Ten years ago GAA President, Christy Cooney was the guest of honour at the opening and blessing of St. Mary’s GAC Ahoghill’s new clubrooms and pitch and today we look back at that momentous occasion in the history of the Cloney club. Christy Cooney was accompanied by President elect, Liam O’Neill on the day.
Niall O’Connell was the club chairman at the time, a man with a long distinguished history with the St. Mary’s club. Niall had a long career as a player with the Ahoghill club and his sons Niall Jnr, Sean, Danny, Stephen, P.J, and James have all worn the red and black jersey with distinction while his wife Margaret and daughters Breige, Theresa, Mairead and Deirdre were involved with the club’s camogs.
Fr. Martin O’Hagan, P.P. of Ahoghill performed the blessing ceremony and Fr. Martin is still the Parish Priest in this very tight knit community today.
Amongst those in the featured photograph I recognise were James Curry who I believe was Mayor of Ballymena at the time, P.J. McAvoy, Deputy Mayor, Daithi McKay and Monica Digney Sinn Fein, Declan O’Loan S.D.L.P. and the then county chairman John McSparran.
Rasharkin provided the opposition in a hurling game that may well have been a league game between the sides and we have a photograph of the camogie team and their opponents on the day.
The senior football team at the time are also featured while there may well have been a veteran’s game and former Antrim great, Andy McCallin is featured in that photograph.