MARY MURPHY – Meath Local Sports Partnership
In 2002, County Meath Council succeeded in submitting to Sport Ireland the establishment of a local sports partnership in County Meath. At the time, there were only eight LSPs in the country when Meath came on board, there are now 29.
The role of the Local Sport Partnership is to plan, direct and coordinate the development of sport and physical activity in the county. We achieve this by giving more people the opportunity to be more active more often in Meath. My role as Manager is to make sure this happens.
I am from Wexford (always wear purple and gold with pride!), Studied Business Studies, Leisure and Leisure Management at Waterford IT and started as a Director at Meath LSP in July 2002. As a youngster, I grew up in a rural area. Wexford, our sports center was in the local GAA club which had strong women’s football and camogie teams and a neighboring parish had a women’s football team. We’ve had some success – winning minor All-Irelands in football, Leinster club medals and county titles, but what I remember most is the feeling of fun we had at training (although most of the time it was difficult) and participating in matches.
When I moved to Meath (my husband is from Moynalty) I first played with a lot of women at Rathkenny LGFA but then the Moynalty Junior Girls team was formed and I wore the red and white with great pride. We were miserable as we never crossed the line in any of the three regional finals we played but had a lot of fun along the way which I guess on reflection relieves the pain somewhat. ! Today I play golf at Headfort GC and enjoy social outings with the golf company in Moynalty. I continue to love cycling and am an active member of Moynalty Why Nots Cycling Club.
Have I always been passionate about sport and physical activity? I guess without really recognizing it, I was. I come from a family of two boys and four girls and I was brought up on a farm that had a cement area (our own ‘backyard of dreams’ where we competed in the All Ireland final, raced in alongside Sonia O ‘Sullivan at the Olympics, scored the winning goal with an excellent pass from Pelé, beat Sean Kelly in the mountains and managed to contain John McEnroe at Wimbledon. football, bikes and a big imagination!
My life experience of always being involved in some form of sport and physical activity inspires and energizes me to do the work I am currently doing with Meath LSP. Our goal is to increase levels of sport and physical activity participation for all ages and abilities in Meath.
One of the reasons the LSPs were created nationwide was to ensure that residents of different counties had access to a range of opportunities that would increase their levels of physical activity, reduce sedentary behaviors, and develop healthy living conditions. training and education opportunities for volunteers in clubs, schools and the community. groups.
We fully appreciate that not everyone in our county has the same opportunities for physical activity, whether due to a lack of facilities, resources, volunteers, clubs, etc. ; as an organization, we do our best to provide opportunities for different groups by ensuring a wide and diverse distribution of programs.
Our job is essentially to create opportunities, build pathways to regular physical activity and ensure the sustained engagement of these participants.
In the long run, it’s about leading a culture change and a shift in daily practice where more people in Meath are participating in sport and physical activity.
Our team of employees consists of eight highly qualified people and approx. 24 part-time tutors, all well experienced and expert in delivering programs on a number of platforms to a number of different audiences; but above all, all keen to ensure that people who would like to be more physically active are taken into account in the design of our program.
The past eighteen months or so have been extremely difficult for the sports and physical activity sector in general, but at the same time, they have presented opportunities to improve innovation and capitalize on an increased focus on health and physical activity.
Meath LSP will need to embrace new ways of dealing with the impacts and implications as we learn to live with the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges faced in sustaining the growth gained through individual sports and physical activity. But the one thing from the pandemic that we want people to fully embrace is that physical activity and sport have played and will continue to play a monumental role in maintaining positive physical and mental health.
Whether people have access to structured sport in clubs or a local walking track or your own “backyard of dreams” we encourage everyone to try the best they can, to give (min) 30 minutes a day (adult) or 60 minutes (child) in some form of physical activity.
Keep an eye on our website for programs in your locality www.meathsports.ie or call 046 9067337 where the staff team will be happy to assist you.