Ulster Council chairman Tom Daly has received what he describes as “the best farewell present possible” following confirmation of funding for five regional projects from the National Infrastructure Committee.
Daly will step down from the top post at next weekend’s Ulster Convention after three hectic years, when he has helped to oversee a catalogue of major initiatives which have further cemented the GAA within the province.
And while the cash resources that are to be made available for Centres of Excellence have been warmly welcomed by Council officials, Daly himself pinpoints other areas in which major progress has been made.
“I think in the areas of Integration, floodlighting, coaching and development, ground improvements and marketing huge strides have been taken, but there is much still to be done,” said Daly who with Ulster Council director Danny Murphy travelled to the United States yesterday to take part in an important seminar.
“The Ulster Council is now viewed as a visionary body and I have no doubt that many more major initiatives will be launched in the future.”
Last year, Daly had a key role when Ulster led the way with a spectacular programme of events to mark the 125th Anniversary of the GAA — one that surpassed those of the other provinces.
He is expected to be succeeded as chairman by Eoghan Farrell, a Cootehill school principal who has served as Ulster PRO and treasurer in the past and has also been a member of the Croke Park IT Committee.
Daly has played a leading part in helping the GAA extend its tentacles into areas of the province in which it did not previously have a presence and has been at pains to strengthen its links with the Protestant community.
“Our Association in general and the Ulster Council in particular are very conscious that we should be seen as a non-political, inter-denominational body,” said Daly.
“Our doors are open to everyone and I am particularly pleased with the progress which has been made in building closer relationships with other communities, particularly the Unionist community.”
The outgoing chairman has encouraged all units within the Association to continue this work and to put the emphasis on building for the future.
Referring to the disbursement of funding for the Centres of Excellence he adds: “This money is an important investment by the GAA and we are delighted that our teams will benefit from state of the art playing, training and competition standard facilities.
“In Ulster we are also very proud that our sister organisations in camogie and ladies football will also directly benefit from the use of our facilities.”