Ulster GAA’s wheelchair hurlers have picked up a new accolade – Best Sports Project in the 25th Birthday National Lottery Awards.
TV presenter Patrick Kielty was on hand to deliver the good news to the team after they won a public vote to land the prize in the annual search for the most popular National Lottery funded projects.
The comedian, who is a former All-Ireland winning Down minor footballer, ‘replaced’ regular coaches Shane McCann and Paul Callaghan to share his own unique brand of hurling tactics with players at a special training session in Belfast.
A short film featuring his visit to the project will be shown on BBC One in November as those behind the success are honoured at an awards ceremony.
Ulster GAA’s wheelchair hurling initiative, which makes hurling more accessible for people with disabilities, has used National Lottery funding to employ two co-ordinators who have been responsible for developing the project.
Patrick Kielty said: “It was an absolute joy to see this project in action. Hurling is such a fantastic sport and it great to see the speed and skill of the wheelchair hurlers close up.
“Not only does it bring people together, it inspires others to get involved and hopefully build a new sport.
“Hats off to the coaches and those within the GAA for devising and developing this program. I’m so chuffed the public have voted them Best Sports Project in the 25th Birthday National Lottery Awards. They really deserve their success.”
Shane McCann, Ulster GAA’s Active Clubs co-ordinator, added: “We are delighted to be named Best Sports Project in the 25th Birthday National Lottery Awards. I would like to thank everyone who supported our campaign and voted for us.
“Our players are all winners, regardless, but it means so much to us all to win this award. Support from the National Lottery allows us to introduce and develop the sport, provide wheelchairs and hire fully accessible sports facilities for the athletes. It provides an outlet for those in wheelchairs to play and participate in a competitive environment representing their province.”
The 25th Birthday National Lottery Awards are the annual search for the public’s favourite National Lottery funded projects and celebrate the inspirational people who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding.
Ulster GAA’s Wheelchair Hurling project will receive a £10,000 cash prize, an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy and attend a star-studded glittering awards ceremony to be broadcast on BBC One in November.