it all themselves online. I suggest we keep it for 2022 while this beds in.
  •  Add parent to Nursery parents whatsapp group
  •  Add child to the Foireann Nursery u6 TEAM
  •  Consider if you need your own whatsapp group to share registration messages/queries for kids who are not your responsibility. See what works best for you. Add Nursery Coordinator too as they may receive registration queries.
  •  After nursery is up and running, always inform the Team List Coordinator if there is a new registration so she can check up on it. Also inform the Head Coaches so the child can be put into a pod for their first week.

Team List supervisor

Ultimate role is to ensure kids registered show up on Head coaches lists and are not overlooked.

Pre Season

  •  Get access to the Foireann system.

Cross check the Nursery excel list with players registered on Foireann and players shown on our Foireann TEAM list. Each child should be in all 3 places.

Give the final checked list to Head Coaches for splitting into pods.



Check you have the final list each week, including for new registrations. This will fade away as the weeks go on. Ensure new registered players show up on the pod list from Head Coaches.

Each week, print off 3 x Head Coaches pods lists, in colour, so gate helpers can get kids into bibs, pods and name tags. If Foireann numbers for attendance appear low by lunch time Friday, send a reminder to parents and give them a cut off time for printing the list.

Inform Head Coaches and Nursery Coordinator what numbers are expected that day.

At the end of the session, check in with helpers at gate for any new players not on lists and follow up to see why, get them registered etc. Any problems with registration should be referred to the Foireann/Membership Coordinator.

Intake of New Coaches

Child Safety Point of Contact-

  •  Person is contact on website for new coaches and contact in Nursery for Ger Reid (Child Safety Officer in the club).
  •  Send new coaches links to Garda vetting, Child safety course etc and ensure all is in place before a new coach steps onto the pitch. This is a club requirement. These links will be put into the Mentors section of the website too.
  •  All coaches need to get GAA vetting done, even if they have vetting already with their job or another organisation.

Foireann/Membership Coordinator

This person is the contact for any problems with registration of kids for parents. Any issues with registration raised on the Parents Whatsapp group or at the sessions should be followed up by this person. Check in with the gate helpers or Coordinator after the training session to see if any queries were raised. Any issues raised by the Team List Coordinator should be followed up by this person also. Liaise with the parent and the club registrars to sort out any problems for parents.

Pitch Set Up/Clear up Lead – Astro Pitch & Grass Pitch

There will be 2 people in these roles, one responsible for each pitch.

They will ensure all pitches are fully set up, with equipment in place for all stations, by 6pm each Friday. They will need to study the weekly Session plan and put the required stations in place on the pitches, with help of others there as needed.

In advance of nursery starting back in April, run through with the Head Coaches where to locate the stations on the pitches, the rotation through stations (clockwise or other), so that all mentors understand where to find stations 1 – 5 no matter what mini pitch they end up on.

Ideally, all mini pitch areas should be clearly marked out so kids know what area they should stay in for the session.

They will ensure the pitches are cleared in a timely manner and that all equipment is put back into our storage area.

Nursery Representative on Juvenile Boys Committee 2022:    Marc Leddy

Note: There must be one person from Nursery Committee on the juvenile boys committee