New Schools’ GAA Body Set UpJune 22, 2016
For almost the past ninety years, the pupils attending schools and colleges in Ulster have been served by the selfless work of the various committees charged with arranging games and competitions.
The Ulster Colleges Council, founded in Armagh in 1928, was joined thirty years later by the Ulster Secondary Schools Committee, who was tasked to cater for the growing number of Secondary Intermediate Schools in Northern Ireland. A request by Galways Jack Mahon and endorsed by Art McRory in 1968 saw the schools of Monaghan, Donegal and Cavan join the rest of Ulster in forming the Ulster Vocational Schools.
Both bodies have built on the good work of those early committees as the number of competitions in both Hurling and Football grow year on year. The same dedication is as prevalent today as it was all those years ago.
We are blessed in our schools to have teachers who are willing to give so much of their time and energy in promoting Gaelic Games. The lucky few see their rewards in the winning of Ulster and All Ireland titles, but what must be remembered is the preparation that goes into all of the games in all of the various competitions which take place during the year.
The record of Ulster Schools at All Ireland level over the past seventy years is one to be envied as the Hogan Cup, Inter County Vocational All Ireland, O’Keefe Cup and All Ireland crowns are regular visitors to schools, up and down the province.
With the extension of All Ireland titles across five grades in Football and four in Hurling, it is hoped that this proud record can be improved in the years to come.
The benefits of a strong base at schools level is reflected in the achievements of the clubs and county teams throughout the province, a fact readily acknowledged by the county boards and by the club committees.
It must also be remembered that the Schools Committees owe a debt of gratitude to the Principals of our schools who encourage our teachers in the promotion of our national games.
On May 13th in Quinn’s Corner, Ulster Colleges and Ulster Vocational Schools, carried out their last AGMs, before coming together as Ulster Schools, where they were welcomed by Jack Devenney, who had been given the task by Martin McAviney, of assisting the amalgamation of both of these bodies. He had done this with a series of regular meetings during the previous year. He deserves great praise for all of his tireless work during his period in office.
At this inaugural meeting, those present were addressed by Oliver Galligan, Comhairle Uladh, who thanked all for their work on behalf of their schools and assured them that the new body would have the blessing and financial backing of Comahirle Uladh in carrying out their mission as set out in the Ulster Schools bylaw:
The aim of the Council shall be to further the aims of Cumann Lúthchleas Gael in Ulster Schools through the development, administration and promotion of Gaelic games and pastimes.
The task of the new committee is to encourage participation by providing meaningful competitions and opportunities for our young people to embrace all positive aspects of our games.
There are 131 schools in the new Ulster Schools and they will be catered for with 70 competitions in six grades of Football and four of Hurling, comprising 1,800 games during the year, all of which will be overseen by the new Committee and administered by the newly appointed servicing Officer who will be in post in September.
Ulster Schools Committee
Art McRory – Hon President
Jimmy Smyth – Chairman
Paddy Linden – Vice Chairman
Seamus Woods – Secretary
Martin McConnell – Assistant Secretary
Sean McGourty – Joint Treasurer
David Treanor – Joint Treasurer
Raphael Gatt – PRO
Mark Grogan – IT Officer
Paul Maxwell – Ulster Council Delegate
Sean Fleming – Hurling A
Alaistair McGilligan – Hurling B
Kieran McGourty – Hurling C
Ciaran Meenagh – Hurling D
Jody Gormley – Football A
Sean O’Connor – Football B
Mickey Boyle – Derry/Antrim
Richard Thornton – Tyrone
Peadar Hynes – Down/Armagh
Noel Ward – Donegal
James Sherry – Cavan/Monaghan/Fermanagh
Carl McCabe – Belfast
Garrett Coyle – Coaching Officer