Ulster GAA, in partnership with Irish FA and Ulster Rugby, hosted an ‘Inclusive Game of Three Halves’ at Meadowbank Arena in Magherafelt recently.
The event centred on three inclusive clubs, one from each sport: Ballymena Bears representing rugby; Coleraine Strikers representing IFA and Derry GAA for All representing Gaelic Games.
The teams, made up of players with different learning disabilities, had the opportunity to play all three sports; while their volunteer coaches upskilled on different coaching and games techniques, learning from each other.
Ulster GAA President Ciaran McLaughlin said:
“Participation opportunities for all abilities is one of Ulster GAA’s priorities. This very positive event highlights how sport can be inclusive when the appropriate opportunities are provided. The participants had so much fun participating in all three sports and making new friends along the way. The coaches all took learning from the day too. We are proud to work with our partners in IFA and Ulster Rugby to deliver such important projects.”
IFA President Conrad Kirkwood said:
“This event was fun for the participants as it give them an opportunity to play a different sport and it was also an important learning opportunity for the volunteer coaches and helpers from the various clubs about running inclusive events. Each of the sports are doing tremendous work promoting and delivering inclusive games and its great for us to work together so that we can share learning and develop our volunteers skills and knowledge.”
Ulster Rugby President Philip Gregg said:
“Through this project we were able to give 3 clubs and the Volunteer Coaches an opportunity to meet and work together and we look forward to them continuing to network and develop strong sporting relationships. This will greatly benefit all 3 clubs and the participants as we continue to develop our inclusive games “. “We are delighted to be working closely with our partners in the IFA and Ulster GAA. “
This programme was delivered through the Department for Communities Home for Lifelong Volunteering Project and supported by the George Quigley Fund. Sixteen volunteers were involved across all three sports in the delivery of this event.