Vision Impaired Teens RISE to the Challenge of Hurling

2 teens wearing bibs and hurling helmets, hold hurls and contest a large orange ball on the floor


The NCBI RISE project in collaboration with Vision Sports Ireland and the GAA were delighted to host their first ever VI Hurling session on Saturday December 17th in Gaelscoil Chaladh an Treoigh, Limerick. The session was the first of its kind and had the support of the 3 in a row, All Ireland Championship winning, Limerick Senior Hurling team. The event provided teens with a vision impairment the opportunity to try out Hurling in an accessible setting, which for many was their very first time to do so.

The NCBI RISE project champions resilience, social inclusion and family connections with the focus of planned youth events centred on equality and accessibility to new possibilities and activities. When asked about the event, NCBI RISE project Co-Ordinator Jenifer Wilson stated “The GAA is a massive part of Irish culture, and we were excited being able to make it more accessible to our service users with their parents cheering from the side-lines. This event championed inclusivity, diversity and accessibility to a sport renowned in Ireland while celebrating the culture of GAA amongst the families who attended. The session focused on orientation, mobility, endurance and adaptive GAA equipment. It was a great opportunity for our different service users to meet and get to know each other and for their parents to meet other parents in our service and establishing a connection between them all.”

A group of players and coaches stand around in a circle wearing helmets and holding hurls. they are leaning town and dribbling the balls on the ground

On the day, players got the opportunity to partake in a fully accessible hurling session led by Vision Sports Ireland and the GAA. The session consisted of training drills focusing on hurling fundamentals before breaking into a very well contested game. All Ireland Champions and members of the Limerick hurling squad Declan Hannon and Aaron Costello were in attendance on the day to help the coaches show players a thing or two.

Vision Sports Ireland team member Sara Mc Fadden stated “The RISE project was born from the NCBI/Vision Sports Ireland changing perceptions strategy. Our aim is to provide sport and physical activity opportunities to all. This event today encapsulates that by providing these teens with the opportunity to engage in a sport that unfortunately may not otherwise be accessible to them in their community. On the day, we used a range of very small adaptations such as equipment, colour contrast and increased audio description. I believe that our collaboration with the GAA on this project has helped to make this day the success it was, and we look forward to building on this partnership throughout the coming years to provide more opportunities for all ages to get involved in GAA”

a group of teens wearing yellow bib standing around a male limerick hurling player who is wearing a woolen hat

GAA Diversity and Inclusion officer Ger McTavish explains: “Inclusion is about making a difference. Inclusivity is a movement, a move to include. Being truly inclusive is living our GAA motto, ‘Where we all Belong’. “This work takes many forms. It ranges from ensuring that our policies and practices support the cultural integration and social inclusion of people from across Ireland’s diverse ethnic population, to making sure that all Gaelic games are adapted for people with different abilities.” We are delighted to be working in collaborations with Vision Sport Ireland on adapting our Gaelic games to include everyone in the community who is blind, or vision impaired. Vision Sport Ireland training will give many volunteers, coaches, and members the skills and confidence to support any individual who is blind, or vision impaired.”

Event participant Aoibhe stated I enjoyed hurling with the lads and I definitely worked up a sweat, I would like to keep doing the rise project because the staff are all really nice and gave great tips. The best part was presenting the Trophy to the lads”

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