GAA club bans parents from using mobile phones – urging them to 'live in the moment with your children'
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GAA club bans parents from using mobile phones – urging them to 'live in the moment with your children'

A GAA club in Co. Meath has banned parents from using mobile phones on the sidelines to encourage them to cheer on their children.

Navan O'Mahonys GAA decided to introduce the initiative after coaches noticed parents were constantly looking at their phones, rather than watching their kids play.

The measure was originally intended to apply to training sessions at the 'Pride of Cubs' nursery section of the club only.

However, the phone ban has been so well-received by both members and coaches alike that it will now be extended to cover all age groups.

In a statement on its website, the club said: "In today's society, people are constantly on their phones in restaurants, bars... and the sidelines is no different. We want to change this.

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"Navan O’Mahony’s was founded long before phones and we want to remind parents of the essence of the community club and get them to live in the moment with their children...  kids just want to look up after catching a ball or using a hurl to see their parents cheering them on.

"Sometimes parents miss this memory because they are looking at a phone and this can lead to a disappointed child. At this age, it's all about catching a ball, kicking a ball and running with it or holding a hurl and we have to cheer them on".

The statement added: "The club decided that if we get parents used to not using their phones now and encouraging their children to learn new skills then it will progress through the age groups.

"Navan O'Mahony's want to bring back the mentality that we are a family club and get everyone involved."

A notice at the club's Brews Hill pitch reads: "Navan O'Mahonys 'Pride of Cubs' nursery is a phone-free zone. During this one hour, please put your phone away, watch your child learn a new skill and play."

The new phone-free zone was due to debut last weekend, but training had to be cancelled due to strong winds brought by Storm Hannah and the initiative will instead begin this weekend.

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Founded in November 1948, Navan O'Mahonys GAA club maintained the tradition of Gaelic Games in the town that goes back to the Navan Pierce O'Mahonys – the team that represented Meath in the county's first All-Ireland SFC final appearance over half-a-century earlier.