Ulster GAA launch Irish Scholarships

14 07 2013

Ulster GAA has announced a major sponsorship programme for adult students of the Irish language in conjunction with the University of Ulster. The scholarship scheme will run in partnership with the School of Irish Language and Literature and is to be known as Gaeilge sa Chlub (or ‘Irish in the Club’). It aims to promote the use of Irish within clubs throughout Ulster by providing financial assistance to GAA members who sign up for the Diploma in Irish Language course at Ulster.

This two-year (part-time) course is currently available at the UU Belfast and Magee campuses, plus the university outcentres at Cookstown, Ranafast and Downings. It runs for three months in the autumn (starting 23 September) and three months in the spring (starting 27 January) and classes are taught in each centre on Monday and Wednesday evenings (5.30-8.20pm). Students are instructed in listening, speaking, reading and writing and many diploma graduates progress to the degree course in Irish Language and Literature.

Martin McAviney, President of Ulster GAA commented on the developing relationship between Ulster GAA and the University: “This initiative enhances the existing strong links between Comhairle Uladh and the University of Ulster, developing the current sporting partnership with a new cultural and linguistic dimension.”

Ryan Feeney, Head of Community Development, Strategy and Public Affairs with Ulster GAA spoke of the importance of this scheme at community level: “This scholarship scheme is an investment in GAA volunteers at grassroots level and will enable many people to achieve a university qualification in Irish, developing their own career prospects and enriching their communities.”

Dr Malachy Ó Néill, Head of School of Irish Language and Literature at Ulster complemented Ulster GAA for this ‘pioneering’ scheme: “This is a significant investment by Ulster GAA in club members throughout the province. There is a growing appreciation of increased employability for Irish language graduates and this pioneering project is in keeping with the ethos of the GAA and the current DCAL initiative for Líofa 2015.”

There is sure to be much interest in this scheme throughout the GAA clubs of Ulster. Donegal All-Ireland winning footballer Éamonn McGee, who graduated with the Diploma in Irish Language at Magee campus this month, has given a strong endorsement of the course: “The Diploma was a real game-changer for me – now I’m starting the Degree in September. The part-time course is ideal for someone with a busy lifestyle!”

Further information on the Diploma in Irish Language is available from Mrs Ros O’Hagan in the School of Irish Language and Literature: r.ohagan1@ulster.ac.uk or +44 (0)28 7167 5277.

To apply for a Gaeilge sa Chlub scholarship, contact Dónal McAnallen, Ulster GAA Cultural Education & Outreach Officer: donal.mcanallen.ulster@gaa.ie or +44 (0)28 37517180.


22 05 2013


SDLP Economy Spokesperson and Chairman of the Enterprise Trade and Investment Committee at Stormont, Patsy McGlone has said there should be a report into the economic and social benefits of the GAA.

This comes following a report commissioned by the Minister for Social Development Nelson McCausland on the economic benefits of Loyal Orders.

 Mr McGlone said:

 “The report compiled for the Department for Social Development (“DSD”) demonstrates that loyal orders and their bands contribute £15m to the Northern Irish Economy annually.  

 “This needs to be balanced against the cost of policing parades in the North last summer, which was estimated to be £7.4m.

 “I welcome the collection of any data which gives us a fuller picture of the social and economic factors that contribute to our society.

 “While not equating the two I believe a similar study into the economic and social impact of the GAA across the North must be commissioned by DSD as well as the cultural benefits fully factored in through the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure.

 “I have submitted an assembly question to Minister McCausland on this issue and look forward to hearing his response in due course.”

What an advertisement for Club Hurling !!

10 02 2013


 Loughgiel Shamrocks 3-19  St Thomas’s 1-25  (AET)

 Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham described the drawn All- Ireland Club Hurling semi-final between Antrim and Ulster Champions Loughgiel and Galway’s St Thomas’ as a wonderful advertisement for club hurling.

“It was an amazing contest – such is the resilience and determination of this Loughgiel side that although trailing by four points in the final minutes of extra time they still found enough in them to secure another meeting”

“”TG4 pundits made  Conor Cooney their man of the match – for me Joey Scullion’s performance was every bit the equal”

Assembly must protect Hurling and Camogie

29 10 2012


SDLP Ballycastle Councillor, Dónal Cunningham is calling on the Assembly to work with the Irish Government to protect the future of Hurling and Camogie as the supply of ash to make sticks is under serious threat from a rampant disease which is sweeping across Europe.

“The UK and Irish Government’s decision to ban all imports of young ash plants and seed from countries hit by the fungal infection known as Ash Dieback that has spread like wildfire may be just the start of tighter controls.

“Before the introduction of these new controls, stick-makers agreed to work from Ash either imported from countries free of the disease or that any Ash being brought in from Continental Europe would be in plank form with the bark sawn off.

“Hurling sticks are made by artisan craftsmen in small cottage industries. The Assembly needs to work with the Irish Government to safeguard the stick making industry and to secure the future of our national sports.”

U 21 Hurling Champions

9 06 2012

Dónal Cunningham has congratulated the McQuillan GAC’s U21 Hurlers – winners of the 2012 Antrim U21 Hurling Championship. In a thrilling encounter played on Saturday night in Loughgiel they edged out rivals Cushendall by a single point, a injury time point from corner forward Conor McGarry proving to be the winner.
“This group of players have proved themselves to be a credit to themselves,their families, the town and it’s community. Like most Ballycastle supporters, our hope is to they go on to achieve similar success at Senior level”

Comhghairdeas do na Seomrogaí

17 03 2012

Seamróga Loch Gaol Aontroma buacach i gcluiche ceannais chraobh club iomána, Cúl Doire buailte acu 4-13 0-17
Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has congratulated Antrim and Ulster hurling champions Loughgiel Shamrocks on their St Patrick’s Day victory in the All-Ireland Club Senior Hurling Championship final at Croke Park.
The Loughgiel men convincingly beat Coolderry of Offaly 4-13 to 0-17in the final
Councillor Cunningham added “I have great memories of the last occasion when Loughgiel reigned as All Ireland Champions and the positive effect it had on club hurling in Antrim. Massive crowds enjoyed the club hurling scene of 1983, I particularly remember the thrills of a closely fought Feis Cup semi- final and replay between the Shamrocks and Cushendall played at the Ballycastle pitch. Also a classic “friendly” v Galway champions Kiltormer which served as the opener to the new Rasharkin pitch and as a Ballycastle man I can never forget the epic 1983 County final which saw Ballycastle victorious.
If interest in Club hurling in 2012 can match what was on offer in 1983 we are in for a treat.

Lá mór na gClub i bPáirc an Chrócaigh ar lá ‘le Pádraig

13 03 2012

Wishing Loughgiel Shamrocks the very best of luck ahead of their All Ireland Club Hurling final on St Patrick’s Day, Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham was confident that the North Antrim side were only 60 minutes away from winning their second All-Ireland Club title. Standing in their way is a strong Offaly outfit in Coolderry but I believe the resolute Loughgiel defence allied to the score taking machine which is their forwards will not be deterred.Croke Park is the place for all Antrim Gaels to be on St Patrick’s day.

“I have a strong feeling that St Patrick’s day will be a great day for Antrim and Ulster Gaels as I see both Loughgiel and Crossmaglen bringing the silverware north.I wish the Loughgiel players, management, officials, sponsors and supporters all the very best in the Final. The whole County are behind you.”