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Lurgan clubs aiming to unite over game of two halves

 

By Adam McKendry

Following a highly successful inaugural event last year, a cross-community effort in Lurgan will see the second hosting of the Game of Two Halves today at St Peter's Gaelic Athletic Club.

The event sees St Peter's team up with Lurgan Rugby Club to give young people a chance to try their hand at both rugby and Gaelic games in an effort to improve cross-community relations.

Ulster Rugby scrum-half John Cooney will be in attendance, while several senior players from the Armagh Gaelic football team will also aid with coaching sessions for the kids which will be led by coaches from St Peter's and Lurgan RFC.

Ulster and Ireland star Jacob Stockdale is an ambassador with the rugby club's junior section, the Lurgan Tigers, although this year he is unable to attend due to Ulster's game with Munster in Limerick.

The day will begin with the coaching sessions before everyone gets the chance to play a game featuring one half of rugby and one half of Gaelic football.

At the end of the day, each competitor will go home with a Gaelic football to add to the rugby balls handed out at the previous get together.

Around 400 attended last year's event, which was held in September and was hosted at the rugby club, with this year's event considered to be the return leg.

The hope is that this will now become an annual event, with the belief that it could even become more regular than that, with the possibility of branching out to more Gaelic clubs in the surrounding areas in future.

There is also an event organised for May 11 to recognise the achievements of all Lurgan's sports clubs, including Hogan Cup winners St Ronan's School.

"Lurgan has had sectarian issues in the past, and we see these initiatives as a way of putting those behind us," said Lurgan RFC events manager Raymond Acheson.

"The rugby club has just been awarded a £75,000 grant, which will hopefully kick off in May, to allow us to coach contact sports in 16 different schools as a mainstay to the peace program.

"We'd be keen to attract more players, while also encouraging those Gaelic players to get involved with their clubs again."

Today's event will run from 10.00am to 1.00pm.

Belfast Telegraph

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