Fourteen young men from Fort Hill Integrated College and St Patrick’s Academy in Lisburn created memories together at the weekend as they travelled to London to represent their schools and town as the Lisburn Cúchulainns in the All Britain Competition.
Speaking at the competition in London, Ulster GAA President Oliver Galligan said, “The Cúchulainn Initiative continues to be Ulster GAA’s flagship Cross Community Project which uses Gaelic Games to break down barriers and build community relations in the education sector. Ulster GAA is committed to the development of a shared future based on tolerance and respect for the differing cultural traditions that share our community.
“This year we were delighted to include the London trip for Lisburn Cúchulainns as it provides a unique opportunity to bring together young men from across the different backgrounds to travel and represent their families, their schools, their communities and their county. Many new friendships have been forged during this trip and that really goes to prove the strength of sport in building Peace and Reconciliation.”
Competing at the U15 level, the Lisburn Cúchulainns had victories over St Dympna’s Luton and Gael Londain to reach the quarter finals. Victory in the last eight game against Erin go Bragh set up a semi-final match with St Colmcille’s, unfortunately this ended in a four-point defeat to the eventual champions. Despite only being together for 10 weeks as well as many of the players having little or no experience playing Gaelic games, the Lisburn Cúchulainns represented themselves with distinction showing some incredible skills, passion and team-work as they came up against club teams who have had several years of experience of playing together.
The real value of such an experience was profoundly seen on the young men, as they forged meaningful and lasting friendships. Praise must go to the school-teachers Cormac McKenna and Stephen McCormick who accompanied their pupils alongside Ulster GAA staff, making it possible for the young men to have such an experience.
This initiative has been funded by The Executive Office through their Good Relations Funding Programme.
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