GAA Football

Club Aontroma relaunched under new management as county fundraising drive continues

Club Aontroma's new chairman Niall Murphy gets a helping hand to relaunch the supporters club from Conor McCann (Antrim hurling captain), Ladies footballer Emma Kelly and Antrim football captain Declan Lynch

SAFFRON Business Forum may be hogging the fundraising limelight – but Club Aontroma hasn’t gone away after it was relaunched earlier this week by new chairman Niall Murphy and some of the county’s leading players.

In some quarters it was assumed the hugely successful Saffron Business Forum would be the dominant fundraising wing of Antrim GAA, but Murphy believes Club Aontroma has a major role to play in raising standards in all codes across the county.

Speaking at the launch of Club Aontroma at the new facilities at Davitts GAC in west Belfast, Chairman Niall Murphy said: “Club Aontroma is an established identity in the GAA family in the county.

“With the success of the Saffron Business Forum we wanted to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to support our county teams. Building on the foundation of years of support, our new committee hopes to double the membership of Club Aontroma in the first year.

“The principle ambition is to increase support of our county teams and to increase attendances at our National League games. We also look forward to working closely with our Camogie and Ladies Football Boards.”

Club Aontroma was conceived during the mid-2000s during John McSparran’s impressive chairmanship of the county board – but in recent times the supporters club has lacked profile and was perhaps in need of an overhaul in personnel, energy and ideas.

While Saffron Business Forum has has established excellent contacts with the corporate sector, there is still a vast constituency Club Aontroma can tap into.

The Naomh Éanna clubman added: “We also want to showcase the exceptional industry, innovation and ambition in our clubs which is why we chose the Davitts club to launch Club Aontroma.

“Davitts have created an exceptional venue in the heart of Beechmount which is an inspiration for all Gaels in the county, and no better place for us to renew our intentions for supporting the county.”

Antrim GAA has plenty to plan for with capital projects at Casement Park and Corrigan Park ongoing, while the county’s Centre of Participation at Dunsilly and Gaelfast are helping improve standards.

Murphy is joined on the Club Aontroma committee by Ciaran Kearney (Ruairí Óg), Gerard Carlile (Naomh Bríd), Eimear Grieve (Naomh Eoin), Margaret Flynn (Uí Dhonnabháin Rosa) and Tony Shivers (Dún Lathaí).

Club Aontroma membership is £10 per month, which affords entry to All-Ireland final ticket draws and free admission to our county finals.

It was when the grouping ‘Saffron Vision’, headed by Collie Donnelly and Terry Reilly, swept to power in late 2015 that Antrim GAA underwent a major overhaul.

In professionalising Antrim GAA’s fundraising efforts, Donnelly famously noted: “With respect, we’ve spent our time with Chippies and Chinese takeaways for sponsorship - and I don’t mean that in a bad way because a lot of them have been very good to Antrim over time. [But] We want to establish more links with the corporate sector and to try and sell the brand.”

New county chairman Ciaran McCavana has built prudently on those foundations since taking the reins last year.

Since its creation three years ago, the Saffron Business Forum has raised over £350,000 for Gaelic Games in Antrim.

Given the business acumen of the new committee, Club Aontroma will set themselves equally ambitious targets.

For further information about joining Club Aontroma: info@clubaontroma.com and a committee member will contact you.

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