Glenullin at the very heart of south Derry community
SOUTH Derry club Glenullin certainly don't let the grass grow under their feet.
Winners in the small club category at last year's Irish News Club and Volunteer Awards, club secretary Conor Burns outlined that, since scooping the award, they have scored a notable first which demonstrates the drive and imagination that exists among their committee and members.
"We have just recently opened a community shop on the club’s grounds," said Burns.
"It’s a fully working Costcutters shop and it employs about 16 local people as well. It is the community who own the shop. It is not a private individual making money and any profits we derive will be driven directly back into the local community.
"We are the first GAA club in Ireland to have a proper retail shop on their premises. So we always try and keep moving and trying to improve. And everything that we do is to help the youth development. That’s the big push for us - to help develop our youth."
And speaking about the recognition received last year, Burns described the pride felt by club members and of how lifting the award has been an important boost to keep efforts high and motivation keen: "We always feel that, being a relatively small rural club, that any type of recognition from any sporting organisation or a publication from The Irish News is very welcome," he added.
"And it allows the community to feel very proud of themselves and that all the hard work that goes in the previous year has been recognised and indeed justified. It just gives us a little spur to go again and to try and work harder for the following year and that’s what we’ve done this year."
Although relegated from senior football this year, Burns explained the club picked themselves up to win the Ulster Senior League - beating Coalisland in the final and are also in the final of the James O’Hagan Cup in north Derry.
This is clearly a club which does not stand still and that recognises the worth of always thinking of tomorrow and the brighter day that may bring. It is undoubtedly that spirit which led to them winning the award in the first place.
"I suppose everybody just looks at the seniors," said Burns.
"Well, we try and look at it from a slightly different point of view. Of course, the seniors give us the high profile when you have county men and stuff like that. But we try and build from the bottom and very much look to the future and that’s where the committee get their drive from.
"Our award is proudly displayed on the wall and any time we have a function or something like a parent's evening - we’ve quite a large sign, so it comes out - and it just reminds parents that, yes we did win that last year and all those sorts of wee things."