GAA clubs celebrate successes

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CLUBS from Scotland GAA celebrated the conclusion of their seasons with a range of events, with players, coaches and officials honoured for their efforts throughout 2019—a year in which the strength of Gaelic games her was highlighted once again.

At the end of October, Tír Conaill Harps celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the club with a successful dinner dance at the Marriott in Glasgow, with over 400 guests dancing the night away. The club decided to mark their silver jubilee by launching the Tir Conaill Harps Hall of Fame, and Tommy Main was chosen as the initial inductee.

“It was an easy decision for us to choose the founding member of the club Tommy Main as the inaugural inductee,” Harps told The Irish Voice. “It was great to have Tommy and the family in attendance to celebrate the honour and with Tommy’s son Aiden back in Glasgow involved with the club the family tradition continues with Tír Conaill Harps.

“To say Tommy’s work over the years promoting GAA in Glasgow has been outstanding would be an understatement, with the work he has done for the club introducing thousands of players to the sport over the years. He has done a wonderful job of promoting Irish culture and the benefits of playing Gaelic football.”

Among the other highlights on the night was the entertainment, with music and song provided by Tír Chonaill—who were outstanding—and plenty of laughs courtesy of comedian Raymond Mearns.

Britain’s most northerly club, Dalriada, gathered in the Rox Hotel in Aberdeen for a celebration of Irish culture which drew club members and supporters from both Aberdeen and Dundee. Celebrating their 29th year, Dalriada GFC are continuing to prosper after a resurgence in the club in recent seasons.

“The number of club members and players is as strong as ever,” Dalriada said to The Irish Voice. “But it’s clear that to continue to prosper we need the continued support of all our sponsors and media outlets to make sure the club’s name is out there and that anyone moving to the north east of Scotland knows that there is a home for them to continue to play GAA, or indeed to take up the game.

“We look forward to celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2020 with the support of our many sponsors, O’Donoghue’s Irish Bar, Macleod and Jordan Civil and Structural Engineers, Heffernan Heating & Plumbing Solutions and of course a long time supporter of the club, Malones Irish Bar, Aberdeen.

“This support is hugely needed and appreciated and allows Dalriada GFC to continue to provide a sporting and social outlet for all our members and friends. For anybody new to the area or indeed considering moving to the Northeast please get in touch with the club on Facebook at Dalriada GFC or by email at dalriadagfc@hotmail.com and you will be welcomed with open arms.”

The event allowed the club to honour those who made the year such an enjoyable one for the Dalriada family, with Ladies’ Player of the Year Michelle Keegan, Club Person of the Year Aisling Byrne, Best Ladies’ Newcomer Sarah Delappe, Men’s Player of the Year Patrick Sweeney, Most Improved Men’s Player, Calum Brownie and Best Men’s Newcomer Paddy Bourke all picking up awards.

Also celebrating an anniversary season were Glasgow Gaels, who marked 20 years as a club in the best possible fashion on the field, with the senior men scooping North of Britain League, The Scottish Senior League and the Scottish Senior Championship.

On a night when the senior men were celebrated by the whole club there was also an opportunity to recognise those who had worked so hard to usher in a new era for Gaels and transform the fortunes of the club in recent years, with 2019 seeing a return to success for the men’s side.

“With the largest ever attendance recorded at a Gaels dinner dance, this was sure to be a night to remember from the outset,” Gaels told The Irish Voice. “It was a fantastic occasion to celebrate huge successes both on and off the field. The men’s senior team were the toast of the night after cleaning up the North of Britain League, the Scottish Senior League and the Scottish Senior Championship. A huge thanks to the fundraising committee and all the volunteers for making this great night possible.”

Among the winners on the night were Aisling Daly, Most Improved; Rebecca Dunne, Manager’s Player of the Year; Orla Keane, Players’ Player of the Year and Steph Farmer, Junior Player of the Year who lifted awards for the ladies. Brian Morton, Players’ Player of the Year, and Brendan Moran, Manger’s Player of the Year, were honoured for the junior men’s side, while among the senior men David Comiskey, Player’s Player of the Year and Adrian Dawson, Manager’s Player of the Year, walked away with prizes. The efforts of Fionan Keane were also marked out, being awarded with the Club Person of the Year award.

Coatbridge Davitts welcomed players who had represented the club through 2019 and those who have been involved with Gaelic football through the extensive schools programme in the area to St Patrick’s Hall for an end of season celebration (above).

Joined by their families, friends, teachers and coaches as well as senior players in Coatbridge and supporters of Gaelic games the celebrations marked a busy year for the club. The end of the season not only saw the club lift silverware but also welcome visitors from Donegal and Derry for challenge matches. Having held on to a fourth successive championship with a squad who will see many players still eligible for next season hopes of continued success in Coatbridge are high, and the club celebrated their success with a night of fun and games.

An earlier celebration had seen Davitts welcomed to Celtic Park for a match against Motherwell at which they were joined by their guests from Donegal following a match at St Ambrose Gaelic Grounds.The function once again demonstrated that Gaelic games and Irish culture are alive and well in Coatbridge.

Ceann Creige ended their first year on a high note as the newest GAA club in Scotland marked a fantastic debut season with a celebration and awards night for their underage players and members.

In November more than 100 members gathered to recognise the commitment and talents of Ceann Creige’s underage players and to reflect and celebrate the remarkable progress the club has achieved from when they began only eight months ago. Laughter and chatter flooded the hall throughout the night, as everyone enjoyed the awards, music, games and buffet.

The event held at Mount Vernon Community Hall was hosted by the brilliant Eddie Toner, who welcomed the packed hall and expressed special thanks on behalf of the management committee to the players, parents, coaches and everyone who has supported the club as guests enjoyed the awards, music, games and buffet.

Before the presentation of the individual awards all players received a trophy, presented by David Linden MP and Paul Muldoon, who sponsored the trophies, to reward them for their hard work, dedication and efforts on and off the pitch since joining club. There were lots of cheers, smiles and very proud parents and family members watching on.

First to receive an individual award was Amelia Tracykowski (8) who won U10s Most Improved of the Year.

Coach SJ McGeown told The Irish Voice: “When Amelia started with us she was very timid, but by giving it her all in training by listening to her coaches and wanting to become a better player, she has grown with confidence. She has also had a positive influence on the team through having such a happy personality. We’re super proud at how far she has come.”

Following on was Patrick Huebbet Kinloch (8) who was awarded with the U10s Player of the Year trophy.

“Paddy is an all-rounder great player and team mate,” coach Liam Luporini said. “He is committed to every drill, match and anything else that is going on in the club. His skill level, ability and performance are excellent for his age. He is an asset to his team mates, demonstrates all the core values and has improved hugely from the start of the season.”

Next up was Brian Hanratty (10) who won U14s Most Improved Player of the Year. Brian was chosen for this this award due to his commitment and determination to improve at every session, and coach Grace McBride praised his approach.

“Brian shows extreme eagerness for the sport and always try to incorporate the skills taught during the session into the match,” she said. “He often takes risks and asks lots of questions on how to improve. The team wouldn’t be the same without his skill level and funny personality.”

The final award of the night went to Cathal Heaney (13) who won U14s Player of the Year. “Cathal brings a high low of engagement and ability every week,” SJ McGeown said. “He listens and displays teamwork and discipline. Catchall’s thoughtful of others and is often seen helping the younger players. He’s a valuable team player, a role model and a great help to myself and the other coaches.”

Liam Luporini—who also serves as Chairman of the club—gave his thanks for all the support Ceann Creige has received, and looked ahead to the development of the club.

“It was a fantastic turnout and a brilliant evening making memories with our club members,” he said. “Thank you to everyone for coming along and helping us celebrate our young players and big thanks to everyone who donated prizes for our raffle. We’re delighted to share that we raised over £1200, an amazing amount that will help us continue developing our club and providing opportunities for all ages to get involved in hurling.”

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