Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Uladh

Ulster GAA’s Ballymena Cúchulainns take part in Northern Community GAAmes in Manchester

June 12th, 2024

Twelve boys from Ballymena created memories together at the weekend when they travelled to Manchester to represent their schools and town in the Northern Community GAAmes, as part of their involvement in Ulster GAA’s Cúchulainn Initiative.

The Ballymena Cúchulainns, consisting of boys from Dunclug College and St Patrick’s College, took part in the U15 Boys Competition. Despite being a team made-up of players who had little or no experience playing Gaelic games, the group represented themselves with distinction showing some incredible skills, passion, and team-work as they came up against established clubs in Britain.

In the round robin group stages, the Cúchulainns had wins against Dunedin Og (Edinburgh), Tír Chonaill Harps (Glasgow) and the local team, St Peter’s (Manchester). However, a defeat to eventual Cup champions JFK Leeds resulted in the Cúchulainns playing in the shield final against St Brendan’s (Manchester). In what turned out to be a very close contest the Cúchulainn’s secured victory with a goal in the final play of the game.

Speaking after the competition, Ulster GAA President Ciaran McLaughlin said:

“The Cúchulainn Initiative continues to demonstrate the power of sport in bringing the youth in our communities together, with the very positive outcomes of creating lifetime friendships. It is great that the boys are bringing home some silverware following their success in the shield competition however the real success of this weekend and the Cúchulainn Initiative has been the memories and friendships that the boys have gained throughout their engagement in the programme.

“This is our second year bringing a Cúchulainn team across to the Northern Community GAAmes in Manchester and we are extremely appreciative of the invite from Britain GAA.

“I also want to praise the schools for their participation and the teachers who gave their time to accompany the pupils, making it possible for these young people to have such an experience”.

This initiative has been funded by Department of Foreign Affairs through their Reconciliation Fund.

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