Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

GAA in to make 125th anniversary a huge party

Ulster GAA's Diarmuid Marsden, Tyrone manager Mickey Harte and Tyrone's Ryan Mellon at the launch of the Ulster Council's GAA 125th Anniversary celebrations at the Europa Hotel in Belfast

The GAA’s 125th anniversary celebrations offers clubs and its members the ideal opportunity to create a focus in their own area according to Ulster Council President Tom Daly.

Speaking at yesterday’s launch in the Europa Hotel Daly said that while it was a time for celebrations it was also a time for reflection.

“Clubs at local level will be able to celebrate the 125th anniversary in whatever way they see fit.

“They can take guidance from the Ulster Council for instance recognising past All Ireland winning captains at Ulster finals.

“It’s also possible to focus on successful All Ireland winning teams or captains within the club or perhaps give the so called minority sports of camogie and handball a focus they might not normally enjoy.

“Sunday May 10 has been set aside as the day of the club and that will be a huge day the length and breadth of Ireland.

“We often say that clubs are the lifeblood of the sport so here’s an opportunity for us to acknowledge the massive contribution they make and continue to make.” he said.

On the evidence of Tyrone’s stunning victory over Dublin under the Croke Park lights, Ulster football appears to be in rude health.

But off the field as with so m any sports it continues to be a challenging time as the recession continues to bite.

But Daly, insists that sport can often be a great pick me up and the feel good factor generated by the footballers of Tyrone and Dublin is something that the GAA must continue to tap into.

“The recession was the last thing on the minds of those in Croke Park last Saturday night.

“Celebrations tend to do that. Often when people reflect on what they have it helps put the doom and gloom to one side.” he added.

The launch was attended by over 150 representatives from all codes within the GAA including county managers Mickey Harte, Ross Carr, Terence McNaughton, Dominic McKinley.

Players from across the province were also in attendance including camogie ace Jane Adams, Joe McMahon, Ryan Mellon, Ruairi Convery and Aoife McDonnell.

Special guests included Sean O’Neill, Trevor Ringland and Maeve Kyle.

Master of ceremonies was BBC Championship presenter Austin O’Callaghan.

Not surprisingly last night’s meeting of the Donegal County Board was cancelled owing to the snow and ice.

The meeting was due to discuss whether next month’s National League game between Donegal and Dublin should be played in Ballyshannon or Letterkenny, with the likelihood that the issue would have been resolved by a vote.

Both grounds have county ground status entitling to a home league match, but Croke Park has insisted that two games be played under floodlights in Ballybofey on Saturday nights leaving just one home Sunday afternoon match.

It’s an issue that has already cause considerable division in the county.

Meanwhile James McCartan, who won virtually every honour in the game as a player including All Ireland senior medals in both 1991 and 1994 has been named as the new manager of Derry champions Ballinderry.

He will be assisted by Dessie Ryan.

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