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Our door will always be open: Brady

By John Campbell

The drive to produce a detailed Strategic Plan outlining the way forward for the GAA in Armagh has been stepped up.

A weekend forum attended by club delegates from throughout the county heard chairman Kevin Brady declare that there is much work to be done in cementing structures and providing more in terms of physical amenities to ensure that the Association continues to thrive.

"Obviously there are a lot of areas we need to address but I must say the level of enthusiasm and interest shown by the clubs to date has been most encouraging. We intend to finalise a plan that will be both flexible and adaptable. We will revisit the Plan after eighteen months of its launch and decide if it requires amending," said Brady.

And when one particular point was made, all ears pricked up at the lively forum in Newry's Canal Court Hotel.

"When you think of county bodies as such nowadays, there are not that many altogether. As a matter of fact, the GAA County Board and the Loyal Orders are perhaps the two main units within society here that trade under the county banner," declared one delegate.

While refurbishment work is continuing at the Athletic Grounds - the main county ground - more remedial work needs to be undertaken at Davitt Park, Lurgan and chairman Brady is hoping that grant aid will be provided to ensure that clubs, too, will be able to improve their own facilities.

"Not only do we want the best pitches we can get for our players but we must think of spectators' comforts , that's important," said Brady.

And he stressed that the welfare of hurling, under-age coaching, games development , the possibility of a centre of excellence and the provision of better communications will all come under the umbrella of the Strategic Plan which will cover the next 5-10 years.

"It's vital, too, that we are seen to reach out to those locals in our community who are from a non-GAA background. Our doors are open to everyone but obviously there are perceptions that need to be broken down in this connection," observed Brady who has already made a big impact at the Armagh helm.

He is keen, too, to see "people from other areas of Europe" welcomed into the GAA fold.

"We feel we have something to offer non-nationals. They are very welcome to come on board € some of them have done this already - and we want them to play a part in helping to bring the GAA in Armagh forward."

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