GAA Football

Get your entries in for The Irish News School, Club and Volunteer awards

Pictured at the launch of the 2020 Irish News School, Club and Volunteer awards, in association with O'Neills, at the Wellington Park Hotel in Belfast are (l to r): Raymond Tumilty (O’Neills), Brian McAvoy (Ulster GAA), Thomas Hawkins (The Irish News), Sean McGourty (Ulster Schools) and Eamon Lynch (Strathroy Dairy). Picture by Mal McCann.

There’s no doubt that when it comes to the GAA, schools are the cradle of gaelic games development.

A glance at the sheer number of schools participating in Ulster Colleges and Cumann na mBunscol paints a clear picture of the depth of activities at competitive level.

But competitions only scratch at the surface, with many more pupils in schools participating in gaelic games in PE classes and during break, lunchtime and after school activities.

When schools tell us their gaelic games story, it reveals the volume of health, wellness and fitness that gaelic games provide for pupils.

Every year The Irish News School, Club and Volunteer award, initiative, in association with O'Neills, recognises schools that go the extra distance to promote gaelic games in the classroom, the playground and school playing fields.

John Brolly of the Irish News said: “Gaelic games in schools has always been a crucial link for clubs.

“Competition success is one side of the GAA in schools, but participation is equally as important.

“Pupils stay fit through the medium of our games, they learn about teamwork and the lessons of winning and losing.

“Many of the initiatives in schools are really impressive and we want to hear about them for our School, Club and Volunteer Awards.”

Last year’s post-primary winner was St Ciaran’s College in Ballygawley.

Their entry detailed a whole school approach committed to “including everyone and inspiring all to succeed” that involves coaching during and after school as well as during the school holidays.

St Ciaran’s GAA outreach extends to 12 feeder clubs across two counties.

The breadth of gaelic games offered includes handball, hurling and camogie as well as football.

In parallel, St Ciaran’s fosters a spirit of involvement, encouraging pupil engagement in coaching, administration and officiating.

By actively promoting the wearing of the school jersey, St Ciaran’s successfully bonds pupils with their GAA ethos.

Last year our judges were impressed by the work done by Bunscoil an tSléibhe Dhuibh who landed the honours in the primary school category with an approach that aims to create opportunities throughout the school day to promote and develop gaelic games.

This is achieved by focusing on a new skill each month, alternating between gaelic football and hurling, with class winners celebrated at a monthly sports assembly.

Go Games are also played each lunchtime and games are conditioned to be as inclusive as possible.

John Brolly added: “Every school has its GAA story to tell. The work being done is inspiring a new generation of gaels.

“For this year's School Club and Volunteer Awards, let us know what is going on in your school.”

For further details go to

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 to get full access



GAA Football