SEVENTEEN teams from clubs and organisations across the province took part in the inaugural Ulster GAA Games For All festival at Donaghmore St Patrick’s GAC, Tyrone, at the weekend.
Over 270 players participated in a fun-filled day of inclusive activities open to all ages and abilities, which included Gaelic football, hurling, handball and rounders, face-painting, sensory bus and garden, and photos with the Ulster Football Championship Anglo-Celt trophy.
The event was truly a fantastic day in the GAA For All calendar, with the players cheered on by proud parents, grandparents, siblings and other family members.
The event also received support from some notable figures in the Ulster GAA scene, such as Down senior football manager Conor Laverty, who took part in coaching skills and refereeing games, and Tyrone joint manager, Feargal Logan.
Teams who attended on the day were:
- Beragh Red Knights
- St Mary’s Aghagallon
- Oakleaf Lions
- Armagh Harps
- St Patrick’s Carrickcruppen
- Crossmaglen Rangers
- St Peter’s Warrenpoint
- Strabane Sigersons
- St Bronagh’s Rostrevor
- Derry GAA For All (two teams)
- Antrim GAA For All
- St Patrick’s Donaghmore
- Éire Óg
- Naomh Éanna
- Clan na Gael
The day concluded with tea and refreshments for everyone in the Torrent Complex, where special Ulster GAA for ALL medals and balloons were presented for each participant to take home.
‘’Everyone in Ulster GAA is delighted with the success of our first Games For All Festival and that so many players, of all ages, were able to participate in and enjoy our fun games and activities, both on and off the pitch. It was wonderful to witness so many smiling faces and such a happy atmosphere,” co9mmented Ulster GAA President Ciaran McLaughlin.
‘’I want to commend the committed volunteers across the province who drive Games For All opportunities in their clubs and organisations and this has helped us see a significant increase in the number of clubs engaging with us during the year.
‘’We are already looking forward to growing our numbers in 2024 and I would encourage every club to consider establishing their own opportunities for anyone who wants to get involved. Inclusion is about making a difference and being truly inclusive is living the GAA motto, ‘Where we all belong’,” added Kieran McKeever, Chair of the Ulster GAA Leadership & Planning Committee.
‘’The Ulster GAA Games For All Festival was an absolutely brilliant experience for everyone involved – most importantly the players, and there were over 270 of them, but also for their parents and family members who came along to support the event.
‘’We have plans to establish structures within each county in Ulster to help promote and grow the initiative and build on the positivity that has been evident around this event. There are no boundaries for those with disabilities, and that’s something we want to keep pushing. On a special day like we had at the festival, you can clearly see that.”
The GAA For All programme in Ulster is rapidly growing, and provides a fantastic opportunity for those with additional needs to be included in the GAA, not only for participation and exercise but also for the social experiences.
To find our more information on starting a GAA For All programme in your club, contact: Shane.firstname.lastname@example.org / 07920528793 or email@example.com / 00353868066166