Emlyn Mulligan, Alan Freeman, Aidan O'Shea, Paul Brennan, Oisin McConville Stephen McGurrin and James Phelan at the launch of "Off the Booze and On the Ball." ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Going Dry

GAA stars launch scheme for booze-free January

The GAA’s “Off the Booze and On the Ball” project challenges members to start the new year by giving up drink for a month.

A HOST OF inter-county stars have lent their support to a new GAA initiative which calls on members to give up alcohol for the month of January.

Armagh legend Oisin McConville joined Mayo footballers Aidan O’Shea and Alan Freeman in Croke Park this afternoon to launch the Association’s “Off the Booze and On the Ball” health project.

The challenge encourages GAA members around the country to kick off the new year by abstaining from alcohol for a month, collecting sponsorship money for their local club as they do so.

The scheme’s participants will also be given guidance on recommended weekly exercise levels as well as tips and activities to help them hit their targets.

Also present at today’s launch were GAA President Christy Cooney, Minster of State at the Department of Health Róisín Shortall, as well as players from Leitrim club Melvin Gaels whose entire senior panel will be taking up the challenge after Christmas.

“January is a month of the year when the commencement of good habits comes into sharp focus and twinning a reduction in alcohol intake with increased physical activity makes perfect sense after the possible excesses of the festive season,” said Cooney.

“This scheme also offers members the chance to generate funds for their local clubs through sponsorship so the benefits for those involved are plain for all to see.”

“Everything begins with small steps,” Shortall added, “and I am confident that this programme will find its way into every club, every community and every county in Ireland.

“Alcohol abuse presents one of the greatest challenges our country faces and I am delighted to see an organisation as renowned and respected as the GAA take a lead on this issue and I hope other sporting associations will adopt similar schemes.”

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