No Antrim Cul Camps this summer

Cul Camp Update:

Cul Camps 2020 – County Decision

29TH JUNE 2020

An Coiste Bainisti met, via video conference, on Friday the 26th June (the 106th day of the GAA Covid-19 lockdown) to consider the running of Cul Camps in during July and August 2020.

Cul Camps are a major event in the GAA calendar for our young people with approx. 2000 children attending Antrim camps annually. The uncertainty over the last 106 days and, at one stage, the prospect of having no GAA activities for the remainder of 2020 have hindered the planning processes required to stage Cul Camps.

Thankfully the position around GAA activity has changed greatly over the last few week and our clubs now look forward to playing our games again for the remainder of this year.

Currently we have:

No office base to work from as St Marys University has been closed since the 20th March
No access to the storage required to receive Cul Camp gear for future delivery to clubs
All our coaching staff are on Furlough
We have to work within the existing Covid -19 restrictions ( i.e. no access the GAA buildings until the 10th August)
An Coiste Bainisti also sought to get the opinions of several clubs as to their willingness or not to host / run Cul Camps which also assisted their decision-making process. The majority of clubs canvased were not in favour of hosting camps.

Based on all of the above the decision of Coiste Bainisti is that Antrim GAA will not be hosting Cul Camps during July & August 2020. We know this will be a major disappointment to our younger players but we feel that in the best interests of all our members and the local communities in which our clubs operate it’s the only decision to take at the present time.

Is Mise

Tony McCollum

Oifigeach Oiliuna

Corrigan Park development starting to take shape

Antrim and St John’s officials met at Corrigan Park on Monday to give the press an update on the redevelopment work at the famous old ground. Work had just got underway on the  new development when the Covid 19 pandemic brought it to a halt, but the good news is the work was not delayed as much as first feared and things are getting back to normal.       Work on the 500-seater stand and terracing on the Black Mountain side of the ground is starting to take shape and the steel for the new stand was starting to be put in place this week.

Corrigan Park Development Group chairman Collie Donnelly (centre) with St John’s chairman Gerry McCann (left) and county chairman Ciaran McCavana at Monday’s update at Corrigan Park.

Former Antrim county chairman and St John’s stalwart Collie Donnelly, who is the Corrigan Park Development Group chairman, was very upbeat about the chances of the work being finished for the proposed completion date of October, despite the Covid related delay.

 “Thankfully, the Corrigan Park project was already started (before the Covid 19 pandemic) and any projects that were started were able to continue. It’s a facility that is very much needed obviously for a club that has 30 teams with one pitch and a facility where we can also play county games, especially with Casement Park being out of commission.

Members of the Antrim GAA and St John’s GAC joined Collie Donnelly at Monday’s event at Corrigan Park

The renovation work at Corrigan is being co-funded by Croke Park, the Ulster Council, Antrim county board and St John’s club and will prove a very useful addition to the county.  When pushed by Saffron Gael if there was any chance that the project being completed in time to host any of this season’s Antrim county finals Collie Donnelly said he had high hopes that it may still be possible, especially since the county had now been given another two weeks of leeway to complete their fixtures.

Club Aontrmo chairman Niall Murphy, is interviewed by the BBC’s Mark Sidebottom.

Emotional scenes as Gerard McLarnon returns home

There were highly emotional scenes tonight in Randalstown when Creggan Kickhams clubman Gerard McLarnon returned to his Roseville Avenue home after spending more than ten weeks in hospital, 57 days of which were in ICU due to the deadly Covid 19 virus.

His clubmates from ‘out the road’ Creggan Kickhams GAC and Creggan Wheelers Cycling Club were there in big numbers to welcome Gerard home and he got a rousing reception when he and his wife Kathleen came out to thank all those who had supported them through this very difficult time.

No more words are necessary, just watch this excellent video by Eunan McAteer

The Saffron Gael journey started three years ago today

The men of 1970. Tomorrow, May 29th, the Saffron Business Forum had planned to honour this great team at their annual Business Lunch at the Crown Plazza Hotel. Covid 19 has put paid to that but hopefully before this year is out they can be back together again to talk about their great campaign of 1970 when they won the Division 2 League title and the All Ireland Intermediate Championship

The journey started three years ago today with the announcement of the Saffron Gael website. The following evening we covered our first game, the Under 21 Hurling final between Dunloy and Loughgiel in Armoy. Since then we have published a further 4,298 stories, covering games in hurling and football, both male and female. The Covid 19 pandemic has affected all of our lives and has hit hit this season very hard, but we soldier on hoping some day in the not to distant future to get back out to a game…..any game. In the mean time we will continue to post stories from the past, not what we all want to see, but it is an opportunity to preserve our county’s history. Thank you all for your continued support so far an hopefully when this is all over we will meet again on the green fields of Antrim, and further afield and celebrate properly the game we all love. A special word of thanks to all our sponsors, without whom this would not be possible. I would also like to thank all the Saffron Gael team who have written reports, taken photos and tavelled the length and breadth of the country to keep this campaign going.

The Antrim team who played Tyrone in the 2009 Ulster Senior Football final in Clones
The men of ’89. The Antrim team who played Tippeary in the 1989 All Ireland final
The Antrim team celebrate on the steps of Croke Park as team captain Mairead McAtamney lifts the O’Duffy Cup after he team’s win over Tipperary in the 1979 All Ireland Senior Camogie final

McQuillan’s GAC & Carey Faughs united for epic journey in aid of Marie Curie

McQuillan’s GAC Ballycastle and Carey Faughs have left their on pitch rivalry to the side for a short time, to unite forces to raise much needed funds for Marie Curie.

The charity had issued an ‘Emergency Appeal’ due to Covid19 putting fundraising on hold with funds for Nurses and Hospices being needed now more than ever. Caoimhe McShane, Mc Quillan GAC Club PRO said ‘Both clubs have many members involved in the local Marie Curie group, so it made sense for us work together to raise as much as we can for this much needed service. Their biggest fundraiser takes place at the Lammas Fair and this 400 year tradition has also been cancelled due to the current pandemic.’

This incredible fundraiser has involved club members of all ages, as they use their daily exercise during lockdown, to clock up their kilometres by running, walking or cycling and posting this into their respective groups. 

‘It has given everyone a great buzz and the club Social Media platforms have been used to keep everyone motivated. The posts and the videos have been excellent and have really captured the spirit of what we want to achieve. We have also been blessed by the weather and the fact that we live in an area of incredible beauty, with the striking Fairhead linking both Carey and Ballycastle, so it is easy to exercise from our own doorsteps.  Everyone is very respectful when we are out, crossing over the road and maintaining social distance, calling out to each other so the banter has also been good. Families have really enjoyed getting in on the challenge and we have club people from everywhere posting in their pictures from Liverpool, Belfast, County Down, Dublin, Derbyshire and even Canada to name a few.’

It had been originally planned for the squads to take on the challenge to race from ‘Fairhead to New York’, but such has been the response they arrived in New York in just 3 days clocking up an amazing 5,855.71km, exceeding all expectations.  The organising committee said ‘We decided to keep the challenge going and to continue on to Australia adding a further 16,020km to the journey. There are so many of our younger members from both clubs out in Australia and they had already set up their own group out there clocking their distances and making donations, so we agreed it would be a nice touch to go on and ‘pick them up’, if only we were really able to take them home!’

This target was again smashed and the clubs made it to Sydney with 5 days to spare. The Ballycastle Club PRO vowed that ‘It was a real challenge to get back home again, but the groups within the clubs, not just the players but the ‘Carey Fit Club’ and our ‘Brighter Nights’ crew plus the Committee and Supporters groups were all keen to keep going until the challenge was met’ and that they did.

Within the 14 Day target that was set, they collectively covered a massive 40,592.93km through running, walking and cycling, a phenomenal effort. The equivalent distance of travelling from Fairhead to Sydney via New York and back home to Ballycastle again, with 2,463.93km to spare. That’s a lot of exercise!

The clubs had originally set a fundraising target of £2000, however this amount has also been surpassed as well with over £16,000 pledged to support Marie Curie to date.

Martin ‘Cubby’ Mc Auley, who is involved in the management of both Mc Quillan’s Senior Camógs and Carey Faugh’s Hurlers spoke highly of the epic journey the two clubs have been on, ‘What a fantastic effort from everybody involved with both clubs. To see the phenomenal community spirit at such a difficult time is heart-warming and a pleasure to be a part of. I would like to thank everybody for their efforts locally and from all over the world, raising funds for a cause close to so many hearts in our local community’.

Winnie McGarry, the Treasurer of Marie Curie Moyle group said ‘We have been overwhelmed by the response – the Clubs came to us with this idea and the uptake has been brilliant; it has been fantastic and shows how generous everyone is in times of crisis, especially in these uncertain times, where there are many individuals and organisations in need.’

If you would like to contribute to the McQuillan’s GAC and Carey Faughs fundraiser for Marie Curie go to: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/fairheadnewyork

The Just Giving Page will remain open to allow anyone who has not yet donated to do so. McQuillan’s and Faughs would like to take this opportunity to say a massive Thanks to everyone who has donated so far.