Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Uladh

‘Save our Smiles’ launched to promote the important role parents play in clubs

October 3rd, 2020

Pictured above at the launch of the campaign, which was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic, are Ulster GAA President Oliver Galligan and Irish News marketing manager John Brolly alongside children from Belfast club Ardoyne Kickham’s and pupils who attend Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagáin.


Ulster GAA, in partnership with the Irish News, this week launched the Save our Smiles Campaign in support of the NSPCC Parents in Sport week, which takes place on the 5-9th October 2020 with this year’s theme being ‘Let’s talk about keeping children safe in sport’.

GAA parents play a pivotal role in encouraging and supporting their child’s participation, success and fun when engaging in Gaelic Games and Activities and without their input many of our clubs would cease to function effectively.

To celebrate and raise awareness of the important role parents play in our clubs, Ulster GAA are encouraging all our constituent units to join us in supporting Parents in Sport, through our Save our Smiles Campaign which focuses on the positive role that parents play in helping young people reach their full potential.

Children and young people take greater enjoyment from participating in Gaelic Games if their parents are positively involved. They are also more likely to continue playing for longer and have more opportunities to reach their sporting potential. It is important that parents reflect on their own behaviour when their child is participating, ensuring that their support is having a positive impact on their child’s progression, development and enjoyment.

Parents are key stakeholders in all Clubs, the contribution they can make to our games and activities is invaluable, particularly at underage level and in the day to day running of the club from washing team kits through to transporting players, assisting with teams, fundraising and beyond. Therefore it is vital that all of our clubs embrace parental involvement in the club in a positive way and that channels of communication between the club, its volunteers and Parents are working as effectively as possible from the very start.

We encourage all our clubs to support parents and encourage that they engage with their child’s GAA activities in a positive way. Informing parents that you are responsive and open to their ideas can help to ensure that everyone involved has an enjoyable experience.

We also encourage you all to enter our Save our Smiles Competition as part of the campaign, by sending in your Socially Distanced Team Smiling Images or those taken in the back garden with your parents over the last while as you practiced your Gaelic Games skills at home. To enter, send your pics to

Ulster GAA President, Oliver Galligan said:

“We are delighted to launch our 2020 Save our Smiles Campaign in partnership with The Irish News, as we support the NSPCC Parent in Sport Initiative. Parents of our players continue to play a pivotal role within our Association in supporting their children to participate in Gaelic Games and reach their maximum potential, even more so in the current times when parents have been actively encouraging their children to continue their skills and practice at home.

“Together, we encourage all of our constituent units to celebrate this vital role and participate in Parents in Sport Week 2020 and we Thank The Irish News and O Neills for their continued support”

Irish News Marketing Manager John Brolly endorsed the Save our Smiles campaign, saying:

“Parents should be there to support their children in their enjoyment of sport and create a positive environment for their children as they practice new skills in their back garden or play on their club pitch. I would encourage all parents to sign up to the Save our Smiles pledge as Parents in Sport Week offers us a great opportunity to focus on the importance of children enjoying sport.”


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