‘A GAAme of 3 Halves’ is a cross-community event aimed at clubs and their local feeder primary schools and currently being rolled out as part of the CRC funded project ‘Sport Uniting Communities’.
Community Sports Development Officers (CSDO’s) from Ulster GAA work closely with schools from the maintained, controlled and integrated sectors with a view to breaking down barriers in society and community building through sport.
The ‘Game of 3 Halves’ initiative is being rolled out by Ulster GAA Community Department staff, allowing participants to receive coaching in Gaelic football, hurling/camogie and GAA rounders in an environment where they are mixed with participants from other backgrounds and are encouraged to work closely and build relationships with people from all sections of the community.
The concept was first developed by Paul Brown, Youth Co-ordinator at Knock Presbyterian Church, together with PeacePlayers International as a cross-community initiative which would bring the three governing bodies together and offer children from both sides of the community the chance to experience Gaelic games, rugby and soccer.
Ulster GAA, having been involved in this format alongside Ulster Ruby and the Irish FA in the recently concluded Peace IV project, have now developed the concept of a GAA themed alternative.
Ulster GAA will invite local clubs or schools to come together to host a GAAme of 3 Halves event. Throughout the day participants receive coaching from Community Sport Development Officers in all codes.
The day is completed in a blitz format where participants are divided into ‘mixed’ teams and play matches in all three codes.
Research conducted at events from the Peace IV ‘Sport Uniting Communities’ project in early 2021 show that as little as 55 per cent of participants felt very comfortable or fairly comfortable in engaging with people from other backgrounds prior to the event, increasing to over 90 per cent on completion of the event.
Only 11 per cent of participants had regular contact with people from other sections of the community showing that events like this are a necessity in building positive relationships through sport in Northern Ireland and the bordering counties.
This is an excellent opportunity for our clubs to promote themselves as open and welcoming community clubs and in turn help to increase membership and sell their club to new members and volunteers through local primary schools.
Ulster GAA are fully committed to the principles of inclusion and diversity. If your club or school would be interested in hosting a ‘GAAme of 3 Halves’ event, contact your local Community Sports Development officer:Ryan McShane – Greater Belfast, North Down & Ards, email@example.comPierce Caherty – Armagh, Monaghan, South Down & Mid Ulster, firstname.lastname@example.orgProinsias O’Kane – Cavan, Derry, Donegal, Fermanagh & North Antrim, email@example.com