AN innovative yet simple device to enhance young footballers GAA skills was launched at Pearse Memorial Park in Ardara on Monday morning.
The brain-child of Patrick ‘Larry’ Gallagher and his brother-in-law Gerard Gallagher ‘High Achievers’ encourages young footballers to catch the ball at its highest point.
Velcro covered pads hold two footballs in place from a bar which can be raised to a more elevated position.
All Ireland winning Donegal captain Michael Murphy, himself one of the best fielders of his generation, believes the device can help to create the next Anthony Molloy or Neil Gallagher.
“Fielding is something that you don’t get to practice too much at training. The challenge here is to catch the ball at its highest point and I can see the benefits of it.
“I would be competitive and this device would give you a good sense of confidence going into a match,” he said. Murphy, together with fellow All-Ireland winner Paddy McGrath, tested out ‘High Achievers’ at Monday’s launch.
“You can keep rising the bar which allows players the opportunity to develop their leap. It’s all about timing and will encourage them to catch the ball high above their heads,” McGrath said.
The idea for ‘High Achievers’ came to Patrick and Gerard while they were watching a Donegal game on television one Sunday afternoon.
“It was half-time and while they were talking tactics on the TV we wondered if there was a way we could teach players to attack the ball. I had a few ideas in my head,” Gerard said.
A former player and manager of Ardara, Patrick ‘Larry’ Gallagher said that it was only when he stepped down to U8 and U10 level that he realised the extent of the problem.
“They weren’t getting up high to catch the ball. They were catching it in front of their faces of waiting until it fell into their laps. There’s senior players who are still not getting into the air to field the ball at its maximum height but it was more noticable at underage level,” he said.
The net result of a few brainstorming sessions was ‘High Achievers’ which is expected to retail for approximately €570 when it goes on general sale inside the next month.
“You get the apparatus and two ball for that,” Gerard said.
The frame is held in the ground by pegs while there’s also 25kg bags of sand which can help stabilise it when used indoors. It’s a good idea and, who knows, it might get us another Molloy or Gallagher,” Murphy said.
Anyone who would like to find out more about ‘High Achievers’ can contact Patrick on 0872654400 or Gerard at 0872262872.
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