An Evaluation of the GAA Healthy Club Project

Alex Donohoe

Research output: Types of ThesisMaster's Thesis

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Introduction The sports club has recently been identified as a new setting for health promotion. In Ireland, a Gaelic Athletics Association (GAA) sports club exists in almost every community with a remit that extends beyond promoting Gaelic games. The Healthy Club Project (HCP) was devised by the GAA and HSE in an attempt to both harness current and encourage future health promotion efforts within a GAA club setting. The purpose of this study was to carry out a process and impact evaluation of the HCP. Methods Eighteen GAA clubs self-selected to take part in phase one of the HCP. Data were collected using pre and post questionnaires containing a healthy club index, adapted from a tool developed by Kokko, Kannas et al. (2009). Club representatives and stakeholders involved in the HCP also took part in focus groups to describe the process, and outcomes of engaging in health promotion through sport. Quantitative analysis was carried out using SPSS and qualitative data was processed using thematic content analysis. Results Twelve clubs completed the baseline and follow up questionnaires, a retention rate of 75%. Analysis revealed that clubs progressed from being on average moderately health promoting at baseline to high health promoting at follow up, scoring lowest for policies and highest for ideologies. In total, clubs delivered 72 health initiatives, with physical activity, emotional wellbeing and health awareness/first aid proving to be the most popular topics covered. Results also showed that clubs viewed health promotion as a natural progression of work already underway in their club, and could see positive implications resulting for engaging in this type of work. Conclusion The analysis endorses GAA sport clubs as a viable setting for health promotion in an Irish context. Clubs are actively engaging in some health related activities and are eager to engage further. Clubs however, require support to ensure health is included on the agenda of the club, and embedded into all club operations.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Lane, Aoife, Supervisor
  • Murphy, Niamh, Supervisor
Publication statusUnpublished - 2015


  • The Healthy Club Project (HCP)


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