GAA Football

Volunteer training and development key to success says Dungannon Thomas Clarke's chairman John McNulty

Dungannon's squad celebrates with the O'Neill Cup at Healy Park. Picture Seamus Loughran.
Andy Watters

JOHN McNulty, chairman of Dungannon Thomas Clarke's, has welcomed Ulster GAA's pledge to focus on increased volunteer training and development it's 2021-2023 Strategic Plan which was published yesterday.

An urban success story, ‘the Clarke's' ended a 64-year wait for the Tyrone Senior Football Championship crown last year and McNulty explained how that unforgettable win over Trillick had been underpinned by long hours of dedicated planning and productive activity by the club's hard-working volunteers.

“We're really pleased to see the emphasis placed on volunteer training and development within this strategic plan,” he wrote.

“To achieve our ambition of growing our presence in Dungannon, reaching out to members of the community from diverse backgrounds, encouraging them to become part of our club, and indeed building an exciting future for all our members, this type of continual development is vital.”

The club's O'Neill Park grounds are located within the Ballysaggart Ward of Dungannon which had been classified in the top 20 of the most deprived areas of the North in relation to income, health, education and training. But the club is an outstanding success story and now boasts some 450 members, including 170 young members.

“We are a thriving club and have had to adapt to the challenges of modern society to sustain our activity,” said McNulty.

“The demographics have changed in recent decades due to migration and a lack of local housing. “There are now four primary schools in the catchment area and the growth of a diverse community in the local school population has, in turn, generated players from many backgrounds.

“We have identified areas where we can improve coaching provision, essential to encourage new players to participate in our club's activities and sustain existing ones.”

McNulty explained how Ulster GAA had stimulated his club's progress by providing training for club officers, the knowhow to initiate and carry out development programmes and upgrade their gym and pitch facilities.

“In recent years we achieved Club Maith accreditation, which we saw as an acknowledgement of the work we did to improve club governance and enhance the club,” he said.

“We want to further promote our identity and build the GAA community within Dungannon and the surrounding area and support local health and well-being through sport, culture and local events.

“Redevelopment plans in the ‘pipeline' include a changing pavilion that will create a community sporting and cultural hub for the area.

“We strongly endorse community and inclusion and a modern building that facilitates everyone and caters for Aodh Ruadh LGFC and the wider community is central to our plans.”

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