MEMBERS of the GAA community were welcomed to the Irish Consulate in Edinburgh as Consul General Mark Hanniffy hosted the inaugural Scotland GAA Recognition Night.
With many key delegates in attendance from all the clubs in Scotland, Consul General Mark Hanniffy opened the night with a warm address, citing the great partnership that is forming between Scotland GAA and the consulate.
He highlighted some of the key events that have taken place over the year such as the inaugural Irish Culture and Heritage Day in Stockbridge over the summer. Stressing the importance of recognising volunteers he reflected Irish President Michael D Higgins’ words that the Irish are a ‘disaporic’ people, and that the GAA is an organisation that has influenced and strengthened communities around the world.
Mr Hanniffy ended his address with a hope for continued collaboration and innovation in bringing the Irish community together in Scotland before Scotland GAA Chairperson, Niall Considine addressed the representatives in the room and thanked everyone for their presence on the night, but also their continued dedication and work throughout the year.
Mr Considine also paid tribute to those who make up the GAA in Scotland, highlighted some of the key sponsors of Scotland GAA such as Creagh Concrete and O’Neills Sportwear, and as well as thanking Specsavers, Byres Road, for their support of our referees throughout the year.
This inaugural night featured three awards to recognise the hard work of certain individuals (above), although Mr Considine stressed that these awards were not exhaustive and that he hopes this night will grow in the future to include more recognition for those who are deserving.
Following nominations from clubs across Scotland those being recognised on the night were honoured for their contributions to the game in Scotland as well as for their service to their own clubs.
The title of Manager of the Year was bestowed upon Jimmy Treacy (Men’s Scotland County Team). Having managed them for two years, reaching the All-Britain Semi-Final stage against Lancashire in the process, Jimmy’s enthusiasm has never waned and he successfully negotiated a kit deal with O’Neills Sportswear for our county teams, relaunching Scotland GAA in the process.
This has been a massive success in the county and the new jersey design has garnered great interest on social media and beyond.
Dave Kellett of Coatbridge Davitts, meanwhile, was presented with the award for Club Volunteer of the Year. Having been nominated for awards in all three categories in a testament to his level of commitment and spirit of service, the much-loved figure was honoured for managing and coaching the Scotland Girls Feile Team, along with Stuart Telford, as well as assisting with the underage Davitts teams in Coatbridge.
Dave also volunteers in schools in Coatbridge, bringing Gaelic football to more and more pupils. This year, the Scotland girls team had a breakout season, reaching the final of the British Feile for the first time and reaching the Cup semi-final in the Feile—the best result of any Feile team in Scotland GAA history. He was also praised for truly embodying the spirit of the GAA, always putting player enjoyment ahead of competitive success.
Jennifer Treacy—the other half of a husband-and-wife duo with Manager of the Year Jimmy—was awarded County Volunteer of the Year. Having taken on the role of County PRO for both the ladies’ and the men’s side this year, Jen relaunched Scotland GAA’s online presence, going above and beyond her role as PRO, and helping to secure sponsorship for the referees’ course and assisting in various other roles throughout the county.
She has also taken on the role of Youth Co-ordinator for the Glasgow Gaels, helping to volunteer in schools in Clydebank, bringing Gaelic football taster sessions into different community projects and youth groups, and liaising with Irish clubs to arrange visits to Glasgow and more competitive games for the children.