SCOTLAND GAA hosted their 2020 County Board Convention online, with big plans being put in place for the coming year and participation from all of Scotland’s clubs as the development in Gaelic games in Scotland continues.
Despite a challenging 12 months, in which office bearers and club members had to overcome obstacles never before seen in the GAA, a spirit of co-operation and mutual support saw Gaelic games maintain their presence in Scotland and—through the behind the scenes work which has continued even as games and training were cancelled—lay the groundwork for future success.
Pearse Park plans
Among the most exciting news from the convention was that thanks to such sterling planning and development, the future of Pearse Park in Cambuslang is once again looking bright, with new proposals about the upgrade and use of the site.
A dedicated team has been established to explore avenues for the regeneration of the ground which was once the home and focal point of the GAA in Scotland, but which has been out of use since 2008 when the facilities fell into disrepair.
Having seen the successful development of purpose built Gaelic grounds both at Clydebank Community Sports Hub and St Ambrose Gaelic Ground in recent years, the GAA—through the Pearse Park Development Committee—hope to use the lessons learned in these projects to launch the partnerships that will see Pearse Park revitalised.
The addition of another quality venue will be vital as the pace of growth in the GAA in Scotland is to continue, with men’s football in a healthy position and ladies football enjoying the fruits of the grassroots work which has seen the game grow so rapidly in their code.
At youth level, too, the work undertaken has seen an increase in participation while through Ceann Creige hurlers in Scotland now have a suitable vehicle for their passion for the small ball.
The work on Pearse Park forms just part of Scotland GAA’s strategic plan, which also features closer partnership with sports such as shinty and Australian Rules Football, revised structures for adult competitions, continued development of underage games, closer links with the Ladies Gaelic Football Association and an enhancement of the association’s work with Scottish and Irish cultural associations.
Scotland GAA also used the convention to commit themselves to the health and wellbeing of both members and the wider communities in which clubs operate, and to put in place new and sustainable financial structures to ensure the benefits of the GAA can be shared as widely as possible.
New office bearers were also elected at the convention, with the following chosen for the coming year: Chairperson, Peter Mossey (Dalriada); Vice-Chairperson, Anton Gallagher (Tír Conaill Harps); Secretary, Jenn Treacy (Glasgow Gaels), Vice-Secretary, Grace McBride (Ceann Creige); Fixtures Secretary, Dan O’Brien (Dunedin Connollys); Treasurer, Alan Ward (DC); Assistant Treasurer, Noreen Hughes (Coatbridge Davitts); Development Officer, Joe Bradley (Sands MacSwineys); Irish Language and Culture Officer, Shaun McBride (DAL); Child Protection Officer, Eddie Walsh (SM); Public Relations Officer, Declan Markey (SM); Designated Officer, Adrian Moore (GG); Referee Co-ordinator, Ronan MacCann (CC); Feile 2020 Boys Manager, Joe Bradley (SM); Feile 2020 Girls Manager, Suzanne Dillon (DC); Minor Chairperson, Joe Bradley (SM).
In his address to the convention, Chairperson Peter Mossey spoke to the collective spirit of the GAA in Scotland and identified the passion for Gaelic games here which the county board will now rely on in order to put their ambitious plans into action.
“Our response to the pandemic demanded an individual and collective responsibility and conformity to an extremely onerous regime,” Mr Mossey said. “It was amazing to witness how we as an organisation responded—those who were passionate about getting on with playing football stepped up and within each club leaders emerged.
“What transpired during this time was an episode of adaptation and compliance, and I am extremely proud of how our teams and players reacted to the lockdown regulations with a mixture of non-contact training, contact training and finally for an all too brief period, we managed to play competitive games.”